Fly Fishing Specialties recently had the privilege of spending time at the C.F. Burkheimer facility with Kerry and team. They are located in Washington State on the banks of the Washougal river near its confluence with the mighty Columbia. It’s a fitting home steeped in Steelhead history for the finest custom graphite fly rods in the world.
Upon entering the factory we were greeted by Randy Stetzer. Randy joined the C.F. Burkheimer company in early 2014 after a long and accomplished career in the fly fishing industry as a guide, author, travel host and fly tier. Once inside the building the artistry and passion was evident in the heady fumes redolent with skill and concentration. Much of the machinery used was designed by, or built custom for Burkheimer to insure quality and precision throughout the demanding process of manufacturing fly rods one at a time.
Kerry Burkheimer is a life long angler who has been building fly rods for over three decades. He was fortunate to have spent his rod building apprenticeship mentored by Russ Peak. (It is a little known fact that Russ helped design rods for the likes of Fenwick, Orvis, Sage, Loomis, etc.) It was during his time with Russ that Kerry began to learn the art of translating a rod building vision into a concrete design through the use of thoughtful engineering and materials choices. Burkheimer rods are made to be top notch fishing tools. While they cast beautifully on the lawn, they shine on the water. The “connected” feel imparted to the angler, and the ability to handle any technical fishing situation encountered, is what separates the good from the great. These are the great.
The Burkheimer Company is perhaps best known for their two-handed fly rods, and for good reason. Steelhead and Atlantic Salmon anglers have long revered Burkheimers for their smooth yet powerful performance. What isn’t as widely known is that their single-handed fly rods are every bit as good as their two-handers, perhaps better. Demanding technical anglers on the Henry’s Fork in Idaho have been singing the praises of their 8’9” 4 weight for the difficult dry fly and light nymphing techniques required on that notoriously difficult piece of trout water. Many of the guides and anglers on the Madison river in Montana have been equally as taken with the 8’9” and 9’ 5 weight.
The performance and feedback of a Burkheimer rod is not the only thing that sets them apart from all the others. The obvious artistry and care in assembling these rods is exemplary. The meticulous attention given in sanding, coating and wrapping is second to none. C.F. Burkheimer cuts and machines their own reel seat spacers from a variety of beautiful woods. In addition, they glue and turn their own cork grips. These rods are hand made, one at a time, like all high-end fly rods should be.
Fly Fishing Specialties is proud to announce we are now an Authorized Dealer for C.F. Burkheimer fly rods. If you’re looking for something different, something unique with top tier performance and unsurpassed beauty, please give us a call or swing by the Shop to learn more about them.