Jim Adams talked me into sharing a booth with him at the Somerset Fly Fishing show at the end of January. My "yes" projected me into a whole new realm in rod making -- the commercial realm. Although my "yes" came easily, the commercial aspects are quite daunting. People will want to see and cast my rods. But, the only rods of my own I have are "Believe Made That Way" rods. In an effort to remedy this situation, my shop has been incredibly busy, somewhat frantic, leading to yet more "Believe Made That Way" rods to nourish the appetites of critics that can spot the tiniest glue line, the slightest mismatch of guides on a tip, or the minute flaw in the finish.
Susan, adept at sensing the anxiety I emanate, offered to help in this commercial sortie. Her grasp of someone's motivation to make or buy a cane rod rests on her appreciation for "marketing appeal" rather than "technical merits." It's the image of making or owning a cane rod that counts in this way of thinking. If image is the basis, then marketing the image is paramount. She's counting on her creations, such as this website, to push Colson Cane Rods to the top brand like the "Bo knows..." ad campaign propelled Nike.
Her offer to help was a brochure for people to pick up at our booth at Somerset. As I was pondering the mysterious new kink in a previously straightened stick, she glided into the shop with a sample brochure, certain that such a piece of paper with just the right words and pictures would enthrall legions of potential buyers. She'd even written some sample copy to encourage me. Here's what I saw first:
Why Cane Rods?
People ask me this question all the time. If you google "Why cane rods?" you'll find many interesting answers. None of them make any goddamn sense. No person in their right mind would do this for more than an afternoon. Your wife will leave you. Your children will become strangers. Their point of reference will be a genetic test for paternity. Often, too, they have some misconceptions about cane rods. Here are some of the things that almost always come up: yak yak yak.
This looked promising. Then, my eye wandered across the brochure panel to
Run. Like. Hell.
There are many better things you can do with your time: watch paint dry, chase neighborhood dogs or women. Hell, you could become a Watchtower-toting Jehovah's Witness. Even that would be better than building these goof-ball rods. But now I have a basement full, so you need to buy them. They are more expensive than a trip to the moon (see Richard Branson" Virgin-Fishing booth for THAT). But if you're wasting your time fishing anyway, you may as well be doing it like the cave men did: with a Bob Colson Bamboo Fly Rod. Why the hell not?
She'd captured the essence of it, discounting her lay person's confusion between "building" and "making."
Hope to see you at Somerset. Come by our booth. Pick up a brochure. See where Susan took it. You could even get on the list for a rod!