Getting Started On Building Your Own Custom Fishing Rods

custom fishing rods

Building Custom Fishing Rods

As someone who only uses custom built fishing rods, I get a lot of questions from readers about them. The most common of those is usually somewhere along the lines of, “Why should I spend the extra money to build a custom rod when I’m perfectly happy fishing rods off the rack?” Well, the obvious answer to that is if you’ve done your homework and find factory rods a perfect match to your fishing needs, there’s no reason whatsoever to consider going custom and you might as well stop reading here. But if you’re one of the many fishermen who are happy fishing factory rods because that’s all you’ve ever used, I’d like to take a moment to explain the advantages of going custom.

Ideally, when in use, the fishing rod should act as an extension of the angler that allows them to maximize their distance and accuracy when casting a bait or lure, allows them to manipulate that offering in an enticing manner and, once a fish is hooked, allows them to fight it in an efficient manner. The thing is that everyone has different body sizes, casting styles, preferred retrieves and fish fighting techniques. Given that, the chances of someone just grabbing a mass produced rod off the rack at their local tackle shop and having it perfectly match all three criteria are slim to none.

custom fishing rodsPersonally, my biggest problem with factory rods has always been the rod handle length. At 6’2″ long and the reach of someone several inches taller, my somewhat simian stature means that the rear grip on every factory rod I’ve ever picked up has felt too short.

Do an extra couple inches of rear grip matter that much?

You bet it does. By shortening my grip, I’m limiting my casting distance (it’s like choking up on a golf club or baseball bat). It also makes the butt sit funny in my arm pit when I’m retrieving the lure, making for a sub optimal presentation that can cost bites. And if I do hook a big fish on my poorly swimming lure, I’m going to sacrifice pulling power because the reel will be too low for me to lever the rod the way I’m most comfortable. If just the butt section of the rod has that much of an effect, you can imagine how important everything from there to the tip is as well.

Building Custom Fishing RodsRather than give you a laundry list of advantages, I’ll be discussing the merits of rod building as I take you through a series of articles that will cover everything you’ll need to know to start building rods of your own. I’m kind of learning as I’m going here, as I quit building my own rods when I was still a teenager and need to relearn a lot of the tricks after my 30-year hiatus. The good news is that I’ve had my rods built by some of the best in the industry over the years, including Bill Batson and Marc Higachi so even if my wrapping skills are a little rusty I know it’s less about the cosmetics and more about proper design and I’m going to focus on that in future articles.

Building Custom Fishing RodsOne of the things that held me back from getting started was that I thought I didn’t have the room to do it. Well, as you can see from the photo above, if you can find a clear 10-foot section of wall, it’s easy enough to use a closet shelving system from Lowes to build a wrapping station. The good news is that when I’m not using my wrapper, I can move it to the top shelf on the rack so it’s out of the way and use the lower shelf for whatever else I need.

You ready to get started?

The video up top is the first in a series that will take you through everything you’ll need to know to start building your own custom fishing rods.

Building Your Own Custom Rod Part 2

Building Your Own Custom Rod Part 3

Get more great info from Erik Landesfeind on BD.

Erik Landesfeind is BD's Southern California Editor and has over 30 years of experience saltwater fishing for a range of species in both California and Mexican waters. Erik is also an active freelance writer and the author of the weekly column So Cal Scene, which BD publishes every Friday. In So Cal...