There was a time when I was into making custom rods…way back before the major manufacturers began mass-producing technique-specific sticks. In those days, there weren’t a ton of rod companies out there, and if you needed something that wasn’t offered in their lineup, you just built it yourself (my specialty was making plug rods out of fly rod blanks). Now, however, there’s a rod for every type of fishing you can imagine…no matter how esoteric.
While I’m a big fan of all the cool new technology, modern rods just don’t have the same aesthetics as those ol’ classic rods (like the ones I used to borrow from my uncle’s closet without permission!). There was just something so cool about the vintage sticks — the fancy thread work, the old school ferrules and guides and sweet-looking corks.
While those old style rods are pretty much a thing of the past, there’s at least one guy out there keeping the tradition alive: Master Rodsmith Cal Piccolo (www.piccolopole.com) makes custom 50’s style spin and fly rods that are functional works of art.
Piccolo, who lives in Northern California, learned his trade from a couple of the true old masters.
“I became acquainted with two well known, old school rod builders in my area,” he says. “One was Italian and one was Japanese. I used to visit their shop and trade them crab in exchange for their wisdom and training. I learned to master their rod building techniques over time, while still managing to put my own personal touch on every individual creation.”
Here’s a closer look at some Piccolo’s vintage classics…
These things are super-cool, with a wonderful old time feel to them that make you wish for days gone by. For more on Piccolo Poles, click HERE