Custom Fishing Rods: Mistakes, Tips, Shortcuts & More


Growing up, Luke and I always thought that the reel was the most important component of our rod and reel setup.

We would buy fancy, expensive reels and put them on cheap rods.

Finally, we (and by we I mean Luke) learned that the rod is actually the more important of the two…

The rod is making far and accurate casts, setting the hook, and providing power as you’re fighting a big fish.

The reel is just gathering in line.

And since the rod is so important, we’ve had a lot of requests for more information about fishing rods on the podcast, especially custom rods, so we brought on Brandon Elinich of Black Pelican Custom Rods.

In this episode, we cover a ton, including:

  • The difference between good and bad rods (and how to tell if one is overpriced)
  • Everything you wanted to know about rod grips, guides, action and blanks
  • The advantages of having a custom rod as opposed to a store-bought rod
  • How Brandon became a custom rod maker (and how you can, too)
  • What he wishes someone told him about rod making before he got started
  • What tools and materials you need to make your own rods
  • What exactly graphene is (hint: it’s a material that is 200x stronger than steel, harder than a diamond, and flexible!)

One of our Insider members, Ariel Rodriguez, is a customer of Black Pelican, and he let Tony try out his custom rod the other day.

Both of them have raved about the quality and performance, and Brandon really knows his stuff, so I know you’re going to get a lot out of this episode.

We have a video version of this podcast where you can see some different examples of rod guides, wraps, and seats, or you can listen to the audio version by clicking the play button below the video, or on iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify.


Custom Fishing Rods [VIDEO]

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Custom Fishing Rods [PODCAST]

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I learned a ton about fishing rods and building custom rods in this episode and I hope you did, too!

If you want to order your own Black Pelican custom fishing rod, or just keep up with Brandon and his company, you can do so at the links below:

Have any more questions about fishing rods?

Let us know in the comments below!

And if you know someone who’d be interested in making their own rods, TAG or SHARE this with them.

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Glenn Acomb
1 year ago

Joe: Enjoyed the rod building video, and learned a lot about the components. Good information about future purchases especially about favoring spending on the rod and a bit less on the reel.

James Doyel
2 years ago

So happy y’all did this video. I’m just getting into rod building and about to build my first rod. Bought the equipment about a year ago and have been studying as much as I can find on everything involved. Trying to feel comfortable with everything and the different processes of it. So, when I actually do it, hopefully I’m confident and not questioning what I’m doing or if it’s right.

2 years ago

Great information! Once you use a rod that is custom tailored to your style of fishing you never want to go back to “off the rack” rods. The feeling is even better when you know you made the rod yourself!
After building rods for myself here’s my 2 cents worth.
Caveat – I’m usually sight fishing Reds from a kayak or my flats boat in the marshes, so an 80 yd cast (I wish I could cast 80 yards!!!) is not required. Even 80 feet is a long cast. Heck, a lot of times they are in dip net range!
As cool as split grips look, I eventually took all the rods I had with split grips and changed them to full grips. I found that when kayak fishing, I would regularly struggle to get the rod out of a rod holder. This doesn’t happen with rocket launchers, but any rod holder that allowed the butt end to go through was a problem. And Holy Cow! If you happened to hook into a fish while the rod was in the holder you had two fights going on!!!
I then discovered that while seated in a kayak, particularly while wearing your PFD, a short butt section was considerably easier to manage. Now all my rods, even the ones I use in my boat, have butts that trend on the short side.
Lastly, I used to transport my rods in rods holders in the bed of my truck. Again, as cool as it looks, I would always end up retying before getting on the water. And then if you stopped at Walmart on the way home, you’d have to put the rods in the cab. Now I just transport them in the cab. I know I don’t look as cool, but I don’t have to retie, and I don’t have to worry about them getting stolen. However, if your rod is over 6 ½’ long it will have to go from the floor of the front passenger seat diagonally to the back seat (doesn’t everyone have a Super Cab?). Since my wife doesn’t like sitting in the back while my rods get the front seat, my rods are 6 ½’ or less. I won’t win any casting competitions with them but they’re plenty for my style of fishing. Heck, my weapon of choice is built on a IS561L, barely outside of ultralight category!

Fish on!!!

Andrew Florance
2 years ago

Great stuff!! Ready to start doing some repairs on my old rods and then dive into a custom inshore. Love these Podcasts!! Thanks Joe Simonds like Diamonds

Thomas Campbell
2 years ago

This is awesome! I’m so glad you did this podcast! At one point he mentioned starting cheap. Just so you know, mudhole. Com has turn key kits that have everything you need to build a rod that’s not very expensive. Tight lines y’all


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