John Hollifield, craftsmen of custom fly rods

Hollifield’s lifelong passion for fly-fishing is reflected in each rod he creates. Photo by Curtis Miller

There’s custom and then there’s custom, and John Hollifield’s fly rods are most assuredly in the latter camp. Not only are his bamboo fly rods made by his hand, but they are also made-to-measure as well—the desired length and weight—but it gets more custom than that, as he explains.

“I decided to become certified in casting by Fly Fishers International, so I could evaluate my rods and know how they perform or should perform. A better caster makes a better fisher­man.” — John Hollifield

He uses this expertise to guide him to the ideal rod for each client based on their level of expertise (beginner or expert), casting style, and where they primarily fish—from western North Carolina’s trout streams, where he is based, to saltwater fly-fishing in the Florida Keys. On top of all that, if you would like your family crest or alma mater’s mascot engraved on the handle, he’ll personally take care of it, and his wife will make you a protective bag for your rods. Did we forget anything? hollifieldbamboo.com

Detail of the reel seats of custom fly rods displayed on moss

Bespoke engraving is part of the beauty of the high-performing bamboo rods. Photo by Matt Canter/Brookings Anglers

closeup of red silk bands on custom fly rods from Hollifield Bamboo

Rods with custom additions and red silk detailing. Photo by Matt Canter/Brookings Anglers