We spoke to Mike Konzen in December of 2021 about his custom rod business, Fishhead Custom Rods & Tackle. We were impressed with his story and the true passion he expressed. We knew once the conversation started, Mike represents fishing the way it ought to be. Mike began rod building several years ago in Eau Claire, WI, when he took the opportunity to take up the craft on his own when the gentleman he previously bought rods from concentrated on rod repair. As he began learning and developing this amazing skill, Mike joined a national guild, meeting people from the industry, and traveling to different areas to fish and see different styles of custom rods. As part of the Custom Rod Builders Guild (CRBG), he has learned from workshops and guidance of builders with decades of experience. Many seasoned rodbuilders unselfishly share their passion and mentor others and Mike found ready teachers in many phases of the craft. Mike initially began making rods for family before requests prompted him to begin selling his rods to anglers, and Fishhead Custom Rods was born. On a previous fishing trip to Belize, Mike’s youngest daughter hooked what would have been a 70 pound Greater Amberjack and after a long battle, the fish was boatside when a Tiger Shark engulfed the majority of the fish leaving only the head. Involving the lore of a fishing story seemed appropriate and became the name of the small venture that bears the name Fishhead. Mike owns an insurance agency as his profession and builds rods in his “extra” time and is quite busy with new and repeat customers. Presently he stays busy with Fishhead just through referrals and Facebook contacts without the added responsibilities of addressing a website.
Mike offers many different rod types, each in custom colors, designs, lengths and uses. He can create rods for on the ice, to open water, to fly fishing, all fully customized. He sources the materials himself and builds them all from start to finish. It was clear from Mike this truly is a passion to build custom rods for each person he works with. As it develops, Fishhead has grown through consistent workmanship and by word of mouth, sharing the great work Mike does. He has built many rods and said no two are ever the same. He wants to create pieces which are keepsakes to families that can be handed down through generations for years to come. It is obvious he has great pride in the work he does and takes care in assuring the relationship he creates with the customer is a priority, just as the rod he is building.
Mike has also had the opportunity to support great causes with his talents. He has built multiple custom rods for charities, raffles, and benefits. Among the projects that he has donated to include Brain (grey) and Breast Cancer (pink) Awareness events. Each of the rods for these events tied handpainted designs into the rods and used such details as antique threading to make each memorable. The result of the donated rods have been graciously received and raised funds for each intended cause. Other donated rods are quite popular at church auctions and help attract a competitive bidding, all for a good result. Examples of some of his memorable work include commemorative or meaningful coins worked into the rod grips, school and college colors, sports teams and landscape colors.
Mike builds what time permits and averages about 75 rods per year for his customers across the country. As he approaches retirement, he believes that number will increase, as he notes it is just the next chapter he’s looking forward to. If you or someone you know may be interested in purchasing a custom rod crafted with this amazing talent Mike has, he can be reached through his Facebook page @FishheadCustomRodsTackle or called directly at (715)-577-0229, mention you heard about him through Maxwells. This is not your everyday fishing rod, you will surely be impressed with the work he does and the passion he puts in to each one he sends out. Thanks, Mike, for giving us the time to talk about your business and share the story of Fishhead Custom Rods & Tackle.
Visit Mike’s Facebook Page here: Fishhead Custom Rods
Would you or someone you know like to share their outdoor business story? Feel free to reach out, we’d love to share how their business came to be and the great products or services they offer. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org, use our Contact Us page or message us on Facebook, @Maxwells.