The popularity of high-end fishing rods has continued to evolve through the years. In the past, you were forced to choose mostly between mass-produced rods and custom-built rods. My Dad had a nice workbench where he built up custom rods on Fenwick blanks with decorative thread wraps. Now, the serious angler on the Gulf Coast has a number of great options. Today, we take a look at Laguna Custom Rods.
We were looking for new rods to be used primarily wade-fishing for trout. I am familiar with a number of professional guides who use Laguna so I decided to visit their shop in Katy to check them out.
Laguna Custom Rods is a cool shop founded by two hard-core professional tournament fishermen who wanted the best. The blanks are manufactured in a separate facility but the final production work is all done at this location. The showroom is through the front door with the shop on the right. You can see for yourself first-hand how the rods are assembled.
My brother Mike and I spent Saturday fishing Seadrift, despite finding bait activity we just never found the fish.. We decided on Sunday to change gears and head to Port O’Connor.
We woke up at 5AM in our favorite little hotel, the Real Time lodge. I stepped outside and the wind was calm, checked Doppler Radar on my phone and it looked like offshore showers, sweet!. We headed to Port O’Connor and put in at the Fishing Center, grabbed some live shrimp and dead finger mullet and made our way to Sunday Pass right at first light with lots of bait in the water and thought for sure, “yeah, we are about to get into the fish!” Well, we had activity but only put on trout in the box. We decided to head over to Pass Cavello and ran out into the gulf for a few minutes before turning our little 16ft jon boat back in. Even with just small rollers we understand how the gulf works and it doesn’t give a (blank) about you! Having grown up on the coast in the boat business and doing some dumb stuff with boats we know the limits of our boat.
Back in we went and we fished the pass for a while with shrimp (hard head catchers), various top waters and soft baits without much success. We tried fishing the bottom with cut bait but no luck.
Since it was so calm and it’s that time of the year for bull reds we decided to make a run up to the jetties to check it out. There wasn’t much boat activity at all and we fished the edge of the jetties for a bit, even trying cut bait on the bottom with bait casters and got hung up several times. We changed strategy and went to spinning rods and lures. About a 1/3 of the way out Mike spotted feeding near the rocks cast a gold/black Rapalla Broke-Back lure and WHAM! got a hit, I saw a flash of “something big” and could tell it was a beast..
I spent 30 minutes gently trying to wear it out for fear of it snapping the 20lb line. Any time I put some pressure on it would just start stripping line off the real. I was working it and trying not to rush the fish.. working the drag and sometimes applying just a little finger pressure to the side of the spool.
I was praying for the line and knots to hold. We finally saw it roll near the surface and it was a big old bull red! I continued fighting it without just trying to muscle it in to the boat as I know from experience big fish can see the boat and make a hard head snap and break off. When we finally got to land it Mike was like “this net isn’t big enough” Just the head went in and we both we wrestled it up into the boat. It inhaled the lure, I held up by the gills while Mike worked trying to remove the lure so we could put it back into the water fast.
Really happy with my main trout/redfish rig, there were a few times when it ran under the boat and the rod was doubled over!