Release Date: March 10, 2022


The International Rod Building Challenge is a truly international competition with builders from all over the world taking part.  This year’s competition was the largest on record with over 80 mystery blanks being sent out all over the world from Europe, South America, and Asia.  All the competitors sent their completed rods to be initially judged at International Custom Rod Building Expo by a panel of 30 to choose the top 10.  The top 10 were then taken back to American Tackle HQ where an elite panel of judges from custom rod builders, media, trade, and anglers graded each rod. With such a high caliber of builders, it was amazing to see all the different styles and builds all based on the same blank.

“It was incredible to see so many different interpretations on what the American Tackle Co mystery blank could be used for”

Don Morse of American Tackle Co.

This year’s winner is Danny Thomson of North Carolina.  His amazing custom rod build incorporated his love for duck hunting as well as fishing.  Second place went to Hoove Brieuc of Belgium with his diode and cooper build.  Third place was awarded to Gary Allner of the United Kingdom with his ultra-shift chameleon painted rod.

The winner, Danny Thomson, said this about his build. 

“You may have heard of an Eastern North Carolina tragedy that recently occurred, where 4 youth duck hunters and 4 adults went down in a plane crash.  All eight lives were lost.  Even though this rod was inspired and built before this tragedy, it is my intent to dedicate this rod to the #DownEastStrong community and raise awareness to help fund this unfortunate event.”

 Judging criteria: design, guide placement, component straightness, functionality, craftsmanship, static deflection, threadwork, cleanliness, fit and finish, and overall appearance.

Link to 2022 IRBC page explaining more about the rules.

For any questions about this event or additional photos please contact Kevin Landers at American Tackle Co

 407-706-0321 Ext. 1219

[email protected]