In your quest for the finest in fishing tackle, you have undoubtedly searched for that perfect rod to suit a specific angling purpose. If you’re a big game angler, perhaps you’ve wanted a combination rod that you could fish from a fighting chair or use in stand-up situations. Or, maybe you’ve seen the need for an unlimited-class bottom-fishing rod to target amberjack and large grouper. Then again, perhaps you’ve just wanted a rod that is unique to you. Whatever the case, the rod you’ve been looking for is not available as an off-the-shelf product.

Welcome to J&M Custom Rods...the perfect rod builder.




The Facts About Custom Rods by John Giannini

Many rod builders claim to be “the best.” This claim is made so frequently that it has come to mean very little. With a moderate amount of training and some inclination, most anyone can build a satisfactory fishing rod. But it takes a true rod crafter to produce rods that perform under extreme angling pressure and last for years and years, sometimes for decades. Over the more than 30 years that John Giannini has been building rods, he has come to learn and perfect the techniques that are required to produce the highest quality fishing rods the world, period. None are better.


Before guides are placed onto the blank, the top sides of the guide feet are individually ground on a grinding wheel so that the guide feet are tapered to the contour of the blank. Next, the underside of the guide feet are filed so that they are actually rounded, which allows them to fit perfectly atop the rounded blank. After the guides have been ground, John Giannini then determines where they should be placed on the blank. This layout process is very precise and of utmost importance, because if the guide placement is incorrect, the benefits of the blank’s action are lost. The J&M Tackle rod-building team consists of several qualified builders, but since the guide layout is such a critical procedure, only John performs this task. In fact, no custom rod bears the J&M name without John having touched it during some point of its construction.

Once the guides have been laid out, the blank is marked, and an underwrap of a single layer of thread is applied where the guides will sit. Next, these underwraps are coated with a thin layer of two-part clear finish, placed on a motor-driven rotating dryer, and allowed to dry overnight. Then, the guides are placed on the underwraps, and overwrapped with a single layer of size A thread. Another layer of finish is applied and allowed to dry, after which the guides are overwrapped in size A thread again. Another thin coat of clear finish is applied to the guide wraps and allowed to dry. (This is the process for most J&M Custom Rods. Big game rods receive a third layer of thread and another layer of finish.) Finally, the blank is lightly sanded and the whole rod is finished and allowed to dry.

Once this process is completed, the whole rod will have been coated four times, while most rods receive two coats of finish at the most. Because of this time-consuming process, the entire rod is nearly bullet-proof. There are no bubbles in the finish, and the guides cannot come loose from the blank. J&M Tackle Custom Rods are built to last.


John Giannini...The Rod Builder

Early on, John Giannini, one of the owners of J&M Tackle, recognized that it is indeed difficult to find “that perfect rod.” As a teenager, John fished from the Gulf State Park Pier in Gulf Shores, Alabama, where live-bait fishing for king mackerel is the name of the game. When he wasn’t able to find a rod with the right combination of length, strength, and lightness in the tip, he decided to build one. Soon enough, other fishermen began to see the results—longer casts, fewer thrown baits, and, most importantly, more king mackerel on the dock. Because the young rod-builder combined artistic design with function in his rods, more and more fishermen began ordering Custom Rods, which he built out of the family home in Foley, Alabama. It wasn’t long before what began as a hobby turned into a full-fledged business, and so it happened that John’s Custom Rods was born. By 1988, John had built many rods for local fishermen, including multiple sets for the local charter fleet in Orange Beach. In 1988, John parlayed his rod-building business into a fully-stocked tackle store, which he opened with his brother Mike. Since then, countless more Custom Rods have passed through the doors of J&M Tackle. Many are still being used by local anglers, but Custom Rods built by John Giannini can be found on boats around the world, from South Pass, Louisiana to the Atlantic seaboard to Australia.


Precision in Processes

Each J&M Custom Rod is designed and crafted according to painstaking procedures and acute attention to detail. The first step in the process is to determine what the customer wants and how he or she wants the rod to perform. Then, the customer is offered choices of color and decorative trim options, as well as choices for guides and other component options. After these decisions have been made, a raw blank is selected.
Next, the part of the blank over which the grips and reel seat will fit is roughened up with the blade of a hacksaw and sandpaper so that the glue has plenty of surface area to which to adhere. The inside of the reel seat is also roughened to ensure a strong bond. The grips and reel seat are then glued onto the blank with a super high-strength two-part epoxy that eliminates reel seat loosening and twisting. It takes an entire day for this glue to set up, but before it dries completely, the blank is spined so that the guides can be placed on the rod properly. This is a very important part of the building process, one that many rod-builders ignore. If the blank is not spined properly, the blank can twist and torque, resulting in a broken rod and twisted guides over time.


Highest Quality Components

Just as a quality custom boat is constructed from the best building materials, every rod designed by John Giannini and constructed by J&M is made from the finest and most reputable materials in the industry. These components include the strongest, most durable blanks made by the most trusted manufacturers, such as Calstar, Shakespeare, and Graphite USA, to name but a few. There are no weak links in these precision instruments. All rods designed and built at J&M come equipped with the highest quality reel seats, guides, and grips. Only Fuji, Aftco and Winthrop guides and reel seats are used, along with the most superior grade of high-density EVA foam grips.


Functional Pieces of Art

Even though J&M Tackle Custom Rods are designed to be workhorses that last for years under punishing fishing conditions, they are also made to be appealing cosmetically. You can dress your custom rod up or dress it down according to your wishes. When you contract with J&M Tackle for a custom rod, you get to select the color threads that you want incorporated into its construction. Many people opt to match these colors to the colors of their boat. Because of their striking appearance, metallic threads look great against black blanks, especially when combined with gold. The gold in the rods match gold trolling reels especially well. Thinking along these lines, your Custom Rods can be as attractive at the dock as the rest of your boat’s equipment.We can also personalize your custom rods with your name or your boat's name in a variety of fonts and/or artwork.