Kerry Burkheimer

Kerry Burkheimer

Andy Dear | Monday, 17 May 2021

I first ran across Kerry Burkheimer’s name back in the late 1990s in a copy of Fly Rod & Reel Magazine. They had published a piece titled “Fine Rods From Small Makers” if I remember correctly. There was something about Kerry’s design philosophy that intrigued me, so I called him up to order a few blanks.

 Through a series of subsequent conversations and blank purchases, Kerry and I became good friends We have similar thoughts about what a proper fly rod taper should feel like, and both agree that the design process should be way more emotional and organic, than sterile and numeric. When I started this series of interviews, I knew from my history with Kerry as a customer, that it would be absolutely no problem to get him involved….and it wasn’t, as he was all in from the get go. Unsurprisingly, Kerry was very much an open book about his lineage in this business, which by the way is both deep and wide. From J.K.FIsher, to LCI, there are many of you out there who have fished with a rod with KErry's fingerprints on it, and most likely do not even know it.

  I am not sure how many of you are familiar with the name Russ Peak, but if you’re not, you damn well should be. Russ was, and still is acknowledged to be one of the masters of fiberglass fly rod construction. His Zenith series were cutting edge for the time, and are still highly sought after today. Russ was one of Kerry’s mentors, and in fact if I remember correctly, when Russ closed his shop, Kerry purchased all of Russ’s blanks and design sheets for possible future reproductions.

 My interview with Kerry was unique in that not only did we maintain a friendship after the interview, but Kerry actually became a customer of mine, and I, an even bigger customer of his. I was actually Kerry’s first domestic blank distributor in the USA back in 2004. And for several years I supplied Kerry with highly figured, exotic wood blanks for his reel seat inserts, as well as some of the first agglomerated cork products we had developed, that he used for decorative inlays in his Spey grips.

  Aside from possessing one of the finest minds for blank design in the industry, Kerry is also one of the real gentlemen in this business. Much like Jimmy, our interactions were always laced with humility, honesty, and more than the occasional good joke. Kerry is one of the last remaining craftsmen that had the privilege of rubbing elbows with the old guard, and anyone with a keen eye can see it and feel it in his dedication to fine craftsmanship, his attention to detail in both aesthetics and performance, and his love for the sport of fly fishing.


Hope your all having a great week, and staying healthy,