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We make fiberglass, graphite, and bamboo rods. Some of the components are unique for each material while others are shared. In this section, we will define the components and specify which are used with each rod material.

Fiberglass and Graphite Rod Blanks.

Our rod blanks are carefully manufactured to my specifications based on my unique designs by Kerry Burkheimer. In the case of our graphite blanks we use our mandrel designs. In both materials the patterns are completely unique to us and unavailable anywhere else. The graphite blanks are made from medium modulus graphite with extremely high tensile strength. The fiberglass blanks use E-glass with an epoxy resin. The color we chose for the graphite shows deep claret bordering on red-black in the shade, but, in sunlight, it is a brilliant red--just like a garnet. The fiberglass blanks are also a deep red but not quite as dark as the graphite.

Fiberglass, Graphite, and Bamboo Rod Tubes.

We had a special die made to extrude a heavy wall octagonal aluminum tube, our signature shape, to protect your rod. We worked with a powder coater to develop a textured tube coating that is the brilliant red of a garnet in the sunlight similar to our graphite rod blank's translucent red color. The black anodized aluminum caps and collar of this tube have the distinctive look and feel of an old-fashioned walking cane head. On top of our rod cap is a minted nickel logo medallion that won't tarnish, set into a polished brass ring. A little recognized feature of the cap and collar is that, when the cap is removed, the rod, within its bag, is sitting above the tube for easy access. The 4-piece rods have the same designs except they are shorter and bigger in diameter. This combination of components makes a truly stunning presentation.

Fiberglass, Graphite, and Bamboo Rod Bags.

The bags are a garnet Supplex material trimmed in a complementary piping that is custom made by our seamstress. They are lined with suede-like fabric to provide the best protection for the rods, treating them just like fine jewelry. An outer bag provides overall protection for the tube.

Fiberglass, Graphite, and Bamboo Rod Reel Seats.

The look of the seats is derived from the style of the rod tube and caps to provide an integrated design. Our logo is engraved on the end caps of the seats set within a brass ring. A wide selection of reel seat woods is offered to enhance the beauty of these seats. Please see the Woods section.

For our fiberglass and graphite rods we offer three types of highly polished custom nickel silver seats; a slide band with a fixed hood, an up-lock screw seat with a hidden hood, and a down-lock screw seat. These seats are highly polished nickel silver.

The bamboo rods are available with a diminutive new slide band seat made especially for them patterned after our original design, our up-lock screw seat with a hidden hood and down-lock screw seat. When you order a bamboo rod with a slide band seat, you have two choices for hardware color; bright polished fittings with hard chrome plated guides and tip-tops or traditional style bronzed guides and black hardware. We are using a special black plated finish on the fittings that provides beauty in addition to a long-wearing finish. The up-lock seats are only offered with bright fittings because the black coating isn't compatible with the screw lock threads.

Fiberglass, Graphite, and Bamboo Rod Winding Checks.

Our fiberglass and graphite rods have a special octagonal nickel silver winding check that is highly polished. The bamboo rods have a hexagonal winding check that is also hexagonal on the inside to fit perfectly over the bamboo. If bright fittings are chosen they are polished whereas on rods with black hardware they are polished then plated to match the other fittings.

Cork Handles.

Our standard fiberglass and graphite half wells handles on 6-, 5-, 4-, and 3-weight rods are 6 1/2" long. The cigar handles for the 6- and 5-weight rods are 6 1/2" long; 4-, 3-, and 2-weight are all 6" long. The bigger rods have grips that are larger in diameter; the smaller ones have thinner grips.

The standard half wells handle on the 5-weight bamboo rod is 6 1/2" long while on the 3- and 4-weight bamboo rods they are 6" long. The cigar handles are all 6" long.

Because we make every handle individually, we welcome your suggestions as to overall length, diameter, and shape to provide you with the perfect handle. If you want a custom grip, please send a sketch with dimensions so that we can meet your request.

Threads, Coatings, and Guides.

On our fiberglass, graphite and bamboo rods we use a strong nylon thread without color preserver that, when coated, is a dark red translucent color. On the fiberglass and graphite rods it complements the garnet color of the blank; on the bamboo the dark red color highlights the beauty of the bamboo. We use a fine gold-colored trim wire that adds a touch of elegance to the wrappings. The thread coating is applied in at least six thin coats with sanding in between with 2000 grit sandpaper to achieve perfect well-coated wraps that aren't bulky.

On our 2- and 3-piece graphite and fiberglass rods we are using special lightweight snake guides made by Mike McCoy of Snake Brand Guides. On our 4-piece wire guides we are using the REC Recoil nickel titanium flexible single foot guides because they are very lightweight and extremely durable. Using lightweight guides is a very important aspect of the rod design in order to minimize as much as possible the static load on the rod from guides and tip-tops. My recommended guide sizes are typically smaller than many anglers use but from my experience they are far superior in maintaining the proper design characteristics. This weight reduction allows the light and lively feeling of my designs to come through comparatively unhindered. I also think smaller guides allow the line to track through the guides better. The fiberglass and graphite snake guides are lightweight stainless steel that are hard chrome plated for lasting durability.

The beautiful snake guides and tip-tops we use on the bamboo rods are also designed and made by Mike McCoy of Snake Brand Guides. If you choose bright fittings, the guides and tip-tops are hard chrome plated whereas the stripping guide is polished nickel silver with an agate ring whereas if you choose black fittings the snake guides are traditional bronze while the stripping guides and tip-tops are plated black.

Joe Arguello makes the hand-made stripping guides for all of our freshwater rods using nickel silver wire and traditional reddish colored agate rings with their subtle natural colors.

We haven‘t decided on the stripping guides on the 4-piece saltwater rods because nickel silver won‘t work due to it corroding easily but they will be appropriate.

Questions? Contact us:
21505 Norris Road
Manhattan, MT 59741


Phone: 406.282.7110
Fax: 406.282.7167

(Note: is no longer a working address)

Toms Design Philosophy
The Cork
  the Bozeman Reels
Forbes Life Magazine Article
Slow Poke Press
Morgan-Carlson view lot
Coastal Conservation Association
Bellinger Award

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