Rod Building’s Role in Tournament Bass Fishing

Read all the latest news from Mud Hole’s pro anglers and find out what custom rods they’re building to stay competitive in waters across the country.

Pro Bass Anglers Share Their Secrets to Success

Professional tournament fishing is a grind like no other.

But if you ask any pro angler, it’s a grind that they are proud to own because it all started merely as a dream. A dream that they are now happy to call reality.

From long hours on the road and fishing diverse waters across America, to competing against experienced anglers and hometown heroes at each tour stop, tournament fishing

When the difference between cashing in a check and leaving the event empty handed could be a matter of ounces, there is little room for slowing down. Especially considering how much money is up for grabs!

Whether it’s through their rods, special lure tips, or even local insight, each angler is chasing the perfect combination of knowledge and equipment to give them the upper hand.

For FLW pro—John Cox—and Bassmaster Elite anglers—Bradley Roy and Brandon Lester—they’ve bonded their fishing expertise and unwavering work ethic with custom rod building to bring serious results on the water.

It wasn’t long ago that these three Mud Hole pro anglers all weighed on one of bass fishing’s biggest stages, the Bassmaster Classic.

Read more in our blog: The Bassmaster Classic Welcomes Mud Hole Pro Anglers

Rod building provides another facet to competitive fishing that allows anglers to dial-in their skills and techniques with the ultimate precision.

Starting with rod blank selections and then choosing custom grips, reel seats, guides, and more to match, these anglers have learned that rod building is far greater than a weekend hobby…

It’s the key to assembling performance driven fishing rods you have to fish to believe.

Building, tweaking, and perfecting their own series of Pro Tour Fishing Rods, each pro has championed rod building beyond just a craft and instead, a way to build their own path to the leaderboards.

Find out how these rod builders fared in their most recent events:

John Cox Weighs in Second on Smith Lake

Although John Cox has certainly had some history on Smith Lake, this time proved to be an event to remember.

After day 1, Cox sat in 14th with a limit weighing 14lb-2oz.

But he knew there was plenty of room for improvement and went out on day 2 with a mission to keep climbing the ranks.

John added another limit for 13lb-14oz on day 2, which pushed him from 14th to 10th with two days of competition still remaining.

At this point, Cox recognized that consistency would mean the difference between sinking and swimming at this event on Smith Lake. Another day like the first two and he could potentially crack the top 5, but less than 10 could literally cost him.

Day 3 saw John return from a hard day’s fishing with his notorious ear-to-ear grin. Catching a limit for 15lb-12oz, Cox crashed into the top 5 at 4th.

More importantly, he earned one more day to let his hot hand keep fishing and it didn’t disappoint. John Cox caught his biggest bag yet at 16lb even to secure the heaviest bag on day 4 and seal a solid second place finish on Smith Lake.

Battling back from 14th against the Tour’s toughest competition to catch second place and a check worth $30,000 proves John Cox and his custom rods mean business.

The John Cox Bass Rods that Dominated Smith Lake

If you were to ask John Cox about rod building, he would tell you that fishing the tour without rod building would be next to impossible anymore.

After John found his groove and won FLW’s Forrest Wood Cup in 2016, he embraced the performance advantages and consistency of custom rod building.

Rod building is the only way to get the rod performance he demands in diverse conditions across the country.

That’s why John collaborated with his title sponsor, Mud Hole Custom Tackle to design his own line of custom MHX rods.

Catch the same pro performance with the John Cox Pro Tour Rod Kits!

For example, Cox was prepared to work a swim jig this time on Smith Lake and turned to one of his favorites, the MB903-MHX rod to get the job done.

While some anglers prefer 7’0” rods for this application, John turns to the 7’6” length of the MB903 for multiple reasons. For one, this length adds to his casting distance, which then maximizes the time his swim jig spends in the strike zone.

Second, the extra length of the MB903-MHX rod blank allows you to quickly take up more line, facilitating a better, faster hookset even at increased distances.

But don’t just take it from FLW Pro John Cox, build your own MB903-MHX rod to truly feel the difference!




Bradley Roy Catches Third Place at Grand Lake

When Bradley roy reached his stop in Grand Lake, Oklahoma, he felt ready to fish hard, earn a top spot, and cash a hefty check.

Day 1 proved a good starting point with Roy snagging a limit for 18lb-12oz. But sitting just inside the top 20 at 18th wasn’t quite enough for this talented angler.

