Custom Rod Building
The demand for custom built rods has led us to create space in the shop for a second workshop just for rods, leaving our original workshop catering for servicing and repairs of reels, bivvies, alarms, stoves and many more items of fishing tackle. The rod workshop involves several staff members in its day to day operation:
Gary Dudman 'D': Gary coordinates all the work being processed though the rod room and is the first point of contact to know the waiting time for a new job or how a job is progressing.
Marc Barnet: Marc is the 'head chef' in our rod room. He was first introduced to rod building in 1977 in his Saturday job at a South East London tackle shop whilst still at school. He gained an outstanding reputation over the years for having an eye for detail and excellent rod finish, adding this to his ability to solve problems, make bespoke components and tools, he deserves the title of rod craftsman and not just a rod assembler. Marc's 40 years' experience and working friendship with the late rod building legend Mike Harris brings an unprecedented wealth of knowledge to our rod building team.
Jim Powell: Jim started building rods in the late 70's which led to him to take on rebuilds from friends which led to word of mouth recommendations. In those early years carp rod design and ideas were developing very quickly and rods were regularly rebuilt to include the latest components or design ideas. Jim joined us in 2005, his experience, excellent rod finish and his understanding of an anglers need for a bespoke rod build has made him a key member of the team.
Jake 'The Apprentice' Firth: Jake is the youngest member of the rod building team and has an obvious natural talent for the craft, producing high quality work that defies his experience. Like a sponge he absorbs the knowledge and techniques from the senior builders, only needing guidance for problems he has not yet encountered.
Gary Peet: Gary built his first rod in 1972 and built many hundreds of rods for shop customers in the early years, gaining invaluable experience and learning techniques from collaboration with iconic master rod builders such as Tony Fordham and Bruce Ashby. Gary was involved in the early days with Free Spirit, contributing to the cosmetics and the building of prototypes to test the many ideas that was presented by the Free Spirit team.
Independent Rod Builders: We have good relationships with independent rod builders which bolster our access to even more talent and expand our rod building capabilities.