What a bummer it is to break your favorite fishing rod. Years of memories can vanish in a snap. And unless you have a backup nearby, if the break happens on the water, your fishing day is done. Sure, many rods carry a warranty that covers repairs or replacements these days. But that’s no comfort when the fish are biting all around you. It’s always best to avoid the problem in the first place, and while accidents are always bound to happen, there are a couple things you can do to ensure your rod will stay in tact for many days and years on the water.
Most of the breaks I see happen are because of carelessness or laziness… you lay the rod on the ground and step on it… you leave it in a boat where something will fall on it… you walk the tip into a tree on your march to the lake… you slam it in the tailgate of your vehicle… I speak from experience on all four counts. Having learned those lessons the hard way, all I can say is that a little TLC goes a long way in keeping your rod safe.
That TLC also includes visually inspecting your rod as you rig it up to fish. If you see nicks and dings, repair them before they become a larger issue.
Another important thing to do with multi-piece rods is ensure that the joints where the pieces connect (ferrules) are tight. It’s good to check your ferrules occasionally as you fish. Loose ferrules will cause your rod to snap when you make powerful casts, or when something big is pulling on the other end of your line.
Another common mistake I see anglers make all the time happens during the fight. You feel the big fish pulling, and the rod flexes. You want added leverage, so you take one of your hands and reach up the rod and start lifting with the blank. Rods aren’t designed for that. The minute you reach up the rod, you dramatically increase the odds of breaking it. It’s always best to leave your hands on the cork grips where they belong.
These tips apply to all rods: spinning rod, baitcaster, fly rod and so forth. For a closer look at rod types, click here.
Kirk Deeter is the editor of TROUT magazine, and an editor-at-large for Field & Stream.