Our Story

The Story So Far…

Best Fly Rods

The company is owned and run by Carl McNeil and Jeanie Ackley, the filmmaking couple that produced the award winning fly fishing films Once in a Blue Moon, Casts that Catch Fish and Itu’s Bones.

Carl was one of the first IFFF Certified Master Fly Casting Instructors in New Zealand and has taught hundreds of anglers how to fly cast both at home and abroad. His hugely popular fly casting DVD ‘Casts That Catch Fish’ remains one of the most popular fly casting films ever made.

After selling his IT company in early 2003 he became a self professed "fly fishing wastrel" for a number of years, traveling the world fishing and fly casting and generally having a good time. This all changed (for the better) when his lovely wife Jeanie announced they were to have a baby. 

Over the intervening years Carl was fundamentally involved in the International Federation Of Fly Fishers Instructors Program. Serving on the CI examination committee and International testing committee. He served as an associate editor for the IFFF's fly casting magazine the Loop. 

He is a recipient of the Presidents Pin award for services to fly casting. He is also a recipient of the IFFF's conservation award and has Fly Fished for New Zealand in the Jackson Hole One Fly. Carl has written numerous fly fishing and fly casting articles for magazines around the world and has featured in a couple of books about fly fishing.

Jeanie is an internationally recognised documentary filmmaker, camera woman and marine biologist. Jeanie pretty much runs the business…

The Epic brand was born out of the simple desire to “Build a Better Fly Rod” after having seen so many fly casters struggle with stiff lifeless fly rods.

Our Ethos

  • At Swift we swim against the current, favouring solid design, innovation and original thinking over consumer mass production, fashion and fickle trends.   
  • We strive to be the very best, not the cheapest nor the biggest.
  • We pride ourselves on astounding customer service.
  • Our pioneering approach to design and high quality manufacture set the standard by which others endeavour to follow.


We believe in producing the very highest quality product we can. We believe buying cheap is a poor investment, it's bad for you, bad for the industry and bad for the planet. Epic fly rods are not only exquisite they are built tough to last a lifetime. Our goal is that you will be passing your Epic onto your kids.
Let someone else do cheap - we do excellent.

The Environment.

We are passionate and active environmentalists.  A healthy environment benefits us, our families, our customers and our business. Wherever possible we will reduce waste, produce more efficiently and conduct our business with as low an impact as possible.

We've been adventuring, diving, hiking and fishing for a while now, more than 30 years in-fact.  From Antarctica to Key West, the Aleutian Islands to the Cook Islands and most places in-between. During our travels we've come to learn and appreciate the value of top quality gear - and that's what we produce and sell

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