On the East End, fishing is a way of life. Many men and women make their living by going out day after day in local waters, and countless recreational fishermen cast their lines in the hope of maybe landing a tuna, fluke, striper or one of the thousands of other different species of delicious and beautiful fish that fill the bays and ocean.
Regardless of your level of expertise, why be satisfied with the regular fishing poles that are sold at Kmart and Target? Based right here in the Hamptons, Altenkirch Precision Outfitters has been offering top-of-the-line handcrafted fishing poles since 1930, and all are sure to last a lifetime.
By using the latest technology and the finest materials, they can create vintage reproductions and state-of-the-art stealth fighters. Their selection includes trolling, wire line, stand up, bottom, bait casting, fly fishing, sailfish, small marlin, jigging, spinning and children’s stand-up fishing rods. They also sell accessories including lures, coolers and clothing, but it’s the custom-designed poles that have built the name of the business serving the local community for four generations.
In 1929, company founder Charles Altenkirch sold the family gravel business in Bayside, Queens in order to open a garage in Hampton Bays. He was an avid fisherman who chose to use his own handmade rods, and soon a business was born. In 1938, after the great hurricane, he started making offshore rods, and in the 1940s he produced rods for the famed clothing company Abercrombie & Fitch.
After Charles stepped down, his son Mickey took over the family company, and he raised it to a whole new level by using fiberglass in the poles. The goal was to ensure that they would not rot and deteriorate or take on a permanent bend, although the internal construction remained the same. Mickey’s sister Miriam, also a well-known fisher, got involved with the making of these fishing poles as well. Now Hank Altenkirch, Mickey’s son, is the one making the poles and keeping the family business alive. He has changed his father’s fiberglass poles to ones with Lamiglas, Boron and Titanium, and they have earned their international repuation as the best of the best, in addition to being incredibly durable.
“We sell a lot of bottom fishing poles for black fish, sea bass, fluke and stripers,” notes Hank. “I recently sent out some poles to Saudi Arabia to a Shah. I also sent out 26 rods to Panama for a floating lounge. I deal with customers from all over the world.”
Users of Altenkirch Precision Outfitters poles will find themselves in esteemed company. Some of the famous people who’ve fished with them through the years include Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Ernest Hemingway, Steve McQueen, Roger Waters, George W. Bush and Billy Joel. Pro fishermen and captains use them as well, including world-record holder Steve Sloan.
As the summer approaches, “the stand-up tuna rods and shark rods are selling great,” Hank says. But before you go and order a pole of your own, you have to ask yourself a few questions: What do you want to catch? Where are you fishing? What lures are you using? And what’s your glove size? These are all crucial inquiries you must answer before choosing the pole. If you’re into tuna fishing, for example, you’re going to need a strong pole. But if you’re just fishing for fluke, your pole doesn’t need to be too heavy.
The team at Altenkirch Precision Outfitters can help you find exactly what you’re looking for. Why settle when you can get a top-of-the- line handmade custom fishing pole—especially when you’re fishing in the Hamptons?
For more information, visit Altenkirch.com or call 631-728-4110.