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This article originally appeared in the Volume 6 #3 issue of RodMaker Magazine - page 1 / 6

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This article originally appeared in the Volume 6 #3 issue of RodMaker Magazine

The ConsummateRodCrafter

by Andy Dear

O ne Saturday evening many years ago, I happened to be casually strolling through the local video rental store looking for something interesting to watch. In my usual fashion I skipped the romance and drama section and went straight to the outdoors section in hopes of finding the latest and greatest Bass fishing tape. Little did I know that this was a day that would change my life forever. You see I just happened to stumble onto a set of videotapes about build- ing your own fishing rod by a man named Dale Clemens. Although I was a starving college student at the time, the tapes had me excited enough about building my own rod that I managed to scrape up enough cash to buy a blank and some basic components. After several weeks of studying Dale’s videos and books, I managed to wade my way through the learn- ing curve and finally ended up with a fishing rod that I had built myself. Now it might not have been the prettiest thing ever to hit the water, but boy did it fish good. Needless to say from then on I was addicted! My guess is that my experience is not all that different from many of yours. In fact, I would bet that Dale Clemens has introduced more people to the craft of rodbuilding than everyone else on the planet combined. Throughout the seventies and eighties, Dale Clemens both literally and figuratively wrote the book, or should I say books on the subject of rod- building. Dale has what probably amounts to the top three rodbuilding publications of all time to his credit: Fiberglass Rod Making, Advanced Custom Rod Building and Custom Rod Thread Art. Each one has become a “must have” for any serious Rodbuilder’s collection. Dale also started what would become one of the foremost and most innovative component supply businesses in the industry, Clemens Custom Tackle. And if that wasn’t enough, he was also the man who formed the organization known as RodCrafters, who through its mission of “knowledge through sharing” literally caused the participation in our craft to grow exponentially overnight. Through his work with various OEMs and specialty manufacturers, Dale helped develop many of the specialty products and services that vir- tually every Rodmaker today takes for granted. Whether it be rod blanks, reel seats, guides, thread finishes or handle materials, chances are that Dale had a hand in designing it and making it accessible to the general public. Being part fisherman, part teacher, part rodbuilder and part business- man gave Dale the perfect combination of traits to become one of the most successful rodbuilders of all time. Ultimately though it was his generosity and never ending desire to share his knowledge with others that truly solidified his status as an icon in this industry. Last year I was planning a fishing trip down to the Gulf Coast of my home state of Texas and I decided to take along that very first rod that I had ever built. It was while fishing with this rod that it dawned on me that all of the great memories I have of catching fish on that rod are due in large part to Dale Clemens. I decided right then and there that it was time that we paid tribute to the legacy that he has left on this craft. Thank you, Dale, for helping all of us create not only great rods, but great memories as well. Dale Clemens

14 RodMaker

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