"I own split cane fly rods because I like to fish them, and none fish better than those built by Marc Aroner. Trust me, I know. When I lived in central Pennsylvania and was fishing upwards of 150 days a year, my rod of choice was almost invariably a seven foot, four weight Hunt from Marc’s bench. I first saw the rod (fitted with a Saint George Jr. with perfect patina) while fishing the East Branch with Marc and my father. If I remember right (and it was a long time ago) he was going to bury that rod in tribute to Tom Maxwell. Somehow we convinced him that it would be better to sell it to me instead, and I am sure glad that he did, for no other rod in my modest collection has been fished as hard, or as often. I don’t fish 150 days a year anymore, but just last spring, in a Black Hills May blizzard, I celebrated my 30th birthday in Spearfish Canyon with the Aroner, four feet of snow and several nice browns on number 22 Blue Wing Olive Duns. I don’t expect to ever find as versitile a dry fly rod, with such finesse and reserve of power, that consistantly does everything I ask of it and more. But then I’m not looking for one. No need too."
Alan Craig Curator – Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum
"Marc Aroner of Greenfield, Massachusetts is at the head of the list. His workmanship is undoubtedly the most admired when I discuss bamboo with other makers and dealers. His exquisite, fine-tipped rods approach the zenith in light, dry-fly design... If there is a more beautiful rod I have yet to see it."
Art Carter Sporting Classics
"What can you say about a bamboo fly rod? More importantly what can you say about a bamboo fly rod that was made by Marc Aroner? I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Aroner in 2001 while fishing the fall Atlantic salmon run (a first for me) with another rod maker, up on Cape Breton. Marc had with him various rods that he was using but he also had a beautiful 7wt Hunt series fly rod. It was exquisitely engraved on the reel seat and the finish was immaculate. A friend that was with us at the time offered a handsome sum for the rod but it belonged to another customer. I did get the chance to cast the rod and Marc was gracious enough to share his knowledge of salmon fishing with me so that when I returned home that year I could say I had landed my first Atlantic salmon. I have since shared the frustration and thrill of salmon fishing with Marc on numerous occasions. This past year I had planned to make the trek up to Cape Breton once more but work kept getting in the way. I had just about decided that the fish would have to do their spawning run without me, but for one thing. Marc had a rod waiting for me when I got there. It was a Hunt series 7’ 9” 9/10wt. Upon my arrival and after settling in a bit, Aroner pulled out a rod tube and handed it to me. I unscrewed the cap and pulled out the rod bag. The butt and mid-section had beautiful ferrule plugs protecting the female ends and the ferrules were beautifully anodized with an olive green wrap that transitioned flawlessly to the dark brown of the cane. I have collected a few bamboo rods over the years and have even rewrapped an old Heddon, but nothing that I have in my arsenal compares to the craftsmanship of Marc’s work. As I looked at the finish I was amazed at how beautiful the final product was. I took out another rod to compare the two, there was none. I strung up the rod and headed for the river. The rod preformed like no other picking up yards of line and hurling my feathered creation to the top of the pool for a beautiful swing through the run. It was late in the season and finding a taking fish that hadn’t seen every fly in the book was a challenge. Finally I had a nice take in a small eddy back, but with a quick run and a roll my sole fish for the season was gone. I didn’t get the chance to officially christen the rod but it performed beautifully. Light weight and surprisingly fast, it had not only fulfilled its job but Marc Aroner had transformed the utilitarian into an objet d’Art. You could fish with the graphite rods from a dozen different makers - and I have few - but to fish with an Aroner fly rod is to hold a long tradition of bamboo rod making and to fish with perfection."
Mark Bennett Lexington, VA
"Growing up in the Catskills along the Esopus Creek during the 60's, I became familiar with bamboo rods at an early age. Dad fished an Edwards that he purchased from Abercrombie & Fitch and I knew better than to touch it. As a teenager I couldn't understand what was so special about that rod. About 15 years ago I purchased my first Aroner rod, a 7ft. Spring Creek with the finest tips I had ever seen. I think it was a time when Marc was experimenting to see just how fine and delicate he could go. Since then I have had several Aroner rods and with each one I have been more impressed with their performance and flawless cosmetics. I don't have a favorite because they are all my favorites. They are truly made for the fisherman and collector alike. Since I fit into both categories, they suit me just fine. Now, at age 64, when I hold one in my hands and marvel at the workmanship, I finally understand the relationship between my dad and his Edwards."
