Pro Builds His Own Fishing Rods

Pro Builds His Own Fishing Rods

John Cox from Debary, Florida is a professional fisherman on the FLW tour, and is a natural bass fisherman. That said, even John would admit that his fishing abilities have increased since he started building his own rods that he uses on tour.


For many looking at rod building for the first time, you may just consider it to be a neat hobby to get into, and that would be true. However, rod building also gets the fisherman more in tune with the technology behind the rod building components, which translates into catching more fish.

For John Cox, rod building helped him have a stellar year on the FLW tour, winning over $400,000! This article chronicles his winning rod building story.

John Cox Catches Bass


John has the ability to locate and catch fish that other anglers overlook, and is something that Cox describes as a feeling, "At Wheeler (the tournament he won earlier this year) I worked through what seemed like an endless maze of creeks before settling on the one that I knew was holding fish. All the creeks held fish but it was something about Cotaco Creek that was right", said Cox.

It is his "feelings" that makes Cox excel at home in Florida or on the road to winning his first Forest Wood Cup.

Following John through the years on FLW you can see him honing his craft and perfecting the way he fishes. So many times anglers get duped into thinking they have to fish a certain way to be competitive or to win.


Then Cox shows up, in an aluminum boat, no fancy side imaging transducers and just fishes his way. Fishing John's way is what makes him comfortable, gives him confidence and the ability to make those "feel" decisions.

With the barrage of interviews last year while leading the Angler of the Year race most of the year and winning both the FLW Tour Stop at Hartwell and finally the FLW Cup on Wheeler Lake, Cox credits building custom rods as giving him a competitive advantage.

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John Meets Mud Hole

In the offseason, before the 2014 FLW Tour season, John Cox made the decision to start building his own rods. When asked about the first time he came into Mud Hole Custom Tackle (John's title sponsor) he gets that signature big grin on his face.

"I was blown away the first time I went in, they had a crazy amount of options and blanks. At first I thought I would be overwhelmed but quickly realized I could build exactly what I had always wanted in a rod", said Cox.

Something clicked for sure, as Cox's performance in the FLW Tour events jumped considerably. His 2014 campaign showed two top ten finishes while cashing checks in four of his six events.

Not to be outdone he came back in 2015 with three top tens and cashed checks in every event just nearly missing the Angler of the Year title!

The most recent season has been his best yet with a win at Lake Hartwell and finally the FLW Cup landing him over $400,000 in earnings!

Even with all his recent success some might think he would not want to be bothered with building his own rods but it is quite the opposite.

"It gives me a break from everything and allows me to have the confidence in my equipment knowing I built it." explained Cox.

He spoke about Day 4 of the FLW Cup when he was struggling to get his limit and his frog bite was suffering. "I had one stretch that I felt I could get a limit with a weightless Senko and knew I had to make a pass at it".

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Cox made the decision to leave his number one spot to try and get the ball rolling with a few fish. "I have a MHX MB873 I built solely for a weightless senko, I shortened the handle a little to allow me to work the bait better and skip docks or laydowns" Cox told us.

Well it worked, he made his move, got the train back on track and ultimately came back to his main stretch in Cotaco Creek to put a four-pounder in the livewell, and the rest is history.

Even the professional fisherman are learning the benefits of fishing with custom rods!

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