Archive for the ‘June 2012’ Category


Awhile back I was talking with Boyd Pfeiffer about the advent of spinning tackle. I had assumed, incorrectly as it turned out, that it was a relatively modern innovation, coming around only as of perhaps the 1930’s or 1940’s.  Boyd mentioned that spinning tackle was available in the very late 19th century, but wasn’t used much because it was able to cast very light and rather productive offerings and was therefore considered “unsporting” by sportsmen of that era. Imagine that!
Growing up in the 1960’s, all of us who were involved in any aspect of the field sports were taught that anything which provided the participant an “unfair advantage” was unsporting and as a matter of conscience, should be avoided. You didn’t shoot a duck on the water and you didn’t attempt to snag fish. It just wasn’t done by anyone who considered themselves a sportsman. In fact, that’s what differentiated a sport from a game – in one the rules were self evident and self imposed, in the other they were written down and enforced by a referee.
Recent 21st century fishing innovations require the modern fisherman to search his conscience and decide what unwritten rules he will impose upon himself. Visiting a local tackle shop I was asked by the proprietor what I thought about the Alabama Rig, a transplanted saltwater meat-fishing technique that is currently all the rage in the bass fishing world. I remarked that I figured that a man fished for one of three reasons – food, money or sport. As far as fishing for food goes, I do not believe it is any longer possible to equip oneself, incur the fees and other associated costs of the sport, and catch fish for less money than it costs to simply buy a bag of grocery store filets. As far as money, this is the realm of the tournament fisherman and for me, is nothing more than competitive gambling. I do not ignore the impact that tournaments have had on the sportfishing industry and the business it has generated for those who depend on that huge economy. But it is not for me. Which leaves fishing for sport – which is what I do. In that aspect I was left with only one answer for the man, “I consider it unsporting and will not use it.”
2012 has seen the advent of new fishing sonar units so adept at interpreting electronic signals and displaying them on a screen, that one might as well employ an underwater camera. The days of intelligently interpreting flasher signals and determining bottom contours that were likely to hold fish are long over. Now fishermen will simply hunt individual fish, sorting the bass from the catfish from the bream, from the small fish to the big fish, and make his casts based on what his television screen is showing him. While I see no skill in that, I am forced to acknowledge that there were once those who used plumbobs and spoonplugs to record bottom contours and probably lamented the advent of sonar flashers, which we now think of as primitive, as unsporting.
I suppose the fish still gets to decide whether to bite or not, but perhaps only for the time being. Who knows what lurks just around the corner. For fishermen of my generation or older, there is a sudden clash between these newest technologies and the sporting ideals taught to us as children. What constitutes an “unfair advantage” is something each individual must decide for themselves.
Tom Kirkman

2013 Expo Contracts

Over 10 times larger than any other custom rod building event, the International Custom Rod Building Exposition is far and away the largest event held for the custom rod building craft and industry.  The 10th annual edition will be held in Winson-Salem, NC on February 23 and 24, 2013.

Exhibitor contracts will begin mailing first of next week. A floor plan has already been selected and locked in. There will be 92 booths available. No more. No less. The show will be, as always, a sell out.

In order to support our past exhibitors and realizing that we often can’t accommodate everyone, the first contract mailing will go to those who exhibited with us in 2012.  This gives those exhibitors first dibs on booths and placement (which I feel is only fair).

In late July, a second round of contracts is mailed to those companies on the waiting list. There are usually a few booths left and I’m happy to accommodate as many new exhibitors as possible, space allowing. If you wish to be put on the waiting list for possible booth inclusion, please email to:  and I’ll get a contract out to you next month. The only requirement is that your business have at least something to do with, or have very close ties, to custom rod building.

Tom Kirkman



New Issue

The Volume 15 #3 issue of RodMaker was mailed June 1st. Most subscribers will receive it during the 3rd and 4th weeks of June. Enjoy.

Special Expo Lodging Rates Now Available

The two host hotels for the 2013 International Custom Rod Building Exposition are now booking rooms for the upcoming event.  The Embassy Suites and Marriot, each just across the street from the Expo facility (Benton Convention Center) are offering special rates for Expo attendees. You may expedite room booking and receive the special room rate by visiting the auto-reservation links on the Expo website at:

Dates for the 2013 Expo are Saturday February 23 and Sunday February 24. The RodMaker Reception, held for magazine subscribers, will be held on Friday, February 22.