The Art of Rod Crossman

“Trico Take”

Rod Crossman was raised in Upstate New York and now lives in Indiana. “He makes his living creating paintings, as a professor, an artist in residence at Indiana Wesleyan University. Other vocations have included life-guarding, sacking groceries, factory work, and graphic design”


Rod has two boys who share a common interest with him, an affinity for moving water. This thankfully brings them all together on occasion to go fly fishing. Rod has a keen eye for capturing wonderful moments when it comes to lighting, spacial relationships, and natures most awesome raw medium, water.

“Hemingway's Meadow”

Rod’s artwork has been published in some of the best sporting magazines, books and journals. His paintings have been shown world wide, including the Smithsonian, Chicago Art Institute, Woodson Art Museum, Ward Museum, and the High Museum. Rod has designed Trout, Turkey, Upland bird, and Duck stamps for several states with his design skills.

“Checking the Fly”

“Rod has a keen affinity for moments of what he calls wonder and awe. The magical state of being that leaves us vulnerable to the idea there is something more important in universe than ourselves”


“Mintage” Black Beauty

The rarity of finding old rods in truly “mint” condition these days is infrequent to say the least. Rods of this nature always stop me in my tracks. I was contacted by Ed Kitchen who literally lives about five minutes from me claiming that he had in his possession what I call a “mintage” Heddon Black Beauty. This is what I refer to as a rod that is not only very old but has remained untouched, unfished, and has literally been in cryostasis for many many years. Apparently this rod was Ed's Grandfather's and was handled with such infrequency that the grip had no soiling whatsoever. 

I soon was invited over to his house and he unveiled the rod. All of the labels were in incredible condition. The rod bag looked like it had just been sewn. The finish on the rod was immaculate. The guides looked as though they were freshly coated from the previous week. The black Pyaralin reel seat glistened. Probably the most well preserved Heddon let alone fly rod of this age I have ever seen. Ed, his father, and grandfather all seemed to have been Heddon enthusiasts which I thought was especially heartwarming. He had a few other Heddon rods that he showed me one of which I offered my services to revive a bit. The 9' Heddon #17 was his personal rod that he currently fishes with. 

Ed loves these rods and it shows when you talk with him, a little glint in his eye beams when he recalls different fishing experiences with his father and grandfather. Meeting fishermen like Ed really brings genuine meaning to the bamboo legacy. This is especially true when considering the memories that revolve, and still evolve from rods from one generation to the next.

The slogan:"Made by Heddon and Well Made" lives on...
~Clint Bova


Tying Small

Occasionally the Spring brings little if any rainfall during some of the first Mayfly hatches. This can make for some interesting fishing conditions especially when deja vu whispers and I have visions of the previous fall with typically low and clear water conditions. Ultimately early spring fishing can pay big dividends with Hendrickson hatches sporadically popping up. Timing and temperature is everything but with low and clear water conditions another frustrating factor can turn a potentially awesome day into a wash. Tying small can save the day in many conditions, this year was no exception. I was able to catch some great mayfly hatches in Western PA and some of my home waters this year. I have a stash of special dry fly boxes I put together over the winter that are my everyday patterns that I tie smaller than normal. By smaller than normal I mean I go down one or two hook sizes. This year I was armed with a box of Hendrickson patterns tied in the small that really pulled through for me. Most of my successful spring fly's this year consisted of mayfly patterns tied on #16 hooks down to #20's. The fished seemed fussier and my standard size Hendrickson patterns unfortunately did not get wet this year. I guess sometimes good things happen when you present small packages.
            ~Clint Bova