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Rod Building: Picking the Right Handle

Jul 30, 2008
Is rod building a challenge? It can be but the main reason rod building can be such a challenge is primarily that you have so many big decisions to make about the different elements of the right fishing rod for your needs. Picking blanks is critical but if you don't spend some time on selecting the best handle for your grip and your cast then you'll end up with a less than perfect finished product.

Let's look at some of the basics of handle selection when it comes to rod building.

Handle Elements

While there are a wide rang of handle materials available, a few are more common than others. You may want to choose something exotic but you'll probably be happy with one of these choices. In some cases, you might even want to select multiple materials because certain elements may be better for one part over another.

With that in mind, there are three main types of handles you might choose from with your rod building

Cork is an excellent choice because it is very lightweight. This is a nice benefit as you probably know because you don't want a heavy material that is going to make casting difficult. Unfortunately, you may have a hard time finding high-quality cork. If you can find cork, another benefit is that it can easily be shaped into the handle of your choice.

If you want something a little heavier, consider rubber cork. It is made of a combination of cork and rubber. The material provides greater durability. Generally, rubber cork is more affordable and easier to find but that may be changing as petroleum costs keep rising.

Another cork-related option is burl cork. Basically, this material is made from a lot of different materials - mainly cork and rubber - in different sizes. If you're interested in the appearance of the finished rod, you might want to choose burl cork because it can be purchased in many colorful varieties. Of course, don't let the appearance be the primary concern of your rod building activities.

Custom or Pre-Formed Handles

Even after you've decided on a material for your rod building, you need to make another critical decision. You can purchase handles that have already been built and that come in a variety of materials, including the three listed above. Pre-formed handles will be easier to get and will make the process of rod building a lot easier. If you take this option, test some handles out before you purchase one online. You'll have more selection available but you'll have a good idea of what you need.

The other option is having a custom built handle. Building the handle from scratch is probably the best choice if you are serious about truly having a piece of custom equipment for your fishing rod. However, there are a number of good reasons not to opt for this choice, including the cost and the time involved but it's definitely something you may want to consider for your own rod building.
About the Author
Rod Building Sea Isle Tackle has been proudly serving the saltwater fishing community for over 45 years. Since opening day in 1962, we have dedicated ourself to providing the finest fishing tackle and Shimano Reels the industry has to offer. Sea Isle Tackle has a great selection of Rod Building Accessories.
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