Getting Straight to the Point Blank...
Creating a Custom Rod Build
||Point Blank Rods
Total Score: 8.00 -
Every now and then we learn of a new blank manufacturer making noise in the custom rod circles. Usually, we can find a manufacturer who is not afraid to divulge they are using these blanks so that we can fish, test, and write up the finished product. The most recent example of this is our write ups of Leviathan Rods and Kistler Custom Rods' product both of whom rely upon North Fork Composites for the foundation layer on most of their product.
Point Blank Rods is the blank division of Angler's Resource, the
company responsible for importing Fuji rod components to the US
Recently, we caught wind of another manufacturer making some noise and spent some time trying to track down a rod company that uses their blanks, but were unsuccessful. When we reached out to this company for assistance, they instead, proposed to send us a blank we could build up and fish and just see for ourselves. Trouble is, none of the staff here at TackleTour would identify themselves as a rod builder. I've repaired a few guides in my day, modified some handles, and just recently stripped and reconfigured the reel seat and guides on a couple of spinning rods. However, I've never built a rod up from scratch.
We contacted them directly to inquire about rod manufacturers
sourcing their blanks for their sticks. They responded by sending us a build kit
for their PB761XXHMF
Ordering parts, sizing guides, sourcing grip material, reel seats, the whole nine yards is just a little more than involved than I really want to be. Not to mention the long lead times to receive parts after I've decided on what I want to use. However, in this particular case, it turns out the source of these blanks also owns US distribution rights to Fuji components. We are speaking of course, of Angler's Resource and their blank division, Point Blank Rods. To make life simpler, they offered to send us a complete build kit so we could check out one of their blanks. Here now is our deep dive into the world of rod building and Point Blank Rods's PB761XXHMF.
Point Blank Rods PB761XXHMF Build
||Blend of undisclosed Toray and Mitsubishi carbon fiber material
||Built with Fuji Ti/SiC guides
|Rear Handle Length
||Built with 15" rear grip
||Made in China
MSRP of Blank Only
The biggest challenge for me during the
build? Keeping the guides on the rod long enough to begin
the wrap. I'm now a big fan of double footed guides
The PB761XXHMF is Point Blank's swimbait rod blank. On the manufacturer's website, this blank is rated up to three ounces (3 oz) in lure weight, but on a couple of retail sites, the blanks rating is bumped up to five ounces (5 oz). It is made from an undisclosed blend of Toray and Mitsubishi carbon fiber material and weighed in on our scale at just over three ounces (3.2 oz) bare. I have no comparison data to know if this is good or bad, but obviously, the bare blank feels light. More importantly it feels very crisp and has that high end sound when you tap the blank with your finger nails. I was pretty anxious to build this stick up once I held the bare blank in my hand.
Tape doesn't work so well with these small guides, but achieving
a clean glue attachment to the blank is a challenge too!
Even on a built rod, you can tell most blanks have a smooth, continuous taper from the butt end towards the tip similar to a super elongated triangle, or cone. The PB761XXHMF has a couple of tapers. The handle area or first quarter to one third of the rod is almost a consistent diameter from the butt end. There's very little change. After that point, obviously, the rod tapers down to the tip. This is done in an effort to give the blank a bit more power in the butt.
When you can't decide which shade of blue to use - use all of
The Build: Included in the build kit were Fuji K-series titanium framed guides with SiC inserts. For those interested in the minute details, the stripper guide is reverse style and a size six (6). The running guides are size five and a half (5.5). My plan was to spiral wrap the guides.
My inspiration was a breaking wave
For the reel seat, they sent the PTS seat with the hidden thread sleeve configuration and the accompanying carbon sleeve cover and trim rings in blue. There were a few other trim rings to help finish off the handle assembly as well. I went with my own handle material choosing an Ethylene-Propylene-Diene-Monomer (EPDM) foam rubber material by Batson. This material has a density similar to the old hypalon - a more dense foam compared to EVA. The outside diameter of this handle material is one inch. To finish off the handle assembly, I chose a simple Fuji EVA butt cap.
The handle assembly poses an entirely different set of challenges
as you try to match outside diameters
The handle material I sourced was fourteen inches (14") in total length and I used all of it, so including the butt cap, the handle from butt end to the back of the reel seat comes out to about fifteen inches (15"). This part of the build took the longest because I dry fitted each piece back and forth to make sure it all fit together. There was a re-order or two of trim rings to get the right size - or closest to the right size I could get, and the commensurate wait time for shipping all of which was exacerbated by slow mail service thanks to the pandemic. Once I installed the handle material, I spined the rod and installed the reel seat with the rigid spine on top.
Fuji's PTS-MPK17 reel seat with the hidden thread sleeve hood
Guide spacing was the next challenge. I read up on several different strategies and methods to achieve the same goal and finally ended up going with Fuji's Concept Guide layout scheme checked against the spacing of another swimbait rod (albeit a different blank) for reassurance. At first, I taped the guides in place with some very thin width masking tape, but of course, the 5.5 running guides have such small feet, the tape got in the way of wrapping, so on these smaller guides, I ended up using hot glue to keep them on the blank as I wrapped. This of course caused other issues with the excess glue getting in the way of the wrap as well.
The cut out you see on the majority of rods at the reel seat
isn't actually exposing the blank. On blanks that are roughly half an inch in
diameter at the back, this is possible, but on thinner blanks, you're likely
seeing a carbon sleeve
Trying to trim the excess hot glue off with an x-acto blade resulted in knocking the guide off the blank, and then the process had to be repeated. It is a very tedious task. I hope custom builders have a micro-guide upcharge. I am now a big fan of double footed guides where you can tape one foot to the blank and wrap the other!