I build custom rods on fiberglass and carbon fiber. The “Carbon 4” blanks I use are a proprietary design of RODgeeks, and produced by Axiom North America, LLC, a joint venture between the St. Croix Fishing Rod Company and Rapsody, Inc. I’ve been a fan of St. Croix blanks for years and when I contacted them to inquire about running some of my favorite blanks with custom colors and finishes, they put me in touch with Bob Penika, President of Rapsody Rods. These share the same low-resin carbon fiber prepreg as St. Croix’s SCIV, without the scrim. It is a high-modulus, high-strain, low-resin prepreg. That means less material can be used to achieve the same strength, and that equals less weight and more sensitivity. The rods I build on these blanks cast smoothly, load easily at long and short distances, and retain enough backbone to turn fish. They have a taper profile that produces a “fast action”, with most of the rod flex in the top 25 percent of the rod. Unlike many “fast action” rods on the market, which can be difficult for beginners to learn to cast, my rods built on Carbon 4 blanks are sensitive enough to feel the rod load. They feel lively and promote good casting technique.
The common theme in my builds is color, whether it be Epic’s Fastglass, Blue Halo glass, Carbon 4 or the Carbon 2. Color choices in blanks that are made to order fill a niche for hobby and pro builders such as myself. “Natural” is an option too. With these choices we are no longer slaves to decorative thread work. Less is more in my book and custom colors allow builders to showcase the blank and accent them with minimal thread and epoxy.
The business end of the rod is in its bendy part, the section which flexes, loads and launches line. The less we mess with it the better. Too much pimping in the wrong place smothers performance. Using the finest silk and synthetic threads and a skilled application of finish can produce a beautiful and classy rod, without hindering the performance of blanks with long thread wraps and heaps of epoxy finish.
Rather than go on raving about the line of blanks I build on, the truth is great rods are built with great workmanship and great components. I build rods to fish and form follows function with my custom rods. That said, I strive to achieve a balance of both, performance and style, and this is why custom built rods stand out from the mass produced herd.
Stay tuned for more posts on my fiberglass options, grip designs, guides I use, actions and power.