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New Rod Designs

Jan 1, 2015

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, and 6-weight rods. The 9 foot rods are a departure from my philosophy of the 8 1/2 foot rods being the most fun to fish because of their shorter length and lighter, livelier feel but the purpose of these is somewhat different. The new 8 1/2 foot 3-weight and 4-weight will still have a very similar feel to our present rods only be 4-piece for easy transport. The 9 foot 4-piece rods will still work well for dry fly fishing and small nymphs but are specifically designed for those wanting a longer rod to fish weighted flies, or multiple flies, and sometimes weight along with a floating indicator either by wading or from a boat. They will provide the extra reach and length to keep line off the water and to help set the hook for flies fished under the surface. These rods will be slightly stiffer than my traditional designs but nothing like so many of the very stiff rods most manufacturers are making today.

To keep them strong, yet lightweight, I am using a new graphite material with a slightly higher modulus (stiffness factor) and a greater strain rate (resistance to breaking) than our traditional graphite. I'm very confident this material will provide light-weight rods with great durability just like our traditional graphite rods have proven to have.

I have also 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. These rods all have the newest Snake Brand Universal light wire snake guides with ECOating which is an environmentally friendly, extremely hard and smooth coating that's also very slippery. They will still use the lines recommended for them and flex the way they should. I expect them to be available sometime in early summer of 2015. I am confident anglers will love them as they do my other designs and they will prove to be great fishing rods.

Fly fishing has been my greatest passion since my early teenage years, and, within that passion, fly rods and their action have always been my greatest love. It seems I have a special gift that allows me to visualize fishing conditions and to design rods that are well suited for anglers. My intention for these rods is to provide great casting rods that are fun to fish using dry flies, wet flies, and nymphs and to make rods fellow anglers love and enjoy fishing on their favorite waters.

My past experience in helping anglers select their favorite graphite trout rods for dry fly fishing or using small nymphs has shown me, given an opportunity to cast both 8 1/2 foot and 9 foot rods, they would more often than not choose the shorter length because it felt better. For that reason, I chose the 8 1/2 foot length as our longest rod for our traditional series. All of these rods have progressive action with the smoothness and the light, lively feeling so prized by anglers.

Although most of our rods are sold via our catalog or our Internet web site, we have a considerable number of customers, including many from Japan, who stop by our shop to cast our rods. It's extremely gratifying to let them cast our rods and to hear their praise for the rod actions. The comments I hear the most are the rods feel great, they are amazingly smooth casting, and they are sized correctly for the lines they are rated to cast. Our rods are very carefully designed to use a double taper or a long belly weight forward line of the size I recommend. Some of the newer lines are more heavily weighted towards the front portion to accommodate the newer and stiffer graphite rods. Those lines will tend to overload these rods so make sure you are using lines with traditional design. They will not cast, under normal circumstances, a line one size heavier.

One aspect of my rod design that makes them different from most other rods currently on the market is the snake guide size. If you compare our rods to others the guides seem small, and you might think, too small to let the line pass through easily. The common misconception is the bigger the guides the better the line flows through them and the farther you can cast. I have wrapped and cast identical rods with small guides and large guides and found just the opposite to be true. Apparently, the larger guides allow the line to slap around the rod too much and actually reduce the shooting ability of the line. Another aspect often overlooked, particularly on rods like ours with delicate and supple tips, is the larger guides weight the tip of the rods excessively and entirely destroy their subtle action. Trust me, our guides are of adequate size; the smaller, lighter guides are one of the things that make our rods feel so great.

There is one other important aspect of my rod designs I think is overlooked by other designers. This is a subtle point, but one I believe strongly makes the rods perform better for anglers. When you strike a fish, the rod tip behaves in accordance with Newton's law of motion; the tip goes down first as the opposite reaction to the butt going up. Then, as it catches up to the butt moving upwards, there is a lot of momentum in the tip. If the tip is too stiff and the guides are too heavy, the tippet may break on the strike. This is an all too common experience with most rods. The supple tips of these rods, along with the smaller guides, have less inertia when you strike a fish resulting in far fewer fish being broken off on the strike. Another benefit of the supple tips is they let you play fish without breaking the tippet.

