Who Is This Rod Maker?
Hello friends and visitors! We decided to use a blog post to tell you more about myself and what I do behind the scenes here at Rodmakers of Chile. I’m Michael Munoz, but pleas call me “Mike”. I’m our shop’s chief rod builder, marketer, photographer, and general custodian.
I’m here in this beautiful country primarily because of the little family my Chilean wife and I started. We wish for our children to be raised traditionally, bilingual, and as close to reality as possible. I’m also here because I saw an opportunity to bring unique and beautifully crafted fishing rods to the anglers that live here and to those who visit. Here’s my back story.
My first desire to build fishing rods was in my junior high school years when my family lived in Illinois, but without the parental support or financial means to get started I had to wait. Babe Winkleman’s Good Fishing and Al Linder’s In-Fisherman television series (Circa 1985) fueled my growing passion into dreams that drove me to pursue angling (and guiding) adventures in Alaska, Patagonia, the Texas Hill Country, and the Florida Everglades.
In 1998 I was given an opportunity to work at a fly fishing/rod building shop in San Antonio, Texas- One Shot Outdoors. Besides offering built custom rods this shop invited customers to build their own rods under the schooling of Dennis Freeman. In the short three-year life span of this unique shop Dennis and I taught rod building to over 100 anglers and built an unknown number of fly, spin, surf, and spey rods.
After the shop closed its doors I continued to build rods for customers under the Munozafa.com banner, my own brand. Still in the shadow and territory of my mentor Dennis, I kept my operation at a small side-business level. My work was eventually recognized by the infamous angler Joe Robinson and the outdoor writer (of Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine) Gibbs Milliken. Both Joe and Gibbs gave me high marks in their publications Piscatorial Absurdities and the Texas Parks & Wildlife 2007 Gift Guide. Unfortunately, Gibbs passed away shortly after our first collaboration.
With the move from Texas to Chile in 2011, and then a two year stint in Florida, my rod building activities were put on hold for nearly four years. Ironically, my good friend Ben Casarez (now of Flat Creek Rods) who I had helped get started in rod building had become a great resource for my re-entery into the craft. I immediately found that I had to take my abilities to another level and embrace the fact that I would constantly have to evolve my skills and adapt to my target market.
Some of the rod building techniques and materials that we’ve adopted since the days of building rods along side Dennis are, incorporating EVA foam into our cork handles, using varnish for thread coats, turning our own (native) wood and acrylic reel seat inserts, using white and black ink for inscriptions, using Fuji brand nylon and gossamer silk thread, branding our own graphite blanks (Andes), and one or two other trade secrets that I should probably keep quiet.
Some older techniques that we still enjoy using are the epoxy winding check, the cut and sanded rubber butts, the thumb groove in the cork handle, using a variety of cork types in handle designs like checker inlays.
Today were busy building new rods with the brands that we’ve carefully selected (R.L. Winston, TFO, Andes, Seele, Sunset, and Epic) We make these rods extra special and personalized for our customers. this means the very best workmanship (we take our time), materials that rod companies don’t offer (like native wood and acrylic in reel seats), very personalized (your colors, your designs, your name, and to fit your hand), and a relationship with the person who made your rod (me and my promise to you).
Thank you for reading. Please drop us a line. We hope to hear from you wherever you are in the world, and we wish you happiness in the places that you find peace and fish!
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