The Passing of Bailey Wood

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The Passing of Bailey Wood


Post by Ardea »


Sad news from Barton, Vermont, with the passing of Bailey Wood this morning. A quiet legend, he was a friend to many of us, and important to all of us.

From a history which included plant manager at REC, Bailey went on to follow Ted Simroe at The Leonard Company. Then, in 1983, with the encouragement of Hoagy B. Carmichael, Bailey began making ferrules, earning a visit and the blessing of Louis Feierabend. As the founder of Classic Sporting Enterprises, Bailey and his wife Barbara moved from a basement and over-sized garage to a 1870’s era farm, remodeled, and developed an extensive catalog. Barbara’s son Steve Monroe became the production manager. His job, Bailey proudly told us, was to “make sure everything gets produced and polished, and ready for me to ship.” Bailey and Steve worked together daily for twenty-seven years, a gift to all of us as the father groomed the stepson to carry on.

For nearly forty years, Bailey Wood exemplified excellence in craft and in service, arguably one of the people who made possible the renaissance in the making of split bamboo fly rods, yet he remained humble and a gentleman. Presented with the prestigious A. P. Bellinger Award in 2017, “in recognition of your contribution to the rodmakers’ craft and demonstrating that Quality and Integrity never go out of style,” Bailey was genuinely surprised, nearly speechless, and insisted that Steve be in the celebratory photograph with him.

Living quietly at the end of a country road, lined with classic stone walls and Vermont’s iconic red maples, Bailey Wood proved some things are enduring. Though he reached across the country and around the world, he never had a website, answered his own phone, and believed quality speaks for itself.

Our hearts go out to Barbara and Steve, and the rest of Bailey’s family and friends. The Cane Community has a nickel-silver memento of his role in our lives every time we use a fly rod. For David and I, we’ll also remember his hospitality and hugs, the times in the shop, his joy in sharing his classic cars, and how lucky we are to have know such a man.

We know many of you are wondering - condolences can be sent to:
Classic sporting enterprises 
214 Higgins Lane 
Barton VT 05822
Or Steve's email 

Kat and David

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Re: The Passing of Bailey Wood


Post by Hellmtflies »

Thank you Ardea. Sad news indeed. Quietly an iconic member of the rod building community. Another light on "Build It and They will Come". My condolences to the family.

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Re: The Passing of Bailey Wood


Post by HERMES2069 »

So saddened by the passing of my friend and mentor Bailey
I know that Steve will carry on with the same quality and selection
My condolences to the Woods family

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Re: The Passing of Bailey Wood


Post by munsey w »

Such a beautiful tribute! I will never forget the first time I went to buy ferrules from him...I looked for his website and it did not exist. Finally, after some searching, I was able to get his phone number and called him. We talked about the Digger Degere movie and how his Classic sporting enterprise package showed so prominently. I told him that's why i was calling :) RIP Bailey!

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Re: The Passing of Bailey Wood


Post by Tommasini »

Very sad. I was a customer for more than 30 years and never had a single problem with any of his products. Condolences to the Wood family.

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Re: The Passing of Bailey Wood


Post by OldCane »

Very sad news indeed. RIP
I don't have a PhD, but I do have a DD214.

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Re: The Passing of Bailey Wood


Post by sunjpg »

Very sad news, Bailey will be greatly missed. He was a gentleman and a precise craftsman. Being within a couple hours of his home in Barton, I often drove up to Barton to pickup ferrules, cap & ring seats, etc, just to be able to say hello and chat with him for a few minutes.

My condolences to Barbara and Steve. RIP.

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Re: The Passing of Bailey Wood


Post by tapermaker »

much respect to this man. one of those guys that always had a kind word when i called to make an order. his products were always spot on and he went out of his way to take care of you.

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Re: The Passing of Bailey Wood


Post by JimmyB11 »

One of the many things I looked forward to each year at the Catskill Gathering was spending time with Bailey and speaking with Steve, they always had a bag of goodies for me. We used to rent a house and have a get together in Roscoe with a few cocktails and camaraderie, Bailey and Steve would join us for talk of maple syrup and and all things bamboo. As we lose folks from Baileys generation I worry that the term gentleman will too be lost and that saddens me greatly. Take this time to remember how lucky we all are to have friends, family and loved ones, never for a second lose sight of what you have. This is a sad day................

