Along the lines of what Knothead said. I went to Hobby Lobby and bought a sheet of cork ($2). I cut it into rough squares a little bigger than the handle would be. I got a piece of brass tube that I knew was about the size of the blank and sharpened one end of it a little. Any small metal tube will work. I then laid each piece of cork on a piece of wood and punched out the hole in the center with a hammer and piece of pipe. I Carefully cut a slit from the center hole to the edge of each piece. I taped off my blank from where I wanted the handle to end toward the end of the rod a little to keep from getting epoxy on it or scratching it. Then carefully open the slit and slide the pieces over the rod blank and down against where the old handle that you sanded off used to sit. I dabbed a small amount of super glue between each piece before pushing them together. After about every 4th piece I would work some epoxy down along the shaft and into the gap between the shaft and the cork. I worked my way up to the tape I put on earlierand made the very last piece kind of custom fit so it would fit snug agaisnt the blank. Let the epoxy dry completely and sand to shape.
Note: If it's a multi-piece rod and you can take that first eye off you can skip cutting the slits and just slide the pieces on. In that case you can make you a pretty wind check out of a srap piece of pretty wood.
"even Jesus had a 12 man recon team"