Anthony Magardino grew up in Scarsdale, New York, and had the good fortune to spend his summers an hour and a half away in Roscoe, along a certain trout stream that’s been written about quite a bit over the years...the Legendary Beaverkill.
There were anglers in his family, but no fly-fishers. There were fly-fishers on the Beaverkill, however, and they acknowledged Magardino and his brothers, watching with interest from the bank. One angler in particular, a World War II veteran, took the trouble to hand Magardino a rod and teach him what to do with it.
“It was something I learned, and was given the opportunity to become proficient at it, from complete strangers,” recalled Magardino, 43, who today finds himself the owner of the Beaverkill Rod Co.
Magardino still lives in Scarsdale and considers the company to be based in New York, which makes Beaverkill at least the fourth brand of fly rod based in the Empire State. To my knowledge, Beaverkill is the only New York-based fly rod company whose rods are made in the United States. The blanks are rolled in Massachusetts; finishing work is being completed in New York, Maryland, Naples, Fla. and the company has also announced a new sales and manufacturing facility located in San Francisco for 2014.
Magardino said he hopes eventually to consolidate the company’s operations in Roscoe, near its namesake river. Those chance encounters with friendly strangers on the Beaverkill made Magardino a fly-fisher for life, and inspired him to name his rod company after the river. Though it was based in Maryland, the company already had the Beaverkill name when Magardino bought it from its founders, who had the bad luck to start a new business right before the Great Recession. Magardino had owned a Beaverkill rod and considered it one of his favorites.
“I’m from New York and I love New York, so I bought the company and moved it here,” he said. “I truly believe the best way to make this company a real player that’s going to be around for a long time is listening to everybody — listening to the people buying our rods,” Magardino said. “My intention is to sell a $395 rod that could easily sell for $600- $800, and make it here, on shore, (at a price where) people could buy it here, add it to their collection and still have a few dollars in their pocket to spend at their favorite fly shop.”
The company offers a robust line of 26 rods from 3-12 weight, most with multiple action choices — that is, the lighter rods come in slow and medium actions, the 5-7 weight rods come in slow, medium and fast, and the heavier rods come in medium and fast. All are under $400.
Magardino currently sits on the board of directors at the American Fly Fishing Museum in Manchester, Vermont. And, has been a member of the board at the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum in Livingston Manor, as well as some of the more famous and exclusive NYC and Catskills Angling and Shooting clubs, like the Anglers' Club of New York, Debruce, Wintoon, and TMRP. Every year, Beaverkill Rod Co. hosts an outing for disabled veterans, including personalized rods engraved with each participant’s name, rank and branch of the service, on Wintoon’s prized private water on the upper Neversink River.
Magardino said he was delighted a few weeks later, when two female officers who attended told him they had taken up fly fishing as a result of the outing.
“They surprised me by showing me they had become excellent fly-fishers in a few weeks,” he said. “They told me they had never felt the peace that they had while standing in the river, and taking in all the scenery around them.”.
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"The great body of our citizens shoot less as times goes on. We should encourage rifle practice among schoolboys, and indeed among all classes, as well as in the military services by every means in our power. Thus, and not otherwise, may we be able to assist in preserving peace in the world. The first step – in the direction of preparation to avert war if possible, and to be fit for war if it should come – is to teach men to shoot!"