Hot Holiday Gifts

Hot Rods

I write about some pretty interesting and diverse things, and for some subjects I try my best to describe the products and their capabilities, while keeping the technical stuff as simple and understandable as I can. None of that is necessary for one of the articles I wrote for All At Sea Southeast in the December issue (you can download a copy at www.allatsea.net/southeast/download-all-at-sea/ ). These rods speak for themselves.

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I was fortunate enough to meet with Captain Mark Laws of Sick Custom Rods. He is an artist that produces some incredible custom rods that are equally at home hanging on a wall as decorative art, or battling a fish of a lifetime.

Working out of a small shop in Tarpon Spring, Florida he produces incredible custom rods built from the blank up. He specializes in full-on, high-end custom rods for all kinds of fishing from bass fishing to specialized one-of-a-kind tarpon rods. The complexity of the build and the materials he uses are mind-blowing. You can pick up any of his rods and it is clear to see how much work goes into them. It is evident he is a very patient man putting in hours to create a fishing rod that will last a lifetime. Using materials as diverse as Abalone shell and snake skins (see the photo below) along with the latest hardware, he spends hours at his bench putting together a rod that is not only nice to look at but is also functional due to the selection of components that best serves his customers specific needs.

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The detail in his work is what really struck me. Every rod is flawless and feels perfect in your hand. Each eye is mounted perfectly and the “spine” of the rod bends without twisting in your hand. The finish on them makes it so that you just want to hang it on a wall and admire it, although Sick Rods have won many tournaments and are used daily by hard driving charter captains.

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Interviewing Mark and shooting his rods I learned a lot about custom rod building and it was obvious that his years as a charter captain help in his designs. He confers with other experts and develops cutting edge rods such as the rod below. The eyes are mounted in a spiral to stop the rod from twisting when under a load from a heavy tarpon. This has proven to be an innovative and very effective rod design that is catching on both with recreational and tournament fishermen.

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So jump over to the online article at www.AllAtSea.net  or download a PDF version and read how he creates his art pieces and how you too can get one under your tree this holiday season.

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