The technique of oblique angle deposition has been extended to the fabrication of nanostructured metal coatings on the tips of standard silica optical fibers by thermal evaporation. The coatings are initiated as metal island films, which grow into extended rodlike structures as the deposition continues. The nanorod coatings demonstrate excellent surface-enhanced Raman scattering performance with variability of less than 10% as shown by direct measurements off the fiber tip with thiophenol as a test analyte. However, in the remote sensing configuration, the nanorod structures perform no better than thin metal island films. This appears to be mainly due to reduced transmission when nanorod lengths exceed ~100 nm. Moreover, the variability of remote measurements is increased to 18%. This is believed to be due to variations in coupling efficiency.