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Wednesday, January 16 , 2019, 9:27 am | Mostly Cloudy 57º


Capt. David Bacon: ABCs of Fishing Rods

Colorful, custom-wrapped rods enhance the art of angling

Capt. Tiffany Vague designs rods to be compatible with fishing styles, intended catch, lines and weights.
Capt. Tiffany Vague designs rods to be compatible with fishing styles, intended catch, lines and weights. (Capt. David Bacon)

We’ve been having more fun around our bait & tackle shop (Hook, Line & Sinker) than safe and sane folks should probably be allowed to have.

We’re making custom-wrapped fishing rods, engineered by the store manager, Capt. Tiffany Vague, and part of the fun is that we’ve named the new line of rods, “Vague Rods” which you’ve got to admit has some real marketing potential for slogans like, “Get Vague on that tuna!” This is just too much fun.

Fishing rods are little understood tools except for those avid anglers who have really put some study time in. The questions folks ask when they come in to the shop tell the tale. One very common question people ask is: “Can you pick me out a good all-around rod that can pretty much do everything?”

My answer is: “When was the last time you saw a golfer go out with one club?"

The reason the answer is, ‘never’ is because there is no one club than can do all the things a golfer needs to do. It is the same with fishing.

A rod for going out on a boat for rockfish and lingcod isn’t going to do what you need it to when you cast from the surf or when you go up to the lake for trout, or when you go after sharks or tuna. Like any tool, a rod needs to be matched to a job.

We start by buying high-quality blanks from companies that make them in America — Cousins Tackle, Calstar and Seeker. A blank is the rod itself, without any accessories such as grips, reel seats (to mount the fishing reel), artwork, line guides and tip. Using American-made blanks is important to us.

Then Capt. Tiffany designs rods to be the perfect match for a type of fishing, matching the right accessories, given the intended style of fishing, target species, line material and line weight.

That is the engineering side, but then the art side comes into focus as she picks out thread colors and designs such as diamonds, chevrons, fish wraps, dragon scales and American flags.

Capt. Tiffany has been an artsy person all of her life and this is her long-needed outlet that puts art together with her life’s work as a fishing boat crew member and captain plus bait & tackle shop manager. She knows what an angler needs from a rod and she knows how to make it beautiful.

We do show her rods at the tackle shop, but with people learning about what she is doing and seeing her engineering and her art, the majority of the rods she is building are to satisfy orders.

People like for her to work with their favorite colors and maybe put their name or their boat name on their custom rod or suite of matching rods. Capt. Tiffany is having an absolute blast. At some point, she may branch out into gaffs and maybe custom pool sticks for shooting pool.

To take a closer look at the art of Vague Rods, see them at www.hooklineandshooter.com.

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit softininc.blogspot.com to learn more about the organization and how you can help. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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