Matt Barber and Joel Doub are the owners of Tom Morgan Rodsmiths, a Bozeman-based fly rod company known for its unyielding commitment to quality, craftsmanship, and enduring performance. The duo purchased the company in early 2017 from Tom Morgan, a fly fishing legend who, along with his wife Gerri, built the company into one of the world’s most unique and renowned rod builders. Rather than focus on the latest fads or selling a high volume of products, Tom was dedicated solely to building the highest quality rod, one that could be passed on from generation to generation, decade after decade.
You may be surprised to learn that Matt and Joel are not fishing industry veterans—their previous careers were in education and medical device sales, respectively. But when Tom Morgan decided to sell the company, Matt and Joel’s passion for fly fishing, their willingness to learn from the best, and their commitment to continuing the company’s legacy allowed them to stand out from the crowd of competing buyers. To everyone’s dismay, Tom passed away unexpectedly soon after the sale of the company, but only after imparting his wisdom, craftsmanship secrets, and high standards to Matt and Joel. Building on Tom and Gerri’s rock-solid foundation, the company is now entering its next phase, and the future has never looked brighter.
Matt and Joel were in Denver for the annual Fly Fishing Show, so we met up to chat about the company and their journey into fly fishing entrepreneurship. We talked at length about Tom and his laser-like focus on quality, and how he was willing to snap a rod in half if it did not meet his high standards. We chatted about the “secret” to making these rods, which mostly boils down to being willing to work harder than anyone else. We talk about Tom’s unique partnership with his wife Gerri, and how the couple went about transferring decades of knowledge and experience to Matt and Joel. We discuss the company’s unique business model, and how it flies in the face of most mainstream, MBA business theories. And as usual, we discuss favorite books, films, crazy outdoor experiences, and plenty more.
This was a very fun conversation, and I’m excited to watch the company continue to grow and thrive under Matt and Joel’s ownership. Be sure to check out the episode notes for everything we discuss, and follow Tom Morgan Rodsmiths on Instagram and other social media. Enjoy!
All photos courtesy of Paige McAfee
- Tom Morgan Rodsmiths
- Tom Morgan Rodsmiths on Instagram & Facebook
- Denver Fly Fishing Show
- Winston Fly Rods
- Limmer Boots
- Yvon Chouinard
- Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
- Cate Havstad interview
- The O’Dell
- Duke Beardsley
- Duke Beardsley interview
- Casting for Recovery
- G Loomis
- Wallace Stegner
- Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner
- The River Why by David James Duncan
- Cormac McCarthy
- All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
- A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean
- I Like Killing Flies
- Rivers and Tides
- Jim Howell interview
- Mark Maggiori interview
- Article from The Drake Magazine