On the North Country Angler website, Bill has written & posted numerous articles all about fishing, the shop, & life in general all with a fly fishing bent. I found those articles absolutely fascinating & lost track of all time reading through them. One article that particularly caught my attention was one entitled "Made In America?" in which Bill discusses the shift in manufacturing fly tackle from the USA to Asian countries. I thought the article was spot on & it got me to thinking........
I make it a standard for all the fly rods I make to be made from USA made components. I will NOT use reel seats made in another country, or ferrules, winding checks, etc. The best bamboo for all fly rods is called Tonkin, & unfortunately it is not grown in America. It is only grown in a small region of China. But at least it's grown by small independent farmers who depend on it for their livelihood & not some large Chinese communist government run corporation. The best cork in the world (for grips) grows in Portugal & the best silk thread in the world is found in either England or Japan. Other than these items though, everything on my rods is made in America. Believe me it would be much easier to not worry about the components country of origin & just find the best price, but I won't do that. There are enough fly rod manufacturers doing that already.
I try to keep up to date with what's going on in the fly tackle industry & I can tell you many companies would rather you not ask about where their rods are made. Sometimes they go to lengths to avoid making that information visible. One company even tries to disguise the fact that their rods are made in Korea by hiring a well respected legend of American fly fishing. Ever wonder how they can offer those rods that perform "just as well as more expensive rods" at a lower price?? Could they be subsidized by their government? Taking advantage of foolish U.S. importing policies? Paying their employees slave wages?
These days there seems to be a growing movement of folks wanting to buy more things that are made in America. With unemployment being as high as it is, more folks are trying to support USA jobs by buying American made goods. Even if you didn't care how much you had to pay to buy American, this is not always an easy thing to do. One trip to any chain store in the country today could leave your head spinning trying to find American made goods. Below is a list of directories for all varieties of goods made in America. I found these by doing an internet search for “made in USA" :
When we do find American made goods, we have a choice. For most of us on a budget we have to compromise. Do we buy that small, inexpensive foreign made product that we need & save up for that fancy American made fly rod? Together, if we spend our money wisely & as best we can, what could happen here in America?