Rod Care & Tips

Despite what people say, carbon fibre rods rarely break if they are used correctly. If there is a fault with the rod it will usually fail within the first use or two under load, so why has mine suddenly gone snap, crackle and then pop?

The sad fact is that most rods break from the actions of the fisherman. Sometimes those actions are obvious, like shutting the rod in a car door, other times the breakage is less obvious and less predictable, mainly because the fisherman didn’t know the risks associated with his/her actions. Here are a few of the more common reasons rods break.

  • Fly Impact: You might not realise but during fly casting a fly can move through the air at speeds in excess of 80mph. roughly the speed of a pellet which has been fired from an air rifle. If the section that takes the hit does not break immediately it will almost certainly have suffered internal fractures and is likely to break the next time it comes under load.
  • Javelin: You’re walking along the bank with your rod in your hand and the tip is leading the way, you’re distracted by a rising fish and SNAP, the rod rip has hit the ground, causing too much rod stress and it’s snapped. Always when moving around the bank let the butt lead the way.
  • Tree/Rock: So you get snagged in a tree or on a rock. Most people in this situation use the rod to pull or jerk the fly free. If the rod doesn’t break from this stress overload it may break when the tippet snaps. The correct way out of this situation is to lay the rod down somewhere safe so as not to stand on it and only pull on the fly line until the snag is removed. Take care and look away from the snagged area when carrying out this procedure.
  • Rod Tube: All fly rods are supplied with a travel tube, use it Do not, as many do, put the made up or partially made up rod in the car just to save you time when you get to the bank, it’s sure to end in damage to the rod and even breakages.
  • 180 Degrees: You’re pulling the fly line through the eyes of the rod and you have also not released the drag on your reel enough. You get the line through the last eye and you proceed to pull the line in the direction of the butt. SNAP! After you have finished cursing remember this. The rod is not designed to have 180 degrees of stress applied and this always results in the breakage of the top 3 or 4 inches of the tip. We see this a lot and it’s so easy to avoid. When setting up the rod always support the rod in the mid-section NEVER support the rod by the tip. Release the drag fully and once the line is free of the last eye pull enough out to enable you to take the fly line end back to the butt.
  • Crane Lift: So you have hooked the fish. It’s not that big so you decide to lift it out of the water into your hand. Just as the fish is in the air it begins to wriggle like mad. The rod tip bounces and bounces as the fish tries to get free. SNAP! The stress of the repeated bouncing and the added weight of the fish has caused your rod to break. Avoidable if you use a landing net.
  • Hands: What’s the first thing you do when a big fish is near the bank or the boat and you want to apply more pressure on the fish? If you place your hand on the rod blank just up from the handle, expect that snapping sound. Handles distribute the stress of a bent rod evenly*. Grabbing the rod anywhere else will overstress the rod at the location of your hand. Since the rod can’t handle the stress, it will break right where your hand is placed.

Caring for Cork Handles

Store rods with cork handle’s inside to prevent excessive moisture build up or extreme temperature changes.

Always allow the cork to dry naturally after each use and before storing away in the rod tube to prevent mildew and rot.

Take care of the cork by cleaning with mild soapy water on a damp cloth. Do not use chemicals or cleaning solvents. These will eat away at the cork causing it to disintegrate.

Do not paint or varnish, this causes brittleness, cracking and splitting.
Cork will darken with age and use. You can restore the natural lighter colour by “hand” sanding with a very fine grade of sandpaper. Gently sand the whole surface of the handle, being careful not to rub too hard in one area.