Author: Will Rice
Innovation – design – craftsmanship - durability. These are four things that drew our attention to Big Sky Rod Box earlier this year. Now, we’re happy to announce these innovative fly rod roof rack systems have arrived at Trouts Fly Fishing.
After a few conversations over the phone, an in person meeting here in the shop, and a number of months of thorough product testing on the roof of one our trucks, Trouts Fly Fishing is proud to introduce Denver and the rest of our customers to Big Sky Rod Box. Without any further ado, queue the October Spotlight:
Trouts Fly Fishing: Tell us how you got into the rod rack design and manufacturing business?
Big Sky Rod Box: Many people think of Bozeman, MT only as a fly fishing destination. With over 30 laser companies, Bozeman is also known as the Silicon Valley of Montana. Scott and I have worked together for over 15 years at high-tech engineering and manufacturing companies, gaining a wealth of knowledge and long list of trusted suppliers. Our passion for fishing has remained strong since our childhoods in this great state. So, after designing the original rod box prototype in 2005, we called in a few favors from our favorite suppliers, and the first Big Sky Rod Box was born. Our sole motivation was to have a convenient and secure way to transport our own rods, as all the current solutions were inadequate. As time passed, the demand for this product grew--Scott and I knew we could do it better than the rest.
Trouts Fly Fishing: All of your rod boxes are designed and manufactured in Montana – tell us about your operation and how you can compete with other rod rack manufacturers who build their equipment overseas?
Big Sky Rod Box:We could choose to mass market our products, sending the manufacturing overseas to boost margins by a few percentage points, but that’s not our business. The Big Sky Rod Box is a high end solution made 100% right here in Montana. We see each box through every stage of the manufacturing process--the quality of workmanship is reviewed continually. Working with local suppliers, we also have the flexibility to make custom boxes on the fly. You want a different size? Sure thing, just give us a few weeks. You want a custom color? It only takes one phone call.
Trouts Fly Fishing:Why is constructing a rod box from 18 gauge powder coated steel important or better than other rod rack materials on the market?
Big Sky Rod Box:Long term durability and security are at the core of our all products. Every material was chosen to last for the long haul, including the power coat. Eight years later, the original prototype is still the box on top of my truck. It looks and functions just like the brand new ones on the showroom floor.
Trouts Fly Fishing:What about the types of cars or trucks that can use a Big Sky Rod Box? Is there any vehicle better suited for this rack configuration than others? Are their vehicles this rack won’t work for?
Big Sky Rod Box:Because of the overall length required to hold most standard fly rods, there were certain vehicles (mainly smaller cars) that the Big Sky Rod Box was not well suited for. After being inundated with requests from a town where the Subaru’s outnumber the dogs, we scaled the design down and are now also offering the 5.5ft “Sculpin”. You leave your rods rigged, and break them in half for transport. The foam dividers keep the rods tangle free and away from the Labrador in the back seat. The Sculpin can also be mounted to the cab or bed of a pickup that doesn’t have a topper, boat trailers, ATVs, ect. Really the possibilities are endless. With the addition of the Sculpin, we now feel like there isn’t a vehicle out there that we can’t mount one of our boxes to.
Trouts Fly Fishing:What does someone need to install a Big Sky Rod Box and how long does it take?
Big Sky Rod Box:Mounting any of our boxes requires attaching it to an appropriate roof rack with u-bolts. Installation requires drilling a few holes in the bottom of the box to run the u-bolts up through, which are secured with nyloc nuts on the inside of box. The foam inserts cover the u-bolts so there is no chance of scratching or rubbing on the rods. Whether it’s done by an authorized retailer or at home, installation usually takes less than an hour.
Trouts Fly Fishing:How’s fishing been in Montana this summer? Any good stories to share? We promise... we won’t tell anyone.
Big Sky Rod Box:Well, I wish we could say we spent a record number of days on the water this year, but the reality is between rod boxes and other life events, our days have not been as plentiful as usual. However, the good news is our track record for picking days this year has been epic. Had some great days on the Madison and Gallatin. And the salmonfly hatch on the Yellowstone this year will be one to remember for a long time. It is fall now which brings a dilemma for many Montanan’s as the upland game bird and big game archery seasons just opened. I’m hoping to squeeze in a few more days on the river this fall, but with a 2.5 year old Brittnay pup about to enter his prime, the fields are calling.
What does Trouts Fly Fishing have to say about the Big Sky Rod Box after four months of product testing?
“I purchased my Big Sky Rod box back in June, and I've been a believer ever since,” said Tucker Ladd, owner of Trouts Fly Fishing. “I had previously owned two Titan Rod Vaults, but due to excessive wear and tear on my rods and reels I opted to rid myself of these rod carrying devices. I've been carrying 4 rods in my Rod Box all summer, and the unique design of the Big Sky Rod box has kept all four in "like new" condition. From the top opening feature, to the foam lined interior, to the bomb proof attachment design, it is clear the Big Sky Rod box is the ideal rod carrying device for anglers concerned with function, design and security.”
You can learn more about Big Sky Rod Box online or check out their new rod racks here in the shop - or as always, give us a call at 303.733.1434.