MEET THE MAKERS | BENT RODS
To many, fishing is a form of art and therapy, something that disconnects them from the hustle and bustle of life. Sport Fishing attracts visitors to British Columbia from around the world. Here in Chilliwack our super, natural rivers and lakes never disappoint.
Chilliwack is one of the province’s hot spots for fishing. Travellers come to catch the massive white sturgeon or to find some peace on a local river or lake to fly-fish.
A long-time local fisherman, creates handmade premium quality, fishing jigs and spinners that are sought after by hard-core fishermen from around the world. Meet Rod from Bent Rods.
ALRIGHT, SO WHAT’S THIS BENT RODS COMPANY ALL ABOUT?
Bent Rods is a family owned and operated business that started in 2004. They have hosted guests from all over the world on Steelhead, Chinook, Chum Salmon, Coho Salmon and Pink Salmon & Sturgeon fishing trips. What makes Bent Rod’s unique is that they create custom jigs and spinners that are designed to meet the demands of hardcore fishing and are available for purchase in retailers across the province and online.
MEET THE MAKER
Meet Rod: Founder of Bent Rods, and lover of all things fishing.
Rod was born in Vancouver, moved to his family farm in Maple Ridge at a young age, then moved back to the city in grade 5. He tells us the city made him a bit of a troublemaker! Rod is, and was an artist through and through. Growing up, he’d take all of the available art classes, and passed them with flying colours – literally.
When Rod was 19, something happened that would forever shape the course of his life: he went fishing.
After his first time out on the water, Rod was hooked, no pun intended. As time passed, Rod wanted to learn the best fishing techniques – so he found himself researching by reading magazines and books like crazy. Reminder: there was a time when the internet didn’t exist, not too long ago.
Rod was (and is) a hardcore fisherman through and through. Rod picked up a magazine one day and read a story about a person who fished with a jig meant for a different type of fish! After that, Rod began experimenting with the equipment he would purchase. He ordered jigs online and hit the river time and time again only to be disappointed that the jigs he would buy would break and he would lose a giant catch.
So Instead of giving up, he decided to make his own jigs, with the intention of building them greater and stronger than the ones on the market. Rod’s jigs have been hand tied by their friends and family in the Lower Mainland ever since.
HOW DID BENT RODS GET STARTED?
In 2001, Rod and his family moved to Chilliwack to escape the city lifestyle and return back to his outdoor roots. At the time, Rod was a welder – which, really wasn’t his passion or calling in life (as we learned earlier, he was more of an artist!). Little did Rod know that life was going to take him down the path of his dreams, and bring him back to his love for artistry just a few years later.
Over time, Rod started having great success on the river with his hand made Jiggs and Spinners and in 2004 he decided to make his passion for fishing a full time gig and Bent Rods Guiding Company came to life. At this time a lot of careful thought and planning had to go into making the business a viable path for him and his family.
After years of great success on the river, people would come up to Rod and ask him how he was so successful, and he’d simply show them his jigs & spinners. People would ask him if they could buy them off him and he said, “…Sure! Why not”. This is when he got thinking about combining both his love for creating jigs and spinners, and touring people on his boat. In 2007 he said to his wife, I think we should add to our company and start selling our handmade Jiggs and Spinners. From this point on, additional care and thought was put into the creation of Bent Rod’s Tackle Store.
Fast forward to today and Rod’s jigs and spinners are sold in retailers across British Columbia, and he’s booked up year-round for guided fishing tours. Cool, right?
So what the heck are Jiggs and Spinners?
“A spinner is any of a family of fishing lures that get their name from one or more metal blades shaped so as to spin like a propeller when the lure is in motion, creating varying degrees of flash and vibration that mimic small fish or other prey.”
“A jig consists of a lead sinker with a hook molded into it and usually covered by a soft body to attract fish. Jigs are intended to create a jerky, vertical motion, as opposed to spinnerbaits which move through the water horizontally.”
Thanks, Wikipedia. Alright, back to it!
Therapy in nature
About 5 years ago, Rod was diagnosed with Cancer. This came as a shock and was extremely difficult for Rod and his family to process. Rod told us that he wasn’t quite sure if he should talk about his condition with his clients, however decided to do it anyways as he wanted to be himself, and keep it real with everyone. And, he’s glad he did as the community that surrounded him then, and still to this day was a huge strength for him as he walked that difficult journey.
Fishing gave Rod a reason to get out during his treatments. To push past the pain and to find therapy through nature. It gave him purpose on the days that were difficult and gave him a place to take his mind off things.
Nature can be the therapy we, as humans often need. Whether it be physical or mental, at any point in our lives. And in Chilliwack, nature is ready with arms wide open. Mountain high. Valley Low. River wide. Lake deep.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR BENT RODS?
About 6 years ago, an opportunity arose to have a large company work with Bent Rods to mass manufacture their products overseas. After hearing this, Rod declined the deal. The magic of Rod’s products can’t be replicated in mass production, nothing quite compares to a handmade product that’s crafted with love, care, quality and expertise. So, to answer the question of what’s next: Rod’s goal is to continually create the best quality product for the hard-core fishermen! Bent Rods has made its mark on the community and continues to do so with every year that passes.
PLAN YOUR NEXT VISIT
There’s a reason why there are people fishing on the river year-round – it’s because it’s a fun and healthy hobby that disconnects you from technology and connects you to nature. If learning a new skill like fishing is intimidating, don’t sweat it! If you would like to learn the art of fishing and tying, you’re in luck. We are giving away an afternoon with Rod, fisher, maker, creator extraordinaire. Rod will take you and a friend on the river and teach all his secrets plus you will go home with a few of his custom Jiggs and Spinners!
Whether you’re a beginner or advanced fisherman, there’s something for you. And, if you’re not interested in a tour, but love to fish, you can pick up Rod’s jig and spinner products on his website.
Visit www.bentrods.ca to learn more – and as always, tag us in your #ShareChilliwack moments.
Curious to see who our next Maker will be? Keep an eye on our Instagram page to find out (hint: what rhymes with vocal harpest?)