Custom fishing rods fit for a president ... or two
For Emmaus resident Rick Patton, getting into the business of making custom fishing rods is no fish tale.
Patton learned how to fish — a hobby he enjoyed as a child — from his uncle.
As an engineer, Patton was working in North Jersey constructing a scale model of a nuclear power plant in 1977 when he became friends with a co-worker who also enjoyed fishing.
One day while fishing together, Patton, impressed with his friend’s fishing rod, noticed he was getting more fish than Patton.
Curious, Patton asked many questions, finding out his friend built the fishing rod himself.
“After that day, I was in his shop, building my own custom fishing rod — actually building two at that time — one for myself and one for my younger brother,” Patton said. “Having no intention to build any more, my brother showed his custom rod to a friend. He wanted one and that’s where my business began — all by word-of-mouth.”
That was 39 years ago. Patton has since retired from his engineering job and spends his days creating custom fishing rods for clients — some very well-known.
They include former President George H.W. Bush, retired Gen. Normal Schwarzkopf, race car drivers Mario Andretti and Rick Mears, and singer Kenny Rogers. His newest custom fishing rod was made for President Donald Trump.
“No matter who the client is, each custom fishing rod is built with the same quality components,” Patton said.
He builds all types of fishing rods including spinning, casting fly, boat, offshore, graphite, fiberglass and split bamboo fly rods.
Each is customized with handwoven thread right onto the blank making it unique. Often there are symbols handwoven onto the fishing rod such as a Harley-Davidson motorcycle or a military emblem.
The customized fishing rods take an average six weeks to build.
Each fishing rod is guaranteed for life, further attesting to Patton’s workmanship.
Some people, probably not those who fish, wonder why a custom fishing rod is better.
“Most shelf rods don’t have the exact line weight you may want to fish with, the action of the blank, your desired length or handle assemblies,” Patton said.
“I custom fit that fishing rod like someone being fitted to a fine suit or that custom golf club.”
As for Trump’s fishing rod, which will be hand-delivered by Patton when he gets the word, it is like no other.
The rod includes gold, ivory and ruby stone guides increasing the value to $4,200. It is engraved with the president’s name and comes equipped with the presidential seal on a gold plated disc.
Patton also made a fishing rod for Trump’s son Barron.
“This is truly a labor of love, not a business to feed my family,” Patton said of his business, Hook Line & Sinker, in Emmaus.
“I receive a lot of satisfaction when a client responds back to me on the rod’s action, its handling and especially if they catch that special fish.”
To contact Patton, call 484-695-3933.