Top rod winner unveiled in challenge

An amazing custom rod build by Danny Thomson has scooped top spot in this year’s International Rod Building Challenge, organised by American Tackle Co.

His design, inspired by his love of fishing and duck hunting, beat more than 80 other competitors’ blanks from across the world, making it the largest entry on record.

All the competitors sent their completed rods to be initially judged at the International Custom Rod Building Expo by a panel of 30, who selected the top 10, which were shipped back to American Tackle HQ, where an elite panel of judges from custom rod builders, media, trade, and anglers graded each rod.

With such a high calibre of builders, the judges were impressed to see all the different styles and builds all based on the same blank.

“It was incredible to see so many different interpretations on what the American Tackle Co mystery blank could be used for,” said Don Morse of American Tackle Co.

Judging criteria included design, guide placement, component straightness, functionality, craftsmanship, static deflection, threadwork, cleanliness, fit and finish and overall appearance.

Joining Danny Thomson of North Carolina, USA, on the podium was second-placed Hoove Brieuc of Belgium with his diode and cooper build, while third place was awarded to Gary Allner from the UK, with his ultra-shift chameleon painted rod.

Danny said: “You may have heard of an Eastern North Carolina tragedy that recently occurred, where 4 youth duck hunters and 4 adults went down in a plane crash.  All eight lives were lost.  Even though this rod was inspired and built before this tragedy, it is my intent to dedicate this rod to the #DownEastStrong community and raise awareness to help fund this unfortunate event.”