Custom rod building

Leroy Tirant
Having a fishing rod custom built for your specific needs was a necessity back in the 70 and 80's as commercial manufacturers had a limited range on offer. High speed spinning off ledges for Tuna, game fishing for Marlin and surf casting were really moving forwards in leaps and bounds as anglers became aware of the fishing potential in these areas, as well as others. The need for specialist tackle saw a new breed of legend grow, and that was a custom rod builder. Rods needed to tackle fish in these new fishing frontiers where tactics and methods were being developed simply didn't exist. People also began seeing the advantage of having a casting rod made with the grips and reel seat fitted to the length of their casting stroke, as this let anglers cast with a natural style rather than trying to adjust your self to casting a factory built rod.
These day's rod builders aren't as abundant as they used to be and quality varies with experience, but a custom rod builder is still needed today even though tackle companies have an arsenal of factory built rods to suit nearly every situation.
One such area is in repairs. For example if you have a favourite rod that has been broken a good rod builder should be able to repair the blank as long as it was a clean break and the blank wasn't shattered. Rod builders can also replace rod guides and grips as they become worn or broken.
Anglers also who can't find a specific type of rod to suit there needs also seek out rod builders. One specific request I had of late was for an 8ft rod that was to be used for fishing with mudeye's. The angler wanted ultra light single foot Fuji guides and a short 4 inch cork butt, but with a five inch fore grip to suit the anglers large hands, the blank also was to be rated to only 2kg and have a crisp action as the angler didn't want a limp noodle, as he often fished around timber and wanted a taper that would turn fish quicker than the older style glass rods did. A rod such as this just dosen't exist in tackle store's. Having a rod custom built also gives the angler the advantage of being able to pick the color's they wish to have the rod bound in and to also have their name inscribed on the blank, which gives the rod a personal touch.
Good custom rod builders are anglers themselves and have to be, so they can understand the fundamentals of what the angler whom wants a rod built needs. If a rod builder has never been game fishing how can he know what is expected from a game rod? The same goes with flyfishing, surf casting etc etc. So if your looking at having a rod built be sure to check out rods the builder has already turned out, so you can see the quality of his work first hand.
If you want to try your hand at rod building there are several instructional books and videos available from tackle stores and AFN. Blanks and components are also available from tackle stores and the staff should be able to steer you in the right direction for a particular style of blank that your looking for. There are literally thousands of blanks available to the pro or amateur rod builder with countless combinations of grips, reel seats and guides available. When putting your rod together be sure to follow these simple steps.

1.Use quality epoxy when glueing on components such as 24 hour Araldite, and don't be shy with it.
2.Make sure grips will fit to blank diameter because if there to tight they may end up tearing when glue dries off. (Soak EVA or Hypalon grips centers in metho before fitting as this softens grip and allows them to stretch easier as they slide down the blank.    
3.Tape guides along blank with masking tape and run line through them to get a loading curve to ensure guides are spaced correctly to give an even working curve over the blank.
4.Use quality epoxy on binds such as Duragloss LS Supreme. ( This epoxy isn't cheap but it is like water when mixed and really soaks into binds better than any other epoxy I've used. Two coats are generally needed on most rods.)

Rod building can be a great hobby and an angler can be sure to experience great satisfaction out of catching a fish they have built themselves.

Leroy Tirant
has been a rod builder for 18 years and worked as a pro rod builder in Melbourne before moving to Tasmania 5 years ago. Leroy will be running rod building courses this winter from his tackle shop. Contact him for more information.etc etc blah blah blah