A favor and a fly rod: a gift for 30 years


Above photo credit: Bryson Malone

Collectibles are not something you typically use and abuse. But what if this article was specially designed for you appreciate? Like literally built for you, and only you. The decision becomes less obvious.

In this episode of Time Tested, GearJunkie editor-in-chief Kirk Warner tells us all about his favorite gear: a special fly fishing rod his dad gave him.

Powell fly rod personalized with author's name and date of birth
Photo credit: Kirk Warner

Walton Powell built rods under his own name starting in the 1950s and continued to do so until his death in 2001. As with most things produced by a deceased industry legend, Powell rods are now collectibles and contain tons of history in their construction. and history.

My father, Mark, met Walt in the late 1980s while fishing in the Sacramento River. Walt’s boat had broken down and he picked it up to bring it back to the dock. Quickly, they realized how well they got along and just decided to fish the rest of the day together.

In Walt’s eyes, he owed my father a debt after that day.

A fly rod designed for my birth

The author using his personalized fly rod
Photo credit: Bryson Malone

Walt was known to build canes for people who helped him in any way, and this was no exception. Walt and my dad have remained friends over the years, and when my dad told Walt he expected a son to be born soon, Walt saw an opportunity. (Spoiler alert: I was that baby.)

After I was born in September 1991, Walt gave my father a personalized fly fishing rod with my name and birthday hand-printed on the rod. Pretty cool, isn’t it?

My father has worked seasonally as a fishing guide on the Klamath River for every summer I can remember. And as you might expect, one of the first skills I learned as a kid was to know how to fish. My relationship with my father has a deep connection to my days on the water fishing for salmon and rainbow trout.

An unexpected gift

But my father had a secret. He never mentioned the cane Walt gave him. He was waiting for the right moment to give it to me. And boy, was he a patient guy.

I moved to Colorado in 2010 and quickly became interested in fly fishing. It was the moment my father was waiting for. So he casually mentioned that he had a fly rod that I could use, and the next thing I knew, a box arrived at my house.

Custom Powell Fly Rod
Photo credit: Kirk Warner

Quickly opening the box, I inspected the rod and noticed my name and birthday handwritten on the graphite rod. I was confused because I thought he was sending an old cane he didn’t need, so I immediately called him.

He seemed to answer the phone faster than usual that day.

And so on, I sat down and listened to my dad tell me the amazing story you just read. How he met Walt. How they found friendship. And how I finally received the most thoughtful gift I have ever received.

The author using his personalized fly rod
Photo credit: Bryson Malone

This story is about friendships and family, the randomness of the world, and the value of patience.

Remember when we were talking about collectibles? Well, it’s a. And neither my father nor Walt would want to see it stowed away in a safe or exposed place. It was made for fishing.


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