Bryon Thompson

Virginian Curt Lytle, a bass pro who has a degree in mechanical engineering, builds or modifies his fishing rods to make them lighter, better balanced, and more efficient tools. Here’s how you can duplicate one of his superior bass rods.

[1] Choose a one-piece, 71⁄2-foot, medium-heavy-action graphite flipping-rod blank. The heavy action adds weight, as does a telescopic handle. Save weight by using a split handle made from 11⁄4-inch-diameter cork rings. The butt section and the grip are 41⁄2 inches long, separated by the exposed rod blank (a). A reelseat that lets you touch the rod blank increases sensitivity, improving chances of a hook-up.

[2] Eliminate the grip above the reel and cut off unneeded threads from the end of the reel seat (b) with a hacksaw. Epoxy the cork grip and the reel seat where you find the best balance. The seat must be in line with the rod’s spline (its stiffer side), which should be on top.

[3] Position eight Fuji SiC guides so the rod bends evenly under stress with minimum line-to-rod contact. The first, a double-foot No. 16, goes about 43 inches above the rod butt. The remaining guides are single-foot. Set the second, a No. 12, about 48 inches from the butt, 60 degrees to the right of the first guide; and the third, also a No. 12, at about 54 inches, 120 degrees to the right of the first. The fourth, a No. 10, should be under the rod at about the 60-inch mark. The final guides—a No. 10, two No. 8s, and the tip—go under the rod (as on a spinning rod). Wrapping them like this (c) prevents the rod from twisting out of your grip when you slam the hook into a big bass.