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Where Did Walton Rods Come From? Here’s the Inside Story

We’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about Walton Rods. Here’s the answers. 

As we get closer to our launch via Kickstarter on March 1st, e-mails and social media comments continue to come in. As a new company to the fly fishing scene, it’s understandable. Some questions continue to repeat over and over again so to help everyone out thinking about purchasing a Walton at our launch, here’s a FAQ page, so to speak.

Who makes the blanks?

The most common question we get right now is about our blanks. Where do they come from? Well, it’s actually a long answer. However, to make a long story short, Brad Smith, the owner of Walton Rods, has worked in the outdoors industry in one way or another for years. Through this endeavor, he has made a lot of friends. Once such friend owns a very large American rod company, and through a proprietary agreement, every Walton fly rod is made by them to our specifications at their US based shop. To protect our business, agreements are in place to keep everything else confidential.

Walton fly rod

Mike Malchow with a Wyoming rainbow

Like 90% of the American fly fishing industry, we could have gone overseas once our prototypes were complete. However, we are putting our principles above our profits. This is a founding reason behind what we do and ensuring all our rods are handcrafted in the USA is a priority. The margins aren’t great and we can’t discount rods down like other companies that can offer 50% discounts or more because their rods cost a fraction of their final price. Some things though, are just more important than money.

What’s with the name?

Walton Rods was very close to getting another name. Brad Smith and his partner in Walton Rods, Mike Malchow, went back and forth for months trying to figure out a name that not only captures fishing, but doesn’t sound like a gimmick either. It was at this time that Brad and his wife Lindi were pregnant with their first child. God has a funny way of making things work out and right in the middle of the business creation process, Brad’s son came two months early. He was born just over two pounds and spent 41 days in the NICU being a fighter. Brad and Lindi were right there with him. They named him Walton.

Walton Smith rocking a Willie Nelson shirt and a Simms hat.

Once the idea of naming the rod company after Walton came up, it just fit. Walt couldn’t be any better and is growing everyday. He has a bright future and we want the same thing for our rod company. Hopefully, Walton can run this company some day. At that point, he can rename it to whatever the hell he wants.

What’s the Plan?

This is a good question and one we get a lot. Well, the plan is to grow Walton Rods as big as we can get it. More Walton fly rod series are currently in the works as well as traditional spinning and casting rods, reels, and apparel. The goal is to release a new series of rods at the beginning of every year. This year will be the launch of the C-9 (Classic 9-foot), and N-7 (Native Series 7-foot). Muskie rods are in the pipeline as well as larger rods designed for saltwater, steelhead, or carp, all with fighting butts. Apparel will be for sale for at the end of 2017.

At the same time, traditional spinning rods will be coming sooner rather than later. Just like with each USA handcrafted Walton fly rod, we feel the fishing industry desires American produced spinning and casting rods that are economical, high quality, and with a lifetime warranty. We look forward to filling that gap.

That’s it for now. Lots of things to do to get ready before March 1st!

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