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Rod Building 101 with Mud Hole Custom Tackle

Well as you can see from the image above, I’m officially a custom fishing rod crafter and I’m on my way to replacing all of my charter fishing rods with rods crafted by Captain Tom Van Horn.  For the cost of buying one quality fishing rod (125.00), I’ve completed Mud Hole’s Rod Building 101 Class, and I get to keep my finished rod, the winding kit and all of the tools and materials.  Mud Hole travels around the country conducting these rod crafting seminars, and even if you just learn to repair and replace the broken guides on your existing rods, it’s well worth the time and money spent.  In Florida these seminars cost 125.00 dollars and outside Florida these classes cost 150.00 dollars: http://www.mudhole.com/Mud-Hole-Specials-Page/Mud-Hole-Spotlight/Rod-Building-Classes-Mud-Hole.

In my fishing guide service it is extremely important to not only have top quality tackle for my clients, but equally as important to have fishing rods specifically sized, (weight, length and strength) to handle our targeted species, and manage fish to the boat quickly.  I also typically facilitate two to three anglers, so it is not uncommon to leave the house with a series of eight rods in the rod locker on the boat. 

My normal stash of rod and reel combos consist of two six foot light rods paired up with 2500 Daiwa Exceller reels for casting DOA Jigs with either a 3″ shad tail or 4′ jerk bait and other light lures.  I also use these light rod combos for largemonth bass fishing.  These 10 pound setups are my sea trout and ladyfish combos.  I spool these reels with 10-pound Courtland Master Braid, and they will cast a jig a mile covering a lot of water.  My next pair of rods are 7′ 6″ medium light rods with a fast tip.  Spooled with 15-pound test Courtland Master Braid and equipped with a 3000 series reel. I use these rods for casting top-water plugs or heaver lures targeting upper slot redfish and larger sea trout.  Again, these setups will cast a mile and cover as much water as possible. The third pair of rods are 20-pound class 7’6″ medium rods spooled with 20-pound test Courtland Master Braid.  These rods are setup for casting bait to larger redfish and black drum.  My last set of rods are 7’6″ 20 pound class paired up with a 4000 series reel spooled with 20-pound Courtland Master Braid and are utilized for fish greater than 20 pounds.  Like mentioned before, typically leave the dock with eight rods, and these are only my inshore saltwater combination.  I will also be adding some modifications to improve the quality of guide, grips and handles.

My plan over the next six months is to replace all of my current rods with new custom built rods designed specifically for the type of fishing I do and the species I target on the inshore waters of the Mosquito and Indian River Lagoons.  This blog is intended to carry you step by step with me as I progress through this process.  Please follow along and reply back with any questions or comments you may have.  Although I’ve been fishing all of my life and guiding for the past 20 years, I’m new to the custom rod crafting business, and I’m always willing to learn from those who share the same passions as I do.

By the way, I just finished my first guide replacement today.  Although it is not the prettiest job, it looks very functional to me, we will see!

Good luck and good fishing,

Captain Tom Van Horn


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