I posted this at 11:55 p.m. December 2nd. on our
Bulletin Board, others added their comments. Some
suggested it should be run as a column here. So
be it, some of the comments, (without names) are
It's eleven p.m., Thursday evening. I have to
write this tonight, tomorrow will be too late.
We normally work until about midnight or so,
that's not the point. Tomorrow is a big day.
Big for my wife and big for me. Tomorrow Fed-X
will deliver her new fly rod. It's a custom quad
from Ron Kusse, master cane artisan, Washingtonville,
New York. It turned out even better than it was
supposed to. Working with cane that can happen.
Let me explain why this is important to me and
why I have to write this tonight.
Years ago, early '70's she and I fished nearly
everyday. We used glass and graphite mostly,
neither one of us had a 'name' brand rod of any
great value. I had a best friend, fellow named
Neil who, for my birthday, gave me a six foot,
one piece three weight rod he built from a
bamboo blank from Orvis. An especially nice gift,
from an especially fine person. I valued it highly.
My wife fell in love with the rod and more or
less took it over. She was a graceful caster,
even back then. The two flowed together. About
1973 we moved from Michigan to Montana and the
rod was too light for the waters we fished there.
Because I wanted the rod to continue to be fished,
not just hung over a mantle, I asked Neil if he
would except taking it back. He did understand
and we left the rod with him when we made the
final move west.
Over the years since then we have owned and
fished all manner of rods. From good ones to
darn good ones. We bought a couple of used
cane at Dan Baileys in Montana but they were
only 'run-of-the-mill' things. Neither one of
us ever owned a truly fine rod, but the P.M.'s
did come close. The Orvis Battenkills were okay,
but not notable.
Some time shortly after getting F.A.O.L. on line
we came to know Ron Kusse. Within a very short
time we came to greatly admire him and his
talent. Although we had not owned great rods
over the years, we certainly had seen many. None
were in the same class. I in no way can begin to
describe why his are a cut above any we have ever
seen, but they are. Perhaps it is the decades he
has spent at Leonard honing his trade. Time blended
with a high degree of ability has put him above any
we have ever known. Some of you may know of others
who you might say are as good. And they may be.
We just have not seen their work.
But I am drifting from my point here. I feel,
without reservation, that Ron is, at this time,
the number one cane maker. Period. We developed
a deep friendship with Ron over the years and
last spring I asked Deanna (LadyFisher) if she
would consider having Ron build her a Quad. She
had cast one at a 'Fish In' in New York a couple
of years ago and considered the Quad and her
style were as close a match as it gets.
We asked Ron and he was more than willing. It
was supposed to be his regular five weight. We
discussed whether she wanted it light or dark.
That was it. She said dark and varnished. The
rest was up to the 'artist.' Ron wanted it to
be a bit special and as it evolved he saw it was
becoming what he calls "Magnum Opus," that is
his highest line of rods.
Things like that just happen. He informed us.
We were thrilled, although this would effect
the price, what an opportunity. Tomorrow it
arrives. I know, he called me this morning.
Tomorrow my wife gets her rod of a lifetime.
I get the privilege of being involved somehow
in the process.
You see, I feel she has been more than worth
it for many, many years. It is kinda funny.
When two people get to be our age it is hard to
buy things for each other for birthdays and
Christmas. Although her birthday is in December
and Christmas is on the way, this is not a gift.
It is her Kusse Quad. And she deserves it. And
I love her.
Way to go JC
I have told my wife many times what I feel about
her, but your post has me green with envy. Sue
was the first one in the family to get a
custom rod of any kind. You all know the
story it was written here blow by blow. But
even though she had never cast a fly rod in
her life she loves the rod. She has yet to
catch any thing on it, more the fault of
my cancer than anything else. But she takes
it everywhere we fish.
She will catch something on it some day.
JC, you showed more love in that post that
she will be able to handle. Get out the
tissues. Well done my friend.
It is 3:14am here Chemo keeps me up for a day
or so. When my lovely wife wakes I will show
her your post and tell her that this is what I am
trying to say each and every day of our lives.
She does deserve the very best.
LF, congrats on the new rod. I hope you can
find a place to use it quick. We are in the
middle of a cold front her, it will be 58
tonight and only 70 tomorrow but back in the
80's next week. Hint hint JC I hope you are
healthy again, you are going to need it.
Well said and well done.
Sometimes, not often, in the middle of the night
(it's 2:05 a.m. here in the desert) one finds a
really really good reason to be "up". JC, you just
made my day, as it were! Your love for LF is so
very very evident in your posting...she is a lucky
lady to be loved so well. Well, now that I
think of it, you're a damned lucky guy too, to
have the chance to be in love with such a lady.
I'm happy for you both and we all will look forward
with great anticipation to further Magnus Opus
reportage. Seems to me that Mr. (or is it Mrs.
or Ms.) M. Opus is being adopted into a wonderful
Your description of 'Magnum Opus' sounds similar
to 'Excaliber', The rod described in a particular
chapter of Charlie Fox's book, The Wonderful
World of Trout. You've probably read that
selection but if you haven't you should. Best of
luck with your new rod. Enjoy it.
There is a great deal of satisfaction knowing
you own what is arguably but no one will convince
me otherwise) the finest fly rod in the world.