George Loveless Baldwinsville, NY
"It's been almost 25 years since I first met Marc Aroner at a fly fisherman's gathering in central Pennsylvania. Upon seeing and casting his rods I was instantly impressed with their quality and performance and I was also impressed with Marc as a person. In the intervening quarter century, I have come to know Marc as a fine angler, consummate craftsman, and a dear friend. We have shared rivers, talked tackle and fishing and life, and enriched the phone companies with frequent, interminable phone calls.
Today as bamboo is enjoying a resurgence in popularity, the name "Aroner" is frequently spoken with respect and even reverence. Far from being a self-promoter, Marc has earned his bona fides through hard work, dedication to his craft, and an integrity that is both rare and refreshing in today's world. There are many builders working in bamboo today, but for most it is a hobby, something to do after they are finished with their "day job". There isn't anything wrong with that, it can be an enjoyable pastime. But building fine bamboo rods has been Marc's profession for the entire span of his working life. And while he is one of those rare people who would excel at anything he chose to try his hand at, fly fishers should be thankful that he chose to work in cane.
What really sets Marc apart from other builders is the depth of his knowledge when it comes to fly rods. Many can build an attractive piece, but it is the rare maker who is also an accomplished angler and even more importantly, a fine caster. Rarer still is the ability to translate those skills into the refined tapers that set a rod apart from the commonplace. Marc possesses that ability. Drawing from his broad knowledge of angling and his stunning casting skills, he knows what makes a rod perform. And while he produces some of the finest casting fly rods ever, Marc's building skills go far beyond the utilitarian. His sense of aesthetics is second to none and his workmanship is astounding. I have seen many an angler and bamboo aficionado marvel at the quality of his finish and attention to detail. Simply said, no one does it better.
Recently, Marc finished a "Spinoza" for me and I have to say that it is the finest rod I own. The cane is flawless, with a lightly flamed color that is both rich and incredibly even. The node work is impeccable. Marc's ferrules are as fine as any ever turned and they fit smoothly and then separate with a satisfying "pop". The color of the wraps harmonizes with the cane and the varnish is glass smooth. Beyond it's obvious beauty, it is also an incredible casting and fishing tool. From close in to as far as one would realistically fish, this rod performs! Crisp without being stiff, it's as accurate as a sniper rifle, and is without a doubt the best rod I have ever cast.
While his production is small due to the amount of work he puts into each piece, and while the wait for one of his rods can be long, Marc builds fly rods of a quality that few others approach, none surpass, and that borders on Art. I am proud to own them."
John Shaner Endwell, NY
"I own two Marc Aroner rods. One is a seven and one half foot, two-piece, Spring Creek Special for four weight and the other is a seven and one half foot, three-piece Hunt Pattern for five weight. With regard to appearance and casting performance, each rod is an exquisite example of split cane craftsmanship. In all relevant respects, these are the most delightful cane rods that I have ever encountered. I say this as one who has owned and fished rods by Leonard, Payne, Thomas, T&T, Edwards, Carpenter, Howells, Kusse, and others.
The workmanship in the cane is virtually flawless with all joining seams invisible and perfectly pressed nodes. The metal tooling and finishing of the reel seats and the potbelly ferrules are exceptional and gorgeous. The rods provide a perfect blend of delicacy and accuracy, with all the reserve power one would want in rods of this weight.
Regarding their aesthetics - well, the rods are both too beautiful to use and too beautiful not to use. I have resolved this dilemma by taking brief breaks from my fishing just to admire their beauty in the middle of a stream surrounded by the complimentary beauty of the Colorado Rockies.”
Richard A. Blanke Greeley, Colorado
"No one needs to own a bamboo fishing rod. Fiberglass will cast a fly and graphite and other synthetics will certainly get a fly within range of fish. But the chance to fish with bamboo differs in that it allows an angler to fish with a rod that extends not just 7 or 8 feet, but whose heritage extends back well more then 100 years.
