Injury turns hobby into a full-time occupation for rod builder Richard

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Building trade worker Richard Stewart was forced to find another source of income after damaging discs in his back so he turned to his life-long hobby, fishing.

Now, he's firmly established as one of Scotland's top rod repairers and his clients from all over Scotland and as far south as Barry, nine miles south of Cardiff.

Stewart receives work via word-of-mouth or from local tackle shops including Deals on Reels in nearby Cowdenbeath. What's more, he custom builds. If you support a particular football team then the rod guides can be secured with their colours.

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The 53-year-old Yorkshireman - he met a lady from Inverkeithing and the rest is history - said: "Fishing has been my life since I was seven-years-old. When I damaged the discs in my back I had to find some work out of the building trade.

Richard Stewart at his workbench.Richard Stewart at his workbench.
Richard Stewart at his workbench.

"Now, I repair rods for sea fishing and carp fishing, coarse anglers send their rods to me as do pike anglers an fly fishermen and I do what people want."

He sources the materials and fits them to order and customers send them by mail to his business, East Coast Rods. Stewart does not have a website, and is only noticeable on Facebook, but he said: "It's amazing how work comes in but I get a lot of clients via word-of-mouth.

"I ask people how they found me and most of the time I get an answer like: 'so and so told me about you'. That's great. There are a lot of anglers around but it is a small community.

"I'm busy but I can work at my own pace in my workshop."

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The Leeds-born businessman does, however, find time to fish and said: "I generally go for marks from Elie to up past Stonehaven."

All rods are different so it is difficult for Stewart to give a ball-park figure on costs but, for example, to strip a beachcaster completely and re-build could cost around £180.

He added: "I fix the guides, reel seat and anything that needs done and, once repaired, then basically clients have a new rod."

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