Over the years we’ve met thousands of anglers, attended dozens of shows and events, visited a ton of dealers, listened to the advice of hundreds of guides, met some of the pioneers of our sport and traveled the globe fly fishing. Not too shabby for a couple of overgrown children from SoCal. Through it all one question always comes up: How did it all begin?

Back in 2003, two days before a trip to the Eastern Sierras, I purchased what was the most expensive fly reel I had ever owned. It was a beautiful piece of equipment and I was excited to use it. Two hours into the first day the reel stopped working. Literally, parts were falling off. I was pissed! It was on the drive back home that I thought to myself that I could build a better reel.

I reached out to a business friend who was the only person that I knew whose products were machined. That friend suggested that I call Danny Ashcraft, but instead of calling, I drove over and walked in the front door. When I asked for Danny, I was told he was on vacation — fly-fishing in Idaho as it turns out. What were the odds of finding a machine shop owner in San Diego who was also an avid fly fisherman on the very first try?