Garrison was an engineer by trade. He got into making rods back in the 1920's when he wanted to study bamboo to improve his golf club shafts. That took him to George Parker Holden, author of the book "Idyll of The Split-Bamboo". It was through the direction of Holden that he made his first fly rods.
There are a few things that make Garrison & his rods stand out. One is the tapers he designed - they were different than the rods being made at the time. This is because garrison used his engineering knowledge to design his tapers, whereas before this professional rod makers would depend on only their previous knowledge & experience to design a rod taper. Garrison was much more technical.
Garrison also designed the tools he used to make his rods. he is responsible for the design of the modern planing form used by rod makers today, among other shop tools.
Just before he passed away in 1975, Hoagy B. Carmichael (son of the famous song writer) was making a movie about Garrison in conjunction with a book the two were putting together. Garrison passed before the book was completed, so Carmichael finished the book using notes & recordings from Garrison. The book "A Master's Guide to Building A Bamboo Fly Rod" would be the first of its kind - showing all the processes & steps to make your very own fly rod. It opened the door for anyone willing to make a bamboo fly rod.
Garrison made his rods at night & on weekends. He only went into full time rod making after he retired as an engineer. Sadly he didn't have many years at full time rod making, as he passed away less than three years after he retired. It is estimated that he only made 650 rods in his life.
Here then, is the trailer to the movie that Carmichael made - a documentary about Garrison, his rods, & how he made them.