After purchasing the tools and materials, I came out slightly better financially than I would have ordering a custom rod from a builder. Although, the biggest benefit is the satisfaction of making my own rod. The process was very easy and only took me about ten hours to very slowly and carefully build it. The most complex part was deciding what I wanted and what materials I needed.
I created a shorter than normal butt to make it easier to use in a kayak.
The reel seat is solid maple. It adheres directly to the rod blank without needing an arbor. I'm hoping this will help increase sensitivity.
I also chose to not add a fore-grip. When reeling, my hand grips the blank directly, giving me the best feel.
Adding the threading was the fun part. It was tedious, but I am pleased with the result, especially for my first attempt. I figured that I would be looking at this rod for countless hours, so I might as well make it look nice.
I wanted to use micro-guides, but decided that they may be too much of a challenge for my skill level. I went with reinforced saltwater grade guides. Each guide is under wrapped.
I currently have an Ambassador C3 6500 on it. After fishing with it a few times, I think this reel is too big for this rod. I'm in the process of looking for a quality low profile reel for it.
I can say that this rod is exactly what I wanted, which is why fishermen pay the big bucks for custom rods in the first place!
I'm guessing this cat went about 12 pounds, maybe larger. My lip gripper is only rated to 15 pounds, and it could not hold up this fish. A baby by James river standards, but fun nonetheless!