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Question and Answer: Retiree hooked on crafting fishing rods

Chuck DeRemer first held a fishing rod when he was a year old. Now the 64-year-old Fargo resident is putting fishing rods in the hands of others. DeRemer operates Chuck's Custom Rods in Fargo, which makes a variety of customized fishing rods. His...

Chuck's
Chuck DeRemer of Chuck's Custom Rods puts the guides on a fishing rod in his basement workshop in south Fargo. Carrie Snyder / The Forum

Chuck DeRemer first held a fishing rod when he was a year old.

Now the 64-year-old Fargo resident is putting fishing rods in the hands of others.

DeRemer operates Chuck's Custom Rods in Fargo, which makes a variety of customized fishing rods.

His creations cost $125 and up, with most selling for $200 to $250.

His business, which operates year-round, also repairs rods and offers

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rod-making classes.

The former educator retired three years ago as an administrator with the Fargo School District.

DeRemer is a lifelong fisherman who made his first rod 35 years ago.

He became serious about making rods five years ago and launched the business three years ago.

DeRemer thanked Galen Briese of Erie, N.D., for mentoring him in making rods.

Q: How long from when you first talk with a customer to the time the rod is finished?

A: I usually say about four to five days.

How many hours of work go into a rod?

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There's usually 10 to 12 hours, depending on how much decorative work I do.

Where are your clients located?

Mostly in this region.

I orient my business to dedicated fishermen.

They know what they want and appreciate a good instrument, a fishing rod.

I've always been intrigued by the fact that people will spend $15,000, $20,000, $30,000 for a boat, but they'll buy a $40 fishing rod.

A custom rod will help catch more fish?

Oh, yes. No question about it.

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When did you decide to start your own business?

It was something I always knew I wanted to do but never really developed it as a hobby until a few years ago.

I knew it was something I wanted to do after I retired.

After I started studying it, I realized you could make a better fishing rod than people can buy commercially.

Is there a common mistake people make in caring for their rods?

I think the biggest mistake most people make is not cleaning the guides once in awhile so they don't get dirt in there and get extra wear on their line.

I think people also go wrong in not using it (the rod) right, in trying to lift fish into the boats and also trying to get a lure out of a snag and putting too much force on to a rod.

So what's the attraction of fishing?

It's an excuse to get outside. (Laughs.)

Some people like to read a book - they don't know the end, but they like that it's entertaining.

Some people do puzzles because they solve something and at the end there's a sense of accomplishment.

Fishing for me is that same way.

With proper maintenance, how long should a good fishing rod last?

A lifetime.

Here's the big question:

Would you agree to make a rod for someone if it cut into time you hoped to fish yourself?

One nice thing about being retired is that every day is a Saturday.

So it's not as tough for me to say, "Look, if you need a fishing rod by the end of the week, I might have it for you." If I were still working, I might go fishing.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Jonathan Knutson at (701) 241-5530

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