I'm going to let you in on a little secret, but don't tell anyone...
You can catch fish with a "store bought" rod.
Now why would I, a custom rod builder who is trying to explain to you the reasons you'd want to buy my product, go ahead and tell you that you can catch fish without it? Because it's the truth. You can go buy an off the shelf rod at your local sporting goods store and catch fish with it. BUT being the discerning fisherman that you are, you know that there is more to a fishing rod than it's ability to hold fishing line and reel in a fish. That is where an investment into a custom fishing rod comes in. Here are a few of the areas where the investment pays off.
This is the biggest difference between a custom rod and store bought rod. Store bought rods are designed to to be "OK enough" to be able to perform to a minimum standard. The guide train may not have the optimum layout to take full advantage of the performance the blank has to offer. The grips and handle may be designed to be alright for the "average" person, but might not be comfortable or useful for you. The blank itself may be a blank that is designed to offer a "jack of all trades, master of none" type of performance. Like a race car is tuned in all aspects for maximum performance, a custom rod is tuned to be able to provide maximum performance. Components are selected for their specific performance characteristics and put together in a way to maximize the performance of the finished product.
Another big difference between a custom an a store bought is in the quality, especially when you're talking about some of the lower price point store bought rods. Those rods are built in a way that minimizes production costs, often at the expense of attention to detail and quality. The handles may not be fastened to the blank securely enough. The guides may be wrapped on poorly. They may be built with low quality - or in some cases I've seen, fake - cork. Custom rods on the other hand are hand built by skilled individuals who select components for maximum quality.
Again, since store bought rods are designed to be usable by the widest range of people possible, they're not always the most comfortable for you. You may that store bought rods are too heavy to be comfortable casting all day long. The grips may be too long or not the right diameter to fit your hand right. A custom rod can be built so that it becomes an extension of YOU, the fisherman and provides the most comfortable fishing experience.
Application or Technique Specific
Maybe you're looking for a rod designed for a specific technique you like to use. Maybe you're looking for a rod to fit your particular style of fishing, and you just can't get that in a store bought rod. With a custom rod, a person can say "I want a rod to target Atlantic Salmon on size 18 flies on super light line." That may end up being a 9 foot spinning rod built on a 3wt fly rod blank with carbon fiber grips. Good luck finding one of those in a store!
Maybe you want a 1 of a kind rod that nobody else in the world has. Maybe you have a favorite color scheme you want to match. Maybe you want to pay tribute to a special event, or place. Maybe you want your fishing rod to be a memorial to a loved one. This is where a custom rod comes in. We can layout the components in a way that reflects your personality, use specific colors, put custom messages on them, or even incorporate special objects into the build. The possibilities are endless!
Whatever your reason may be, investing in a custom rod is definitely well worth it. Here at LDB Custom Rods we would love nothing more than to be able to work with you to build you the perfect rod to meet your exact needs and desires.