Often there are arguments as to what constitutes a “custom rod.” Different people have different definitions and without any definitive definition from any sort of governing body or overseer, it’s fair to say that none of them are necessarily wrong.
There are however, certain examples of “custom” that tend to stick with me. It’s one of those that’s hard to describe but you know it when you see it. One good example are the custom rods being built by Bill Balou featuring his signature wooden fish grips. Could there be any more perfect match between what a fishing rod is intended to be used for and the grips fitted to it? The concept is obvious but not previously explored. It is at once novel and yet highly functional.
Custom rod builders seeking to gain an edge in the market and not wishing to simply compete with every “look alike” rod out there would do well to consider what Bill is doing. There is always a niche market out there – you just have to find and develop it.