Legendary fishing rod creator shares a special secret

BOZEMAN, Montana -- A trout's brain is no bigger than a lentil, yet when it comes to outsmarting fly fishermen, it's enough. Which is why truly obsessive fishermen, like Randy Brown, seek any advantage they can -- like splurging on a $4,000 fishing pole.

"It's just a pleasure to fish with. There's just no other rods like these," says Brown. "It's the best stick there is."

The rods he's referencing are designed by legendary rod-maker Tom Morgan. If fly fishing is a religion, this is the Holy Grail. Which is why we recently made a pilgrimage to meet the maker at his home outside Bozeman, Montana.

We learned this man, who may know more about fly fishing rods than anyone in the world, hasn't so much as held one since 1995.

"You'd think since I couldn't go fishing that I might lose interest in it, but it's always been a pursuit of perfection," says Tom.

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Tom Morgan has been an avid fly fisherman his whole life.

Tom runs the business with the help of his wife, Gerri. A retired school teacher, she never cared much for fishing, let alone rod making. But after Tom was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, she bought into the dream: hook, line and endless tinkering.

"It's really given him a life, I think that he wouldn't have had," says Gerri.

Says Tom: "I never have thought about MS as holding me back from doing what I want to do."

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Tom Morgan
CBS News
As a kid growing up in Montana, all Tom wanted to do was fish. He used to fish until he dropped - literally. As an adult he needed less sleep so he did even more fishing, until MS. Now, virtually paralyzed, the disease forced him to re-channel his passion.

Tom still daydreams about fishing.

"I catch bigger ones now than ever."

Tom has none of the bitterness you'd expect to find in a man so cruelly denied his favorite pastime. In fact, there's a real joy in him that he says comes solely from bringing joy to others.

"Over the years, I know that I've provided thousands of people with great enjoyment in their favorite sport. It almost brings tears to my eyes."

Proof that there's only one thing better than a great day -- making someone else's.

  • Steve Hartman

    Steve Hartman has been a CBS News correspondent since 1998, having served as a part-time correspondent for the previous two years.

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