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Musky Rods – The Custom Option
By Craig Sandell © 2007


Selecting a fishing rod is, for many Musky anglers, almost a religious experience…and rightfully so. The dedicated Musky angler, if he is not trolling, is going to be attached to his Musky rod for the better part of every day that he is on the water.

Musky anglers are looking for a Musky rod that is easy to handle as well as tough and reliable. There are many brand names out there that have acquired the patronage of the Musky angling community but it should be kept in mind that rod manufacturers build rods that they believe will sell and not languish in backroom inventories. Innovation is not what you will typically get from the major rod manufacturers.

This year there is an emerging interest among Musky anglers in custom built rods and in the use of something called a “spiral wrap”. In order to put this in perspective, a short review is necessary.

Conventional Musky Rods

In a conventional Musky rod, the rod guides are oriented so that the guides are facing up during casting and fighting a fish. This orientation has the effect of putting torque on the rod as the rod is stressed during casting and also during a battle with a Musky. During a fight with a large Musky, the torque on the rod makes it difficult to reel in line and will, in many instances cause the rod to fracture.

Spiral Wrap Musky Rods

The concept of spiral wrapping is not new. In fact, the original patent was issued in 1909. Those who choose to discredit this “fad” need to realize that this "fad" is almost 100 years old. Spiral wrapped rods have guides at the bottom of the rod and therefore the torque applied to the rod is minimal. When a fish is on the end of the line, the line is being pulled down and toward the fish. A correctly built spiral wrapped rod casts no differently than a conventional rod with the guides on top.

Casting and ease of use is the key consideration. Musky anglers are creatures of habit. When we find something that works, we tend to stick with it but that can prevent us from trying new concepts.

The spiral rod guide concept has the guides closest to the reel oriented conventionally. The guides further from the reel are spiraled toward the bottom of the rod to make the best use of the mechanical advantage from the spiral orientation.

You will be hard pressed to find a spiral wrapped Musky rod available “off-the-shelf”. You will have to find someone to make one for you. Marc Wisniewski, the owner of Angler Design out of Greenfield, Wisconsin is now making custom conventional and spiral wrapped Musky rods. They are priced competitively with mass produced rods and they come with the advantage of knowing the person who made the rod. I have been using custom made rods made for me by a gentleman in California for many years and I like knowing the guy who put the rod together.

I asked Marc about the susceptibility of the Pac Bay rod guides to grooving by the spectra lines...he provided the following:

All the guides are Pac Bay Hialoy.  I have never had anyone come back with groves from using Power Pro or Fireline or any of the braids.  The tip top is a flanged diamond polished silicon carbide.  The flanged tip is important when casting so that the line never touches the frame.

I am going to buy one of Marc’s spiral wrapped rods to use for the 2007 Musky season. I am persuaded by the amount of mechanical advantage associated with the spiral wrap approach and I am always up for anything with the promise of making it easier to cast for and land a Musky.

If you want to buy one of Marc's standard or spiral wrapped rods, you can Click Here to see Marc's page on Jackson Lures.

Tight Lines