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June 8, 2017

Bamboo Rods

North Carolina’s John Hollifield made his first bamboo rod in 2011. Since then, he has made nothing else. Hollifield hopes his custom, hand-made rods will be used for years. And passed down to the next generation.

The company: Hollifield Bamboo Fly Rods began in 2011. Located in Hayesville, NC, just north of Hiawassee, Ga. Hollifield not only hand crafts bamboo fly rods to the specifications of the customer, he also does custom engraving and offers rod-making classes.

The designer & owner: Hollifield earned degree in industrial technology from Western Carolina University in 1981and worked in various jobs during his career, including industrial and quality engineer. He retired in 2014 to devote full time attention to his growing rod-making business. Hollifield lives and works on property in Hayesville that has been in his family for eight generations.

What’s popular: Rods, in two or three pieces, in the seven to eight feet range in line weights from three to six. However, other rod sizes and line weights (2 to 10) are available. They include an extra tip which is traditionally included with bamboo fly rods. A two-piece rod with an extra tip starts at $1,600 and an aluminum rod tube. Three-piece rods with an extra tip start at $1,800.

Other favorites: Custom engraved rods (cost of hand-cut engraving is based on design complexity and whether 24k gold is required). Reel seats are available in aluminum, nickel silver and stainless Damascus (deluxe models only).

Fun (or unusual) requests: Make a rod for a customer in Mongolia. Also create a rod with an engraved buffalo, which was a company logo, on the reel seat.

Big break: Featured in the 2016 August/September gear issue of Garden & Gun magazine.

Where to buy: In the Atlanta area, at Fly Box Outfitters, 840 Ernest W. Barrett Pkwy., in Kennesaw. Hollifield and his rods will be on hand in Asheville, NC, at the Southern Highlands Craft Fair (July 21-23).


IMG_2883Buffalo Trout Reel Seats


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