Chemistry and Fishing Rods

December 18, 2023 | Written by: Campbell Wheby

fishing rods in a display case

Part of my Business Retention and Expansion role is to help our community, external patrons,
and potential employees realize what the businesses in Lee County have to offer. To me, that’s
sharing the entrepreneurial spirit: global manufacturers who give to the community, small
hometown businesses that have weathered the storms over the years will bring possibilities.
The stories, the history, and the innovation will pull you in, and you will see how amazing the
business community and the opportunities available right here in Lee County are.

This story is not uncommon and has even started some Fortune 500 companies- “A guy in his
garage.” Lee County is fortunate enough to have many such stories. In 2009, Dr. Matthew
Cashion earned his Ph.D. in Chemistry with a concentration in polymer science from Virginia
Tech and began to chase his passion from his garage. Taking the composition of fishing rods
down to a molecular level, he has engineered true innovations for the world of fishing. On
Hawkins Avenue just before 15-501 heads to Pittsboro, you can find these American made, high
quality rods and see the craftsmanship that goes into them.

Visiting the store is a treat. Not only do they have merchandise for sale, but you can see the
rods being built by many talented craftsmen. From meeting with the team, it is immediately
obvious this is a family, faith and fun atmosphere, but the attention to detail and focus on a
quality product comes through as well. Dr. Cashion’s research experience and expertise lies in
the interface of advanced adhesives and continuous fibers. “The composite interface is the most
important juncture of a fishing rod blank. Fiber encapsulation with the epoxy matrix influences
the flexural and compression strength of composite blanks,” explains Dr. Cashion. What does
this mean? The details matter, because a fishing rod’s strength and performance depends on
how well the fibers bond with the epoxy surrounding them. You may have never imagined that
much science in a fishing rod, until now. Many of Cashion’s employees are local and have been
trained in-house in their superb abilities to create these high-quality rod blanks.

The Cashion Mission “is to create American made products for the outdoor industry with
uncompromising quality delivered with the highest level of customer service.” This is something
great to have and be proud to call made in Lee County. Cashion Rods is grounded in Christian
values of humility, honesty, integrity, respect, kindness, and a sense of community responsibility.
Cashion is a team oriented atmosphere, and it’s exciting that this experience in a science-driven
niche is available as an employer in Lee County. You can visit Cashion Rods Monday – Friday
from 8am-5pm. Lee County is truly a community of makers. I hope this fueled your curiosity
about what #LeeMakes and maybe your entrepreneurial spirit too.

Crystal Gaddy, Business Retention and Expansion Manager