After day 2, Bradley Roy padded his weight total on Grand Lake with another limit—this time weighing in at 19lb-9oz. This two day total propelled Roy from 18th place to 7th, which left him he feeling very confident going into day 3.

Knowing he would be fishing the same Pro Tour Fishing Rods that got him this far, Bradley looked to capitalize off his momentum from the first two days.

Roy finished day 3 with another limit, but this time his 16lb-4oz and the event’s stiff competition slid him back to two places to 9th before the final day.

If Bradley Roy is known for two things on tour, those two would be consistency and determination.

His final day on Grand Lake was the perfect testament. After a setback on day 3, Roy came raging back with 20lb-10oz to take home fourth place and a solid pay check.

Watch Bradley Roy Recap his Fourth Place Finish:





Bradley Roy Shows Off His Pro Tour Rods

Since his rise in professional fishing, Bradley Roy has made some strategic changes to enhance his fishing equipment as well as his techniques. Roy took up rod building in 2015 and worked out a title sponsorship with Mud Hole, who’s brand of custom rod building is championed by pro anglers across the country.

In fact, when Bradley got comfortable with rod building, his talents for fishing fused with the immense knowledge inherent in custom rod building for a lethal combination in competition.

Together with Mud Hole, Roy found custom rod building on MHX rod blanks dialed in his equipment and his techniques for maximum efficiency regardless of the fishing application or location.

Fishing across the nation, he really appreciates this performance boost of rod building and MHX rod blanks.

When asked about his all-time favorite rod, Bradley grins and replies, “If I were forced to choose one rod, my MB873-MHX Rod would be a no brainer… I actually keep three rigged up on my boat at all times because their versatility outperforms just about every other option.”




Brandon Lester Seals Sixth Place at Grand Lake

For Brandon Lester, fishing on Grand Lake, Oklahoma was more than another opportunity to show off his fishing skills. It was a chance to get back on the water after the recent birth of his daughter.

Excited to compete with an extra level of pride, Brandon looked to make Grand Lake a memorable one. And spoiler alert, let’s just say it was a success!

After day 1, the competition was incredibly tight. In fact, the difference between first place and Lester’s 30th place was only a few pounds.

Although his 17lb-6oz bag from day 1 was a great start, Lester knew he would have to make a bigger splash to jump the rankings.

Day 2 proved to be the perfect opportunity as Brandon returned to the weigh-in stage with 26lb-3oz. Brandon Lester’s huge bag of Grand Lake bass was not only enough to make a splash, it was enough to take him all the way to the top spot.

Sitting on top after day 2, Lester felt the target on his back, especially with anglers like KVD right on his tail. But Brandon is no stranger to a challenge, he knew he would have to stay consistent to outlast the competition.

Lester returned from the water on day 3 with a repeat of his day 1 weight. Another limit weighing 17lb-6oz was enough to keep him in the chase, but dropped him from first to third with one day left to fish.

Tournament fishing is a wild ride to say the least and Brandon’s experience told him that there is no telling what the final day would bring. Knowing all he can control is his own fishing, Lester left the ramp on the final day hoping to repeat his weight from day 2.

When day 4 ended, Brandon Lester weighed in 12lb-1oz and finished his stop at Grand Lake in sixth place with a nice check to take home to his newborn.

You can’t win ‘em all, but we can guarantee Brandon’s proud of his showing and eager to get to Kentucky Lake next.

Recap Grand Lake with Elite Pro Brandon Lester:





Brandon Lester Dials in His Custom Rods

Each rod that Brandon Lester builds provides a specific purpose on the water and all work together to keep him confident and competitive across the country.

Whether skipping wacky rigs under docks, maximizing a crankbait’s efficiency, or just crushing crappie in the offseason, Brandon Lester has assembled the perfect high-performance fishing rods for his favorite fishing applications.

Let’s just say that Brandon Lester and custom rod building are a match made at Mud Hole!

For Lester, rod building not only fine tunes his fishing rods, but also helps him maintain the same feel for rods despite their vastly different applications. This essentially means that Brandon can have the power to throw a swim bait and the precision for a drop shot without ever sacrificing his feel for the rod during the transition between fishing applications.




Build the Fishing Rods the Pro’s Fish

Want the rod performance that these pro anglers use to catch the biggest bass across the nation?

Check out Pro Tour Rod Kits, these kits are engineered by the pros to dial-in skills from flippin to cranking and everything in between. But now, the same rods that pros carry all over the country are available for you.

Get the performance big fish demand and build your own pro tour rod now!