Sunday, May 3, 2015

Featured Fly Shop...Shore Tackle & Custom Rods

I was first introduced to Shore Tackle about 4 years ago when I got serious with CCA and found myself getting more involved in its conservation efforts. I found that this was not only an organization that fell right in line with my moral compass and beliefs, but was a great networking opportunity. I was an opportunity to meet anglers that held both fishing and conservation dear to their hearts, especially in relation to our home waters.

At some of the shows and on fellow angler's boats, I started to notice these amazingly built custom light tackle rods. Not only did they catch the eye, but they immediately proved they could catch fish too. In one angler's quiver, there were two LT sticks and then I noticed a custom long rod with a similar build. I was intrigued.

But before I go any further into the rods themselves, lets back up and talk about the brains and artists behind them.

I spent a good portion of my afternoon in Shore Tackle yesterday both in the shop and in the rod lab. A bit about ST via their website:

Shore Tackle and Custom Rods is dedicated to providing anglers with the equipment they want, the knowledge they need, and the fishing experiences they desire that make them want to return to the water time and again.

Customers of Shore Tackle and Custom Rods can expect an enjoyable, relaxed and informative atmosphere at the shop. The combined technical and practical experience of Bill and Joe are handcrafted into every rod. Customers are the number one priority at Shore Tackle.

Billy started Shore Tackle with a vision focused on bringing anglers the equipment they want. And when he paired that vision with his eye and craftsmanship for quality rod building, he did just that. Joe, with a background in the fly industry through St. Croix and as a certified casting instructor, fit right in, creating a dynamic duo of craftsmanship and skill. 

I had seen their rods on multiple occasions, both on land and in the water. I would check cast on the casting ponds at events and found myself asking owners about their own custom ST sticks. Everyone had the same thing to say, "go see Billy and Joe, you won't regret it." After casting a few of Joe's rods, I found out they weren't kidding except I did have one regret, that I hadn't casted them...because now I wanted one (or more). Billy focuses primarily on spinning and conventional rods while Joe focuses on the fly. Thats not to say they don't dabble across the spectrum, they actually excel in both.

What Billy and Joe excel in is not only the perfect balance of blanks, but custom grips and blank coloring. From wood to cork to graphite, they do it all for grips and from tie dye to flat, their coloring is on point. Its these small additions that are what appeal to the eye, especially in the Light Tackle realm. Oh, and their thread wrapping...yes.

Moving on to Joe's fly rods, to be honest, I didn't think too highly of St. Croix fly rods after I bought a few years back off a suggestion from a few people and when I was getting into the saltwater fly game. The rods were loose, they were too soft, and had a flex that didn't fit my casting stroke. I was young and dumb and didn't do my research, just bought the rods together off a suggestion. Joe took me out to the casting pond with one of his custom fly rods during CCA's Light Tackle Fest a few months ago without disclosing any information about the blank. I began to cast and it was one of those moments when you pick up a rod for the first time, cast it, and it just feels right, as if it was made just for you. With Joe's quality instruction and craftsmanship, that rod turned into a canon...without effort. It was perfect. It was a St. Croix Legend Elite blank. My jaw hit the ground as I let lose a haul with almost every inch of the line.

Needless to say, a review is on the horizon of my very own Shore Tackle custom rod. You'll be seeing a lot of this rod in the near future, and I'm sure you'll get tired of hearing about it. But lets hope this convinces you that a Shore Tackle rod should be added to your arsenal, because I'm sure this won't be my last.

Check out Shore Tackle on their website and give them a 'Like' on their Facebook Page. To contact Shore Tackle, hit them up at (410) 827-7765 and let them know Morgan sent you, those boys love talking gear. If your in the area, stop by the shop at 3100 Main St. Grasonville, MD 21638. They are minutes form the Bay Bridge, so if your cutting through, its an easy stop.

Did I mention they do more than just custom rods? GoPro mounts...need I say more? Check out their Facebook for that one...


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