Tom Morgan, legendary Montana fly rod maker, dies - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Tom Morgan, legendary Montana fly rod maker, dies

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Tom Morgan (photo credit: CBS News) Tom Morgan (photo credit: CBS News)
Tom Morgan Rodsmiths website photo Tom Morgan Rodsmiths website photo

The Tom Morgan Rodsmiths website reports that Tom Morgan, the legendary fly rod maker, has died.

Morgan died on Monday, June 12, of pneumonia. He was 76.

Morgan had the reputation of building the finest fly fishing rods in the world in spite of the fact that he suffered from multiple sclerosis.

Fly fishing equipment seller Orvis said Morgan started and ran the R.L. Winston Rod Company from 1973 to 1991 in Twin Bridges, Montana.

He started to suffer from MS in the early 1990s but by 1996 he was back at the craft he loved in spite of his physical challenges.

In 2014, CBS Sunday Morning told the story of how Morgan’s wife, Geri Carlson helped him build the rods.

“You’d think that since I couldn’t go fishing, I might lose interest in them, but it’s always been a pursuit of perfection,” Morgan told CBS.

That perfection comes with a price - $4,000 for one of his meticulously crafted bamboo rods and up to $1,500 for a graphite or fiberglass rod. He sold the company to Joel Doub and Matt Barber this past February.

“This would be a good week to go fishing with someone you love, tie on a Royal Wulff and think of Tom,” said Doub and Barber in a posting on the Tom Morgan Rodsmiths website.

“It’s really given him a life,” Carlson, a former school teacher, told CBS reporter Steve Hartman.

“I never thought of MS as holding me back from what I wanted to do,” said Morgan, who grew up near Ennis, Mont.

Asked if he still dreamed about fishing, Morgan told Hartman: “I sure do. I catch bigger ones now than ever.”

A memorial service is planned in Ennis later this month.

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