Outdoors columnist for The Herald-Palladium

Stowe

Mike Stowe of Mikes Custom Rods applies finish to thread on a spinning rod in his Niles rod-making shop.

After more than 40 years of making fishing rods, Mike Stowe still enjoys it. The 74-year-old Niles resident still works full time as a machinist and spends two to three hours every weekday and another 12 hours on weekends making plain blanks of graphite or fiberglass into highly functional and beautiful fishing tools.

“I know I still enjoy it because if I didn’t I’d be farther behind keeping up with orders, dragging my feet about getting it done,” he quipped when I visited him in his roomy and clean, well-organized shop built into the back of his garage.

Outdoors columnist Dave Mull lives in Kalamazoo. Write to him at dave.sportfish.mull@gmail.com.