How Do I Build a Fishing Fly Rod?

How Do I Build a Fishing Fly Rod?
Fly fishing involves the use of long and slender rods that propel the fly line and fly forward to a target on the water. Used on small streams, large rivers, lakes and saltwater, fly fishing rods are available in a wide range of lengths with rated weights. Making a fly rod is an extension of the passion many fly anglers have for the sport. Assembling a fly rod requires basic rod components as well as time and understanding of the process.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Things You’ll Need:
  • Fly rod blank
  • Chalk
  • Cork handle
  • Reel seat
  • Wax
  • Rat tail file
  • Line guides
  • Guide wrapping thread
  • Clear nail polish
  • Epoxy clear coat
  • Soft bristle brush
Step 1
Assemble the individual components you will need to build a fly rod. Choose a fly rod blank in the desired length and rated for the line that will be used. Select a cork handle shape, reel seat and guides based on personal preference.
Step 2
Locate the spine of the fly rod blank by placing the rod tip on the ground while holding the butt end of the blank. Press down on the blank with your index finger so a foot or so of the tip will be forced onto the floor. Allow the rod to roll so the spine can be located. The inside of the curved blank will be the soft side of the spine. Mark the inside of the spine with chalk.
Step 3
Install the purchased reel seat on the butt end of the fly rod blank. Apply a thin coat of craft glue to the fly rod blank along the length where the reel seat will be installed. Slide the reel seat into place and allow the glue to thoroughly dry.
Step 4
Test fit the cork fly rod handle by sliding it down the length of the fly rod blank and next to the reel seat. Apply wax to the blank if necessary to help the handle slide down the blank. Make any adjustments to the hole in the cork handle with a rat tail file. Apply a thin coat of craft glue to the blank and slide the handle into place.
Step 5
Place the partially assembled fly rod blank on a work surface with the chalk-marked side of the spine facing up. Lay out the desired position of the line guides and mark each point with chalk. Apply a small amount of craft glue to the bottom of the guide foot and glue this in place at each marked point.
Step 6
Wrap the foot on each side of the guide with guide wrapping thread. Begin the wraps on the rod blank and work the thread up onto the foot of the guide. Wrap the line one half to three quarters of the way up the foot.

Finish the wrapping by cutting the thread free from the spool and either gluing it in place or pulling it back under the last few wraps of thread.
Step 7
Apply a coat of clear nail polish or similar sealant to the thread wraps on both sides of the line guides. Allow the clear coat to thoroughly dry.
Step 8
Apply a clear coat epoxy to the entire rod blank. Mix the epoxy as directed by the manufacturer and apply it to the rod with a small soft bristle brush making sure to leave no brush marks. Cover the entire rod completely with epoxy.

Tips & Warnings

Attempt to establish as clean an environment as possible that is relatively free from dust when applying the epoxy coat.
Use adequate ventilation when applying nail polish or epoxy finishes.

Article Written By Keith Dooley

Keith Dooley has a degree in outdoor education and sports management. He has worked as an assistant athletic director, head coach and assistant coach in various sports including football, softball and golf. Dooley has worked for various websites in the past, contributing instructional articles on a wide variety of topics.

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