Why talk to custom rod builders…


Since now I am officially been christened with powers of moving plug sales across eastern seaboard (still one of the nuttiest things I’ve ever heard!) let’s see if I can do the same for the stick makers :-)…lmao

How important is to have “your own” rod builder?

If you are into custom rods? Extremely. And even if you are buying a store rod they can help. How? They know their stuff and the rod builders I deal with will be able to tell you good, bad or ugly about any rod, not only the ones they build.

Take Lou Caruso, aka redhawk (http://louscustomrods.com/ )        as he is known on many websites. Not only is he our rod guru and writes a column for SJ on all things about rods but he is also the fellow who builds and maintains my rods last few years. I had pleasure of having rods built by many other talented rod builders over the years but now that I got to know Lou really good I see no need for a second opinion. Why?


It will make or break you in that trade. If you don’t tell guy that rod he is set on is all wrong for the reel he intends to use it, you won’t last too long. If you don’t educate your customer why a reel seat placed in particular place would be advantageous or why the first guide is so many inches from a reel spool based on spool diameter, you will have customers who will tell you that they are not happy with their rods.

Ok, so Lou is a heck of a rod builder, so are many others, but why choose a rod builder at all? I mean, if you are buying a two piece rods, do you really care what the opinion of a rod builder is?

Yup, and I’ll tell you why.

I been fishing Lami rods now for more years than I can remember. After trying new  rods from St Croix last year I was very impressed. What I wasn’t impressed with was their reel placement. Being blessing with strapping good Croatian looks (insert your own sarcasm here) the reel seat is placed too close to the butt for me to get maximum distance while casting. The stupid (that would be me) would say,” cut the reel seat off and glue the half seat on and viola! All done.”..

Not so fast said Lou. If you do this, your reel might or most likely will not be positioned at proper distance to the first guide. This why this dude is a custom rod builder and I am just  a googan.

So after I ordered two Legend  blanks from St Croix I dropped them over Lou’s house and gave him the length where I want the reel seat placed. He can figure out the rest because he is a rod builder…and he saved me bunch of money by not cutting off a reel seat, replacing it with a reel seat and in process making something that wasn’t (according to him) perfectly laid out. That’s why he is a pro and I am a shmoo…in more ways than one.


7 comments on “Why talk to custom rod builders…

  1. Terry B

    Lou builds all of my rods also, he is a very honest guy, fairly priced and excellent builder. What more can you ask for? I will say though having custom rods built can become an addiction :), properly built they become an extension of your arm next thing you know you want a custom rod built for every application haha.

  2. Anthony Rich

    Lou will have my new rod finished in 2 weeks. 11 ft. Lami with a VS 250, concept guides. Like a tailor we met and he measured me and we decided on proper reel placement. My factory Lamis never fit me right. Like Z said above the reel was way to close to the butt for a big guy. I couldn’t get the the butt between my legs and the rod would rest in my groin. Needless to say uncomfortable.

  3. Allen W

    Lou is my man thanks to finding him here on SJ 😉 I was leery at first like so many others ‘why by a custom rod, there a perfectly good ones out there’ Well long story short Lou showed me in a very patient and thoughtful manner and a few weeks later I could not believe the feel and the distance I was getting from this rod. I am hooked on custom rods built by Lou. He is a gentleman and a very humble but knowledgeable craftsman. He’s got my money for sure. I say if you can afford it custom, from a knowledgeable builder, is the way to go.
    Thanks Lou and SJ!

  4. bunufish

    I don’t know if I’ll ever commit to a custom rod. But the videos and information shared by Lou is awesome. And if I ever do commit, I would consider Lou highly. There is just something by how much he shares, and teaches that speaks volumes about his character. There’s a chance I could be wrong, but would take a chance. =)

  5. frank w

    lou built my first rod for me i loved it caught alot of fish with it and it felt right in myhands. i loved it so much i started making my own rods and you can ask lou, i hound him everyday with important questions i have to make myself a great rod builder. the question are more like how do i make a quality rod that fishes the way it should instead of how it looks. i learned that from lou . thanks lou. now my buddy rob is given me the chance to make him a custom rod thanks rob

  6. Mike

    Lou has built three rods for me, so far. An 8ft Lami and 2 CTS 11 footers. These custom rods out proform any of the off the shelf rods I have. They were built for my physical size, casting style, choice of reel, reel seat, type of guides, etc. There is no comparison. But most important they cast further and easier, and they catch fish.


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