BlogDecember 2014

Custom Hot Rods

Custom Hot Rods

By Andy Whitcomb

Dec 30, 2014

The holiday festivities are over and hopefully you received some fishing related gifts.

The holiday festivities are over and hopefully you received some fishing related gifts. My kids received a selection of fishing lures and I got some new line. I also know a few lucky anglers found a custom fishing rod under or maybe leaning against their Christmas tree.

What is a custom rod anyway?

Mike Woodward of Woody’s Custom Rods explained that he starts with a rod “blank.” This is just the bare, plain rod, with the length and action carefully matched to fit the angler’s needs. Some models even come with registered serial numbers and a lifetime warranty.

By day Mike is a licensed physical therapist, specializing in sports rehabilitation. It seems appropriate then that one of the first things he does with this blank is locate the rod’s “spine.” During the manufacture of the hollow blank, there is one side which is slightly stiffer than the other. Placing the guides along this spine prevents rod twisting. With practice, rod builders can find the spine by the way it bends but Mike also uses precision instruments with his craft such as a spine finder and a laser.

Besides adding the line guides, which may be micro guides or standard, you can choose what type of handle for your custom rod such as split or straight handle, with material made of cork or a dense, foam material. You can specify the hook keep type (where you notch your rigged hook on the rod) and location. Then you can choose the colors or pattern of the handle and the rod or even the color of the guides. Mike frequently fills requests to add college school colors to his creations.

Building custom rods helps Mike keep busy doing something “fishy” during the long Pennsylvania winters. It takes him about 15-20 hours per rod but with drying and such at different stages, about 2 weeks to complete. He finds it satisfying when tournament anglers catch bass or his dad catches a large pike with a rod crafted by his hands.

Your fishing rod will be with you for some of the most memorable times in your life. And a fully tricked-out custom hot rod in your hands may add to the enjoyment. You could even add some style to old rods in your collection.

Did you get or give a fishing rod over the holidays? If so, was it customized?

Andy Whitcomb
Andy Whitcomb
Andy is an outdoor writer ( and stressed-out Dad has contributed over 380 blogs to since 2011. Born in Florida, but raised on banks of Oklahoma farm ponds, he now chases pike, smallmouth bass, and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After earning a B.S. in Zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fisheries research technician at OSU, Iowa State, and Michigan State.