By John Merwin
Rod-building has been mentioned by several readers here off and on, so let’s get into that just a bit. I guess I’ve built maybe a dozen rods over the years, by which I mean installing components on a rod blank and not making the blank itself.
Almost always I’ve done this not to just save money but to get a rod that I can’t get any other way. The surfcasting rods I’ve made, for example, have rod grips specifically detailed to my hand size and arm length, which makes casting a lot easier. My favorite, though, and what I’d call my secret weapon, is a 9-foot, fast-action ultralight spinning rod.
I wanted to be able to cast extremely light jigs and lures in larger rivers for trout, while at the same time having the extra reach of a longer rod to better control the drift. I found long, light-line steelhead rods, but the actions were too soft among the rods I looked at (remember “noodle” rods?).