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Tycoon Tackle Heads to Charlottesville

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Tycoon Tackle, a fishing rod company with nearly 80 years of history, plans to expand by opening a Charlottesville-area production facility by the end of the year.


Source: Nate Delesline III / Daily Progress


Tim O’Brien, president of the company, which was reborn some two years ago, said Charlottesville is ‘perfectly positioned’ to serve customers on the East Coast and beyond.

“We have been selling product all over the United States,” O’Brien said. “We have shipped rods to Mexico, Singapore, Japan, and we have some inquiries from England. And in the Caribbean basin, we’ve been shipping rods to Puerto Rico, so we feel like we have a broad customer base.”

Founded in 1935 in Miami by O’Brien’s late father, Frank O’Brien, Tycoon equipment quickly became top gear for the era’s renowned sportsmen. Back then, “the only guys who were doing any big-time fishing were people of wealth and people of means,” O’Brien said.

As ‘regular people’ took notice of what the country’s power players were doing on the water, O’Brien said they started following fishing back then like people today might follow baseball.

“My dad just happened to come on the scene about that time and he developed these fishing rods that were not breaking, and they started catching these giant fish,” O’Brien said.

But when World War II broke out, the company was forced to retool to stay in business and making fishing gear took a backseat to making aircraft landing gear. The company did however resume making fishing equipment after the war.

Although production faded in the 1970s and pieces of the company were sold off, O’Brien’s interest was piqued about a decade ago, and he led the company’s rebirth. Today, Tycoon Tackle’s products include bamboo fishing rods, along with glass and graphite fly rods, and spinning and trolling rods.

Although people can enjoy fishing with any type of equipment, O’Brien said he is confident the company’s legacy bodes well for future growth.


“There’s an aura, a heritage that goes with a Tycoon rod,” O’Brien said. “A Tycoon rod is the same rod that Ernest Hemingway had. I would suggest that I think there is something to the name.”

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