Discussion in 'Catfishing Library' started by Flamekeeper, Feb 24, 2009.

  1. Flamekeeper

    Flamekeeper New Member

    Louisville, Ken
    To You Who Want to start building a rod.

    I want you to know


    Go here to order yours today and search for your Blank / components for your first rod.

    Mudhole Custom Tackle

    At the top of the page you will find a (rod building 101) link, CLICK that link and watch some video tutors on rod building to see what it is all about.

    Tip #1: I would recommend buying the book by Dale Clemens, "Advanced Custom Rod Building". And the DVD, “CUSTOM ROD BUILDING” With Doc Ski.
    They are highly recommended by Custom Rod Builders worldwide for the first time Rod Builders. I can say it is all you will ever need to completely build your first custom rod. I watched the DVD a few times and read a little about handle lengths selection and reel seat/guide placement and soon after I had my first rod on the wall.

    First thing you need to figure:

    #1- The Blank. You need to figure out if you want a 1 or 2pc blank and then the length of the blank you want and its purpose. Spinning/ casting/ jigging. Musky, Catfish, Bass, etc… Graphite/ E-Glass/ Mixed etc....

    #2- Then the weight class - 20-40# line etc... Action -Mod-Fast (flex in the blank) / and the Power of the blank, MHvy-Hvy etc...?.
    Note: Power of the Rod Blank is based on the stiffness of the blank. Power is how much pressure it takes to deflect a blank.

    UL = Ultra-Light
    L = Light
    ML = Med/Light
    M = Medium
    MH = Medium Heavy
    H = Heavy
    XH = Extra Heavy
    XXH = Extra Extra Heavy

    Note: Blank Action is identified by the portion of the blanks that flex's

    Slow = flex progressive from tip to butt.
    Moderate = Middle flex point.
    Mod/Fast = Upper 40% flex's
    Med/Fast = Upper 35% flex's
    Fast = Upper 30% flex's
    X-Fast = Upper20% flex's

    And each rod blank is different, you can take a bass rod with a Hvy Blank Power rating It would not be the same Hvy rating in a saltwater blank.

    #3- Handles and Butt cap. Once you have the blank you have selected, your blank will tell you the rest.

    Now what type of handle you want? EVA - HYPALON - CORK - CORK RINGS etc.

    The OD= Outside diameter of the rod blank at the handles forward end will determine the ID=Inside diameter of the grip itself. You will have to ream the ID of cork to fit your blank if it is chosen.

    Note: The EVA and Hypalon can be heated up in the cloths drier, some use boiling water, to help expansion to ease the handle on. Or you may be able to just get it on after the glue is applied to the inside. Then by cupping your thumb and for finger around the rod at the top of the handle and tighten them up/squeeze a little and then push down on the grip fast without stopping! This will cause air pressure inside the grip and cause it to slide on easier. (Use this method at all times. makes life easier)

    Note: If you are building this rod with distance in casting as a goal to acheive, with a double handle, go with a rear Handle that measures 2"-3" past your elbow from the tip of your thumb on a closed hand. (As in thumbing your reel). This will give you a handle that on the tail end of a full swing, you will have enough handle to control at the butt of your rod. (Its unbelievable how much this improves you’re casting).

    #4- The Reel Seat, (Your Choice) Straight for spinning or casting/ Trigger casting etc...

    #5- The Fore-grip.

    Note: The Rod is really a lever and you can use this to your benefit. The more forward your hand/fore-grip is on your rod the better your advantage will be, and comfortable your fishing experience will be. You can determine what length of fore grip by placing the butt section of the rod onto your waistline where it will rest as if you were to be fighting a fish, then with your fore-grip hand, grab the blank (about 4 ½ - 5 1/2") from your rear grip, mark it. Then by adjusting your hand upwards till your rod is at a 40*/45* angle, or comfortable for you (remembering the above) and get a
    Fore-grip that is at least 1 1/2" above your hand in length after your reel seat is in place.

    #6- The Winding Check, next is a small rubber ring that goes down and fits snugly to the for-grip.

    #7- The Guides, The selection of the proper guides, their numbers, and their placement, after stress testing are the key elements to produce a superior custom rod. This is a starting point, not counting the tip-top.

    • Spinning rods. -Probable number of guides would be subtracting 1 or 2 from the length. Example an 8’rod would probably require 6 to 7 guides.
    • Casting rods. - Subtract 1 from total length. Example an 8’ rod would probably require 7 guides.
    • Surf rods. -Divide total length in half, Example 11 ½’ rod would probably require 6 guides.
    • Trolling and Boat rods. -Standard 5-6 guides.

    Attention: The word (Probably) means these numbers are for starters only. You may have to add or subtract 1 or 2 along the blank.

