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ICAST 2009 Coverage

USA Custom Rods launches Mossy Oak Camouflage rods at ICAST and Wins


Date: 7/16/09
Location: Orlando, Florida
Admission: Buyers & Press only
Manufacturer: USA Custom Rods
Reviewer: Team TackleTour

Introduction: USA Custom Rods a newcomer to the rod space debuted their Mossy Oak Camouflage at ICAST this year and received a huge reception from both buyers and press when they beat other rod manufacturers including the biggest names in the industry by taking "Best of Show" in the Freshwater rod category. 


No your not looking at rods made out of tree branches, USA Custom Rods introduces camouflage fishing rods


USA Custom Rods is a new company but their design team has more than forty  years of combined experience in fishing rod design and manufacturing. In fact, the two founders Chris Williamson and Dennis Ball both worked at branded custom rod companies for years before they decided to create a brand of their own.


USA Custom Rods has an exclusive partnership to use Mossy Oak's popular and recognizable patterns


The two of them have designed and built rods that continue to exist today within other brands and when they created their own offering they wanted something unique. They knew how to build a quality rod when it came to look and feel but they wanted a way to differentiate their offering. Releasing another rod that performed well wasn't enough, they wanted something that had unique cosmetics. What they came up with is a functional new look and feel. 


The reel seat is coated all the way down to the clamp and threads


They found a way to introduce liquid graphics into their fishing rods. This innovative process allows the entire rod to feature graphics, that includes the blank, the reel seat, and even the guides themselves. They secured a license with Haas Outdoors, the legendary makers of Mossy Oak brand camouflage and proceeded to build a truly camouflaged rod, one where the guides blend into the blanks themselves.


A look at the spinning rod seats


At this ICAST USA Custom rods introduced seventeen models that feature the Mossy Oak look which is instantly recognizable to countless outdoorsmen. They stressed that these are not value rods under camo, but are hand picked designs with proven actions and equally impressive performance and durability.


Even the Pac Bay and Fuji Hardloy guides are completely camouflaged


While other manufacturers have attempted camouflage rods in the past none are able to use Mossy Oak's popular patterns, and only USA Custom Rods has a process that can cover all the individual components. At the time of launch there are three patterns available including Mossy Oak Break-Up, Mossy Oak Duck Blind, and even Mossy Oak Pink Camo.


The Mossy Oak Pink Camo rods feature EVA cork grips while the Duck Blind and Break Up patterns make use of cork grips


So who might be interested in a camo rod? How about hunters? It is well known that there is a huge crossover between outdoorsmen who enjoy hunting and fishing and in the hunting industry just about everything you can think of from hunting bows and rifles to boots is camouflaged. When a hunter is sitting in a duck blind he or she can carry one of these rods and fish without holding a rod that looks foreign or stands out, like many of the brightly colored rods that exist today.


Chris Williamson shows Zander the Camouflaged rod who is surprised to discover even metal components are seamlessly camouflaged as well as the blank


But it isn't just about hunting, anglers can benefit from a camo rod when sight fishing for bass or targeting spooky fish like trout in shallow water. There are also some practical benefits to the process as well including improving durability. The coating is designed primarily to create a new look but this patented process prohibits UV damage to the rod blank, reduces abrasion on the components of the rod and reduces corrosion by over 92% to all of the metal components on the rod itself.


A closer look at that Mossy Oak Pink Camo


When we felt the camo coating on the rod it felt almost like a soft touch paint finish and while durability over the guides needs to be explored the team at USA said that while the finish would eventually rub off the guides it would not affect performance. The finish does feel comfortable in hand on the reel seats as well. In the current lineup rods range from 6'6" to 7' in length and cover pretty much all bass applications except full sized swimbaits. So how much do these rods retail for? A very reasonable $139.99 each.


USA Custom Rods founders Dennis Ball and Chris Williamson introduce their new rods at ICAST and take home Best of Show in the Freshwater Rods category


Conclusion: USA Custom Rods were a big surprise at the show, and while a camo rod may sound somewhat foreign as a concept to many anglers it is not doubt that the team has created a memorable product that was differentiated enough to stand out in the crowd. The rods look intriguing, and the actions feel good for a wide range of freshwater applications, and that 139 dollar price tag is pretty reasonable as well. The camo process that the company has designed is pretty spectacular when it comes to the details as every component on the rods minus the cork or EVA grips are all coated impeccably. It wasn't too long ago when I saw baby clothes camouflaged and thought "they can camo anything these days," and USA Custom Rods proves it can now be done on a fishing rod, and amazingly well too.









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