I grew up working in the workshop with my father on a family farm in Iowa. There I learned to respect the land and to appreciate the beauty of wood. Fascinated by a bamboo fly rod my father had won as a door prize, fly fishing developed an almost mythological quality. I followed that dream and moved to Michigan, where I have fished and worked for the last 40 years. Standing knee deep in moving water and seeing its secrets slowly revealed, has opened me to respect the magnificence of nature and the joy of using beautiful functional equipment. In 1994, I apprenticed with master net maker Ron Reinholdt. As the years passed, I developed my skills as well as new techniques in my effort to create functional designs where the art of woodworking and the adventure of angling meet.
I continue to create fly fishing nets in variety of shapes and designs to celebrate the individuality of both the fish and the angler. Whether it is a simple catch and release trout net or a presentation showpiece with carvings, scrimshaw, and a deer antler handle each net receives the same care and attention, becoming a unique fishing collectible. Each is a net, That Honors the Fish.
Whether you choose a landing net from those I have already crafted or select the design elements and commission a net that reflects your individuality, I would be honored to create a custom wooden landing net for you.
Why strive to make a custom decorative landing net?
This is a question that is very reasonable to ask, but difficult to answer. I think it all started when I started catching fish and felt I was a pretty good angler. I caught a nice trout and brought it quickly to hand. By the time I was ready to release it, the fish was clearly dying. I started to think, How many fish do I need to catch to have a good day of fishing? Do I need to kill?
I thought of all the times that my conversation turned to: "How many did you catch". As if that defined how much "fun" we have. I realized how many times when I had that "great" day of fishing, I couldn't remember a single individual fish. I started to slow down and look at each fish, to remember as much as I could about the moment. I read about the hunters of the past who honored their prey. They decorated their weapons, who stopped to see the spirit of the animal they had taken. A decorative landing net isn't much, but is the best I can offer to the creator and the creation.