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Rod Building

We are often asked what sets a Witch Doctor tournament rod apart from any of the other high-end bass fishing rods available today. To us that answer is simple, we build the finest bass fishing rods on the planet that are designed for a bass angler’s specific needs, not a “one size fits all” rod.

By working with a network of FLW and BASS tournament bass anglers we have produced and tested over 100 different prototypes. This in depth testing has resulted in the absolute best bass fishing rod for a specific use by an angler. Many custom rod builders, as well as production manufacturers use the same rod blank for multiple models, either cutting the tip or butt off to get the desired action. While this may help them shave costs, in the end it really ends up cutting deeply into the performance of the rod. The Witch Doctor stocks over 96 different models of blanks which allows us to custom build a rod that will not only cast better, and feel better in the angler’s hands, but will provide the power needed to perform at the level of a tournament angler.

As every tournament bass angler knows, when using a spinning a rod, the entire casting motion is different than that of a baitcasting set up. The rod blanks load differently, and thus perform differently. Unfortunately, many spinning rods are constructed using casting blanks, resulting in a spinning rod with an incorrect flex pattern and ultimately requiring extra effort to make a cast. Every bass fishing rod we build is designed for optimum performance – there are no cookie cutter layouts for our rod lines.

One of the first things you may notice when picking up a Witch Doctor rod will be the guides. In many cases our rods feature more guides than comparable competitor rods. Within a given series of rods, you may find three 7’ rods with completely different guide spacing and guide ring sizes. We do this to maximize the performance of that rod for that specific application.

During our extensive field research, one of the most common complaints we received regarding production rods had to do with breakage. In south Florida, where Witch Doctor Tackle is based, Lake Okeechobee offers anglers a chance at some truly large bass that often times require heavy braided lines and big tungsten weights to haul in. While these braided lines are incredibly strong, they can also be extremely abrasive, and can easily cut through a blank if contact is made while the rod is under load. Without the correct number of guides, and proper spacing line can easily contact the rod when under load, thus creating a potential break point.

Before we put any of our tournament bass fishing rods into production, static tests are performed to insure guide spacing is optimal. Once completed that rod has its own unique build specs based on the action of the blank. This process is done with every model of Witch Doctor rods, resulting in a premium bass fishing rod that not only casts better, but reduces casting fatigue, thus allowing the angler to pound that water for hours on end.

Witch Doctor prides itself on utilizing the finest components available to deliver a fishing experience unlike any other. Here are a few components that go into construction of our Custom Tournament Bass Fishing Rods.

Blanks –

Witch Doctor Tackle utilizes only the finest graphite and fiberglass blanks available. Several of our bass fishing rod models have been designed exclusively for Witch Doctor including the Surman50G, Hydrilla Gorilla, the Oracle Pitchin’ Stick and the ultimate 10XD rod…the Big Kahuna. All of our blanks are meticulously inspected for quality; straightness and load/break tested to insure application requirements are suitable.

Components –

Witch Doctor bass fishing rods feature ALPS premium components on all rod models. The cutting edge designs of ALPS products are not only aesthetically beautiful, but extremely functional and durable. 

  • Reel Seats: We use two models of ALPS reel seats, the new Tex Touch Graphite, which is a through blank design with a unique wedge locking hood. The dual locking nut with Delrin spacer insures the reel will never come loose. The second model we use is the Forecast Trigger reel seat in both the exposed blank version and solid version. Spinning Rods Feature Forecast Graphite reel seats as well as Alps Split dual locking spinning reel seats.
  • Tip Top: Roller frame bulletproof ALPS Tip Tops will last a lifetime, meaning no more chipped rings. Black 316 Double Anodized SS and Titanium are used, depending on the model of rod.
  • Guides: Guides play a crucial role in a rods performance, first the guides disperse the load on the rod transferring the pressure evenly down the blank, the more guides, the greater the load dispersion. Secondly, the guides reduce the line slapping against the blank, which enhances casting distance and reduces friction. All Witch Doctor Rods are finished with ALPS Recessed Ringed Guides; These guides feature a rolled frame as opposed to the older flanged style frame. The rings are then glued into the rolled recessed cavity, limiting the risk for chipping or popping out. In addition this design protects the front of the guides for added protection when placing the rods into rod lockers, where most damage occurs. The Witch Doctor uses 416 Stainless Steel double black anodized ringed guides, in both the single and double foot style. For the ultimate in corrosion resistance, we use the solid titanium framed guide with a Zirconia ring. The titanium guides offer the ultimate in lightweight construction and performance.
  • Grips: All Witch Doctor rods feature either EVA Foam Grips with cork composite ends to reduce wear, or Winn Grips for the ultimate in control over your rod. The designs are split grip configuration and the handle lengths vary between models and applications. The Butt caps are either EVA foam, EVA with Composite, or Cork Composite.
  • Hook Keeper: Witch Doctor Tackle uses a Proprietary Patented quick clip bait keeper. The 416 Black anodized stainless keeper is ideally suited for quick release Texas rigs, as well as holding drop shot weights by simply snapping the line in place.

