My name is Steve. I have a job.

I think it’s good to get that out of the way because it establishes the fact that I’m in no hurry to have a giant rod building business.

There are a couple reasons I do build but none have anything to do with making my own tapers or offering “Shopkeeper’s Select”-anything. There are simply enough great rods and rod designs in the world that I have nothing to offer in that realm; I’d much rather grab a blank of an acknowledged fine rod and put it together than try to convince the world I’ve come up with something better.

This doesn’t mean people like me haven’t contributed to the realm of wonder rods; they have. It simply means I have no interest in it and, therefore, my ambition in this venture is not sky-high.

Another reason I do it is because I love fly rods. I always have. I’m not one of the nouveau meta-physical fly fishing types that finds Nirvana or the Holy Grail in a good cast, but I feel a tingle when handling a rod that seems to speak in tongues I understand. Should that rod be fearfully and wonderfully made, I might even wax poetic.

I know, it is only a fishing rod, but I like it…Apologies to Mick.

I started building rods because I liked the notion of being able to do it; I built my first one (a 7’9 5wt Orvis Far and Fine) thirty-two years ago- It was uglier than sin. Still, I’ll also apologize to Barbara Mandrel and say that I was fly fishing when fly fishing wasn’t cool.

My idea of fly fishing is to use as much of the stuff I’ve made or created pursuing my watery friends as possible. Rod building, to me, seemed as essential as fly-tying in pursuing the craft as it was meant to be.

I also started building to save some money (not make money)…If you’re interested in that tale, check out the Home page under “Why Rods for the Rest of Us?”

In that same post, I say I build rods:

As lovely as I can make them…

Meaning that, being an appreciator of fly rods, I don’t want to be the one who throws an ugly rod out into the world…I’ve seen some of those; they make eyeballs scream for bleach. It also means that there are some things I don’t particularly care for on rods; fly rods were, in my opinion, designed to have their beauty sneak up on you- to pull you in closer until you take deeper gazes searching for treasure undiscovered by the casual caster.

Not sure if mine do all that, but it’s not for lack of try.

I also said I make them as solid as anyone would need…

This is my way of saying that nothing will fall apart on the rod due to carelessness or cheap components. They will certainly fall apart of you step on them or wind-slam them in the truck door; these ain’t UglySticks. I don’t even know how many rods I’ve built for how many people around the globe, but I’ve never had one come back because of some oversight of mine…Because I feel a certain responsibility when someone says they’re taking a rod I built to Patagonia or New Zealand, my rods might never been listed in a “classic tackle” catalog, but neither will a grip click on you or a seat wobble punching the wind on the Yellowstone in August.

While we’re at it, a word about warranties. First, Shopkeeper Fly Rods is a fancy way of saying, “I make fly rods.” In other words, it’s only me here- really. I’m not actually a dozen people trying to sound like a one-horse boutique shop nor am I a spinoff, folksy sounding subsidiary of am Outdoors Titan…It’s just me.

So, if your rod does break, you’ll have to get the replacement part from whomever manufactured your blank. Oh, and while this might come from a manufacturer’s Lifetime Warranty, don’t expect it to be free- most companies have some charges built in to a warranty.

Next, send the part needing rebuilt (and the old part, if you have it) back to me. Before you do, take note of that, “I have a job” thingy and that “It’s just me” thingy. I’ll rebuild it at no charge the first time (not including parts, if necessary) but there will be a small fee after that. Also, I pledge to get it done as soon as I possibly can, but because of the aforementioned thingys, some patience might be required.

So, if you’re the type that pitches a rod into the back of a truck between stops or lets your Pomeranian use it as a pole vault in the Canine Olympics, you’re probably better off looking up Sage or Winston directly. However, if you buy a rod from me and are careful with the things you love, I’ll most likely, happily, never see your rod again.

Lastly, the rods also cast no differently from their manufactured counterpart…

This is the thing, right? Casting. Somebody reads about or hears about a rod they know would perfect for their particular situation, aesthetics aren’t the first thought. Casting to fish is.

The great thing about homespun rods is that, if done right, you can get the exact same casts from a rod costing about 40-50% less than its manufactured brethren. There really is no difference, and, no, the smaller price tag is no indication of inferiority (again, if done right).

That’s the scoop…Rods (good rods) for the Rest of Us, without having to take a mortgage out on your children. Not a bad deal…