5 Tips for Building Your Own Fishing Rod

Last Updated: 18.09.19


Building your own fishing rod and not choosing a good Ugly Stik pole is a process that requires preparation and organization. Tools such as digital calipers ensure high-precision measurements needed during the process while adding a thread wrap to the tip top can increase the rod’s strength.  

When it comes to building your own fishing rod, some of the most experienced people in this line of work will tell you that there is a lot more to it than just the appearance of the rod. Getting a customized performance that suits the user’s fishing style is the main goal for those who are truly passionate about this activity. 

It doesn’t matter if you are new to this or if you already have some experience, one of the most important things that you should remember is that there is always room to improve this process in order to enjoy great fishing adventures. For those of you who are less experienced in building rods, it’s good to know that there is a learning curve in this case as well, so be patient. 

However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to constantly improve and be curious. One aspect of fishing that makes it such a nice activity is the fact that there are so many people who are passionate about it. What this means is that there is a strong community from which you can learn the basics and much more, and you can do this fast. 

As you can well imagine, the internet offers tremendous amounts of information on every topic, including on how to build a fishing rod, so you shouldn’t hesitate to take advantage of this resource. In this article, we are going to take a closer look to see what are some of the main tips that you should keep in mind as you are getting ready to build your own fishing rod. 

Always ask questions 

As we’ve already mentioned, the rod building community is a strong one and its members are always willing to share many helpful tips with those who are interested in learning more. Of course, communication is the easiest and fastest way to reduce the learning curve and quickly improve your skills when it comes to rod building. 

You can take advantage of this resource by joining various online groups while networking and getting advice from local rod builders can also be very helpful. Watching online videos might also give you a head start since you can use them as you need while practicing with your own tools to build a fishing rod. 

On the other hand, if you are not necessarily comfortable with simply starting to build such an item on your own, you can always look for some courses for beginners that you could sign up for. After all, nothing really compares to a hands-on learning experience, and the best way to do this is by getting the proper guidance right from the beginning.


Digital calipers

Rod blanks are usually tapered all the way from the butt to the tip. This feature is important for the rod’s performance, but it also means that accurate blank measurements are harder to find. If we take winding checks, for example, these require the exact size of the spot where you need to install it. 

Moreover, since winding checks are both decorative and professional accents, what you need to do is to fit each one on the rod with high precision. In this case, digital calipers are the right tool to achieve this, given that they are able to pinpoint exact measurements on tapered rod blanks. 

This precision is many times a lifesaver for rod builders, as it allows them to plan out and build rods that accurately respond to their particular fishing needs. 


Preparation and organizing tools 

You might already know this, but preparation is one of the most important steps when you are starting to build a custom rod. If you do this, every phase of the process will be easier and you will achieve the results you want. 

In case you are wondering what preparation entails, most of the times it’s mapping out handles, getting ready for thread wraps, prepping guide feet, or simply mixing epoxy. Another crucial aspect is having the right tools close by, and knowing what supplies you are going to need. 

For example, one tool that is often overlooked is the burnishing one, when in fact it’s very valuable for each rod builder. This particular item is used for packing thread wraps and it erases gaps in this process, thus producing clean, smooth, and consistent units. 

The burnishing tool can also work very well with a blank extension tool, as this ensures tighter thread wraps that can go up to the ferrule’s edge, in the case of multi-piece rod blanks. 

Furthermore, since the entire rod-building process means having many supplies and tools nearby, you need to keep them organized as well. After all, you don’t want to stick the elbow in epoxy, but this is something that can certainly happen if you are not careful and if the items are not organized. 

Adding a thread wrap by the tip top 

In casting, spinning, and fly applications, cases in which tips are usually much lighter than tops, wrapping the tip top can help keep everything in place in a more secure way. While this is not mandatory, it’s certainly a tip that has proven to be quite useful in many cases. 

If you are using a tip cement or another glue formula that has a lower melting point, then wrapping the thread all the way to the tip top is how many rod builders enhance its security on the rod blank. 

Given that the tip top is glued in the first place, while this is enough to secure it most of the time, there are certain conditions that can cause the adhesion to fail. High temperatures, for example, is one of these. A car parked during a hot day, or simply long days spent in the sun can lead to issues with casting, so it’s a good idea to try this technique out and see how it works. 

While it’s true that repairing a tip top is not the end of the world, you can prevent anything from happening in the first place so that you can enjoy your fishing time at its most. If you add a few wraps over the tip top and then also use some epoxy finish, then there is no doubt that everything will remain in place, no matter what conditions the rod is facing. 


Epoxy finish 

Since we’ve mentioned this part of building a fishing rod, we thought we should take a look at how you can avoid problems when it comes to the epoxy finish. First of all, the type of epoxy you are going to use, as well as how you are going to apply it has a strong correlation to the rod’s strength and performance. 

The great news about this step is that there are no problems when it comes to finding information online on the right type of epoxy for your needs. This is where the community around building rods can provide a lot of insightful details, especially if you find an experienced rod builder that lives in your area and know what particular weather conditions you might face. 

The most common issues in this matter range from application errors to mixing mistakes. Inconsistent curing times can also be one of the causes that makes your rod less than perfect. 

Given that such problems can prove to be quite annoying in the future, it’s best to take your time and research this step properly, taking into account any particular conditions you are going to fish in.  



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