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Rod building is a hobby worth the effort By Larry Myhre

Reprinted from the Sioux City Journal

Building fishing rods is a productive way to spend winter evenings. A few hours of work will result in a rod better than anything you can buy off the rack. Of course it will take you a few rods of practice to reach that level, but it is achievable.

If you are an angler who takes his fishing seriously, you should be making your own rods.

Why, you ask?

There are lots of reasons. First, there’s a great feeling of accomplishment when you catch a fish on a rod you have made yourself. It just increases the enjoyment of your sport. Second, you can design a rod that fits your fishing style. Like pitching crankbaits? A crankbait rod is a lot different than a rod made for jig fishing, or pulling spinners behind bottom bouncers or throwing spinnerbaits, or drop shotting.

But perhaps the biggest reason is simply the enjoyment of doing so. How better to fill a couple of hours most winter evenings by working on a rod you will fish with next spring. It’s productive and it is time well spent.

I’ve been making my own rods since the late 1960s. Those were the days of fiberglass. Honestly, there were few rods being made by the major companies that were any good for the sophistication that was rapidly entering the industry. Jig fishing was coming on strong, spoon plugging was making news across the north country. New crankbait designs were plentiful and the advent of plastics in fishing was just coming on.

But when it came to rods, there wasn’t much progress.

Can you believe that most fiberglass rods in those days were designed to feel good when you took them off the rack and wiggled them. That’s how rod companies thought most anglers were choosing their rods. So they made rods that wiggled well. Trouble is, fishing with a wet noodle does not result in good hook ups.

So I began to make my own rods. I’d purchase, let’s say a 7-foot, two piece blank. I’d trim some off the tip and maybe some off the butt and end up with a 6-foot 4-inch rod that would have some backbone and handle a 3/8ths ounce jig or troll a crankbait well. [Read more…]

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More Anglers should embrace ‘Do It Yourself’ By Larry Myhre

Reprinted from the Sioux City Journal.

I got an outdoors catalog in the mail the other day. Right at the top of the front cover in bold letters were the words, “DO IT YOURSELF.”

That kind of took me aback for a little bit. You see, I don’t think many outdoorsmen make much of anything anymore. They much prefer to buy it.

When I looked a little closer, I saw the words “Rod Building 101.” Now I understood. It was from Mud Hole, a company which caters to amateur and professional fishing rod makers. I do a fair amount of business with them in my own rod making.

But here’s the thing. I know a heck of a lot of fishermen throughout the upper Midwest, and very few of them have ever made a fishing rod.

Even fewer have ever poured lead heads, and tied their own bass, walleye or panfish jigs. It seems nobody makes their own spinnerbaits anymore. A few walleye fishermen will build their own spinners to pull behind bottom bouncers, but hardly anybody makes their own bottom bouncers.

Flash back about 50 years. Every sporting goods store with a fishing department carried all the supplies you would need for building a rod, tying flies or jigs or making just about any kind of tackle. Today, its mostly mail order because there are not enough anglers making their own stuff.

I feel sorry for them. Why? Because catching a fish on tackle you have made yourself is something special. Because learning how make this stuff builds your fishing education. Because it makes you a better fisherman. Because it is a great way to spend those winter weekends. Because it is fun.

I suppose I started making my own stuff to save money. Early on, there wasn’t much of that around our house.

Notice, however, that I did not include saving money as one of the benefits of making your own stuff.

I can’t begin to tell you how much I have invested in just fly-tying materials. No, if you really get into this stuff, you won’t be saving any money.

I began tying flies about 1966. It’s a hobby that I continue today. I’ve tied more flies and classic jigs than I could ever fish with, even if I fished every day of the week. I’ve tied exhibition streamers and classic salmon flies just for fun. I’ll never be noted as a great fly tyer because I’m just not that good, and I have too many other interests. But, I love to do it. [Read more…]