Vendor Spotlight: McFarland Rod Company

Mike McFarland grew up fly fishing the famous limestone steams of central Pennsylvania. Chasing these selective trout helped hone his casting skills and set him on a quest for perfected rod designs. Mike is an accomplished tournament caster and a 4 time winner of the Hardy Cup. After more than 30 years of building and designing rods he is well known around the world and works as a design consultant for numerous rod companies. His rods are regarded by many as the finest ever made.

To Mike, fly fishing is almost a religious experience. The sport, history and equipment made by the legendary craftsmen of the past all come together to make a remarkable sport deeply rooted in history and tradition. As a modern day craftsman, I am honored to take a small place in this rich history. At McFarland their philosophy is to build the absolute finest rods available in terms of performance, craftsmanship, and pride of ownership. His idea of success in the fly fishing industry, and the legacy that he hopes to eventually leave for his children, will be great rods that are recognized worldwide as some of the best ever made.

Performance is the single most important characteristic of our rods. Everything else comes second. I

He designs every rod using three critical and equally important components of rod design.

Line Feel

Whether it’s a soft, slow action rod for delicate presentations on spring creeks or a big powerful rod for saltwater fishing, you need to feel the rod load. Line feel and the sensation of the rod loading and unloading is not only essential for optimum casting performance, but also for simply having fun while casting and fishing the rod! While this sounds like an overly simple thought, I’m amazed how many modern rods have almost no line feel. All McFarland rods, regardless of material or action, will have great line feel and be fun to cast.

Loop Formation

A good rod makes it easy for the caster to form a good loop. While an expert caster can form good loops with pretty much any rod, a great rod makes this much easier for beginners and average casters as well as advanced casters. There are some rods that form good loops, but don’t feel good while casting. Loop formation is only one component of a great rod. It’s easy to make a rod that forms a good loop. The trick is combining it with the other two critical components of rod design.

Cast Of The Line

This doesn’t necessarily refer to being able to cast 100 feet of line. What I mean by “cast” is the distance the rod generates in relation to the amount of energy put in by the caster. I design all of my rods, whether it’s a 6’ glass rod or a 10 weight saltwater rod, to produce the maximum amount of distance with a minimal amount of caster input. While no rod is truly “self casting”, a good rod appears to almost cast itself. This is achieved by a perfect taper design. When you cast a McFarland rod you will experience easy casting performance and a nice “push” of line at the end of the delivery. The line just seems to effortlessly carry through the air. This isn’t accidental. It’s the result of countless hours of testing and design work.

While some rods may have one or possibly even two of these qualities, getting all three in a single rod is where the real magic happens and why McFarland Rods are unlike anything else you will ever cast.


  1 comment for “Vendor Spotlight: McFarland Rod Company

  1. Bill Blomeier
    February 7, 2020 at 8:17 am

    All of your “ spotlights” have been great. They help in early decision of the vendors I want to be sure to visit.

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