A few years back, I see a new truck on the block. It is parked in the drive of a house that’s been on the market for only a short while and I go on over to say howdy and introduce myself to the new kid on the block. His name is Tom and his wife’s name is Deb; they seem nice enough and we begin small talk. In the course of our initial conversation, Tom tells me he’s a retired machinist and I of course ask what he can make and he replies “I can machine anything.” To which I casually toss out “think you could machine a fly reel?” His response was “of course.” And so it began…

You see, a million or so years ago, I was employed at a local fly shop and acquired a couple reels from a man that said he wanted me to use them and see how they faired in the salt. The man’s name was Cliff Herron and he hailed out of the Midwest, near Chicago I think. Long story short, the reel has been with me ever since and has pulled on far more and bigger fish than it was originally intended. I bet it’s been on the water over 3000 days/nights and with the exception of a broken foot (It rolled off the hood of my truck at 55 mph) I’ve never had a problem.

So I scamper back home, fetch the reel and begin to show Tom what I like about the reel and what I feel could be changed. He “gets it” cuz his brain is hard wired to get stuff like that and I leave the reel in his possession, return to the day’s workload and quickly forget about it. A few weeks later there’s a knock on my door. It’s Tom and he’s holding three Crown Royal bags…inside each, is a shiny, newly “minted” reel. I’m speechless and we both look them over. They are prototypes of course and the process of field testing begins the very next morning.

Well here it is a full four years later and along the way there’s been some fairly major changes, a double hand full of subtle to not so subtle tweaking, a bit of aesthetic stuff  (Thanks Deb) and in just under a half a decade, Tom Kapusta, my neighbor, has made the reel a tool I’ll be all too happy to pass down to my sons. Thanks, man.

Tim Borski
11 Jan 2012