    Now you need to be able to start with the right size guide and placement for your rod. Stripper/Butt Guide. (First guide from fore-grip). AFTER you have found the spine of your rod and marked it! (refer to Book or 101 sites)

    Placement Recommendations for Butt Guides:

    • Med Spin -would require the Stripper/Butt Guide to be placed 22-28” from the center of the reel seat.”
    • Bait Casting -would require the Stripper/Butt Guide to be placed 16-24” from the center of the reel seat.
    • Boat Rods -would require the Stripper/Butt Guide to be placed 22-28” from the center of the reel seat on a Fast Action Blank. - 18-23” for a Mod Action blank.
    • Surf Rods -would require the Stripper/Butt Guide to be placed 25-35” from the center of the reel seat.

    Note: If you have a extra fast or fast action blank, you can place the butt guide further from the reel seat than on slow- and moderate-action blanks, which you would need them to be placed closer to the reel seat because of the bend in the blank, which means more guides on that type of blank to keep the line off the blank when under load. The stress testing we mentioned beforehand comes into play here at this point after you have placed the Butt Guide, and set your remaining guides.

    • Starting Size, Again for starters here are some guidelines to help you select the probable minimum size butt guide.
    • Med Spin, 8-12lb line size 25 High Framed guides is probably right. Over 12lb a size 30 is recommended. Adjust According to the height and width of the spool on your reel of choice. After your reel is seated and tested. Controlling the flight of line with the High Framed guides are recommended for both the Spinning Rod Butt Guide. The less line slapping the blank is what you want to achieve here all along the length of the blank with less guides as possible.
    • Bait Casting-Would be determined by your reel of choice. After your reel is seated and tested.

    Example: (wide spooled) ABU 6500/ 6600/ 7000 etc… size 30 works great at 24-26” above the reel seat center.

    This was determined according to the height and width of the spool by moving it up the blank while holding pressure on the line that it was dead center on the guide ring in middle spool on the reel, and while reeling a snug line in and according to the width of the spool observing the line as it went from side to side, and moving it forward at intervals to get less friction as the guide went further out on the blank, to achieve maximum casting distance and less line slapping etc…

    • Boat Rods - size 16-20-25 your choice, according to the height and width of the spool. After your reel is seated and tested to achieve maximum casting distance if any is needed.
    • Surf Rods - size 30-40 according to the length of rod and height and width of the spool. After your reel is seated and tested to achieve maximum casting distance.

    #8- Spacing: After you get the Butt guide in place you can almost eye ball the rest of your guides until they look real good to you. The above Book will teach you this process, along with the static test with ½ the lb rating of you rod hanging from the line. You can adjust your guides to get a even smooth flow of line around the curve of the rod with-out any flat spots in-between the guides that do not come close to the blank.

    Note: Starting EXAMPLE On an 8’6” Hvy, fast blank, with a 30” handles system. Remember #7 above. I went with 8 guides.

    Size’s 1-# 30, 1-# 25, 1-# 20, 1-# 16, 2-# 12, 2-#10, then a 10: 8 tip top.
    Spacing was continuous from tip 5 ¼”-11 3/8”-18 3/8”-26 5/8”-35 5/8”-46 5/8”.

    This set-up has a Perfect center run through with the line up to the #12 then it breaks to the tip.

    Finishing Products:

    Note: The materials listed are what I have found to be used by more builders world-wide than any other including myself. After you Pick out the rod you want to build, here is a list of the materials needed to Finish your New Custom Rod..

    1- Wrapper

    I built my first rod on 2 cardboard boxes with v's cut out on each side as Doc did in the DVD........Then I ordered the one below.

    Flex coat HW1 Hand Wrapper or a Cabelas Rod Wrapper


    You can take your pick of many types of rod wrappers, but the one above will do just fine for a beginner and is available at many places.

    Note -Here take your pick of finishes. Tip - I have found that Flex-Coat UV is a lot better now, than it ever was with this product. Applies easy and lays and cures like glass.(Don't forget your brush’s)


    2- Flex coat Rod Finish - Ultra V Formula

    Ultra V’s unsurpassed UV protection and improved chemical stability results in unequaled clarity and brightness, while maintaining the highest durability and flexibility properties of any finish on the market today.

    3- Here you can the best epoxy you will need to install grips:


    U-40 Rod Bond

    Tough, flexible two-part epoxy. Slippery and acts as a lubricant for installing synthetic grips.

    U-40 Quick-Bond 10-Minute Rod Bond

    Quick-Bond has all the same features and benefits you have come to know and love about Rod Bond, and adds one more important feature: it begins setting up in about 10-15 minutes!

    Flex coat Rod builders' Epoxy Glue


    This is a professional, clear, high strength, waterproof bonding material. Perfect for gluing reel seats, ferrules, gimbals, handles, grips, roller tip tops, cork rings, butt caps and general repair. Pot life 20 minutes. ..Fully cure strength in 2 hours. Instructions Included.

    4- Thread. Make your choice.




    American Tackle Rod Dryer (11 RPM)
    featuring 11 RPM Drying Motor & Improved "L" Bracket

    Sully Double Rod Dryer
    Productivity - Dry Two Rods at Once!