Manufacturing Witch Doctor Rods –

  • Blank Flex: The first step in building a custom tournament rod is to select the blank and put it under an extreme load. If a blank has a manufacturing defect it is going to break during this process, and better here than when you are setting the hook on a big fish.
  • Spine the Blank: All rod blanks have a spine, or a natural direction that the blank will want to turn or flex towards when put under pressure. We flex every rod blank to determine this spine location and mark it on each rod, prior to installing any components. Without this critical step, a rod will not be spined correctly. This will not only affect the casting performance of a rod, but as the rod will naturally want to twist to the spine, if not aligned with the guides you are not only fighting the fish, but fighting the rod torque as well. An improperly spined rod is more prone to breakage as well.
  • Grip and Reel Seat Installation: The grips are custom bored to the blanks and fitted at the proper distance and epoxied on the rod using a special paste epoxy that is strong and flexible. The reel seats used on Witch Doctor rods are bored to fit the blanks, many production rods feature over bored reel seats that have an arbor of tape or bushing underneath reducing sensitivity and performance. Aluminum seats are installed with custom fit collars and both style seats are permanently epoxied in the correct position on the rod spine. Butt cap and winding checks are then epoxied to complete this step. The rods are then left to fully cure.
  • Guide Layout and Size Selection: The most important step to producing a performance tournament bass fishing rod is proper guide spacing and ring sizing for the given fishing application. Rings sizes vary from size 12mm down to size 4; generally we use a three double foot guide setup in the power zone of the rod where the greatest amount of load is applied. Then we will taper down to single foot guides towards the tip. Heavier rod blanks may have four or more double foot guides depending on the application
  • Guide Wraps: All guides are double wrapped on Witch Doctor rods and we have a locking technique to insure the single foot guides never come detached from the rod. This lock technique actually lasso’s the guide to the blank providing a permanent attachment, the guide or blank will break before it will come off…no more popped guides on the water.
  • Finish Process: All Witch Doctor rods are finished with an Ultra-Premium two part UV thread epoxy. This is the best product on the market, as it will last for decades without yellowing, or cracking. All thread and decal areas are coated and rotated on our drying wracks for 24 hours.
  • Final Inspection: All Rods are then individually inspected prior to shipment.

As tournament anglers ourselves, we know that the tournament bass angler is a unique breed, each with their own idea of what a rod should do for a given application. Although we offer rods that will perform outstanding for multiple bass fishing applications, we know that specific applications not only deserve, but need a Witch Doctor specific model.

The Witch Doctor design team and Pro Staff members have thousands of hours of on the water tournament experience. These individuals not only challenge the production team to improve upon our existing products, but also assist in the development of new models designed to address specific bass fishing applications and presentations. If you would like to join this team of elite anglers, click here for more information. (Link to ambassador application)

When you buy a Witch Doctor rod you are buying the best performing bass fishing rod on the marketing for that certain application. Compare Witch Doctor rods to less expensive, imported, mass produced rods, and you will quickly see that we are not in the same league. Often times, our $175 rod is comparable to the $500 rods that you see from other well-known premium rod manufacturers. If the thought of this turns your stomach, schedule an appointment with the Witch Doctor to find your cure.

In the case of Witch Doctor Rods you truly get what you pay for and more!