How it all started -
It was a crisp fall morning on the Kenai Peninsula, I had rolled out of bed and threw on all my fly fishing gear before hopping into the truck and heading out to the river. I knew this particular river was busy this time of year, so I figured if I had all my gear on I could get to my spot quicker. I pulled up to the pullout and was surprised there was no one else there. Just as soon as my truck clicked into park, I saw another vehicle park behind me. No worries there, I got out of my truck and gave a friendly wave to the angler putting his waders on. I was relieved I didn’t have to worry about the first few runs being crowded.
Once I made it to the river, I stopped at a few holes that looked fishy and managed to pull a few dollies. By the time I got to the first run, I was pumped with adrenaline after hooking some beautiful trout upstream. My eyes locked in on the first run and my brain instantly was filled with images of where a steelhead would be! I removed my fly from the little rivet in my fly reel and began my cast. Words can’t really describe the feeling of your cast cutting through the fall air. That dump of dopamine filling your head as you see your favorite fly hurtling towards the water, a cluster of yellowing cottonwood trees fill the backdrop with the smell of fall filling my lungs.
My fly hit the water and time stood still with anticipation. Once I made a few more casts, I came back to the reality of steelhead fishing! After a while of picking through the run my line jumped tight and my heart sank. This was it! I swept my rod up and set the hook, only to have a few seconds of tight line action before the fish spit the hook and my fly came hurtling back at me and smacked the 3rd section of my fly rod pretty good. Bummed out I lost the fish, I took a second and got my line back in order and started another cast. I only got a few casts in until the rod snapped on a forward cast. So at this point I was 0-2 and knew I didn’t put a backup rod in my truck like a rookie. So I began my trek back to the truck to head for the barn.
Once I got home I looked up the warranty for the rod and began the process. Typical rod warranty, I had it all filled out and I had to pay to ship the rod back to the lower 48 for repair. They got back to me and let me know it would be two MONTHS before it came back. After sending off the rod, I thought to myself, “Why isn’t there a fully operating rod company in Alaska”?! I did a quick google search and came up short. I just didn’t understand how a place as world renowned as Alaska didn’t have any rods to represent our amazing state and anglers!
I wanted the ability to have a rod company in-state so that if anything happened I wouldn’t have to ship it out of state and have long wait times. Then I began thinking of all the fly shops, guides and lodges that are in the same boat as me. I spoke to a guide outfitter around this time while I was still kicking the idea around and they said the rods they broke during their season weren't replaced until their season was already over. At this point I knew I wanted to make Alaska a one-stop-shop for all anglers and small business owners to have a local resource they can rely on. Being a 3rd generation guide and raised in the fishing industry, I knew how important quality gear is to folks who make their living off of it.
Fortunately for me, I had already become deeply addicted to rod building. The euphoric feeling of putting time and attention into crafting a tool that can connect folks to their local waters is a feeling like none other. I’ll continue to chase that passion and make sure the Alaskan angler and the hard working folks of our state have the best local gear to support their passions and businesses.