Most anglers who fly fish on a regular basis eventually break a fly rod. I have broken fly rods more times than I’d like to admit. I suppose it will happen to all of us if we fish hard enough long enough.
Go ahead and face the fact that your fly rod will eventually break at a very inopportune time. So, the question is what will you do when this happens? “Keep fishing” is the only acceptable answer. If convenience has provided, you brought a spare rod that you can easily get to. I never go fishing anymore unless a carry a spare rod. I know how I am. I will break a rod. I broke three rods in one week on a particular Colorado trip. Fly rods are expendable to me. I’ve stepped on them and sat on them. I’ve broken them trying to pull the sections apart. I’ve broken several tips buy trying to pull the fly line out of the tip top. I’ve broken them buy using them to break my fall. You name it and I’ve probably broken a fly rod while doing it.
This is one reason why I buy rods with a good warranty. Lifetime warranties are great but not a necessity. All I need is a good no-nonsense warranty that will allow be to send my rod back with a $25 or $30 check for repairs.
One summer, I was fly fishing from a boat on Lake Ferndale in East Texas. Somehow, the butt of my fly rod got wedged between my boat seat and the boat. The rod snapped right above the cork handle. There I was in the boat in the middle of the lake without a spare rod. I not only broke the rod but I broke my own number one rule. “Always carry a spare rod”. I was certainly disappointed but was not going to stop fishing. So, I took the real off of the seat, threw the butt section of the rod in the bottom of the boat and kept on fishing. I laid the reel at my feet and coiled up some line beside it. I held the broken rod by the base section. I could cast and strip just fine without ever needing my reel. I fished all day like that and caught plenty fish.
On another summer day, while fishing deep in the San Juan National Forest in Colorado, I broke my rod tip. I had gotten my fly hung near the top of a small tree. I pulled my fly line and bent the tree over so that I could reach the fly. It was working just fine. Buy the time I pulled the tree over enough to reach the fly; I had gotten enough slack in my line so that the rod was now lying down flat on the rocks. Well, I stepped on it. The rod broke just bellow the tiptop. Obviously I did not carry a spare rod. It was a little too inconvenient to pack a spare rod into where I was. You know you just can’t cast a rod with the tip missing. So what was I to do? I broke the rest of the tip section off so that it was flush with the first snake guide. I bent and reshaped the snake guide as best as I could so that the tip would be as smooth for casting as I could possible get it. It was not the perfect fix but it worked well enough for me to finish the day fishing.
I now recommend carrying and emergency rod repair kit with you wherever you fish. You can buy them or just assemble the supplies together in a plastic zip-lock. A good rod repair kit is a handy assortment of things needed to repair a broken rod in a crunch. The kit should include:- 1 Stripping Guide - 2 Snake Guides - 2 or 3 Tip Tops with different inside diameters- 1 Bobbin & 100 yd Spool of 6/0 Tying Thread - 1 Bottle cement (I prefer 5min epoxy) - Sharp knife or razor
So… good luck on your next adventure… and keep on fishing no matter what.
Steve Robbins is the owner of The Full Creel Fly Shop at http://www.thefullcreel.com , the eBay Fly Shop at http://www.ebayflyshop.com and Aztec Anglers at http://www.aztecanglers.com