    6- Masking Tape, 1/4" and 1/2" you will need a few rolls each, for threads and reel seat mounting among a lot of other needs.

    These Products above will be all you need to finish your Custom Rod.

    ROD Building made easy by these QUICK Step by Step instructions.

    This Build is based on a 30” double handle assembly on an 8’6” casting.

    Now since you have all the components lets built that rod.
    It will be a lot easier than you might think.

    #1- First thing you need to do is get the total measurement in inch’s of the entire handle assembly including reel seat. Using mine above for example. 30”

    #2 – Check your butt cap:

    Slide it over the butt section of the rod and scratch/mark it. You can use a white china marker or a scratch all tool to put a line on it.

    Say 1 inch, measure up 31” from the butt of your blank, which will give you the total length of your handles assembly and the butt-cap. Put a piece of ¼” masking tape around your blank at that point just before the mark.

    #3- Scratching the blank with 60 grit sandpaper where the handle assembly will be is the next thing you need to do. Unless you plan on building a rod with a split grip assembly you can go ahead from the mark you taped to the butt just scratch it up. This will give a good bond with the epoxy to the handles, reel seat to the blank. Tip- (I personally use an old serrated bladed steak knife, with medium pressure and move it at a side to side sliding up and down motion to get it done much faster).

    #4- Installing your handles:

    If using Cork ream out to size to fit blank. (See book)EVA or Hypalon can be bought in different lengths that you can cut. Let’s say we have the right lengths for a 30” assembly above, 2” butt-cap, 14” rear, 5 ¼” reel seat and an 8” for-grip.

    Mix equal parts of epoxy. I use U-40 ROD BOND. (Follow your directions) Tip- If you have a old rod tip section it will come in handy doing this (as seen in DOCS DVD) coat the inside of the rear handle and your blank up to for-grip, Slide it over and down your blank (stopping at your Butt-cap mark) Tip- At this point you can straighten the Eva or Hypalon grip out by lining them up (pulling on each end to get the right length, twisting to straighten) etc… Once it’s in place (Wipe off all excess epoxy with ACETONE) from rod blank and handle. Let cure.

    #5- Spine your Rod Blank now AS Follows:

    Placing Guides on the alignment of the effective spine on the blank.

    Type of Rod Effective Spine

    • Boat & trolling Top
    • Saltwater fly Top
    • Freshwater spin Underside
    • Freshwater fly Underside
    • Bait casting Top

    #6- Installation of your reel seat:

    Build arbors out of ½”masking tape to install your reel seat as shown. Starting ¼” from your rear handle and ¼” or so apart, (checking the OD of the tape to the ID of the reel seat) to make a snug fit as you are working your way forward until you have the length of the reel seat, with ¼” space before the for-grip.

    Once you have that completed, Mix equal parts of (Flex Coat Epoxy Glue) for the seat, its thinner and will fill the voids in-between the tape arbors you have build for your seat to be mounted on.

    With your reel seat slid down to the first arbor start pouring epoxy slowly on the tape (covering all exposed areas) and twist and push your seat over the tape arbors and continue on filling the voids as you go down your blank and as you get to the last piece of tape, just a little more epoxy and push on down to the rear handle.

    Attention- make sure the reel seat foot is inline with the spine of your rod blank as mentioned above. Clean off all excess with acetone. Let cure.

    #7- Installing the fore-grip:

    The same procedures as the rear-grip and install the winding check. Clean off all excess with acetone. Let cure.

    #8- Setting your guides:

    Refer to #7 & #8 above. Using the tip on #8, Spacing from the tip down on the guides will get you what you want on an 8’6” Hvy Blank. . Mark with white China pencil or a small scratch if you are going to cover it with an under wrap.

    (ATT; Static testing) your rod before wrapping your guides in place:

    Place reel in seat and run line through all guides and tie to a weight that is ½ the rating as your rod. Example- rod rating 20-40 lb blank 25- 30lbs of weight will do.

    Add or take guides as you see fit to get the right amount of guides to form a smooth transition from one guide to another while the rod is under load. This will help you adjust for a different length of blank, between 8’-9’6”.

    Now you should have it almost complete with the guides taped on and ready for you to wrap your Guides..
  2. catfishrollo

    catfishrollo New Member

    Great write-up Kenny. This has been an idea of mine for along time now. However, not knowing anyone personally that has ever tried to customize their own rods and explain it to me has put it on the back burner. Thanks for all the info. Look forward to giving it a try!!!! rollo

  3. Flamekeeper

    Flamekeeper New Member

    Louisville, Ken
    I want to give our catfishing Bro, Bryan ( Whistler ) a Big Thumbs up for doing such a great job on the editing and getting the Pics in for all to see in this artical. Thanks Big guy..:wink:

    May many Rod Builders be born. :smile2: Whatever you do, don't give up! YOU CAN DO IT!!:wink: