Rod Builders Beware

Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime. Teach a fisherman how to build his own custom rods and you’ll have one happy angler! While this fundamental concept has remained unchanged, the methods and tools available to rod builders have advanced, and continue to progress all the way to the point of yielding sophisticated equipment that is both highly functional and exquisite artwork.


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Virtus Guides » Titanium alloy, 100% corrosion-proof and less than half the weight of stainless steel guides. Photo: Mud Hole Tackle

Technology drives the modern world and every day ground-breaking advancements reshape how we work, how we play and most importantly how we fish. Fortunately, a number of the top companies in the custom rod building industry have followed suit and are devoted to providing superior products that modern anglers need to not only outperform the competition, but out BLING them as well.

Designer butts will not only help you turn the fish’s heads, but everyone on the docks as well.

American Tackle Company has been at the forefront of design and innovation in the rod component industry. The company is preparing to launch one of the most advanced series of guides on the market. Virtus frame saltwater guides offer builders both unmatched performance and superior style. The Virtus series features American Tackle Company’s Nanolite ring and are available in chrome or black stainless frames as well as titanium in two sizes (20-40 & 50-80lb. class). American Tackle Company also plans to unveil Virtus guides in colored frames and inserts at ICAST this summer.

This year Stuart Industries has struck gold, too, with their recent introduction of colored medium roller guides and tops rated for 30-80lb. class trolling and stand-up rods. Anodized aluminum Stuart rollers look great and offer the performance to match. They feature super-smooth deep-V rollers that help keep the line in the center of the roller to prevent unnecessary wear. The rollers spin freely on permanently lubricated Kevlar press bearings and will do so for countless seasons to come.

Mud Hole Tackle is proud to announce new designer butts. The aluminum fighting butts have a durable anodized finish to prevent corrosion and resist scratching and are available in red, blue and purple. Designer butts offer machined marine-grade aluminum reel seats for exceptional durability and strength. Designer butts will not only help you turn the fish’s heads, but everyone on the docks as well.

X-Camo rod blanks, another Mud Hole exclusive have been very popular over recent months. Based on the company’s proven IM6 graphite blank, X-Camo blanks are coated in a green leaf camo pattern that is durable and will not scratch under normal use. To match the blanks, Mud Hole offers camouflage cork grips and reel seats as well.

Vertical Jigging is quickly becoming one of the most effective and popular forms of fishing, with CBVJ (Custom Builder Vertical Jigging) blanks now specially designed with a blend of carbon tape, a multi-modulus weave, and a single ply of fiberglass. The combination creates a super lightweight rod blank with exceptional strength and power that is guaranteed to exceed the rigorous abuse that this style of fishing exerts. Prototyped and developed right here in the United States, CBVJ blanks are available from 5’8″ to 6’6″ with lure ratings from 112–600 grams. The progressive actions and special design features allow anglers to work their favorite metals through the water column with ease.

While you’re building your new vertical jigging rod be sure to check out the new crosscut EVA grips also available through Mud Hole. These innovative grips are available in 12″ lengths and are created with scalloped finger grooves for a comfortable fit that will allow you to fish all day long. These new grips are yet another option to increase both the style and performance of your newest build.

If you are looking to add some major BLING to your rods, take a look at custom painted reel seats. Custom seats are produced on quality Fuji reel seats and are painted with industrial-grade automotive finish. The painted seats are guaranteed to withstand abuse without denting, chipping or cracking. Available in seven sensational designs, custom reel seats add a personal touch to any application.

We know performance is always on the mind, but sometimes you just want to look good, too. If you want to make your gear the envy of all your buddies, abalone inlays are for you. You can apply this natural shell veneer as a gorgeous butt wrap or a stylish under-wrap to accent your guides. Application is simple, and easily done with a heat gun before applying a standard two-part finish just as you would any standard thread wrap. With abalone available in 12 different color patterns it should be no problem to find an inlay that’s perfect for you.

For fly fishermen, American Tackle Company has released its newest seat designs, the Triangle, Infinity, and Braided Window Seats. These slim designs offers exceptional comfort. These seats offer something for everyone with several designs including classic, elegant and even retro styles. They are available in black or tich coatings with various inserts including exotic woods, woven graphite and anodized aluminum. If you’re looking to add some spice to your next fly rod build give American Tackle Company’s new window fly seats a try.

Designed for and by custom rod builders, ProKote Rod Finish is one of the most exciting and innovative new products dropping this summer. Its extended working time, superb clarity and exceptional leveling make ProKote the premier rod-finish in the industry. ProKote offers the finest UV inhibitors and after 1,500-hours of weatherometer (WOM) Xenon Arc testing by an independent laboratory, ProKote yielded 207% better yellowing resistance and providing 87% clarity retention when compared to other leading brands. With ProKote, you can count on a finish that is nothing less than smooth as glass.

Another new product fresh for the summer is Mud Hole’s Bubble Buster. No longer will builders be plagued by pesky bubbles. Bubble Busters’ special formula releases the surface tension of two-part epoxy which allows trapped bubbles to rise to the surface and burst. It is a great option when flaming a finish is not an option. Application is easy and works with all major rod finishes, just spray Bubble Buster directly to the epoxy finish and watch the bubbles disappear.

The MHX line of rod blanks offered exclusively by Mud Hole is a revolutionary product incorporating advanced materials and manufacturing techniques to meet even the most specific fishing application. Each blank is designated with an application guide so you know the blank you are purchasing will suit your particular needs. These blanks are designed exclusively for rod builders, as you won’t find a factory anywhere offering the MHX line. This allows custom builders the ability to offer a superior product without competition from mass production rod manufacturers—at an amazing price to boot. Each MHX blank is put through a multi-point inspection to ensure straightness, proper dimensions such as butt and tip size, weight, length and deflection. This industry leading inspection process ensures builders that the blank they receive will exceed the standards they deserve. Each MHX blank is designated with an individually assigned serial number that can be registered at This serial number links the blank through the build process and eventually to the end consumer—allowing for a transfer of the limited lifetime warranty offered with all MHX blanks—a first in the industry.

Finally, with over 48 models, new X-Factor fly rod blanks will be hitting the water later this year in three and four piece models. Also in coming weeks many of the most popular models now being offered in a two-piece versions will be ready for traveling angler’s worldwide. MHX blanks offer one of the most comprehensive lines of blank selections around, ensuring hobbyists and custom builders alike are able to select high quality blanks at a price everyone can afford. Word around town is that after you’ve fished an MHX blank, it’s hard to fish anything else.

Custom rod building is exciting. It’s an excellent pastime and provides a level of personal satisfaction every time you land a fish on a rod you built with your own two hands and your own creativity. Give it a shot, we guarantee you’ll be hooked!