Building a custom rod for a kid

Building a custom rod for a kid

Some of the greatest memories for a child are made in the outdoors. Whether it is on family camping trips, big adventures offshore or just on grandma and grandpa’s dock valuable lessons are learned while fishing.

I am watching many of our friends’ children grow up and experience fishing and the outdoors for the first time. Honestly, it is hard to tell who is more excited. Is it the children getting to experience new and wild things or is it the mother’s and father’s getting to take their children on these special trips? You can feel the excitement is real.

We do our best to walk through rod building from every angle and at every level in these blogs and on Mud Hole Live, so let’s not forget the kids. Summer is approaching soon and there is no place better for them to be than enjoying the outdoors.

Can’t we just hand our child one of our custom rods to fish with? Well of course but depending on their age and skill level there might be a few things to consider before letting them run off with that fishing rod.

Getting Started 

The first question I ask when discussing rod building and components with a parent or grandparent eager to build for a child is, what is their age? A five-year-old is not necessarily going to be able to handle the same fishing rod as a ten-year-old. In this instance we are not really considering the skiff level quite yet but deciding whether they are going to need a 4-to-5-footer or can they handle something a little longer.

Blank Choice

One of the most popular blanks for any age just so happens to be a favorite for the kids build. The CRB Color Series. They are light but extremely durable and come in 12 awesome colors! Granted, I might not have kids of my own, but I do know they all have a favorite color. So let them go wild! With twelve blanks colors and hundreds of thread options, their fishing rod will be one of a kind and a fun extension of their personality.

Now that we know the blank we need to consider what type of fishing they will be doing. For example, if they are throwing a beetle spin with a zebco, I would stay with the light power but if it will be more of a shiner or live bait rod the medium power is a great choice. The good news is all the blanks from 5’6” to 7’6” come in powers from Light to Heavy. So no matter the lure or technique you can build one up to the task.

Keep in mind these are not just for kids, my charter clients use them daily for bonefish and permit. One of my favorite builds is my Versatile Inshore 7’ Light Spinning Rod Component Kit that features the CRB IS701L. This 7 footer is create for inshore paddle tails, walking baits and pitching a live bait.

Anyway, back to the kids!

Building The Handle Section

Let’s talk components. Starting at the butt section, we all remember our first zebco and most often it featured a pistol grip. Well, not only for nostalgia but for ease of use, we still like them for a spincast build. If you go the spinning rod route, there are tons of length and material options so you can match the handle length to fit the young angler. I still like the pistol grip for the younger kids that will be using a spincast.

In terms of reel seats, a basic casting trigger seat in size 16 is ideal for them. Even better to match or at least color coordinate the reel seat to the color series blank. This is made possible by CRB Color Series reel seats. Yes, they do some in both spinning and casting with either black or polished hoods. Just as with the color series blanks, these reel seats won’t break the bank but perform as good as they look. It will for sure put a smile on the kids faces.

Choosing The Right Guides

As I am sure most can see a trend forming here, choosing quality but also durable rod components for the young angler’s custom build. With rod guides it is no different. We need to match something that will perform to the chosen reel but stand up to the inevitable whack on tree branches, fence posts or a tumble off a bicycle.

On this build we used the CRB Double Foot Spin/Cast Guide - Model DF. These come in black or polished and made with stainless steel frames with aluminum oxide rings. We need to keep in mind that fishing a spincast reel brings the line up off the blank considerably higher than a low-profile casting reel. So, the spincast style guide is used to maintain the correct height while not having to go to a much larger guide ring.


Also in the CRB guide family, there is a SSR spincast guide. Combining affordability and value with the utmost strength and durability, these SSR spincast feature stainless steel frames and a double swaged stainless steel insert rings for virtually impact proof performance. So, if you have a young angler that might want to use his or her fishing rod as a sword, the SSR guides are what I would recommend.

When adding your tip top, CRB has a match for both the Standard Aluminum Oxide and the SSR Guides.

Use a Hook Keeper

In addition, I feel like this is a good opportunity to teach them how to use a hook keeper. Still to this day I see grown adults putting the hook of their lure into the ring of a guide on their rod. Teach ‘em early and teach ‘em right! Plus, when using a spincast reel it has enough height so you can place the hook keeper close to the reel seat and not worry about tangles.

The Custom Decal 

Finally, it wouldn’t be a proper custom rod without their name on an awesome decal, right? Well, we have 12 cool decal options that come in seven different color schemes. From different fonts to a full custom decal, we have you covered.

Let Them Build 

Since we included them when choosing the parts and pieces for their own rod, be sure to let them have a turn on the hand wrapper or help apply finish. They might not be old enough to build one on their own but I can promise they will remember the time at the workbench alongside you.

If this blog wasn’t enough we did a Mud Hole Live Episode where we covered building a rod, cutting a blank shorter and some advanced decorative tips that will get the kids excited about their new custom fishing rod.

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