Veteran Advice for All Rod Builders

Custom Rod building is a rewarding craft geared for performance, but it’s also a skill that takes plenty of practice to perfect, so a little veteran advice will go a long way in improving any rod builder’s abilities.

3 Ways to Improve Your Rod Building Routine

Whether it’s through fishing, rod building, or friendship, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of Bob McKamey. A Tennessee Native and longtime rod builder, Bob McKamey’s life has unfolded alongside the evolution of the industry and his admiration for the custom craft is quite contagious.

In between building his custom fishing rods, consulting the Mud Hole pros, and catching fish wherever they’ll swim, Bob found time to share some lessons he’s learned over the years.

Bob is always quick to offer rod building advice, here he is talking with Elite Pros Bradley Roy and Brandon Lester.

Catch his 3 ways to improve your rod building routine below:

1. Don’t Complicate Custom Rod Building

The first key to a successful rod building experience is to keep it simple, especially in the beginning. Beginners find that their comfort and abilities with the craft improve drastically after each finished rod.

Though practice and experience are crucial, your mindset while building is just as important. Keeping an open mind and being creative often leads to awesome fishing rods as well as a better overall experience building them.

Patience is also integral in building the best fishing rod possible. For instance, a multi-piece rod requires builders to find the spine of each section. Without identifying the spine, certain sections could work against the rod and tamper the custom rod’s ultimate performance, which is the most important part.

Don’t forget it’s your fishing rod, so customize it how you want and bring that dream rod to life right before your eyes. When it comes to rod building, remember there are no rules, just custom so don’t complicate it and have fun.

Start building your own Multi-Option Rod Kit now!

2. Communicate and Ask Questions

Like fishing, the rod building community is one that is always willing to share helpful tips and tricks. Whether it be with fellow beginners or seasoned builders, communication is the easiest way to shorten the learning curve and improve your rod building skills.

Take advantage of this group’s vast knowledge and experience by assembling a reliable network of rod builders. Networking and consulting with local rod builders helps a ton, but don’t be afraid to dive in to the immense resources online.

Many rod builders look to digital publications, like message boards, Facebook Pages, and YouTube Channels, to collectively solve the intricacies of this incredible craft. Between discussing questions, watching demos, and cycling through pictures of finished rods, learning from a network of custom rod builders is as helpful as it is easy.

Read more about Mud Hole’s Rod Building Resources…

3. Trial and Error Leads to Innovation

Believe it or not, there was an era of rod building when the necessary tools simply didn’t exist. In this era, rod builders developed their own equipment to overcome these deficiencies.

For example, a hand wrapper wouldn’t be what is used today, but rather, it would look more like a cardboard box with two V’s cut out to hold the rod, a tea cup for the thread spool and a dictionary to supply tension.

Bob McKamey explains why the CRB Hand Wrapper and burnishing tool are irreplaceable in today’s rod building work place.

Although today’s tools are much easier to come by, it’s the critical thinking spirit of rod builders from this era that lives on. Innovation is as much a part of rod building as it is for fishing and this means experimenting is not only inevitable, it’s encouraged.

Trial and error is a great method for learning, and also the leading path to improvement in rod building, so don’t be afraid to experiment!

Mud Hole’s Angler Wrangler Bob McKamey

Beginning in 1975, Bob McKamey has over 40 years of experience innovating and spreading the performance driven craft of rod building.

Together with Bob McKamey, Elite angler Bradley Roy developed his custom Pro Tour Rod Kits, which ultimately led Roy to a top ten finish in his first Bassmaster Classic appearance.

From assisting pro anglers, customers, and kids, to using his vast knowledge to develop vital solutions in products, Bob is more than an avid builder, he is the heartbeat of custom rod building.