John Long Lifetime Achievement Award

Rodmakers at Grayrock Inc. (RGI) have created the John Long Lifetime Achievement Award to recognize rod-makers for their contributions to bamboo rod-making.  An adjunct to the Wes Cooper Award which recognizes active Rod-Makers, this recognition is intended to acknowledge the long-term contributions of Rod-Makers regardless of their current level of participation in the craft.   


The John Long Lifetime Achievement Award is situational in that it will be awarded as candidates are identified and nominated for consideration.  Nominations will originate from the rod-making community at large, and selections made by RGI Directors.


1. Open to Rod-Makers past and present.

2. Serving RGI Board Members are not eligible. However past committee and/or Board Members are eligible for nomination and award.


1. The nominee has been a consistent and reliable source of leadership participating in the organization of gatherings, clinics, and workshops.  Has contributed his/her skills and talents through presentations, demonstrations and workshops. Has established a reputation for mentoring and sharing skills with new and established rod-makers.

2. The nominee has shown individuality through creative problem-solving and approach to the craft of rod-making.

3.  The nominee exhibits a history of fairness and ethical behavior: and shows courtesy and respect to fellow rod makers and the community at large.

4.  The nominee’s contributions and efforts over time represent long lasting and significant impact on the art and craft of rod-making, and the practices employed by Rod-Makers.  


Nominations and supporting materials will be accepted at each Grayrock Gathering. Nominations should be provided in writing to the Secretary during this period.


Submit nominations to:

Jim Kastelin

Secretary RGI

2019 Award - John Long

John is an excellent rod maker and more importantly a good person.  I attended rod making workshops with several well known rod-makers over the years to learn the craft.  In John's workshop, In addition to learning top of the line rod making practices, we learned how to innovate and have fun making rods.  An excellent take away from any training or workshop.  John always had time to talk and offer assistance and advice.  I am very pleased I had the opportunity to meet and work with John over the years.  In 2014 The Lovells Township Historical Society's exhibit featured Michigan

Rod-Makers.  Naturally John was including in the exhibit and I asked him for a few words about himself for his part of the display.  The following is what he sent along for us to use in the exhibit.  

Richard Perry

Chairman, Rod-Makers at Grayrock

Lovells, MI


John Long

Just Another Michigan Rod Maker

I made my first Bamboo Rod, a Dickerson 7613, in early 1985 thinking I wanted to make just one bamboo rod to see if I could do it.  Ha! Years later, I now regret not keeping track of how many rods I’ve made but I’m sure it is about 50 rods.  I was mentored by Leon Hansen and mainly by Bill Waara. The bamboo disease is still with me.  As Bill used to say, “The only cure for it is to die”.

If I have any claim to fame or notoriety, I guess it would be the Grand Experiment , which I named after a rod makers gathering (then called the Grand Gathering) held on the Gran River in Fergus, Ontario.  I had an idea that a number of rodmakers make the same rod, Bill Waara’s delightful 7’ 6” 5 wgt., to any configuration they desired using the same guide spacing and same donated ferrule, grips, and reel seats.  Ab out 20 rods were built:  at least one quad, 5 strip, node-less, 2 pc, 3 pc, plus other configurations.  The results were very interesting.  I think some questions were answered about what can definitely influence rod performance.

I love attending any rodmakers gatherings I can get to.  They are great assemblies of fertile minds, friends, and spirits.  Every gathering seems to have at least one rod that really pushes the envelope on creativity or performance.  And sometimes even the fishing is good.

I have designed a few tapers of my own and have learned you sometimes have to make several rods before you get the rod you intended but I suppose if it was too easy, boredom would rear its ugly head.  My own taper I like best is a 7’ 6” 2 wgt.  Most 2 and 3 weight rods are 7 feet and I wanted to see if I could get a decent 7’6” 2 wgt.  The rods that don’t turn out the way I want, I give away unless they cast well.  I have sold only a few rods but realized making them to sell becomes work instead of a hobby.  I have held classes and taught numerous other about our wonderful craft.

So’s that my story.  I hope to see you on a flats or rivers somewhere.

John Long

2019 - John Long

This site was designed with the
website builder. Create your website today.
Start Now