Custom Rods - What To Consider

Fishing Reels, Fishing Rods, and Casting Videos
Learn about custom rods - what to consider, available choices, and how to work with a quality rod builder to build the custom rod you'll love!

Hey folks. Glenn May here with And today, I wanna talk to you a little about custom rods, what it takes to go into them and some of the things you need to consider about custom rods. The first thing that I thought about when it came to custom rods was it's expensive. I was thinking $400, $500, $600 to start with on a custom rod, and I just couldn't see myself going that route when there's so many great rods on the market today. I was surprised to learn that, really, custom rods start at right around $200 and then start going on up from there. And when you consider that, when you start comparing that $200 price break with other rods that are off the shelf, it's actually a better buy. Now, let me tell you why. 

The first thing with a custom rod is that you can fit the rod to your physique. And that's important. A lot of the rods off the shelf these days, they build it for the average size body. So for example, I'm a little bit shorter, those correct size rods are usually a little bit longer for me, a little too long, seven foot, seven foot five, a little long for me with this body. Especially when I'm throwing real low to the water, I tend to hit the surface of the water with those longer rods. So I need shorter rods. But not only that, the rear here, the rear handle is longer on those rods. And if you're wearing button-down shirts, when you're switching hand to hand, that handle's gonna catch right where your buttons are. And that's a hassle when fishing all day long. 

So with a custom rod, you can shorten the rod up a little bit. You can shorten the handle a bit. You can move things around to fit your physique and also your style of fishing. This is a spinner bait rod that I went with. When I’m fishing spinner baits, I am fishing underhand low to the water cast, low trajectory soft entry. Rarely do I cast overhand. So I gotta have a little bit shorter rod for that, shorter meaning six and eight, six-ten, somewhere in there. Plus, with shorter rods, you're a little more accurate. So this is actually six-nine. Split the difference. Hard to find a six-nine rod off the shelf these days. But that's what I went with.

The other thing about this is the quality, the quality of the components when you're looking at a custom rod. You get to choose it. Typically, a rod off the shelf, somewhere in there, there's a component in there that you don't like. The rod guides aren't the high quality that you want. The reel seat isn't the design or style that you want, etc. Maybe cork isn't as good a quality. Something in there that cut corners a little bit. And that's to remain price-competitive. Manufacturers do that all the time. It’s not a bad thing necessarily. But if you really like to go quality all the way, it's hard to find the rods until you go really expensive. And with a custom rod, you don't have to pay that much. 

The hard thing about looking at all the different components and how to build a rod is it can get really confusing. Batson, for example, has over 800 rod blanks and over 5,000 rod components. That's overwhelming, even for the most experienced rod builder. The cool thing, though, is that Batson, if you go to their website, they break down their rods into different categories, six different categories, I believe it is. And then it drills down even further into flipping rods, casting rods, crankbait rods, drop shot rods. And they have what they call recipes or blue prints. You look those up, and guess what? It'll tell you or recommend you what rod blank to get, what the components to get to build a really good rod.

And these guys aren't just trying to upsell you or trying to get you to buy the most expensive thing. The folks at Batson, all of them there fish. They're all avid anglers first, rod builders second. So they put their collective minds together on these rods recipes to come up with moderately priced components to build you a great rod. Not only that, but if you're looking for a rod builder, they actually have a list of quality rod builders on their site. And these aren't just people that, "Hey, I build rods. Put me on your site." Batson actually has them send in their work, and they critique it. And if they don't match their quality standards, they won't recommend it. So look on their rods on their website. Look for the quality rod builders. Look for those recipes that get you off to a good start. It'll be a lot easier to build a rod. And with a quality rod builder, he's gonna help you guide through the rest of the process in terms of upgrading if you want to go from there. 

Here's what I do with mine. Real quickly, this is the other thing you got to do. You got to bling them out. But let me tell you a little bit about this first of all. I kinda went all out with this. So I used a Batson Eternity2, actually, it's a Rainshadow Eternity2 rod from Batson. The rod guides, I went with 12 rod guides. You won't find that on off the shelf rods. Typically, there are 9 or 10 rod guides, including the tip top. Twelve, you get a lot better control of your line. And it's not gonna touch the rod blank, which is important. You reduce wear and tear on your line that way. Plus, it's easier to fight the fish.

The rod guides, when you have a rod built, on the blank, there's a spine, if you will, an optimal place where all these guides should be placed. A quality rod builder's gonna make sure that those line up right where they're supposed to. Off the shelf rods, I've seen them in all different price ranges, where sometimes they just don't line up correctly. It just happens to do with mass produced rods. They're not always accurate. Some are, but not all of them.

The other thing here is, look what I did here, I upgraded the, the handle, the reel handle. Look at this. This is a Toray carbon fiber reel handle. That's the bomb, guys. That is the bomb. It's super lightweight, super sensitive, and really strong. It's hard to get those off the shelf. With a custom rod, you can find that kind of component. I also went with, if notice this, look at this, you've got two locking nuts here. And this is great. Let me pull this one apart, I got it on there pretty good. You can see it split, two locking nuts. This is a feature of the Batson components. If you guys have been fishing for a while, you've had the knobs come loose, reels pop out during the hook set. So what do you do? You crank it down really tight. Well, over time, the reel handle breaks because of all that pressure. The folks at Batson where thinking. They actually got a locknut that goes against it. So now, I can just tighten it down as firm as it needs to be and then put that locknut against it. Never gonna come loose. Great idea. 

The other thing is I kind of blinged out a little bit on the guides. These are Zirconium guides. But I really don't think you can see very well. They have different colors to them. They're kind of this chameleon blue. They change colors in the sunlight, which matches this rod tip real nicely. The color coordinated on here. I chose all those colors. That's another thing that you can do with custom rods. You can have any colors that you want. You can have your name put on it. You can go kind of nuts with the rod-wrapping on it and go crazy with the wrapping on the guides. Some guys are really good with diamond patterns and intricate patterns on your guides. You can really go all-out. And that's the fun part. That's the addictive part of custom rods is that you can really customize it to the point where it really is yours.

So if you're looking at rods above $200, think about custom rods. You might be surprised and find something that really works well for you. I hope that helps. For more tips and tricks like that, visit