How Rod Building Strengthens Pro Angler’s Family Bond

Find out how John Cox uses custom rod building to increase his winnings on the road and bring his family together at home.


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John Cox Talks Rod Building and Family Bonding

Fishing has always been there for John Cox, but it was learning to build fishing rods, raising two little co-anglers, and winning the Forrest Wood Cup that truly changed his life forever.

The Custom Rod Builder

Cox knew a career as a professional angler was his dream, but he also knew getting to that stage wasn’t going to be easy. Growing up as a sight fisherman in Debary, Florida, John had a keen eye for the waters of the Sunshine State, but fishing competitively across the nation was a different story.

“At that time I didn’t realize because I didn’t know what I know now about rod building, but the stuff I was using was mostly Florida based,” John says before explaining, “It was for vegetation and everything was really stiff, they were big rods 7’6”-8’ foot rods, and to be consistent on the tour, you have to be able to fish everything.

While on tour, “You need to be able to customize everything to compete with these guys. Looking back at it, there was just so many things I could’ve done different with my equipment if I was able to build my own stuff.”

Cox smiles as he remembers the beginning of rod building, “Finally in 2015, you know I start building my own rods, I start learning so much about it and having all the right equipment.” John saw his luck change as he learned more about his style of fishing from rod building and then, used this knowledge to improve his performance on the water.

John Cox quickly found that a custom fishing rod truly tailored to his style could dramatically increase his bait control, hook ups, and overall performance. “The awesome thing about rod building is that I’ll build a rod that’s perfect for the way I fish, and the way I work that bait, and the line and everything.”

Cox concludes by detailing the possibilities in rod building make him a more confident angler on tour, “If you need a stiffer rod because you set the hook soft or if you need a more parabolic bend, I mean it’s endless. The more I build rods, the more I learn what I’m doing while I’m building them and it’s helping my fishing.”

The Father of a Fishing Family

Before long, John’s boat took on a couple more co-anglers while on his climb to the ranks of FLW champion. But throwing two daughters in the mix turned out to be the biggest blessings of John’s career.

“Both my daughters, they’re amazing. They didn’t have a choice, I remember… I remember them both being in diapers and having them with me practicing,” Cox grins as he recalls, “I had, I had no babysitter and it was like if I’m going to do this thing, I’m going to take them with me.”

Whether fishing or rod building, Savannah and Lilly spend time learning from their dad and bonding as a family.

“At first I thought Savannah when she was 4 and 5, I thought Savannah… she’s going to fish. I mean she could go all day,” John says before admitting, “I hooked her with an Alabama rig one time when we were out in Gunnersville and she’s like 4 and 5 you know. She doesn’t even have her hair yet.”

John continues, “I yank it out and I’m thinking we need to go in. She’s like nah, Dad we’re good. She just kept fishing with me.”

“Now Lilly is the one to go all the time,” John says as he pulls out his phone to show all the fish Savannah and Lilly have landed.

You may recognize their fishing skills from social media:





John explains his favorite memories are when “they’re catching fish and they go to high five me.”

“That’s when I know that I’m dad.”

The resemblance in the Cox family is uncanny and they’re skills in fishing are no different.

Check out John and His Two Favorite Co-Anglers in Action:






Love the look of Savannah and Lilly’s custom pink fishing rod? Build your own with the MHX Color Series Rods

Let’s just say between John Cox and his two daughters, there are still plenty of rods to build and fishing stories to tell.

The Forrest Wood Cup Champion

After winning the Forrest Wood Cup in 2016, John spent his downtime building rods, tweaking his techniques, and improving his fishing in preparation for the upcoming season. Now as this season draws to a close, the 2017 Forrest Wood Cup is looming and John Cox once again finds himself in control of his own destiny.

Although winning last year punches his ticket for this year, John refused to slow down and cashed in at event after event leading up to this year’s championship at Lake Murray in South Carolina.





Working off of momentum, custom rod building, and a clear mindset, Cox is an even more dangerous contender going into this year’s Forrest Wood Cup.

Capture the performance behind FLW Pro John Cox and build his Pro Tour Rods!