The Custom Rod Connection
The man on the other end of the phone was noticeably hesitant, perhaps even a little embarrassed. He had spent 34 years in the quiet, comfortable background of the sport-fishing industry, most notably in North Carolina’s charter fleet, and he was most at home there, well away from the spotlight. But even for this modest man—a recently retired expert custom rod builder named Jerry Harris—there was no hiding from the immeasurable, contagious enthusiasm of friend and longtime client Capt. Fin Gaddy.
Indeed, Gaddy was the first to suggest that Marlin take a closer look at custom rod builders like Harris and their lineages within the craft, which is a blend of science, art and black magic. Harris and I shared a laugh about Gaddy’s skills of persuasion, and any ice that once may have been present between us quickly melted away. Nearly an hour later, we had covered 30 years’ worth of countless milestones in rod building, including the kind of small tweaks that can potentially change an entire industry forever.