Blackberry Farm

Friends of the Farm

What to buy the Fly Fisherman

Whether hanging on the wall or clutched tightly in your hand as you coax the fish to hand, a handmade net or custom built fly rod would make a cherished gift for any angler.  Fly fishing can be a gear-intensive sport.  Simply take a minute to look at all that hangs off of an overstuffed vest or pack of the average stream side angler.  Gizmos and gadgets of all shapes, sizes, and uses, along with countless flies and bits of string, many of which will be lost at some point and quickly replaced by the next latest and greatest.  So, why not look for a gift that is unique and not often found in every fly shop? One that will be kept and held onto from season to season and durable enough to be passed on for generations to come…

Our Blackberry Farm logoed nets are handmade in the United States by a craftsman who states they are “pretty enough to hang in the living room but tough enough to use for years then hand down to the next generation.” The nets are crafted of carefully selected ash bows with walnut handles and are fitted with a clear rubber sack. These nets are lighter than expected and very durable. We use the very same nets on our guided trips each day.

When it comes to fly rods, all are not created equal.  Some are lighter than others, while some are either faster or slower. In truth, there is something on the market for just about any angler and fishing situation. But what about a rod built just for you, or designed for a specific river or setting?  I stumbled upon a true artisan in Brent Bonar and have found an individual who can do just that. A custom rod builder who is willing to build rods specifically for an individual, all the way down to a custom turned cork handle to fit your specific hand, or feather inlays to suit your artistic side. We partnered on a project to create the quintessential smoky mountain fly rod, both in function and aesthetics.  It is a 7’6” 4 wt rod with a slightly softer action ideal for laying small dry flies into swift current at close range.  But beyond the function, the rod looks as if it was born in the Smoky Mountain National Park.  The reel seat is crafted out of lichens collected from the bark of a tree and the handle of individual rings of birch bark.  The blank or the rod is ornately decorated with individual feathers of a ruffed grouse, a bird that roams the steep rhododendron-covered stream banks of most every Smokies stream. In both function and fashion it is ideally suited for a southern Appalachian stream or, in it’s off time, an office wall or mantle.     We can also help you get in touch with Brent to help line up a custom built rod to suit any angler.

Alex Quick, Fly Fishing Manager