Grim Reaper Rod Co. making a name for itself among fishermen
Posted: Friday, May 27, 2011 10:31 am
By: Brent Callicott
Something a little different this week. I wanted to pass along a story about a local outdoorsman who has turned his passion and love for fishing into a business — making fishing rods.
But first, I have been asked by Jeff Martin of the TWRA to remind everyone this will be the first holiday weekend of the summer for fishermen and boaters alike as the Memorial Day holiday is here. Please use common sense and do not drink and boat. One other thing, if you plan to use the washout area or anywhere along the shoreline of Reelfoot Lake, idle speed is requested at this time due to the high waters that are still in the Reelfoot Lake area. Boat waves will damage some of the piers and boat docks of resort and homeowners. Have a safe and good holiday weekend.
I have included some of my usual info toward the end of the column so continue to read.
Did you know that there is someone in Union City and Obion County who owns, operates and makes bass fishing rods? Well there is. James Snow, along with his family, owns and operates the Grim Reaper Rod Co., something he started around eight years ago. The idea came from him and a few of his friends one day.
When I did a interview with James over the phone, the first thing he wanted me and everyone else to understand is that his family is also involved in the rod company. James, along with his wife Buffy, son Robert (19) and daughter Lexie (15) are very much major players in what the company is doing.
James is an associate at the local Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. plant and has been for several years. He helps make tires we drive on and now does the rod-making thing on the side. With the bad news of the plant closure set between now and the end of the year, Grim Reaper Rod Co. is more important now to James and his family than it ever has been.
At this time, the only type rods James has available are for bass fishing. He also said you can use some of his rods for catfishing.
I found out real quick he has a good passion for the sport of bass-fishing and knows what he is doing in designing these rods.
There are many, many rod companies both large and small that fit every need of anyone who wants to fish. James’ Grim Reaper Rods just happens to be one of those companies.
As I stated before, Grim Reaper Rods are specifically designed for bass fishing. They are extremely lightweight, one piece and have been designed to handle multiple fishing techniques. Another key player in the rods is the high sensitivity ratio. The rods also are unusually lightweight, coming in various lengths and actions.
With that being said, James assures his customers that fishing with a Grim Reaper Rod will put more fish in your boat.
He now has such high demand for his rods, he has found a fishing rod manufacturer who will and is building his rods to his specifications in mass production.
These rods are very affordable and built to perfection. They are built using the finest of materials like IM7 Graphite, guides on the rods made of Fuji Alconite, reel seats made by Fuji and the best cork money can buy.
Another important thing about these rods is, they are made right here in the USA.
The Grim Reaper Rods come in 13 to 15 different models with more designs on the way.
The rods sell for around $150 each and come with a warranty also like most rods.
These rods are being sold more and more every day all over the country.
James has a few professional bass fishermen who are using his rods while out on tour and one just happens to be Obion County native Ben Parker.
Ben, as you should already know, is a professional guide and fisherman who makes his living at what he likes to do and that is being in the outdoors.
Recently, I asked Ben about what caught his eye on the Grim Reaper Rods, and he said said, “I found these Grim Reaper Rods to be as good as any top-of-the-line rod on the market.”
Basically what he is saying, there are all type of rods and the top-of-the-line names, as well as custom rods run anywhere from $250 to $500 if not more. You are getting that type rod for more than half off the price — if not more — which saves you money as well.
“These Grim Reaper Rods blanks that make up the rods are as good as any,” Parker added. “When buying one of these rods, you’re not giving up the sensitivity because they are cheaper in price and, at the same time, having the power-type rod in your hand that you want when money is on the line.”
I also asked Ben about the possible line of Ben Parker signature rods that are in the works. “Right now, we are developing a Ben Parker Signature Crankin’ rod that will handle any deep diving crankbait on the market,” he said.
This is something Ben best knows, fishing for bass in deep water.
Also, another professional bass angler, Kevin Walker of Buna, Texas, has a wrap on his boat to promote the Grim Reaper Rods. He fishes the Everstart Series and BFL Division — both sponsored by FLW Outdoors.
If you are interested in purchasing the Grim Reaper Rods or just want to know more about the rods, simply visit the Grim Reaper website at www.Grimreaperrods.com, e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org or call them at 731-592-0582.
Reelfoot Lake water levels continue to drop very, very slowly. I witnessed the level first-hand last weekend while fishing a local bass tournament. I have never seen anything like it. Wow! The lake is still some two feet over normal pool and that is from the near record high lake level two weeks ago.
Water temps are in the lower to mid-70s.
Water color is clear to very clear lakewide.
On Saturday, I had the privilege — along with my tournament partner James Harris of Union City — of fishing the annual Tyson Foods Bass/Crappie tournament on Reelfoot Lake. My hat’s off to all of those who were involved in making this event possible. There were tons of door prizes for all who fished the event. The weather overall was good and several bass and crappie were caught. James and I did manage to finish third in the event.
Congrats to Tim Blackley of Hornbeak and Jackie Vancleave of Samburg, both sponsored by Strike King, for taking top honors in a recent Crappie Masters tournament. The event was held on Lake Guntersville in Alabama and team Blackley/Vancleave stated it was their first time on the lake. They earned $4,000 for their first place finish.
The local tournament calendar is as follows:
The Reelfoot Lake Junior Bass Club’s annual Bluegill Tournament is Saturday out of the Kirby Pocket State Park on Highway 22.
The cost is $35 per boat with the Big Bluegill award included. There will be a 10 fish limit. Tournament fishing hours will be from 6 a.m. until noon that day.
For more information, call Johnnie Garrett at 885-2903, Gordon Fox at 885-5541 or me.
The 9th Annual Reelfoot Lake Catfish Tournament will be held June 11.
There will be a guaranteed first place of $1,000 and other payouts based on the number of boats entered for this event. Trophies will be awarded for first, second and third places.
Entry fee for the tournament is $100 per boat/team with the Big Catfish Award included.
Registration will be either by picking up an early registration for or by showing up between 5:30 and 6:30 the morning of the event.
Tournament hours are set for 6:30 until 1 p.m. with the weigh-in taking place at the Kirby Pocket State Park on Highway 22 just north of Samburg.
A 5-fish limit of catfish will be allowed to be weighed in.
For more information, you can call 731-253-2007, e-mail at email@example.com or visit their website at www.reelfoottourism.com.
The 20th annual Youth Fishing Rodeo sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service will be held June 11 in conjunction with the National Fishing and Boating Week. This will be held at the refuge headquarters near Walnut Log on Highway 157, one mile off of Highway 22. The fishing rodeo will be open to kids 12 years old and younger. Registration will be starting at 7:15 a.m. until the tournament starts at 8 a.m. For more info, call the refuge at 538-2481.
In closing, I want to wish my good friend and former teacher/coach Dan Boykin good blessings in his retirement from the Union City School System. Coach Boykin, as many of his former and current students know him, decided after many years of teaching/coaching/administrative work to step down and retire. I have, and will always, look up to Coach Boykin, a person we should all model ourselves after because with people like him leading our young, they are getting the best. He has touched so many young people in his many years serving as a teacher/coach. Good luck Coach Boykin in your well deserved retirement, have fun.
Til next week
Catch ya on the water folks
Published in The Messenger 5.27.11