Rod Building 101 (Learning How To Build The Best Fishing Rods)

How are fishing rods assembled?

What makes a fishing rod better than another fishing rod?

Believe it or not, there’s so much more to your fishing rods than you may know!

Fishing rods are powerful and elaborate pieces of equipment that have certain weak points and features that enable you to be an effective angler.

You aren’t going to want to miss out on this edition of the Salt Strong Podcast!

You can watch the video version of this podcast below (which I highly recommend), listen to the audio version by clicking the play button underneath it, or listen to it on iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify.

P.S. Don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify and leave us a review!

Check it all out below!!!

Rod Building 101 [VIDEO]

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Rod Building 101 [PODCAST]

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We covered a lot in this episode, so here is a timestamped version:

  • 1:04 – Mudhole Rod Building Class
  • 3:06 – #1 Key Lesson learned at the class
  • 4:54 – Importance of Reel choice when building Fishing Rods
  • 6:01 – Guide spacing
  • 9:26 – Role of the ‘spine’ of the rod blank
  • 11:56 – Guide purposes and placement
  • 13:51 – Guide sizes
  • 18:20 – Attachments with epoxy (Cork, Reel Seat, & Foregrip)
  • 22:45 – Custom rods with or without foregrip
  • 24:35 – Epoxy on the rod guides
  • 26:14 – Keys when applying epoxy
  • 27:48 – Fishing Rod Butt Lengths
  • 32:29 – Rod blank action and power
  • 38:42 – Naming your custom-built rods
  • 41:17 – Ease of rod building after learning
  • 44:03 – Salt Strong Custom Fishing Rod with Mudhole
  • 45:11 – Updates coming to Salt Strong Insider Community
  • 49:10 – Weekend Game Plan perks


Fishing rods are an angler’s best tools for casting for fish, finding fish, and reeling fish in.

The more you know about your fishing rod can help you pair it with the best reel and use it in the correct situations.

Be sure to learn more about your fishing rods because you might be using the wrong rod or reel pairing right now!!

Do you have any more questions on fishing rod building?

Let us know down in the comments!

And if you know someone who wants to learn more about fishing rod building, please TAG or SHARE this with them!

P.S. – Want to make explosive, perfect, and masterful casts with your spinning rod, to reach the trophy fish that have no idea you are there… to cast like the pros, all while using less effort than ever before? Check out Casting Mastery.

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Jude Gustafson
1 year ago

Does anybody have any good rod recipes for an inshore ned rig rod

Jude Gustafson
1 year ago

Hey Justin! A little update on my blank selection for the rod I am planning to build. I decided to go with the MHX Elite-X Series 7’6″ 10-17 med-heavy fast action rod. This rod series has a higher modulus than the Elite-Pro series but has the same tensile strength. This way I won’t be sacrificing strength for sensitivity.

Justin Ritchey
1 year ago
Reply to  Jude Gustafson

Nice choice, Jude! That is their top of the line blank that MHX offers, I think you will be very pleased with its performance once it is completely built out.

Jude Gustafson
1 year ago

Hey Justin, I was taking a look at the MHX Elite-X series out of curiosity and the blank I have been considering is the NP904-MHX. This rod blank is 7’6″, 8-15 lb., 1/4-5/8 oz. lure, extra fast action. Would you recommend an extra fast action for fishing on open grass flats or places with little structure?

Jude Gustafson
1 year ago

I am looking for a 7’6″ high-end rod blank that has a lot of hook setting power so I can comfortably fish weedless soft plastics. Any suggestions?

Justin Ritchey
1 year ago
Reply to  Jude Gustafson

What type of fishing are you doing? Freshwater or Saltwater? What type of Structure will you be fishing around mostly?

A “High End” Blank generally means it will be a higher modulus blank. These higher mod. blanks are lighter in weight & more sensitive, but might not be as “durable” as some other intermediate or standard mod. blanks.

In other words—a “High End” Blank doesn’t always mean it’s the Strongest.

Ideally you will want a rod that has the correct line/power rating and the right Action to achieve what you are looking to do. I think a Fast Action blank with at least a Medium Power, or 8-15lb. line class is desirable. These specifications are more important to consider from a performance standpoint than just purchasing a high-end blank.

I think the MHX NEPS Series is a good start. They make a 10-20lb model that is more of a Medium-Heavy power, but still a Fast Action tip.

