June 18, 2002
Serving Western Deschutes County
Sisters, Oregon

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Sisters man builds a better fishing rod
By Jim Cornelius
Jerry Kollodge demonstrates the simple magic of the Compound Fishing Rod.

Jerry Kollodge and his wife, Deb, were fishing for sturgeon seven years ago when Jerry was struck by the age-old inspired frustration of the born inventor: There's got to be a better way.

The boat was full of fishermen wrestling with long rods, getting in each others way and, in Kollodge's estimation, using a lot more energy managing their fishing rod than in landing their fish.

That experience led directly to the development of Kollodge's "Compound Fishing Rod™."

The concept of the rod is simple enough: Wed a sensitive tip to a strong power rod much like a multiple leaf spring, eliminating the need for a long mid-section to the rod.

That means a fisherman can get more power out of a shorter, handier rod. Casting for distance is easier. The sensitive tip makes for quick bite detection and ease in setting the hook.

"It's just got a better mechanical advantage than a single shaft does," said Kollodge. "Instead of fighting the rod, you're fighting the fish."

Of course, creating something of such elegant simplicity is a lot harder than it looks. It took the Kollodges several years to refine his concept, and the patent process, Jerry said, "is absolutely brutal. We've been working on one of our patents for seven years.'

Kollodge's goal is to license his rods to large rod manufacturers. There's wide interest in the Compound Fishing Rod, although Kollodge says he's run into some of the "not-invented-here syndrome" from R&D people.

Although Kollodge does not want to go into manufacturing in competition with large rod makers, he does make and market Compound Fishing Rods on a small scale for demonstration.

Folks in Sisters can sample the wares at Saturday Markets and Kollodge has placed product at local sportsmen's shows.

"Some of the locals have rods here," Kollodge said. "I've shipped rods to France, even."

Those efforts, he says, are vital to get feedback from fishermen, who seem to find the rods perform just the way their inventor intended.

"So far we've had 100 percent satisfaction," Kollodge said.

The rods are a little different-looking, with the tip sitting atop the power rod like the space shuttle on a booster rocket. That appearance and the radical design aren't for everyone.

"There's a lot of purists, of course, who just don't believe in it," Kollodge said.

Kollodge is no stranger to cutting-edge design. Jerry noted that he has a formal background in physics and math, and over 34 years of experience as an aerospace engineer.

He worked for Ball Aerospace Systems Division doing research and development for spacecraft instrumentation.

That background comes in handy in designing even something as apparently basic as a fishing rod.

""The technical background has definitely helped me," Kollodge said. "There's a lot of physics involved in building a good rod."

Compound Fishing Rods are available in fly-casting, spinning, bait-casting, ice and ocean fishing models. For more information contact Sisters Compound Rods™, 549-1639; fax: 549-1844; e-mail: Kollodge@prodigy.net.

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