How To Check Quality Control On A Rod Blank (Slot Machine Blank Analysis)


We’re at Mudhole Custom Tackle for a Slot Machine Blank Analysis!!

Today’s video is all about the SLOT MACHINE.

The blanks are coming to Mudhole for Quality Control Assurance to then go out to production to be built out right here in the U.S.A.

Dive into this process with us below!!

Slot Machine Blank Analysis [VIDEO]

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The Slot Machine project has been in motion for about 18 months now.

Luke and I have been working with the rod designers at Mudhole to craft what we believe to be the perfect inshore fishing rod.

So much goes into building and crafting the perfect rod blank.

I have tested at least a dozen prototypes of this rod within the last year, even hooking into my personal best redfish on it.

We thought of everything we could to design a rod blank that has the action we want, desired weight, and the durability we need for inshore fishing.

We’re happy to say the Slot Machine is intrinsic to Salt Strong and we can’t wait for you to hit the water with it.

Assessing Rod Blanks

The first thing Mudhole looks at when they receive new rod blanks are the dimensions of the blank itself.

They make sure the rod is cut cleanly and is precise to their order.

Then, Mudhole uses a gauge to measure the width of the rod tip and butt sections to be precise there as well.

Thereafter, they lay the blank out in front of them to confirm it is indeed straight.

Also, they twist the rod to check all sides and see that it is evenly smooth.

These are custom rods built from the ground up with human involvement in their construction.

Mudhole doesn’t just toss them on a machine to let equipment figure it out.

Before components are put onto the blank, Mudhole hand inspects each blank.

Moreover, Mudhole weighs each blank and in the case of the Slot Machine, it is roughly 2 ounces.

If there are any blanks that are a bit more or a bit less than 2 ounces, then that may indicate slight inconsistencies in the blank.

They’ll then inspect the rod top to bottom for any soft spots or weak points.

A soft spot usually indicates over-sanding in a particular area.

Most graphite rods are sanded down.

When the blanks first come in, they have a sand-paper or cat’s tongue feel to them.

But we as anglers are used to a smooth feel when out on the water.

So there could be a case of over-sanding, scratches, or marks on the blank when it gets to Mudhole.

Checking Rod Blank Action

The rod builders at Mudhole are constantly testing rod blanks and know exactly what the blank should feel like when you give it a deflection.

Mudhole bends out the rod on the floor to confirm the desired action and feel.

They even have a deflection graph that you can use and place weights on the blank to see where the rod bends.

The goal with the Slot Machine was to create a true Fast-Action blank.

We feel that we’ve hit the sweet spot of Fast-Action Inshore Rod Blanks.


This is what we believe to be the BEST Inshore Fishing Rod ever made.

These rods should easily retail for over $300 off the rack.

Be sure to head over to the shop and click the “Notify Me When Available” button because these will be in high demand!

If you know someone who wants to learn more about the Slot Machine Blank Analysis, please TAG or SHARE this with them!

Oh, and if you Join the Insider Club TODAY,  Smart Fishing Spots is absolutely FREE! Click here to join us in the Insider Club!

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1 year ago

Hi. I have a 2500 Penn Clash 2 I’d like to pair with this rod. Would it balance well on this rod given it’s a little heavier but still under 9oz?

Joy Spicer
1 year ago

Hi – very exciting ! Is there a plan for making a 7’ version or shorter for kayak anglers ? 7’6” is long for kayak fishing. Thx!

Mark Andrade
1 year ago

Can insider members prepay to insure we them

Mark Johnson
1 year ago

Great, informative video, guys! Can’t wait to get my hands on my Founder’s Club rod… excited to get to fishing with it down here in SW FL.

William Holcombe
1 year ago

I’ve been a hobby builder for about 10 years and get everything from Mudhole. Their blanks are fantastic. I haven’t had issues with one yet. No breaks at all, and that’s with kids fighting big fish in all the wrong ways. Lots of abuse in boats, kayaks, and surf fishing. Also lots of unplanned catches like oversized reds and sharks on undersized blanks with no issues. When I give a custom rod as a gift, I always use MHX because I know they will have a long successful life. I’ve tried other blanks, but the Mudhole blanks maximize the quality to price ratio which is why I have 5 Mudhole based rods in various stages of production at this moment.

Matt Lanier
1 year ago

Yeah Buddy! Looking forward to these my man! Thanks for all your work in getting this piece of art together my man!

Thomas Marks
1 year ago

I am a custom builder, my source of rod blanks and components is MudHole. They have been for so many years I hate to think how long, suffice to say a long time. I have built hundreds of rods all perfect blanks BUT! I received one blank that had a small defect. I even missed it until after I had the grip and reel seat and half the guides placed on the rod. One call and MudHole not only did they rush out a replacement they replaced the components I had already put on the rod. Not all companies would do that, MudHole not only has the best quality they stand behind their products if in the rare occasion a defect should slip through. I am glad MudHole will be making the Slot Machine.

Last edited 1 year ago by Thomas Marks
Bill Falconer
1 year ago

Nice reel seat! Stuart and Jorge are the best…hope you have great success with these new rods.

Strayed Cat
1 year ago

Justin, are the builders aligning the reel seat with the spline of the blank for a spinning rod? Unfortunately, this step seems to be overlooked by even the best production rod builders. Properly splined rods cast more accurately and have the power of the blank directed to fighting fish. I know you understand what I’m talking about Justin. Hopefully this important simple step will be implemented. This is the main reason I will not purchase a fishing rod online.

Lee Styres
1 year ago

Gonna be a sweet rod, no doubt. Will there ever be a two piece version for travel?


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