Jude Gustafson
1 year ago
Reply to  Justin Ritchey

Thanks for the help Justin!
I do a lot of inshore saltwater fishing around the Tampa Bay area. I am looking to build a rod suited for fishing on grass flats or other areas that don’t have a lot of dicey structure. Since I won’t be encountering anything more than some scattered oyster beds or mangrove shorelines, I am comfortable using a high-modulus blank even if that means sacrificing some strength. As long as I am careful not to high stick or heaven forbid slam my rod into a car door, I am not worried about my rod breaking.

Jude Gustafson
1 year ago
Reply to  Jude Gustafson

I was looking at the MHX NEPS series blank that you were recommending to me and I was looking at some of the specs of this rod line and comparing this rod line to the MHX Elite-X series. According to the website, the MHX Elite-X has a 57 million modulus with a tensile strength of 640 KSI. The MHX NEPS has a 50 million modulus with tensile strength of 640 KSI. I found it very interesting that a rod with a higher modulus has the same tensile strength as a rod with a slightly lower modulus. In theory, this means that the MHX Elite-X is just as strong and more sensitive than the MHX NEPS.

The blank that I have been looking at is their 7’6″, 8-15 lb., 1/4-5/8 oz. lure, extra fast action. I am unsure of the extra fast action. Would you recommend this action for the application I mentioned in my previous post?

Dan Deins
2 years ago

Hey Luke, I noticed your fuji tvs reel seats don’t have the carbon fiber insert. It looks like its the actual rod blank. I was told you had to use a insert from a rod builder. Your thoughts or what you did on your build would be great to know. Thanks

2 years ago

Gentlemen, based on your impressive knowlege, please consider offering to us insiders a complete combo (i.e., rod, reel, and even line spooled on it) matched up for inshore anglers who target redfish, seatrout, snook, and flounder in bays at a price point around $500. I have spent many times that amount choosing it myself with very uneven results. Thanks.

Vincent C Ruggiero
2 years ago

I understood that the smaller eyes did not hurt with bait casting or a new person, but I did not understand the pros? It sounded like if you tossed a lure hard, the small eyes may even contribute to a windknot? If it helped reduce windknots, at least there would be a pro. What did I miss please? I really loved this podcast today!

Justin Ritchey
2 years ago

Great quesiton, Vincent. You are correct: smaller guides cause the line to “reduce” down much faster, which can cause wind knots if the Reel Size is not matched to the proper Guide Size on each rod.

But don’t worry! It’s not as complicated as it sounds. In general, most 7’0 and 7’6″ Spinning Rods will be just fine for the majority of 2500 and 3000 sized spinning reels, across all brands. We were just making mention to how minor changes in both Guide Size and Guide Placement (closer or further away from the reel when mounted on the rod) can affect the performance of your cast.

Having too large of a Guide can cause increased friction on the line as it makes its way through the Guides and out the tip of the rod. That increase in friction/contact with the guide will slow the line down during the cast, ultimately reducing the distance of your cast.

On the other hand, having Too Small of guides will choke the line down too quickly, potentially causing wind knots. *This is why it’s important to go with an “in-between” size on the first set of Reduction Guides on a rod. The ideal size for the 1st Reduction Guide is somewhere between a Size 16H and a 25H (according to Mud Hole).

Robert Lillard
2 years ago

Can you provide the reels that will work best with the new Bull
Bay Salt Strong rod as well as the TFO and other rods sold on your site.

Luke Simonds
2 years ago
Reply to  Robert Lillard

Pretty much any 2500 sized reel (and most 3000s) will pair up nicely with the BB Salt Strong rod. My personal favorites are the Fuego 2500-XH and the 2500 BGMQ (first two reels on our reels page:

Steve Parentela
2 years ago

Great conversation. Learned some great things about the benefits of a custom built rod. Justin your internet connection is lacking and turning off the ceiling fan will help. The moving shadow it casts (pun intended) in the background is using up a lot of your limited bandwidth. Great job guys, keep sharing the great information you learn.

Last edited 2 years ago by Steve Parentela
Jesse Howard
2 years ago

is first guide placement and size as large an issue on baitast reels vs. spin cast?

Luke Simonds
2 years ago
Reply to  Jesse Howard

I don’t believe the first guide placement is as important for baitcasting reels as it is for spinning reels because the line is moving much less for baitcasting setups (which is why the size of the guides are smaller).


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