November 12th, 2001

The James Castwell
By James Castwell

I have done it! Now the pain and anguish commences. The delightful, sweet anticipation of filling the time until my NEW FLY ROD gets here! The days, the weeks and months of inner-conflicts are over. I ordered it this morning. How could I not write this tonight while I am still pumped with dreams of all I am going to do with it. Heady stuff, this getting a new fly rod. You may think I have no need for a new rod. Wrong! Whoever dies with the most toys wins, and at least I'm in the game. And I often sell off a rod or two just so I can get new ones, works for me.

So, just what kind of rod gets the old man's knickers in a twist? Telling you that will not be easy for me, especially because of this web site and our sponsors. But here goes. Let me start first with a few choice words about them, just so I can try to cover my butt and not get myself in too much trouble. I can say this with a straight face, there is not a rod made by any of our sponsors I would not be willing to fish and am sure I would fully enjoy the experience. Over the years I have developed some likes and wants in a rod. A certain feeling that 'turns my crank.' As many of you have heard from me, one of the companies that makes a great rod is Gatti. Darn smooth and powerful rods. For my particular casting requirements, just dandy.

That says nothing about T&T though. I have cast them and fished one once. Hard to beat, or even equal. If they were the only company making fly rods, you can bet I would be fishing them in a heart beat. Fine sticks. Sage, what more needs to be said. The SLT has it, everything anyone could want. They are the five weight rods we use at the FAol Fish-In on the Delaware River. Work-horse fly rods? How can anyone look any further than Lamiglas. The full range of rods for any anglers dreams. Cane? The signature rod of Ron Kusse, The Elfin has no equal in the cane world, period. It's a small rod, for small flies and delicate uses. I do not have one, yet, but one day I may.

And there are all the custom makers, all able to produce rods of any conformation for anyone's requirements, talented and quality makers. All fine tools. There are rod makers who are not sponsors on here that also make fine rods too, you know that, and you know who they are. I would not be unhappy to fish with any of their products either. But, I am teasing you here, let me get to the meat of the matter.

Kerry Burkheimer. Does that say enough? It should, at least it does for me. I am honored to have access to such a talented custom maker. His 'in-house' rods are masterful examples of the rod-makers art. And, it is art the way he makes his custom rods. No, don't ask me who's blanks does he use. He makes his own and is more than qualified to do so. His designing background in the trade is one of the most impressive in the whole industry, at least it is to me. His collaboration with the late Russ Peak and the development of a rod which he now calls, 'The LadyFisher' is evidence enough. It is the strongest six weight rod I have ever known. For me, the finest six weight casting machine I have cast.

The finish is a secret developed over several decades and is gorgeous. The rod is appointed with the highest quality elements available. It is because of these that I have ordered my personal eight weight rod from him. A nine foot, four piece 'rod-of-rods,' the pattern/taper has been named, 'The James Castwell.' It will have the very best Mike McCoy 'Snake Brand' guides, (503.537.1908) and the finest hardware and cork possible. I shall fish it for salmon here on the west coast, bonefish in the Bahamas and may limber it up a bit at the Fish-In Distance Casting contest next summer as well.

So, now you know what I would get if I was getting a new rod. I can't wait. I feel like the little kid in the back seat, "Hey, dad; we there yet?" Life is good. ~ James Castwell

Addendum 01/21/02
It gets even better. I have been fortunate to acquire the finest cork for the grip available anywhere from Mr. Streett Whiteford, Chesapeake Cork Products, MD, (800.486.3337) and a custom made reel seat from Robert Venerri of New York. (845.246.5882) this rod will be fantastic.

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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