What Paint Can I Use On A Rod Blank?

fishing rod painting

The goal of fishing isn’t just to catch fish, but to catch them with style.

Anyone can recognize a good fishing style. It’s an ineffable quality that is difficult to hone.

But, you’d recognize it when you saw it, even if you couldn’t differentiate between fishing rods and pogo sticks.

Children are quick to spot stylish fishing techniques and practices. That’s what attracts them to fishing – the thought of catching fish in style.

Maybe that’s why there are over 11.8 million youngsters who engage in fishing in the US every year.

Of course, a young fisher can’t develop a unique fishing style out of nowhere. Doing so requires years of practice. But, anyone can start off his/her journey into the world of fishing with style by using painted fishing rods.

A well-designed fishing rod can instantly add a dash of style and class to your fishing trips.

You can paint your fishing rod in a way that it blends into the surrounding landscape. Or, you can custom-paint personal messages like “Go get ‘em” on your rods to feel more encouraged.

Your options are unlimited because you can use different types of paints to paint your fishing rods however you want. Many pro anglers and fishers custom paint their rods to fish in style.

Over time, their colorfully painted fishing rods become their trademarks. Want to do the same and fish with custom-painted fishing rods? Let’s learn how to paint fishing rods.

How to Paint a Fishing Rod

Do Fishing Rods Respond Well to Paint?

Painting your fishing rod’s exterior is an inexpensive way to update its appearance. Smart fishers always paint their old rods to make them appear fresher. So, yes – fishing rods do respond well to paint.

Painting the rod blank is the main part of the process.

The rod blank is the core component of your fishing rod or even the fishing rod and reel combos. Modern-day fishing rod blanks are usually made of fiberglass or graphite.

Both these materials can be painted – as long as you select the right paints.

Here are the best paints & the best painting practices for fishing rods:

  • High-quality exterior-grade paints work the best on graphite and fiberglass materials. These paints create finishes that don’t fade easily. Try to buy high-quality, exterior oil-based paints for your fishing rods.
  • Paints on fishing rods need extra protection. That’s because these rods are constantly exposed to saltwater. So, painting them with at least two coats of protective color preservers is very important.
  • Users must paint their graphite or fiberglass rods in temperatures between 50 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Painting in higher or lower temperatures can lead to bad paint jobs.
  • Always wear liquid-resistant gloves & eye protection when painting the rods. The room in which you paint your fishing rods should have adequate ventilation.

These are the basic paint-related guidelines fishers need to follow.

Before you start the paint job, have a clear idea of how you want your fishing rods to look. This creative burden lies solely on your shoulders.

The paint style and design of your fishing rods should suit your specific needs. Decide on these details before buying the materials needed for the paint job.

What Materials Will You Need to Paint Fishing Rods? 

Here are the main materials or products you’ll need to paint your fishing rod. You can find them in any paint store.

  • Paint Stripper: If the rod you’re painting is already painted, you’ll need a paint stripper to create a blank canvas. Why can’t you just paint over the old paint on your rod? A new coat of paint won’t stick properly to old paint. So, paint strippers are necessary items for anyone who isn’t painting blank, paint-less rods.
  • Primer: Priming your steel, graphite, carbon fiber, or even wood fishing rods is very important. Priming will set the stage for your exterior oil-based paints. A high-quality primer (e.g., white lacquer) will ensure that the paint sticks to your rod’s surface. Not only will it increase paint durability, but it’ll also provide additional protection for your fishing rod.
  • Paint Brushes: You’ll have to apply the primer & the oil-based paints to the rod with 2-3-inch paintbrushes.
  • Paint: Oil-based paints designed for exterior applications work the best on fishing rods. These paints are crack-resistant and long-lasting. They also dry fast like lacquer. You can also use aerosol spray paints or automotive paint to paint your fishing rods.
  • Scuff Pads: Like paint strippers, scuff pads help clean-off existing paint coatings on old fishing rods. They’re also handy cleaning tools.
  • Rod Finish: Thick and thin – these are the two main options you’ll get when shopping for rod finish. Thick finishes are more popular because users only have to apply them once. But, thick finishes are more prone to creases and air bubbles. Thin finishes are less likely to crease & create unsightly air bubbles. But, you’ll have to apply at least two coats to make thinner finishes stick to your rod.

Gather these items, in addition to basic safety tools like – eye protection tools, gloves, newspapers, etc.

Prop up your fishing rod vertically on an old newspaper or tarp.

Either hang it or set it up in-between two heavy bricks. By setting up your rod vertically, you’ll be able to paint all sides at once.

Painting a Fishing Rod 

Take the guides off your fishing rod to ensure you can paint evenly.

If there’s old paint on your rod, get rid of it using paint strippers and scuff pads. Once your fishing rod is “blank” take the following steps –

1) Pre-Paint Preparation 

Use a pressure washer to clean the surfaces of your fishing rod.

Then, remove any remaining dirt by wiping your fishing pole with acetone spirits. Wash the pole again – this time with warm, soapy water. Rinse off the dirty water and wipe down the rod with a clean & dry towel.

2) Sanding

Use scuff pads to sand the fishing rod. Sanding will get rid of any old coatings on your fishing rod. Wipe down the rod again with a damp cloth to get rid of all the sanding dust.

3) Priming

If the paints you’re using have built-in primers, skip this step. If not, use a primer that’s designed for use with oil-based paints. Use a paintbrush for this step.

4) Re-Sanding

Once your fishing rod is primed, sand it again to ensure the paint sticks to the rod. Get all the sanding dust off once you’re done with this step.

5) Painting

Use a paintbrush to apply thin and even coats on your fishing rod – from the tip-top to the handle.

Paint a coat once and then let it dry for 30 minutes. Repeat this step until you’re satisfied with your rod’s look.

If you spot air bubbles in the wet paint, pop them while the paint is still liquid. Use a drinking straw to blow gently on the air bubbles.

6) Clear Coating

Add a clear coat to your paint to give it extra protection. Make sure this final coat is not too heavy. Just like the paint, your finish should be applied consistently across the rod’s surface.


Savvy fishers use paint to make their old fishing rods appear brand-new.

Painting fishing rods is an easy enough process. Just get the right materials and follow the aforementioned steps to add style, colors, and class to your fishing rods.