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November 1st, 2015 Update


The new 5-weight and 6-weight 4-piece rods are designed and they are spectacular! The 5-weight final prototypes were finished just in time to be evaluated for the popular Yellowstone Angler 5-weight 2016 shootout. They evaluate 30 of the most popular 4-piece 5-weight graphite rods available and our new rod is tied for first place for performance! A great testimony to the new rod designs. The new 4-piece rods have the well proven spigot ferrules providing very smooth casting rods the evaluators were very impressed with. Almost all of today's rods have the tip over ferrule design that is just not as smooth as the spigot design that feel like a one-piece rod.

Here is a link to the 2016 Yellowstone Angler Shootout

I decided to design these 4-piece graphite rods because so many anglers are now traveling, particularly by flying, to their fishing destination the demand for multi-piece rods has grown substantially. There is a trout and a saltwater series with the trout being 8 1/2 foot 3-weight, 4-weight, and 5-weight along with 9 foot 4-weight, 5-weight and, 6-weight with the saltwater 7-weight and 8-weight rods. The 9 foot trout 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, 4-weight, and 5-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 in 4-weight through 6-weight 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 are only very slightly stiffer than my traditional designs but nothing like so many of the very stiff rods most manufacturers are making today.

The 9 foot 7-weight and 8-weight four piece will be particularly designed to excel for fishing heavier lines, both floating and sink tip, and will work well for saltwater fishing for bonefish, permit, snook, and other smaller fish. They will also be appropriate for fishing streamers for trout and various combinations of lines and flies for salmon and steelhead. As of this time the guides, reel seat, and fittings have not been worked out.

I expect the lighter trout rods to be available in early 2016. The heavier 7-weight and 8-weight should be available in the spring of 2016 if not before. I expected them to be ready sometime in 2015 but the company we were working with couldn't deliver so we switched to Kerry Burkheimer who makes our fiberglass blanks because of his great quality and our wonderful working relationship. He has been extraordinarily helpful in getting our prototypes quickly. I also have to complement him on the quality of the blanks they are the straightest I have ever seen!

When I started thinking about the new designs I intended to use a slightly different material from what we use in our regular rods with a slightly higher modulus (stiffness factor) and a greater strain rate (resistance to breaking) than our traditional graphite. I started with our regular graphite which does have a new resin system increasing its strength and which has a very high strain rate. The designs using this material turned out to be terrific so I will use it. Using the same material as our regular rods also makes production smoother. This material has proven to be an excellent one since we have had very few rod repairs.

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 guides. After casting numerous prototypes with different guides the best combination was with the REC Recoil nickel titanium flexible single foot guides with our traditional agate stripper. These guides are extremely hard for great durability and flexible for protection from damage. They will still use the lines recommended for them and flex the way they should.

You can put in your order now to get into the queue but, as with our other rods, we won't ask for a deposit until we are ready to start your rod. Also at that time we will confirm your order to make sure we have everything correct.

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.

A very good choice for fishing heavier flies for trout, small salmon, and some steelhead. A 7-weight rod was my choice for fishing dry flies for steelhead allowing me to make easy and consistent casts in the 70-80 foot range and catching fish over 20 pounds. Often an 8-weight for trout is too much rod for the size of fish being caught and is too heavy for all day fishing whereas the 7-weight is just right.

An excellent choice for a large line size rod for most anglers wanting a strong rod for fishing heavy flies for large trout, salmon, steelhead, and a variety of saltwater fish. This rod is great on salt flats where a breeze is almost always blowing, casting quickly to fish at a variety of distances is necessary, and a strong rod for fighting fish is required. It has oversized guides to help clear a line tangle if necessary on a fast running fish. It has the power to cast the entire line in the hands of a good caster but has enough finesse to make a good presentation at a short distance.

Rod Specifications.

The rods are 2-, 3-, or 4-piece, one tip, with an agate stripping guide on the trout rods, Snake Brand hard chrome plated snake guides, nickel silver slide band, up-lock, or down-lock reel seat and a wood spacer of your choice. The wire guides on the 4-piece are REC Recoil nickel titanium flexible single foot while the stripping guides haven't been selected for the saltwater rods. On the saltwater rods we strongly recommend the half-wells grip because it is more comfortable and provides more support for your hand although you can still specify a cigar or custom 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.

Original Rods

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'

4-Piece Rods

Line Size
Typical Fishing
3 8 1/2 foot ? medium-light up to 40'
4 8 1/2 foot ? medium-fast up to 45'
5 8 1/2 foot ? medium up to 50'
4 9 foot 2 7/8 medium up to 60'
5 8 foot ? medium up to 55'
6 9 foot 3 1/16 medium up to 65'
7 9 foot ? medium up to 65'
8 9 foot ? medium-fast up to 80'

2 Piece $1425.00 plus shipping and insurance.
3 Piece $1475.00 plus shipping and insurance.
4 Piece $1495.00 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:
300 Raw Sienna Sky 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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