Building Your Own…

There are plenty of fishermen who’d like to try their hand at building their own custom fishing rod. A few will and do, but most won’t even try. That’s a real shame.

The manufacturing processes involved in creating most goods these days is pretty involved.  As a rule, few of us could expect to easily and successfully build our own top-of-the-line sporting goods equipment. Much, if not most of it, is now made with fairly sophisticated tooling and processes that preclude the average person from duplicating it in their garage or basement.  But this isn’t true where fishing rods are concerned.

I know many fishermen who have the idea that fishing rods are made and spit out of elaborate machines. In reality, of course, they’re still made by hand in the same way they were 100 years ago.  Outside of the rod blank and some of the component parts, all of which are readily available for sale, the assembly of a fishing rod does not require any special machinery or high-tech knowledge. Building a fishing rod is still a mostly hands-on process and one that nearly anyone with decent manual dexterity can master.

About 3 decades back, Dale Clemens coined a very apt advertising phrase, “You can build a better rod than you can buy.” And he was right!  As good as many of the commercially made rods have gotten in the past decade, almost any of them can be bested by anyone that is willing to put in just a little time reading and practicing. I know many rod builders who on their first few attempts, crafted better rods than they could have purchased for any amount of money. And those who find that their first rods still leave a bit to be desired quickly realize that they are already close to if not already even with most of the commercially made rods they’re currently fishing with. It would be extremely rare to build that first rod and not have something that doesn’t perform at least as well as most commercially made rods.

If you’ve ever considered building your own fishing rod, why not get started today! Custom rod building can be as simple or as elaborate as you care to make it. Blanks and components are readily available and come in price ranges to fit any budget. The actual “how-to” isn’t at all hard to come by.  Many rod building books and DVDs are available and a great deal of rod building instruction is online, free for the taking.  There are plenty of custom rod building forums to help you out in a pinch. Never before have there been so many folks ready and willing to help you build that first custom rod!

It really is true – You can indeed build a better rod than you can buy. And it’s really not all that hard to do.

Tom Kirkman


The following RodMaker Magazine advertisers can help you get started on your first custom rod building project today! They have everything you need to build a quality custom fishing rod.

Sources for Rod Blanks and Components:

Bingham Enterprises

Mud Hole Custom Tackle

Online Information on Custom Rod Building:

Recommended Books and DVDs:

How We Do It – Flex Coat (DVD)

Step by Step Rod Building – Flex Coat

Rod Building Guide – Amato Publications

The Complete Book of Tackle Making – C. Boyd Pfeiffer


  1. HRemini on November 10, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    It can be intimidating and scary to think about buying a lot of expensive parts and then worrying about doing something that might ruin some or all of them. Good to know it is not as difficult as it seems at first. I think more would try it if they knew it was not all that hard and that even factory rods are not hard for the companies to make.

  2. Ken Preston on November 11, 2010 at 1:32 am

    I embarked on this adventure a year or three before Dale’s book was in general circulation because I couldn’t find what I wanted “off the rack” anywhere. Before Fiberglass Rod Making there were hardly any sources of information except on bamboo rod making – which is an intimidating starting point – and virtually no one shared what they were doing, how they were doing it or why they did things a certain way. Thankfully those dark ages are well behind us all. The new stumbling block is that there is so much information out there that it can be overwhelming, contradictory or incorrect. This forum is a great place to use as a sounding board.