Mission Valley custom rod builder lands a keeper with custom fishing rod business
ST. IGNATIUS – When Blade Elliott of Mission Mountain Rods builds a custom fishing rod, he makes it uniquely your own.
“I build everything you can catch a fish with,” said Elliott.
From spin and bait caster to ice and fly fishing, Elliott can build the fishing rod of your dreams and then outfit it to whatever fits your fishing fancy.
Want your name on the rod? No problem. Want to show support of your favorite sports team? Piece of cake. Want a maple burl reel seat or a piece of family heirloom as the end cap. Done.
And that’s just the beginning.
The high-quality customized rod building begins once an angler tells Elliott what they want, type of rod, rod length and action. Then the appropriate corresponding blank is ordered and is shipped packed in heavy cardboard tubes to Elliott’s small shop in St. Ignatius.
Once delivered, the real customization and personalization begins. Elliott offers anglers an unlimited selection of guide types and styles, thread colors for wraps and various kinds of material used for the reel seat and handle construction.
If a customer doesn’t know just exactly what they want, Elliott lends a guiding hand.
Total turnaround time from order to delivery he said tends to be around 3-4 weeks.
“It only takes me a few days to build a complete rod,” he explained. “But the whole process is extended from waiting on the components and rod blanks to be shipped and received to the time it takes the epoxy to properly cure.”
Price for a custom built rod ranges on average from $395 for a spin or baitcasting rod to $585 for a fly rod.
Elliott first laid his hands on a fishing rod when he was a youngster growing up in Alabama and got hooked as much as the fish at the end of his line.
“I grew up catfishing, catching bluegill with my grandfather, trying to lip a bigger largemouth bass than my dad, and waking up long before sunset to catch the striper bite,” noted Elliott. “It wasn’t until my rodeo career brought me to Montana that I found my passion of fly fishing.”
Like many entrepreneurial endeavors that eventually turn into a business, Elliott began building rods as a hobby.
“My wife bought me a small fly rod building kit for Christmas a few years ago,” said Elliott. “I built a 4-pound weight fly rod for myself. I then built a few more for fun before I decided to make a business out of my hobby.”
The 5-pound weight fly rod is the most popular custom request of the more than 100 custom fishing rods Elliott has built.
“I love building fly rods the most, because fly fishing is my passion and my addiction,” added Elliott.
Also fueling his passion for custom rod building is the fulfilling sense of crafting something that will provide a source of enjoyment for his customers.
“The rod blank itself is a canvas that I use to craft a piece of art to express the customer any way they like. It’s a one of one rod that nobody can go buy at the store,” said Elliott. “It’s a work of art that you can take out and make some of the most priceless memories of your life. I get to take part in that by creating the perfect rod for people to make those memories with.”