A winter visitor’s suggestion has a group of young boys reeling over an old pastime. The 11 members of Scottsdale Cub and Boy Scout Troops 442 continue to participate in a fishing rod-building project that began in early June.
The boys are raising money to buy reels for a fishing trip sometime in the next two months.
Scoutmaster Jack Stieg and Neal Cissel of Neal’s Custom Fishing Rods and Guide Service in Mesa got the idea from Minneapolis resident Paul Weible.
All the boys had fishing experience with the troops or their parents, but Cissel and Stieg thought it would be more fun to add a hands-on experience of personalizing equipment.
“They jumped at the idea,” Stieg said. “Each boy wound up with a different idea for his own rod, and Neal gave them options. They’ve taken a real shine to fishing. We’ve taken them fishing, and all of them liked it a lot.”
Stieg said that while the rods look alike, each boy made a custom handle and chose his own color thread used to fasten the guide that the line goes through. Two of the boys made fly rods, which use the weight of the fly line for casting, while the others made spin rods, designed to hold a spin casting reel.
The boys have been part of the annual Camelback District Fishing Derby the past three years. Stieg said Cissel provided the materials for the rods, and the Scouts brought their ideas. The two men worked closely with the boys to ensure the finished products came out just right.
“I thought it was really fun,” 14-year-old Austin Morgan said. “You can say you went fishing before, but we never thought of making our own rods. Fishing is a great outdoor activity for Scouts to do. This makes it even more fun.”
The Scouts are collecting and selling aluminum cans to earn the money to buy reels for their rods. The boys are sponsored by Bethany Lutheran Church in Scottsdale, where they meet Tuesdays at 7 p.m.
“I haven’t fished that much, but I like this idea a lot,” 10-year-old Brian Greenhagen said. “It was pretty neat working on the rods and seeing how they ended up looking. I’m proud of what I did and can’t wait to use it.”
Cissel, an avid fisherman, has built custom rods since 1985. He was an Eagle Scout and said he wants to give back to the children who follow him in Scouting.
“We still have kids who like the outdoors and the idea of fishing,” Cissel said. “They want to do this. Sure they have more to do today with computers, video games and technology like that, but a lot of them are also drawn to things like fishing. We showed them the components involved with making the rods. They’ll have a lot of fun when they use rods they’ve made.”
Stieg isn’t sure when or where the fishing trip will take place. It might be as close as Chaparral Lake or one of the state’s rim lakes.
Other Scouts in the troops are 10-year-olds George Burdick, Dane Neilson and Chris Taylor; Jacob Greenhagen, 8; Laddie Shane, 14; Travis Greenhagen, 15; Jacob Rubow, 13; Bo Eddens, 12; and Bryce Eddens, 11.