The Why of Custom Fishing Rods

Recreational fishing is one of the most popular outdoor activities in the United States.

Sport fishing is nearly twice as popular as watching TV! According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, over 13% of the population goes fishing every year. We fish because of the enjoyment it brings, plus our up-close and personal contact with nature along with an appreciation for our natural resources. Each of us seeks fun, relaxation and quality time with family and friends. People fish for the same reasons.

There are many places where one can purchase the necessary equipment to enjoy the sport of fishing. When it comes to picking out a fishing rod at the sporting goods store, the mass of manufactured rods sometimes is confusing and confounding. The range of prices, the actions and powers, spinning and casting even fly rods are all there to choose from.

Almost every sport has special gear to be used in that sport. Golfers spend thousands on clubs that fit. Serious hikers buy special shoes. Olympic swimmers have drag reducing swimsuits. The best a fisherman can do is sort through racks and racks of rods looking for just that one to be the correct length and action. Does this seem right? Of course not. In comes Custom Fishing Rods.

Until now when it came to fishing rods, we had to take what was available. If you like a foam grip, but a composite rod with medium action only comes with a cork grip, you either choose something that is not exactly what you want or grips that are uncomfortable. Custom Fishing Rods offer many choices and are different.

This is exactly why I started building rods some 20 years ago. I had a bunch of rods that I acquired over the years, none of which really did what I thought they should. I looked and looked for rods that would work better. The wrong rod caused me to loose a lot of fish over time. After my first custom rod, I began to dramatically increase the hook-up to fish-in-the-boat ratio big time. I went from something like catching 30% of the fish that hit my bait to catching about 90% that hit the same baits.

Seeing what is happening is only part of what a custom rod will bring. We can “feel” the difference between a weed and a fish strike; we can “feel” the way the fish fights. We can even feel the lightest of hits that would be always missed on a factory rod. More fish in the boat and maximize the amount of time on the water. Custom Rods should truly do all of this and more.

The customization of today’s consumer products of any kind will soon become a national standard. People are individuals and it is part of our nature to want to express that individuality. We have a favorite color, a favorite sporting team, vehicle, boat and more. It all expresses our individualism as should our fishing equipment. It should reflect the owners’ personal identity. You may see many rods on the shelf that create a WOW factor and really stand out. A custom rod builder understands all of that and more. We will find out exactly what you want in your fishing rod and then go to work to make that happen.

Several questions must be answered.

  • What kind of fish are you targeting? This is the first step in understanding what choice of blank, guide, handle, etc. are necessary. Many fishermen do no understand all of these choices, so we will ask the key questions to understand fully what you are after and what will suit your fishing needs best. People can understand and identify the type of fishing with the species targeted. This may sound silly, but each fish really does have a specific type of rod that is used to traditionally catch that category. Clearly you can use a light weight panfish rod with 1-6# line to catch a large mouth bass. But when that bass grabs the end of your line and strips off the 4# test line like a bottle rocket, you’ll quickly understand why you should have used a bass rod with 12# line to catch him!
  • Selecting a rod to be used for a specific fishing experience includes weight class and a lot more. When we say a rod, we are talking about the entire stick you fish with. The heart of the rod is essentially a tapered piece of graphite or carbon fiber that looks like a straight stick that is bigger at the end where you hold it and ends with a thin tip at the top. Underneath all of the pretty colors and guides and a soft grip is the rod blank, the most important piece of a Custom Rod.
  • As we progress into the process of creating a custom rod, we then move to length of the blank, then on to action and power. The interview process will disclose exactly what is needed for your purpose. Action is how fast the rod blank reacts to a fighting fish pulling or the setting of the hook. For some situations you want a slow reacting rod (light action) which bends easily or a very fast reacting rod (extra fast action), or something in-between.
  • We also need to understand sensitivity. This is defined as the ability to feel the fish biting at the end of the line. The most critical time to set the hook on a fish is when they suck your bait into their mouth and that ‘thump’ you feel is the bait hitting the back of their mouth. Typically, the thinner and lighter the rod the better you can feel the bite. Generally, the softer the tip, the more sensitive the rod is.
  • Similarly, parabolic vs. taper come into play as we discuss the perfect rod. Here is where the math starts to come into our discussion. Simply, a parabolic rod bends almost evenly from tip to the butt like a hunting bow. Fast tapers are ideal when we cast live bait or lures. There are general principals regarding the types of rods and their components. Sometimes a creative compromise will give you an even better rod than you initially envisioned.
  • Then there comes line ratings with the minimum and maximum strength of line to be used. This basically tells us the power of the rod or what a lot of anglers refer to as the backbone of the rod.

In the end a lot of questions must be answered before we could even start to begin to build your rod. A true custom rod will never ever be found in a sporting goods store. It simply cannot be custom unless it is built to your exact specifications. Only professional custom rod builders can and will take the time to make this happen.

Confusion certainly exists in the marketplace as hobbyists and even small manufacturers call their goods “Custom.” Check them out carefully before you spend good money on something that might be misleading.

LakeLady Custom Fishing Rods is proud of our heritage and experience. We are true custom builders, as no two rods we have built are exactly alike—and we have built hundreds of them. You would not choose a pair of “custom boots” without having your feet measured; a truly functional (and enjoyable to use) fishing rod should be customized to you as well. Having over 2 decades of experience and learning has put us in a small niche of builders who truly understand what custom fishing rods are all about.

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