Many anglers call the home made pole a custom made rod.. I tend to disagree with that, since to me.. a custom made anything is made just specifically for one person, like my darts.. balanced and weighted to fit just me.. made by someone who is an expert in the field and for h eavens sakes, you certainly don’t have to be an expert to make yourself a nice rod.
I’ve done a few myself, using what I had lying around, although its a sight easier to buy up the kits and work from those… still you’re not going to get the kind of comments you get if you use a length of white oak or a flexible branch from a skinny willow tree.
The rod builders who are serious about their craft tend to look down their supercilious noses at the kits, but to be honest, I’ve had good luck with them, I’m a Pennsylvania country kid, who’s first fishing pole was little more than a length of stick with a few screw in picture hangers on it and a length of line.. who am I to criticize.. To me, the kit makes a lot of sense.. I didn’t know much at all about the components of a fishing rod and they all come in the kit.. whats not to love.
The real issue with the kits seems to be that people feel its just a hand made rod no different than you could buy in a store.. Maybe so, but again.. maybe not.. You are the one who’s doing it.. if you want to use some special glue, make sure every joint is perfect and every thing seats exactly as it should, that every component is absolutely perfect, or that the handle is a different color or wrapped differently, then you’re going to have something that far surpasses the same thing thats been pre-made won’t you?
Using a kit doesn’t mean by any stretch that you can’t add your own personal touch to it.. buy components that are a bit different if thats what you want, aside from the kit, and add something extra, or take something away. You can change the wraps and the finish.. The only real down side, is that if you stick entirely to the kit, what you have, are parts of the rod that you didn’t select.. someone else did.. the up side is that you have everything you need to make the rod, and once you’ve done one, it becomes much much easier to choose the components you’re going to need the next time, by hand, from “scratch” so to speak so that the next one you make–and their will be a next one–will be absolutely and uniquely your own.
The St Croix Rod Kit has everything that you need to build the rod and then some.. It comes with
3 colors of winding thread
5-minute epoxy (for glue)
Rod finish epoxy to coat and protect winding
It will be easy enough to build your rod without a lot of other things if thats what you want to do. The prices for the rod kits which ranged between 100 and 200, offered multiple rods and a few accessories.
Cabelas also has a rod building kit and theirs start out a bit less costly, with the lower priced ones (granted, possibly not what you want) costing about 50 dollars. You can find those St Croix spinning rod kits here and the Cabelas Rod Kits Here..
To be honest, I’m not sure I could have, or would have built my own first rod without using a kit to see whats involved, what I needed and what I wanted to get extra the next time.. so.. let them sneer if they must.. check out the rod building kits to get going in the right direction and then, when you’re ready, go grab your own parts and do it completely your way.