I am a full time rod builder of custom bamboo and fiberglass fly rods whose mission is to provide my customers with well made, attractive, fine casting instruments that are a pleasure to fish with and treasure.
My background in fly fishing began early in my life, beginning in the early sixties, and has led me down a path that many describe as being "unbalanced and in excess". I cannot necessarily disagree, because many things in life that are more important, I neglected, and in some cases downright ignored, much to my own detriment. Yes, there truly are "trout bums", and as they say, "everything comes with a price". What I did come away with though, is a "rather full creel" of knowledge, experience and know how when it comes to things pertaining to fly fishing (after all, even a blind pig finds an acorn now and then).
I have always enjoyed making things with my hands, and during the years described above, I spent a good deal of that time making things primarily related to fly rodding. Things such as tying flies (commercially for the fly shop that I managed for eleven years), fly dope, custom landing nets, net keepers, tempered leaders (yes tempered, and sold commercially), birch bark creels, birch bark canoes, restored wood canoes, made table/cribbage boards from oak trees (for the slack time between hatches), assembled countless glass and graphite rods from blanks, and finally, restored and repaired a boatload of bamboo rods from a very broad spectrum of different makers. This helped me to learn a lot about their rods, and different building techniques employed by these makers. This helped me as well, to formulate in my mind, that if I ever decided to enter the arena of fabricating bamboo rods, I could envision what I would like my own rods to look and cast like. After all, none of us start out with a blank canvas. Learning what it takes to apply a fine finish on a rod along the way, hasn't hurt either.
I am ashamed to say that over this time I have had the privilege to own over 500 (YIKES !) bamboo rods from every mass producer in this country as well as Britain. Included in that number were many rods made by some of the more famous makers as well, all of them, except for Garrison, Gillum, Hawes, and Halstead. Casting and fishing these rods have enabled me to formulate, at least in my mind, what a good rod should cast like, and I, or anyone else who has had the same opportunities afforded me, should be able to come up with a short list of makers and their tapers that have become their favorites. The rods that I favor, and build, reflect that experience. (At least some good came from my excesses).
I primarily favor the tapers designed by Lyle Dickerson, Jim Payne and Paul Young. I feel that these three will make up the bulk of rod tapers that will fill the needs of most trout fishermen. This shouldn't mean to you that there aren't other makers tapers who aren't fine as well, because there certainly are, but the three makers mentioned, merely reflect my personal tastes and preference. There are others that I admire as well, such as Pinky Gillum and E.C. Powell, but I can't make them all! I will, if I can find a reputable source, duplicate other makers tapers on special request, but I prefer to stay within the parameters of my favorite makers tapers.
Only until nine years ago I have long held that "the wheel doesn't need to be reinvented" when it came to the need to improve, and or redesign the tapers by the early pioneers of this trade. We all owe a debt of gratitude to those who came before us, for the foundation and groundwork laid down for us, but on the other side of the coin, I know if they were still alive, they wouldn't be standing still either, but would still be experimenting with new tapers etc, etc. There are many makers who are designing new tapers and employing other new methods of manufacturing, and I include myself in those ranks now as well, but always with a glance back in respect and appreciation for the pioneers of this craft, as I move forward in the future.
I hope that while looking through this site, you can formulate in your mind reasons for choosing one of my rods. If you do, I can assure you that I will do everything in my power to satisfy your requests and needs.
Tight lines, and glue seams.
PS: Mckellip Brothers refers to my three sons pictured at the top of this page. They've had an early start with bamboo.
PS#2 Please excuse my long winded-ness, that is abundantly evident in all the different pages within this site.