In addition to being great fishing rods, our rods are also extremely beautiful and the workmanship is impeccable. Gerri and I go to great length to make sure every detail of the rod is perfectly executed. I am confident you will enjoy fishing our rods. We continually hear from customers who order their rods by catalog or over the Internet web site how pleased they are with them. Many of our customers buy more than one rod because, once they fish with them, the rods become their favorites, and they want other sizes for other streams or conditions.

Gerri and I work together on building the rods. I check them for straightness in the beginning then Gerri does the rest of the physical work. She deflects the blanks to make sure they fit our standards, ferrules the blanks, installs the cork rings, turns the grips on our wood lathe, wraps the rods, does the impeccable coating, and ships them. I help line up the guides with Gerri to make sure they are straight.

Please feel free to contact me concerning any question that you might have about a particular rod and its suitability for you. I have extensive knowledge about fishing conditions, line sizes, rods, and other aspects of fly fishing. I would be happy to assist you to make the correct decision for your fishing situations.


This rod is well-suited for the most delicate situations and presentations. The soft, supple tip provides an excellent and well-balanced rod for fishing small flies using 5X, 6X, and even 7X tippets. Even though it is delicate, it is also a very effective fishing rod. This rod is a supple, gentle rod for fishing short to medium distances, and it will protect your tippets on the strike and while playing fish.

This weight is very versatile for a light-line rod, and it is becoming our signature model because of its sweetness. These rods have supple, sensitive tips for fishing small flies and light tippets, but they have enough power in the butt for good casting range. They are great feeling rods and will cover your delicate fishing situations with ease. The 8 1/2' length is the rod for all-around fishing, whereas the 7' 9" model is best suited for smaller streams or free stone streams where a faster rod is desirable.

This is the standard light line rod for many anglers. It works well under a wide range of fishing conditions and will handle light summer zephyrs. They permit very delicate presentations, yet they will cast small wet flies and medium sized dries. These are light, lively rods that are fun to fish. The 8', 4-weight, 3-piece rod is a softer rod for fishing close to medium distances with great delicacy. The 8 1/2' 4-weight has the stiffness to be a general-purpose rod for a wide variety of situations.

This is a versatile line size for fishing a variety of flies in small to medium sized waters. This rod has become a standard Eastern United States line weight. It also covers most dry fly and nymph situations for trout. It has a good fishing range and will do well under blustery conditions. A great rod that is fun and easy to fish.

This is the standard trout rod all over the world. It will handle big dries, streamers, and medium weighted nymphs. It is a good rod for windy conditions and for covering bigger streams. This rod is smooth and easy to cast for all around fishing.

Rod Specifications.

The rods are two-piece, one tip, with an agate stripping guide, hard chrome plated snake guides, nickel silver slide band or up-lock real seat and a wood spacer of your choice. The handle is a cigar, half-wells, or custom cork grip. The rods are provided with our special cloth bag, our distinctive aluminum case with a minted nickel coin of our logo embedded in the cap, and a protective tube bag.

Line Size
Typical Fishing
2 8 foot 2 1/8 medium-light up to 40'
3 7 foot, 9 in 2 1/4 medium-fast up to 45'
3 8 1/2 foot 2 5/8 medium up to 50'
4 8 foot 3pc 2 3/8 medium-light up to 45'
4 8 1/2 foot 2 3/4 medium up to 50'
5 8 1/2 foot 2 7/8 medium up to 60'
6 8 1/2 foot 3 medium up to 65'

2 Piece $1425.00 plus shipping and insurance.
3 Piece $1475.00 plus shipping and insurance.

More information on ordering and delivery can be found on the price list page and ordering page. Click here to go directly to the order form.

We encourage you to call or write and discuss your requirements so we can build you one of our beautiful rods to fish on your favorite streams.

Questions? Contact us:
21505 Norris Road
Manhattan, MT 59741


Phone: 406.282.7110
Fax: 406.282.7167

(Note: is no longer a working address)

Toms Design Philosophy
The Cork
  the Bozeman Reels
Forbes Life Magazine Article
Slow Poke Press
Morgan-Carlson view lot
Coastal Conservation Association
Bellinger Award

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