Brad Heun Builds Winning Fly Rod

Brad Heun and his winning fly rod (detailed photos below)

Brad Heun and his winning fly rod (detailed photos below)


Brad Heun of Oak Ridge, a member of the Knoxville Program of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing and of the Clinch River Chapter of Trout Unlimited, has won a first-place prize in the national PHWFF rod building contest.

His 8’6” fly rod placed first in Category One (for wounded veterans). His award will be a trip to Grayling, MI, for a bamboo rod building course. Heun says he looks forward not only to building a bamboo fly rod, but to fishing for the big brown trout found in that area.

Heun, originally from Iowa, has fished all his life, but had never fly fished until he joined the Knoxville program of PHWFF. He credits that program and Trout Unlimited for introducing him to a sport he now loves.

Instructors in the Knoxville rod building course, including Dan Moneymaker and Steve Brown, “showed us a lot of stuff” about building fly rods, Heun said. Clearly, he learned what they had to teach him.

Hundreds of rods built by more than 800 PHWFF veteran participants involved in 98 programs across the country were entered in the 2017 National Rod Building Competition—the largest number ever to take part.

Rods are judged on neatness, functionality and creativity, using a 10-point scale; winners are those with the highest scores.

The Clinch River Chapter has been a partner of the Knoxville program of PHWFF since its founding in 2012. Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing is dedicated to the emotional and physical rehabilitation of wounded and disabled veterans and active military members through fly fishing (for more information, visit