Brewer Man In His 20th Year Of Hand Crafting Killer Fly Rods
Since I was a little boy, as far back as I can remember, I've loved to fish. Granted, there are folks out there who take it waaaaaay more seriously than I do, but for me, that's always been the point. Fishing has always been one of my escapes from day to day life. even when I lived in southern Maine, I lived right next to the ocean and a river, so I had plenty of places to relax and drown some bait too.
I do own a few fly rods, but to be honest, I'm absolutely awful at it. I've always been more of a crank bait kinda guy, often lacking the patience that fly fishing requires. From the long wait for a bite, to the delicate dance of landing a big fish on fairly light tackle, it hasn't always been my scene.
But until recently, I had no idea that some of the most iconic fly rods in the world, are handcrafted right here in Brewer, Maine. Steve Campbell, owner of the Thomas Rod Company, has been hard at it for over 20 years, though these bamboo fly rods go way back. Thomas Fly Rods have been owned by the likes of Herbert Hoover, Dwight Eisenhower... even Ted Williams.
Originally, the company began in 1896, making bamboo fly rods, which Campbell still does to this day, churning out several a year. They're very time consuming, and labor intensive, but Campbell loves doing it in his spare time, when he's not working as a driver for UPS. He even makes them in the exact same location they were made over 100 years ago!
When speaking to WFVX TV-22, Campbell said making these rods is his passion in life.
It's something that takes a lot of time but doesn't feel like work that's for sure, I mean I can be up here all day and the day goes by without even thinking about it.
And even though they aren't cheap by any means, Campbell will take a few different kinds of payment, other than just money. He's been known to take a sweet guitar, or old amplifier in trade for his work. That's as old-school as it gets. Bartering. So if you thought maybe they were too expensive for your budget, you just might have something sitting around that you could trade?
At any rate, it's awesome to see such an old way of doing business. Handmade products made with care and love, just for the thrill of doing it. That's when you know you're getting the good stuff. There's no cheap, knockoff rod leaving Campbell's shop, that's for sure. And we hope it stays that way for at least another 20 years.