If you have made your way to this site or to Marc Aroner, you know that not only is Marc considered a master craftsman but he is also a true and direct link to the history and traditions of bamboo rod making in America. There are precious few opportunities to own a rod that is inspired from the shops of H L Leonard and Thomas and Thomas, and fewer still to own a rod built with someone of Marc’s skill and talent.
Rarely are we able to connect with the person and personality that make a handcrafted tool. The chance to know that an individual with years of dedication and experience applied the skill and patience to insure that within extraordinary tolerances, a fishing rod will perform as designed, is just such a connection.
Bamboo rods are not for everyone. They are expensive and it can take some time from a first discussion with Marc to delivery. I would encourage you to speak not only with Marc, but with those of us who use rods that he has made. When we go fishing, we can’t help but enjoy the moment and the moments that brought us to decide to purchase a rod made by Marc. We’re fishermen who appreciate the chance to wave a bit of magic, a 7-foot or 8-foot length of grass.
I have a number of Marc's rods. I must admit that I do simply look at them on occasion, but they are definitely made to be used and I do use them. Yes, I am a bit more careful fishing with bamboo then plastic, but I’ve found that it just slows me down so that I enjoy the moment completely.”
Mark Rothenberg Fair Haven, NJ
"As someone who collects and fishes bamboo rods I have seen a lot of them in my life: Garrison, Payne, Leonard, T&T, etc. I can say, however, that the Marc Aroner limited edition rod that I just saw is an absolute masterpiece, a rod that will go down in history as one of the best. It is extraordinarily elegant and beautiful.
The model name and the serial number are engraved on this rod (a 6 1/2 #4 Aroner Series Serial #7 owned by my friend Mr. Suzuki). Everything about it – the chosen bamboo, the node-pressing, the metal engraving, the entire finish -- all of it is perfectly done. I can see your workmanship in the beauty of this rod, and the mastery of someone who has been doing this for many years.
It takes some time to get an Aroner rod (Rome wasn't built in a day) but the wait is worth it. With a rod like this you can sense the history of the craft that is poured into it. Rodbuilding is clearly your life’s work, and I’m very happy that you have made such a very wonderful rod."
Hiromitsu Mori Japan
"I am collector in Japan. It was ten years or more ago that I saw a rod of yours for the first time and was able to acquire it. I was amazed at the Leonard action and the wonderful metal work. This limited edition rod is a masterpiece, a truly museum-class rod, which is as impressive as the hunt patterns and spring creeks that are your standard models.
I thought you should know that although your rods are American they are equally venerated here in Japan. All of the elements of this rod – the premium cane, the workmanship, the hardware – are all absolutely wonderful and I’m extremely glad that I was able to obtain this rod. It has been a real life treasure to me."
T. Suzuki Tokyo, Japan
"In this day of computer designed and CNC generated products, it’s such a pleasure to find something completely built by one craftsman. Marc’s rods are the perfect example of something hand crafted that simply can’t be duplicated by any machine. And I’m not talking about just his exquisite finish work. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Marc since the early 1980’s and even back then the finish quality on his rods and metal fittings stood out. My father was a machinist/gunsmith and I grew up in a shop. Even my dad marveled at Marc’s precision. But get the rod out on the water and see for yourself what all the fuss about bamboo fly rods is really about. There is a delicacy and precision in the casting of a four weight Hunt Pattern rod that will tug at your heart and boggle your mind. And my six weight Spring Creek can belt out line like you wouldn’t believe...and then have the totally secure feeling of control when fighting a fish, which I have been lucky to experience with both rods many, many times.
Marc is the real deal, he does actually build his rods; he machines his ferrules and reel seats, mills the cane, varnishes the finished product, sews the bag, and even makes the tubes they are stored in. Not many “builders” today can say that. I have a few other cane rods, old Leonards and and Orvis or two. Held hand in hand, they look to me like the progression of fine cane rod building, but leading to the lofty mantel of perfection Marc has achieved.
Jeff Joiner Barnstable, MA