Archive for the ‘September 2011’ Category

Edward Karacozian

Hi Tom, 

I am writing to cancel Ed’s subscription.  He passed away in his sleep last May.  He so loved Rodmaker magazine.  We have every copy he ever got.  If you have any need for back copies they are in perfect condition.  I just can’t see getting rid of such beautiful magazines.

Toni Karacozian


Ed Karacozian used to call me every so often. Although older and with problems of his own, he had taken on a personal project involving the rehabilitation of suddenly handicapped individuals. His therapy? Having them build custom fishing rods. According to Ed, it did wonders for their manual dexterity and more than a few, coming from lifelong fishing pursuits, came to really enjoy the process.


Over the years I sent Ed dozens of copies of RodMaker for use in his program. According to him, the rod builders really ate them up and always looked forward to getting a new batch.


Ed once told me that if he ever failed to renew his subscription to RodMaker it would mean that he’d died. We’d laugh about it, but now it’s come to pass. I get similar notes from many folks each year and it’s never a pleasant thing to hear of a builder’s passing, but it happens to everyone eventually.


Ed did a world of good for a lot of people out his way in California. I’m sure they’ll miss him just as much as I will.


Tom Kirkman




Reaching the Craft

There’s still a lot of work to be done compiling the results of the Rod Builders Survey that mailed in the Volume 14 #3 issue of RodMaker. Just over 4,300 survey forms have been returned, of which about half have now been tallied. From that number, certain facts are already apparent.


I’ve always believed most rod builders don’t frequent the internet rod building websites much, if at all.  My guess was that only about 10% of the active rod builders around the world ever view a rod building forum or chat room. Viewing the survey results thus far it turns out I was wrong – it appears that almost 20% of active rod builders at least occasionally view or participate on rod building websites. Of course, that leaves the other 80%, the vast majority of the craft, that do not. Which is still what I have long suspected.


This explains why rod building dealers, events, etc., that rely solely on the internet for advertising, marketing, product sales, etc., don’t fare anywhere near as well as those dealers, events, etc., that engage in the print and direct mail mediums. For the time being, that’s the only way you’ll ever reach the majority of the custom rod builders. The internet just won’t get the job done. And this is the reason why 90% of the advertising I do for the Expo takes place in print magazines and via direct mail.


It’s fair to wonder why so few rod builders are active on the various internet rod building mediums. Well, at least until you take into consideration one other interesting fact from the survey forms – over 90% of all custom rod builders are over the age of 50. Those generations didn’t grow up with a cell phone in their ear or a computer on their desk. The internet has never, and likely never will be, a large part of their lives. If you want to reach them, you’ll have to do it the old fashioned way. Smart dealers, event promoters, marketers, etc., understand age groups and demographics and work accordingly. If you want to catch fish, you need to fish where the fish are. If you want to reach rod builders, you must reach them via the mediums they use.


Tom Kirkman



The shooting club I belong to is comprised of just over 400 acres. An added benefit, it includes two nice ponds, one is fairly large, about 5 acres. While doing some shooting this past weekend, one of my fishing buddies decided to try his hand at some bream fishing in those ponds. He met with great success as the following photo shows.

Trooper McGinnis with a 3/4lb bream

Sometimes we forget that getting a good fight from a fish has a great deal to do with the tackle we employ. Hitting an aspirin with a .22 cal PCP tournament air rifle at 80 yards is no different than popping a 10 inch pan with a 6.5 Creedmore round at 1000 yards. It’s all about scale.


A long, 8’6” or 9” 3-weight or 4-weight fly rod against a 3/4 pound bream is just as much fun as battling far larger fish on heavier gear. And such fishing is within range of most anglers across North America, perhaps the world.


Next time you want some fun fishing without travel or great expense, think about building yourself a long, light rod and doing battle with some big bream or similar. Most commercial ultra-light gear is short and negates the leverage you want the fish to have against you.  Go long and have fun.


Tom Kirkman



14-3 and 14-4 available now

Several folks (non-subscribers) have asked about specific articles which appeared in the recent Volume 14, number 3 and number 4 issues. Both of those issues are available now, on the back issue page.


New issues generally go on sale on the back issue page about a month after subscribers have received them.


Tom Kirkman



Email Subject Line…

Statistics vary, but the general consensus is that most folks receive an average of about 85 junk or spam emails per day.  I receive considerably more – often as many as 350 in a single 24 hour time period. I mention this because I don’t bother reading them. In fact, I don’t even open them. (In fact, I’ve always wondered why so many folks bother opening and reading email from persons they don’t know about subjects that are so obviously spam related.)


When I scan my email inbox, I skip right over any email that doesn’t have a subject line relating directly in some way to the magazine, Expo, forum, etc.  I’m forced to do this, otherwise I’d get nothing done in a day’s time for opening and bothering with junk and spam.  So such emails, that don’t seem to have anything at all to do with my business, are batch deleted without my ever having even looked inside to see what they contain. Takes about 5 seconds to rid myself of each and every one of them.


I mention this because at least some of the many subscribers, readers, forum users, etc., don’t bother to put anything in the subject line of the emails they send me. Or they use such a generic subject that their email is apt to find itself swept out with the spam.


Maintaining an open line of communication with my customers is important. But helping them requires that they help me a little bit, too.  If you find yourself needing to email me about a subscription, registration, Expo matter, etc., etc., please take just a few seconds and provide a little bit of information in your email subject line. That will ensure that your comment or concern receives my attention, instead of quickly getting the boot. Thanks.


Tom Kirkman