I have never been much of a fisher. I remember the first time my dad ever took me on a fishing trip. My dad loved to fish for steelhead from an oar boat on the rivers in the Olympic Peninsula. Anyway, my first fishing trip sort of soured me on fishing forever. All I remember is my dad telling me it was going to be a great adventure. He failed to mention that the adventure would begin at about 4 am, would involve most of my extremities suffering various degrees of frostbite and would not feature me catching or even getting close to catching a steelhead. As I staggered off the boat, my dad enthusiastically shouted, “Wasn’t that a great day?” I wisely did not provide him with my assessment of our fishing expedition.
Amazingly, given my complete indifference to fishing, my son Ben is a big adherent. Probably because all of his uncles and nephews are absolutely loony for fishing. Go figure. But Ben and my relations are in good company. More than 60 million Americans fish, more than play tennis or golf. If Ben is ever able to convince me to once more put a line in the water, I will of course want to make sure that all my fishing tackle and togs are made by members of our extended American family. And I will know right where to start.
If you are a fisherman in Washington State, you are in luck. We have three companies making rods in our fine state.
Burkheimer rods are made in Washougal, Washington; Washougal is a small city located near the entrance to the Columbia Gorge. C.F. Burkheimer makes trout rods, saltwater rods, steelhead/salmon rods and two-handed rods.
Fetha Styx rods are made in Battle Ground, Washington. Battle Ground, like Washougal, is located in Clark County Washington. Fetha Styx makes all sorts of different types of poles.
G.Loomis poles are made in Woodland, Washington; Woodland is a small city located in Clark and Cowlitz counties in Washington. Woodland is a very popular name for a city in Washington; there are Woodlands in five different Washington counties! G.Loomis makes bass rods, muskie rods, steelhead rods, you name it. They also have a very cool logo.
In order to be able to recover the big ones that you catch with your rod, you obviously need a reel. There are at least four firms where members of our extended American family put together superior reels.
Saracione reels are made in Sandy, Oregon. While not as great as Washington State, Oregon is a close second. As long as you ignore the University of Oregon’s football fans. The crafts people at Saracione make beautiful reels. Each Saracione reel is individually numbered and carries a lifetime warranty for the life of the original purchaser. Saracione makes trout reels, salmon reels and saltwater reels.
Ross Reels was founded in 1973 by Ross Hauck. Last week I spoke with the plant manager at Ross Reels, Tony Lugard. Ross Reels are made in Montrose, Colorado. Tony and I agreed about a lot of things, most importantly what a great idea it is that Ross Reels are made by members of our extended American family. However, Tony and I agreed to disagree about which team was going to win the Super Bowl tomorrow. Ross Reels are absolutely amazing, manufactured high-tech objects.
Able Reels makes fly fishing reels at their factory in Camarillo, California. Able Reels has been in business for more than thirty years. With Able, you have the ability to select some reels that are truly works of art, art designed by amazing artist Derek DeYoung. My favorites are Derek’s Brown Trout, and the Serendipity and Copper John reels.
Able makes more than just reels at their factory in Camarillo. They also make fishing tools like this hemostat, knives, and even money clips.
And if you are an aging Dead Head who is now hooked on fishing, Able Reels really has a reel for you.
Hatch Reels is sort of the new kid on the block when it comes to American reels, but their reels are very cool. Hatch Reels is the brainchild of John Torok and Danny Ashcraft. Members of our extended American family make Hatch Reels in the City of Vista, California near San Diego. If you are heading out to catch a really big fish, I might recommend bringing along a Hatch 12 Plus Finatic.
I have heard that for some fishing expeditions, you actually have to enter the water to battle the little brutes. In that case, you need to get a pair of waders.
If you want American made waders, you need look no farther than Simms. Simms makes the G4Z® Stockingfoot waders which are so advanced they alone might allow you to limit even if you forgot your pole.
The G4Z® Stockingfoot wader has multiple zippered chest pockets, spacious lined hand warmer pockets that allow you to cram in heater packs to keep your hands toasty, built-in low profile belt loops with a high-quality 2” elastic belt featuring the Simms Trout buckle and two retractor docking stations. I admit, I have no idea what a retractor docking station is, but if I was trout fishing I am certain I would need one. Simms makes its waders in Bozeman. Which means that they are
So if you are in need of fishing gear this year, everything you need to bring in that trophy fish is made by members of our extended American family working in California, Colorado, Montana, Oregon and Washington. Who knows, maybe I will give fishing another try this year.
A fella’s got to start somewhere.