JC, you will find out if your feelings for LF
are mutual when you ask her to borrow the rod
for a weekend with the boys.
Congradulations on a fine rod and an even finer
relationship. I've never seen a Ron Krusse rod,
but have been to his web site and dreamed
about one. For those that are interested is
seeing some real artwork, go to: http://www.ronkusse.com/
JC, I want to marry someone like you. do you have
(This is mine...
Thanks for sharing in this day guys. Tye, yes I
read about that rod years ago, you may be right
about it. This rod turns out to be more special
all the time. I will bring the details soon. It
is totally unique. It didn't start out to be that
way; but you will understand why this may be the
finest rod he ever crafted. This has become more of an
affirmation and presentation. The warmth and
sincerity of the rod maker could not be more
evident. A special certificate of authenticity
and crafting details accompanies the rod. Today
is indeed 'her' day, thanks to a wonderful man
who creates magic wands.) JC
This is sooooo romantic! I'm really almost in tears!
It's not about fish, or flies, or even new custom
made rods. It's about partners who adore (and deserve)
each other. You are both very fortunate.
What a special gift, a treasured memento to a
wonderful wife and companion, who along with you,
has spent almost a lifetime in this wonderful world
of fly fishing. Knowing both of you personally, I can
think of nothing that could be more suiting. It's perfect.
I hope you don't mind me cutting and pasting
this to my girl friend. She would never see
it if I don't. I also took the liberty to say
that this was written by a friend of mine. I
hope you don't mind. I would like to meet
everyone in here (in person). This is the best
group of people on the earth.
I hope you and your bride enjoy the day. What
a special sentiment and thanks for sharing it
with all of us. By the way. I'm younger than
you, so will you adopt me?
"Daddy JC"....hmmmm, I like the sound of it, already!
Thank you for sharing. I look forward to
further posts about it. You have described
how I feel about my wife also, but have trouble
expressing. LF; Congrats!!! Fill us in on how
it all works out.
Wonderful loving post. The best thing of all
is that every time either of you see that rod
it will bring back these feelings of love and
that is an even better gift than the rod itself.
We expect to hear LF write about the rod too
Along with a pic too!
Since the LF took such a shine to that special
rod of Neils, long ago, do you suppose you could
get away with "Shanghiing" this one fer yerself?..:-))
I mean fair's fair....you can tell her I said so.
That should mean a lot..*grins* (Very nice post.)
You're both very fortunate.
Huzzah, huzzah, huzzah! There is nothing in
this world that makes you happier than seeing
someone you love happy too! Good job POP!
Nice job JC...I hope LF loves it!
My rod has arrived - and it is just beautiful.
Perfect! Ron did a magnificent job. I am thrilled.
Can't wait to baptize it, no doubt spring on
Rocky Ford. LadyFisher
LF & JC, Sounds like it's time to call Phoenix!
Marvelous! Absolutely marvelous!
Been there, done that! 6 months ago... (DT5)
Perfect! Now she's truly all set!
"WOW" What else to say?
LadyFisher, that is one beautiful rod!!!!
I am now green with envy and exteremly
jealous and...Jim it's no wonder that gal
loves you sooooo much!
We must have a picture of some line slinging
out from that beautiful work of art.
What a neat thing.*G* Somehow seems more
like valentines day than nearly Xmas.
Sounds to me like you guys already have
what you want more than anything in the
world. The rod is just window dressing.
very classy move, jc. I am sure she'll love
it. so how'd she do with it in her hands?
JC, so why did you post this instead of making
it your column? I've read every one of your
columns since day-one in the archives. I've
learned from them, laughed from them, but never
been so emotionally touched by one.
When I discovered FAOL I actually also went
back to day-one and read my way forward
through the BB archives. I suspect most newbies
don't do that. Please convert this into a "column"
and get it into the JC archives there, where it
is more likely to be read than if it is left in
the archives of the FAOL BB.
Great looking new rod! I hope you both enjoy it
very much. Let me know when you want to try it
out in warm weather on the crick!
LF...that rod looks awesome. Just beautiful.
Fine picture you took there. Too bad you reel
with the "wrong" hand though :-))
Great story, great rod & GREAT love!...truly
uplifting..thanks for sharing! ps: Dad! I've
finally found you! I thought it was Micus, but
that cheapskate won't spring a WalMart leader!
signed, your little "bambooless" Mikey
Most marvelous, both the story and the rod!
Way to go JC. I trust you'll send me an invitation
so I may be present for the Baptism of the latest
addition to the Birkholm family. See ya in the
What can I say... a beautiful rod for a beautiful
lady. Well done, JC. You da man!
LF, a rod as great as the one you own deserves
a truely honerable baptism. What about a spring
creek with wild fish and no crowds? Beautiful
trout and not the crouds of rf. Anyways, i
know i few up by moses lake if you would like
to baptise it there. Rocky Ford does have some
great dry fly water though.
The rod looks beautiful, the love you guys share
even more so. Thanks for sharing.
As it took Ron Kusse years of working at his craft
and sharing ideas at Leonard to become the master
he is today so also it takes years of contributing
to the sport fishing and casting many different
rods to earn and appreciate such a rod. It takes
a master to recognize the depth of a master's work.
I believe such a rod and Ladyfisher are a perfect
Stopped at 11:10 am December 4th, 2004. ~ JC