Here is photo with Bailey in the yellow shirt speaking with Tom surrounded by Jed, Steve, Chris, Mike, Mark, Tim and others from 2014.

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Re: The Passing of Bailey Wood


Post by ShenRods »

This indeed is sad news. Another legend and piece of bamboo rodmaking history has departed us. He was a storehouse of knowledge that he was free to share. We had many long discussions and I was always surprised by what he knew and respected his knowledge. He was unselfish and gave back a lot to the Rodmakers and was a fixture at the Catskill Rodmakers Gathering.


Lets not forget his ferrules that everyone appreciated and admired. Without him making these this craft could not have grown like it has. He set the standard on craftsmanship and integrity:



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Re: The Passing of Bailey Wood


Post by HighSierraRods »

RIP Bailey. You will be missed

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Re: The Passing of Bailey Wood


Post by headwaters »

Very sad news! My condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues. He set the standard for quality and personalized service. I could never get over the fact that, when you called, he answered the phone and personally handled your order.

Thanks for the lovely tribute, Kat and David.

R.I.P., Bailey!

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Re: The Passing of Bailey Wood


Post by mikec »

what a great guy. so down to earth. funny as hell when he got going. i put off making ferrules for years because i knew i couldn't make them as well as bailey. the quality will not change as steve was making the ferrules anyway. he will be missed

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Re: The Passing of Bailey Wood


Post by Ron Barch »

In Issue #122/2010 of The Planing Form newsletter I wrote the following: If ever there was an unsung hero in the world of rodmaking it has to be Mr. Bailey Wood. No matter how exacting the rod maker's work or how perfect his/her cosmetics may be if the ferrules don't measure up then the rod is mediocre at best. Products from Classic Sporting Enterprise are like that "They Measure Up", whether a set of ferrules, a reel seat, or a classic rod sack. Like this newsletter, all the books on rod making and rod makers' gatherings, Bailey Wood has helped to keep the split bamboo rod making tradition alive and well. On behalf of the rod making community, Thanks Bailey. Editor/Ron Barch

Bailey Wood was my friend and I will miss his talents, devotion to quality and integrity (to quote the Bellinger Award) and his wonderful sense of humor! I am confident that Steve, his son and partner in Classic Sporting Enterprise will carry on the tradition we have trusted over all these years.
When you get a quiet moment pore two fingers of brown liquor, raise a glass and toast one of the finest individuals of the rod making fraternity. Thanks Again Bailey. Ron

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Re: The Passing of Bailey Wood


Post by resman549 »

RIP Bailey, a true gentleman.

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Re: The Passing of Bailey Wood


Post by troutnut »

So sorry to hear about Bailey. He help me so much over the years. My condolences to the family he will be missed.

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Re: The Passing of Bailey Wood


Post by Pentalux »

There was no finer!

So very well said Kat, Chris and Ron - thank you.

Prayers for Steve and his family and a toast to Bailey Wood - May you rest in peace.

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Re: The Passing of Bailey Wood


Post by fefferje »

I never met Bailey, but I feel a kinship with him because he lived up here in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont where we live. This is a beautiful corner of the world filled with freshness and freeness, and many mountain brooks. To know a man of his talent, who created the means of joining two sections of bamboo, was thriving in such a quiet place is consoling. I will marvel at the ferrules of my fly rods and marvel at Bailey Woods as well. I send my prayers to Bailey’s family. Blessings, Jed

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Re: The Passing of Bailey Wood


Post by Fred Kretchman »

Bailey was such a wonderful man- gracious, humorous, willing to help in any way, and of course: he and Steve made the best ferrules & reel seats for our bamboo community. I always looked forward to phoning him to place an order... the call was more than a business call: it was time to catch up on the latest in my rodmaking life, fishing stories, etc. At the Catskill Rod Makers Gathering, he was someone you couldn't wait to chat with. I too, will miss him. Today, I called and had a nice visit with Steve, and we can all rest assured that he will continue the tradition that Bailey started, and the supply of his high quality nickel silver rod components will continue. I'll miss him but I have such fond memories that will endure for the rest of my life. Thank you Bailey.

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Re: The Passing of Bailey Wood


Post by Carlson Rod »

I was saddened to hear of Bailey's passing.
Like a lot of others here on the forum, I knew Bailey for a long time, probably 35 years or so.
He was a genuinely nice guy and a pleasure to talk to.
RIP my friend.

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