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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Now that fishing has slowed down, I've caught up on tying bucktails and making terminal tackle rigs for next season. There is still plenty of "slow season" left so now I thinking of learning to build rods.

I'm probably going to start with an inexpensive rod kit to cut my teeth on - you know one with the blank, matched grip and guides to take all the guess work out of it.

My question to you expereinced rod builders, what equipment should I start out with? Any recomendations on good books? Any tips for a first timer?
 

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Mike,

I wish you didn't live so far away. I have a rod building shop and like fishing, activity in the rod shop has been slow for the last few weeks also. Besides fishing, rod building has to be my favorite hobby and I am sure you will love it. I've been giving rodsmithing classes for a little over a year. Once you get the fundamentals down it's much easier than fly tying and a lot more rewarding. A fly if used seldom lasts any time at all, however, a custom built rod can last a lifetime... and catch a lot more fish.

I've used a lot of different resources for buying components and I would suggest using one of Cabela's kits to get started. They offer high quality components at unbeatable prices and also send complete instructions with the kit, including guide spacing charts, epoxy, thread, basically everything you need other than a rod wrapping jig/drying motor.

If you have any wood working skills, you can build your own wrapping jig. It is basically just a few wooden V blocks with felt or some other type of soft material inserted in the top. If you think this might be a hobby that you will continue I would suggest a power wrapper. This takes almost all the aggravation out of building the rod and makes it much easier. They run between $100-$400 and are worth every penny of it. I use Pacific Bay power wrappers. They include a wrapping motor and a drying motor so you can complete the entire build with the same tool. I have two Pacific Bay drying motors with stands, one of which I have never used. They sell for about $75. If you are interested in it, I might let it go for about $40. The drying process takes about 2 hours, in which the rod needs to be almost continuously turned to keep the epoxy from sagging. Let me know if you are interested.

Other than the wrapping/drying jig, the only thing that you will need is a razor knife and masking tape and a rattail file to reem the inside of the handle to fit the rod (if you are using cork handles)

I'll be glad to help you with any questions you might encounter along the way or if you want to take a short vacation to the Great Smoky Mountains, I have everything you need along with a stream full of trout.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hey Daniel - Thanks for the great information! Very helpful

I completely overlooked Cabela's for rod building gear, although I've bought plenty of other "stuff" from them. I like their kits and some of the other gear they have for rod building, thanks. I have looked at Mudhole (I buy bucktail and skirt material from them already), Jann Netcraft and Barlow's Tackle as well.

I'm pretty handy with wood. I have been looking at some of those hand wrapping jigs thinking I can make one of those! I think I just might do that now with your encouragement. I am definetly interested in purchasing that drying motor from you, thank-you very much for the generous offer!

I've been sizing up my office/shop area - I know exactly how I'm going to rearrange it and where I'll place the work bench I'll build for this new venture.

I have really been toying with the thought of coming up your way this winter since we exchanged emails earlier. I think this lastest offer has put me over the top! I just need to work out the details - the job search takes the front seat of course. On the upside, they just re-opened most of the normally oyster areas again, so there should be a ready supply to bring up your way. How does some Stump Sound salties sound?

Thanks again Daniel!
 

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Go for it Mike! Rod building can be a very satisfying experience. It just takes a little room and determination to get exactly what you want. Hey, I didn't know you were in the job market. I know this guy who's starting up a production company and planning on doing some fishing in NC films... Who knows where that could lead... I met a guy in TX that had just signed a $3 millon dollar contract with PBS. That was close to 20 yrs ago. No telling what those guys make now. If you want I could PM you this NC guy's address & phone # ......
 

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Mike if you like all those fancy wraps you might want to buy a book by someone like Dale Clemmons but really the rod assembly part is simple enough that you don't really need a book. Just about 4 pages worth of instructions or a visit to someones shop garage or whatever. I think Doug over on 50 just east of Holly Ridge might could help you.
 

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Guys, if your interrested in rod building or want great deals on blanks, guides and other suplies then it is a MUST for you to be at the Internation Custom Rod Builders Show in High Point, NC Feb 17 and 18. Admision is a great deal and parking is for free. Here is the web site, www.rodexpo.com . I'll have a booth and some of the best supliers in the nation will be there with great deals. Again this is something you don't want to miss.
 
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