But Tom has multiple sclerosis and hasn't been able to personally build, or cast, a rod since the mid-90s. He has an incredible mind for the business though, has many rod designs and all the data that supports them in his mind. And he continues to design/develop new designs, along with his wife Gerri and a small staff, and that's where I fit in.
Tom and I cast and fished together a bit long ago. We were very similar in style and preference and understood fly casting in a similar way, sympatico. For the last few years I've been very fortunate, when Tom has a new rod to test, I get a call. We put Tom's wheelchair at the window facing outside where I cast. I ask Tom what he wants to learn about the rod, then go cast. When I come in I used to just tell him what I thought but one day asked him what he saw from watching. He told me almost exactly what I was going to say, he could "feel" what I was feeling just from watching the rod, the line, me. Things go on in his mind that I don't entirely understand, amazing.
It's just getting light (Saturday a.m.) and I'm watching the tree outside. It's starting to wave a bit, I'm afraid the predicted wind is starting which will mean no casting today. The rods to cast this time are 3 & 4 wts., delicate trout rods. And here, when wind actually makes it to the weather forecast its usually serious, no one even mentions wind blowing 15 mph. Time to go tie things down and hope for a calm Sunday!