How to Build a Fiberglass Fishing Rod

How to Build a Fiberglass Fishing Rod
Fiberglas rods were the standard in the era before graphite, but many anglers have not forgotten the value of the rods. Fiberglas fishing rods are very sensitive and are used by many anglers for making delicate presentations. Although valued for sensitivity, the rods are very flexible and have the strength to fight large fish. Fiberglas rods can be built for fly or spin casting although the construction process requires advanced rod building skills and specialized equipment.


Difficulty: Challenging

Things You’ll Need:
  • Fiberglas blank
  • Denatured alcohol
  • 5 minute epoxy
  • Reamer
  • Tip top
  • Cork grip
  • Rod guides
  • Rod varnish
  • Rod thread
  • Reel seat
Step 1
Prepare the blank by measuring the length of the bottom butt section and the top tip section. The sections should be of equal length regardless of the number of blank pieces. Use a file to shorten the length of the tip top section until it is ¼ to ½ inch shorter than the butt section. Do not file around any of the rod ferrules.
Step 2
Clean the tip area with a damp rag. Apply 5 minute epoxy to the tip and mount the tip top. While the epoxy is curing, use a small amount of alcohol to clean any spilled epoxy from the blank and tip top area. Although the epoxy cures in 5 minutes, allow 10-15 minutes for it to dry completely.
Step 3
Measure the length of the reel seat and mark the distance on the bottom of the butt section. Measure the length of the cork grip and mark the length on the butt section so it comes in direct contact with the top of the reel seat. Begin to slide the grip on the butt of the rod starting at the top of the butt section (narrower diameter end) and moving downward. If the grip does not fit, use a reamer to enlarge the hole. Before the grip is in place, coat the grip area with 5 minute epoxy. Slide the grip over the epoxy and allow it to cure for 10-15 minutes.
Step 4
Mark the placement for each guide on the rod with a china marker. Use a spacing chart to determine the number of guides and their spacing on the rod.
Step 5
Place a spool of rod thread in a tension device. You can make your own tension device using several large books. Position the top (smallest) guide on the marked position. Lay the tag end of the thread along the foot of the guide and begin making tight wraps, working from the foot to the loop. The foot is the flat wire piece on each end of the guide. Separate wraps are made on the top and bottom foot of each guide by slowly rotating the rod. Finish wrapping by making a small loop of thread and feeding the end of the thread through to cinch down a tension knot.
Step 6
Apply a thin coat of rod varnish to the blank with a rod finishing brush. Rotate the rod until the varnish cures. Repeat the process until the finish reaches the look you desire. Let the rod set for 12 hours. In this time,the varnish will dry completely.
Step 7
Apply a coat of 5 minute epoxy to the inside of the reel seat. The epoxy should touch the entire surface area of the inside of the reel seat. Mount the reel seat on the butt end of the rod and allow it to set for 10 minutes.

Tips & Warnings

Take your time and make precise measurements when building a rod. Be sure the guides are aligned and allow all epoxy and varnish to dry completely.
Warm water or alcohol is effective for cleaning epoxy spills in the first couple of minutes. Do not use any other cleaning agents as they may damage the rod blank.

Article Written By Zach Lazzari

Zach Lazzari is an outdoor writing specialist. He has experience in website writing as well as standard newspaper writing. He wrote an outdoor column for the Silver World in Lake City, Colo., and articles for Lazzari is currently completing his bachelor's degree online through Arizona State University and lives in southwest Montana.

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