Fisher Rods

I'm just getting started and recently purchased an Orvis Clearwater 8wt combo for the salt and am looking forward to learning the craft. Two weeks later I'm at a garage sale and find two Fisher rods for $20 each. One is a 9', 3/4wt, marked "The Original" and the other is a 9', 7/8wt, GT-40. Both are 4-piece rods. They appear to be in unused condition with original socks and aluminum tubes. I'm just wondering if anyone has information on these, or any idea of their worth, as I may look to trade for other gear. Any help would be appreciated.


Active Member
The Fisher Rod company was based in Southern California near Santa Monica Airport. During WWII they produced literally millions of fishng packets that were placed in every airplane, lifeboat and floation device. The packet contained what was essentially a handline, some hooks, lures, etc.

After the war, Joe Fisher (the father) began making boat rods for Los Angeles/San Diego saltwater anglers. The fiberglass rods were responsible for a lot of yellowtail, barracuda and other sportsfish. Joe would later recall catching a wheelbarrow full of barracuda off the Santa Monica pier and selling them for a dime apiece. At some point, probably around 1954 or '55, the family began making freshwater rods, boat rods and other traditional fiberglass products including some of the most beloved flyrods ever designed. J. Kennedy Fisher III (the son, my friend and client) was largely responsible.

Eventually Joe and his younger brother Jim took the company into carbon graphite. Joe was the rod designer, Jim the back-shop creative genius who pioneered the product. At some point they met Golden Gate casting champion John Tarantino, who is credited with conceiving the "spigot ferrule" to attain a perfect transfer of power from handle to tip. Fisher later licensed that ferrule design to Scott and others.

Fisher made rods under their own brand names as well as private label graphite for Hardy (the Hardy Smuggler), Orvis and most others.

With a deteriorating neighboorhood, the Fishers (Jim and Joanne; Jim and Mary) moved the factory from the industrial Santa Monica/Inglewood area to Round Mound, Nevada, not far from Carson City. Round Mound was (and is) best known for its legal brothels. The Fishers bought neighboring homes at Lake Tahoe, a 40-minute drive from the shop.

Suffereng from aging equipment, a lack of advertising dollars, a perception of being a West Coast rod, and fierce competition from Sage, Loomis, Scott and other excellent rods, the Fishers were forced to produce golf club shafts and other graphite products.

They sold what was left of the company about 20 years ago. Joe and Joanne moved to Sequim, Wash., to be near their children and grandchildren. Jim and Mary moved to (I think) Carson City. Joe suffered a series of strokes and became bedridden for about a year. He closed his eyes and died about three years ago. To the best of my knowledge, Jim still lives in Carson City.

Great rods! Great family! Wonderful people!

Tim Cottage

Formerly tbc1415
Thank you for that information Psycho.
You have confirmed my long standing belief that some early Orvis graphite rods were made on Fisher blanks. Orvis continues to be able to produce replacement blank parts (butts & tips) and even entire finished rods for some of their early models. These blanks are either old stock or made new on the old mandrels or a bit of both. Ownership of the mandrels has always been a critical component in the negotiations between the actual manufacturer and the brand (Fisher/Orvis).

I have a Fisher 8 weight, GT-40 rod, two piece, that is still my steelhead rod of choice over both a Sage and a Scott. Just a fine casting rod, perfectly balanced for 8 weight steelhead taper lines. You bought a real treasure.
J. Kennedy Fisher fiberglass rods and their first generation graphite rods were noted for a silky smooth action. I believe they also made blanks for Cortland and Winston. A medium fast 5/6, 8 1/2' GT-40 is one of my favorites.