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Making Custom Fishing Rods

Who Wouldn't Give Just about Anything to Have One

By

Everyone has seen them. Those hand wrapped beauties in the rod holders just begging to be handled. A snakeskin butt wrap glistens in the sun. Custom made rods: who wouldn't give just about anything to have one.

In my early fishing days, a loose thread on a guide wrap getting caught in my line frustrated me so badly I tried to rewrap the guide. After several attempts I actually got pretty good at it. That gave me the urge some years back to build a rod of my own. It was before all of the components were available to make building a rod easy. I literally hand wrapped the first one, with a spool of thread coming through the pages of a heavy book for tension and a rod blank in my lap. I knew nothing about backbones or splines. Had no idea where the guides should be placed or why a wrap should be clockwise in once instance and counterclockwise in another. But wrap one I did, and you know, I actually caught fish on it.

Over the next couple of years I purchased several rod building instruction books and learned the theories and rules behind good rod construction. I built a number of rods for myself back then. Components were reasonably priced and the rod was not that much more expensive than comparable commercially built rods. The difference was the pride factor.

I even began to get some requests to build rods for friends. One Christmas all of the guys chipped in and paid me to build a matched pair of heavy spin rods for the boss. It was time consuming, but fun building them. I figured I might be able to make some money at this!

Let me tell you about work versus fun. Sometimes what you like to do can become a real burden when you suddenly have to do it. Rod building had became a real burden. Everything was manual ( the great wrapping blocks we now use were nonexistent). I was spending five hours building one rod, and selling it for $20 more than the parts. That's $4 an hour folks! It didn't take much of that for me to revert back to "fun" building.

I still mess with building rods every now and then. Its good stress therapy. I even came up with my own snake skin pattern for my butt wraps. But mostly now I simply put my own butt wraps on store bought rods. Even at wholesale discount prices for parts, I can't approach the price for these store rods, and most are really well built.

There are a lot of places to get quality parts for building your own rod. Lots of them are here on the Internet, and I've linked to a number of them for you on the Custom Rod Building Page. Try building one for yourself. Start by rewrapping the guides on an "old but good" rod. Perfect your wrapping skill there and take on a whole rod. Even if you don't want to get that involved, it's really nice to have people look at the butt wrap on your rods and drool!!

Ever made a rod? Still making them? Got a question about rod building? Tell me about it. Email me your experiences and questions.

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