Tom Morgan Rodsmiths Company evolved from a dream
of mine while owning the R. L. Winston Rod Company
from 1973 to 1991 to build a limited number of
superior graphite rods for appreciative anglers. Rods
not limited by cost or materials. Rods I would
fine-tune until their actions were perfect. I chose
graphite as the material for these rods because it
has all the characteristics necessary to make a
wonderful fishing rod. It is strong, lightweight,
durable, sensitive, and efficient.
With so many anglers now traveling, particularly by flying, to their fishing destination the demand for multi-piece rods has grown substantially. I have decided to design a series of 4-piece graphite rods in 8 1/2 foot 3-weight and 4-weight along with 9 foot 4-weight, 5- weight, 6-weight, 7-weight and 8-weight rods.
I have worked hard to keep the same progressive action with the smoothness and the light, lively feeling so prized by anglers by using continuous taper blanks with spigot ferrules and keeping the weight down using light-weight and slightly smaller guides. I expect the lighter trout rods to be available sometime in early summer of 2015 and the heavier 7-weight and 8-weight late summer. I am confident anglers will love them as they do my other designs and they will prove to be great fishing rods. There is a longer description under the graphite rod description page.
Originally, I planned on making these rods myself,
but something better happened. Gerri Carlson and I
became partners in life and in the Tom Morgan
Rodsmiths Company. Previously, Gerri had spent twenty
years as a teacher, the last two of those years in
the Czech Republic where she was a Peace Corps
volunteer. She has always been interested in
developing a craft where she could utilize her
mechanical skills and her eye for detail and design.
At one point, she wanted to apprentice with a
renowned Czech violinmaker, but it wasn't possible.
The opportunity to join with me in our new company to
create beautiful fly rods is equally inspiring for
After we decided to add our bamboo rods they have
been well received by our customers for their action,
beauty, and workmanship. It has been particularly
satisfying for me to build them because I have a long
history of fishing bamboo rods in addition to many
years of making them. It was exciting for us to go
through the process of designing great bamboo fishing
rods showing our unique fittings and careful
workmanship. It's also very fulfilling to be making
rods with such a strong connection to our fly-fishing
The Morgan Hand Mill I invented is a revolutionary method of hand-milling bamboo strips making the cutting easier, more accurate, and faster than the traditional hand-planing method. The Hand Mill's unique design allows the user to easily cut 8-strip, 7-strip, 6-strip, 5-strip, 4-strip or 3-strip rods just by changing the cutter head. It's also a very versatile machine that will let you cut swelled butt strips, flat strips for gluing cedar strips or other material to the inside, traditional hollow fluted rods, special hollow rods using the new Magic Star cutter head, and one-piece up to 7 1/2' long. In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in bamboo rod-making and my Hand Mill has allowed many more people to enjoy this wonderful craft. We use the Morgan Hand Mill to cut all of the strips for our bamboo rods.
Somewhat surprisingly my rod designing has come
full circle. Soon after buying Winston my first
designs were the Winston Stalker fiberglass rods with
actions similar to light line bamboo rods I had
fished for many years. I have always been a fan of
fiberglass rods and with the renewed interest in them
I decided to design a new series of rods to
complement our great graphite and bamboo rods.
Fiberglass provides a feel very much like bamboo and
makes great rods for fishing in the short to medium
distances where so much trout fishing is done. We
will make a few finished rods but most of our
fiberglass will be sold as blanks to customers or
I am happy to report I have found a source that
provides us with exceptional quality cork rings for
our rods. They have the capabilities of providing
some extra rings so we are importing them for our
customers. There seems to be a wide variety of names
for the different grades but the conventional name
for the best grade is Flor. My supplier handles a
large volume of Flor grade every month and from these
hand-pick my special cork which are the best of the
best. I have seen tens of thousands of rings over the
years and this is the best quality as it comes I have
ever seen. As you would expect the quantity available
is limited but that is acceptable to me as my goal is
to provide some very high quality rings to builders,
such as myself, who appreciate excellent quality and
not to provide rings to everyone.
Gerri has had a life-long passion for paper and
printing. She started her Book and Paper Arts
Company, Slow Poke Press,
in 1989 to give herself a creative outlet to pursue
this art form. As a book artist, Gerri designs and
creates books about a variety of topics--when she's
not building fly rods, that is. The skill most needed
in building a fine fishing rod certainly applies to
making a finely crafted book--attention to detail.
Whereas the work in building a fly rod is often
repetitive, creating a new book is very stimulating.
Gerri prints some of her books on a Challenge Proof
Letterpress, while others are printed using an Epson
Printer and computer. Most of her books are small
editions. Gerri has recently taken her books in a new
direction creating a book using ten of Sylvester
Gerri's latest book is entitled "Tom Morgan's
Favorite Flies Favorite Waters". She collaborated
with me and I chose my 12 favorite flies for trout
and steelhead writing a short story about each. The
highlights of the presentation are Gerri's
extraordinary book, an elegant custom made 8 inch
square walnut box, the 12 favorite flies tied by
famous master fly tyers, and a minted medallion
showing me fishing. Included within the book are the
stories, stream photos, fly histories, and short
biographies. Take a look at this marvelous book along
with some others she has created. Email her or me
with any questions or comments you might have.
Gerri and I have a 10 acre lot with beautiful
views for sale adjacent to our house and you can see
photos and a description under the Morgan-Carlson View lot.
We added a web page for the Coastal Conservation
Association to help promote steelhead and salmon
conservation. Steelhead fishing was one of my great
passions in life and they are in trouble over their
entire range. I'm trying to promote interest in our
customers joining this organization to help preserve
and enhance our anadromous fisheries.
I was awarded the Bellinger Award for my
contributions to bamboo rodmaking which you can see
and read about on it‘s web
Gerri and I are presenting fiberglass, graphite,
and bamboo rods of unmatched beauty. With my rod
action design capabilities, our creative rod fitting
designs, and our attention to detail, we've made some
of the sweetest rods ever for you. These rods are the
results of my extensive experience, and they are
simply the best I have ever designed and built.
Our house and shop are located in southwestern
Montana, about fifteen miles west of Bozeman in the
heart of great fishing country. We invite you to stop
by our shop when you're in our area. We'll have
fiberglass, graphite, and bamboo rods available for
you to cast, reels to exam, and a Hand Mill set up
for you to examine and cut some bamboo strips with if
you would like. Please call for an appointment to
ensure we'll be here for your visit.