Although fishing rods sometimes break under load while fighting a fish, most breaks are caused by misuse or accidents. Here at Fugu, rod blanks are inspected and tested before they are built to further reduce the number of rods built containing manufacturer defects. That being said, rod damage and breaks are common and are something most avid anglers eventually experience. The most common causes of rod breaks are listed below.
High sticking – Fishing rods are designed to spread the load/stress of fighting a fish across the length of the rod. When a rod is forced or stressed in a concentrated area, as opposed to the entire length, it breaks (usually towards the tip). The two most common ways high sticking occurs is during the lift of a fish out of water and the other is when testing the strength and action of a rod. When lifting a fish out of the water the rod shouldn’t be lifted perpendicular to the water (90° or straight up). When that happens it forces the rod, at its thinnest and weakest area, to support the full weight of a fish and its movement. During rod strength and action testing, rods often get bent by hand to show their strength, action, and flexibility. When this is not done properly the same situation as described above occurs. The testers inadvertently load the rod in a way that forces too much pressure on a single point and it eventually snaps.
Crushed or Smashed – Whether you are fishing or getting ready to go fishing, always be cognizant of where you are placing your fishing rods. For one reason or another, situations always occur that push anglers to instinctually place their rods in compromising places. If you are working with a landed fish or prepping tackle, do not place your fishing rod on the ground, it will get stepped on. Look out for the tailgate sharks and door fish, THEY BITE!! Fishing is exciting but don’t be in a rush. Too many rods are broken by anglers forgetting to remove their rods from tailgates or door jams before slamming them closed.
Jamming – Be aware of your surroundings when handling your fishing rods. Rod tips always lose when they get jammed into ceiling fans, walls, corners and low hanging trees/branches.
Avoiding ALL of the above is a great start in caring for your rods. That being said, general rod care should be top of mind as well.
Cleaning- Clean your fishing rods after EVERY use, especially salt water fishing rods and their guides. Corrosion is very real and causes issues with even the best and most expensive gear. If you don’t rinse contaminants off your rods, you will eventually have guide failures (rings fall out), rust development, and grip deterioration. I recommend customers clean their gear with fresh water and an automotive soap.
Storage – As a general best practice try to store rods in a vertical position, inside, and away from extreme temperatures. There are many types of fishing rod materials (glass, carbon, graphite, wood, bamboo, etc) and they all react differently to different environments, try not to push them. In addition, some of those materials have an inherent “memory” so if rods are stored with a bend, overtime, the rod could end up retaining the bend permanently.
Rod Sleeves – also referred to as rod socks or rod covers, are used as additional barrier of protection and help with avoiding unwanted “boat rash” (scratches and dings). Rod sleeves are also beneficial in fighting inevitable line tangles during transportation.