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Outside Magazine

Why I Love the Tom Morgan Rodsmith O'Dell Fly Rod

Tom Morgan is a legend. The famed rod builder purchased R.L. Winston Rod Co. in 1973, moved it to Twin Bridges, Montana in the thick of some of the best trout fishing in the country, and over the next 20 years proceeded to produce some of the finest bamboo, fiberglass, and, eventually, graphite fly rods ever made. Shortly after he sold the company in 1991, Tom was diagnosed with MS and started Tom Morgan Rodsmiths to help pay the bills.

Tom was confined to a wheelchair for years before he passed away last summer, so his wife, Gerri Carlson, built all the rods based on his designs. The rods they made together are something of a legend among dry fly aficionados. They were always expensive—TMR rods broke the $1,000 mark long before the G. Loomis Asquith did—but they were treasured. Those who owned them often owned two, three, even four. Such was their allure. Why? Tom Morgan rods are said to have a particular feel. While rod makers today are focused on building a rod that can shoot line 150 feet, Tom built rods made to present flies to trout that are, say, 30 feet away—you know, the way people actually fish...

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