When it comes to making custom fishing rods, Barry Weaver employs many skills.
In some ways, he is a woodworker. He is also an engineer, a lathe operator, a technician and an assembler. Oh, yes, and when it comes to the decorative aspect of a custom fishing rod, he’s something of a seamstress or tailor, carefully adding colored thread in bronze, blue, green, orange or red to the fishing rod.
Weaver’s shop in Elizabethtown is called Dreamweaver Custom Rods, as in making fishing dreams come true with a man named Weaver. He has been making custom fishing rods for more than 25 years and he has been fishing for more than 26 years.
“I actually started fishing rather late in life,” says Weaver, who got interested in fishing when his son was young.
Weaver’s love of fishing evolved into making his own fishing rods for different purposes. He then started making them for friends and relatives. Next thing he knew, he was opening his shop at 207 North Market Street in Elizabethtown and running a successful website for his custom fishing rods.
“With a custom fishing rod, you get a fishing rod that is unique to only you. No one else has the same fishing rod,” says Weaver.
Surprisingly, it doesn’t cost a lot more to have your very own custom fishing rod. The basic cost starts at around $175. With all the extra features and decorative touches, that price might soar to as much as $900. The typical range is around $400.
Weaver’s customers come from all over the world, such as Denmark, England or Costa Rica. He has designed fishing rods that can be taken apart for an angler who is flying to his destination and wants to pack his precious fishing rod in his carryon.
When someone wants a custom fishing rod, Weaver has tons of questions. They all have to do with comfort and success in catching the fish the customer is after. One of the key components is the handle or grip. When an angler is out there fishing for hours or even days, the handle has to be comfortable, explains Weaver.
There are many more considerations too. And lots of questions.
What kind of fish are you after? Freshwater or saltwater? What kind of reel are you using? Are you spinning, casting or fly fishing? What’s the weight of the line? What type of guide are you using? What’s your height? Arm length? Hand size? Are you right or left handed? What’s your arm strength like? What kind of performance are you looking for?
Weaver even asks about favorite colors and added bling or decorative touches like hand carved handles and colored blanks that adorn the fishing rod. Each fishing rod he builds is quoted for things like name inscription, thread color choice, fish decal, butt wrap, feather inlay and a lifetime warranty on workmanship.
“Since starting Dreamweaver Custom Rods, I have built custom fishing rods for saltwater, fly and freshwater anglers around the world,” says Weaver. “Some of my specialty rods include stand up tuna rods, surf rods, spin and cast plugging and jigging rods, stand up spinning rods, saltwater fly rods, deep drop rods and a variety of bottom fishing rods including many species specific rods.”
Most of the rods he makes are fiberglass or graphite. Some are so light they seem almost weightless. He also does fishing rod repairs, restorations and rebuilding, including repairs to bamboo rods.
Weaver selects quality components for the fishing rods he builds, and takes extra steps in the building process to improve the quality and durability of the the rod. It takes two to four weeks to build a custom fishing rod.
Weaver’s interest in building custom fishing rods started soon after he took up fishing himself. When co-workers asked him go fishing, he said sure. Just one problem, he had no fishing rod. He didn’t want to spend money on something he might not use again, so his father-in-law in Michigan offered him a rod that he had built. That’s when his brother-in-law suggested he might want to try building fishing rods himself.
“I bought the components and a book, and after that I was addicted to building fishing rods. My wife asked me what I was going to do with all these fishing rods. I guess I will have to sell them,” he laughs.
Weaver enjoys fly fishing, as well as throwing surf rods and spinning gear for bass. He fishes the Susquehanna River, Pine Creek, Lake Champlain in Vermont, salmon and steelhead fishing in New York and surf fishing on the East Coast, Lake Michigan and bonefish in the Bahamas. His biggest catch was a 55” red drum caught on the Outer Banks.
For more information of Dreamweaver Custom Fishing Rods, check the website at www.bdreamweaverrods. Barry Weaver can be reached at 717-215-6945 or e-mail The shop is located at 207 North Market Street, Elizabethtown. It’s best to call before stopping by, in case he’s fishing.