Recent holiday travels had Abigail and I passing through southern Wisconsin, which is home to more than just Badgers, Harley Davidson, and Miller Brewing Company. If you’re a fisherman and have been on the internet recently, you may have seen these handy rod holders that have been showing up on angler’s belts all around the country and in some cases, the world. This handy tool is made by a company called O’Pros (Outdoor Professionals) and hails from Janesville, Wisconsin—about 30 minutes south of Madison.
Janesville was on our travel route, so we thought what better way to break up the drive then to stop and visit the 3 brothers that make up O’Pros. David, Mike and Aaron Jacobson were born and raised in Wisconsin and took advantage of the outdoor opportunities it offered. As they spent more time outdoors, specifically fishing, they started looking for ways to make their time more efficient and the “Dragon Fly Rod Holder” was born. The Dragon Fly clips easily to your wading belt, pants, waistband or pack and securely holds your rod when you need an extra set of hands. Abigail and I have each been using the Dragon Fly for a year now and can personally attest to how handy they are. In the rare occasion I don’t have mine on me, I find myself trying to clip my rod into its hooks out of habit, only to be disappointed when I realize I neglected to bring it along.
Our short visit began with a quick cup of coffee at a local coffee shop with David and his new wife, Katie. Within seconds, we started conversing about our recent fishing outings and upcoming plans. We made our way down the street to headquarters, which currently resides in Aaron’s basement. But don’t let this fool you: they have a well-run setup and process, and currently push a lot of product out of this underground bunker. Aaron greeted us as we pulled up with a big smile partially covered by his gnarly beard, which has become a staple look with the brothers.
As we made our way down to the basement, Mike was hard at work, pumping out black Dragon Flys, sporting a beard that rivals his older brother Aaron’s. With the holidays approaching and some recent features by other fishing companies, the orders have been piling up for the company. Business is good, but time is still finite and the brothers are busy. Mike walked us through the process of how they assemble the Dragon Fly which only reinforced my belief in the quality and thought behind the product. They are well-built and made entirely in Wisconsin. For an American-made product and great small business customer service, the $25 price tag is a bargain.
If you’re looking for a gift idea for that fisherman or woman in your life, I would highly recommend giving them and extra hand in the form of a Dragon Fly Rod Holder; currently available in blue, black and green. The brothers are also working on prototypes for new and upcoming products that you’re sure to see on the water soon, solving problems that you may not have even realized you had.
And if you find yourself fishing in the Driftless Area and happen across three dudes with gnarly beards, you may be able to score a deal on a Dragon Fly Rod Holder that, for whatever reason, you’ve neglected to buy yourself already.