Most fly rod manufacturers these days offer lifetime warranties, and we say you should do whatever you can to take advantage of such generous offers. Paying repair fees is awesome, ruining your fishing day is super cool, and having to wait for your rod to be repaired is the most fun you’ll have this side of pouring sand down your throat!
If you want to break your fly rod, just pick any one of our 10 simple options, and you’ll have success in no time.
- Set it up inside, in a room with a ceiling fan. Ceiling fans love devouring the tips of fly rods, as do doors – especially doors that the wind blows shut as you’re walking through.
- Prop it in your open car door. Car doors, tailgates and trunk lids love crushing fly rods too. You might forget your rod’s propped there, or your buddy might not know your rod’s propped there, or that wind might flare up…
- Step over your rod tips on the way in and out of the boat. This is, by far, the most effective technique for rod breakage that’s employed at our lodges. It’s a numbers game – if all week you step over the tips of your rods while getting in and out of the boat, you’re giving yourself at least 100 chances to make a tiny little error in balance and break a few rods at a time. Awesome! If you sit on the bow of the boat and smoothly and easily rotate your legs over the gunwale, your hopes of mangling rod tips will be dashed.
- Don’t check your ferrules while fishing. Ferrules that are separated by even a quarter of an inch are much weaker than ferrules that are seated tight – if you want a great opportunity to destroy your fly rod, definitely don’t check to make sure that your ferrules are tight, at least a few times a day.
- Set on a big fish with your rod tip. The butt section of your fly rod is much stronger than the tip section. Setting the hook with the rod lifted high, with the butt at a 180 degree angle to the tip of your fly line (Bassmaster style!) exploits your rod’s weak tip section beautifully, and gives you a great chance at cracking one rod per hook set.
- Cast wildly with lead-eyed flies. Giant lead-eyed flies might not successfully destroy the tip of your rod the first or fifth time that they bounce off it, but rest assured that they’re doing invisible damage. One of these days, the damage caused by those repeated blows will win out, and the tip of your rod will go flying.
- Carry your rod through the bushes, tip first. Pointing your rod backwards when you’re bushwhacking is really boring – the strong part of your rod hangs up first, and you’ve got plenty of time to maneuver before the fragile tip section comes bouncing through. If you point your rod straight in front of you though, you’re forming a giant, weak spring, and the exploding tip of your rod will do a great job letting you know that it just got hung up on a tree branch.
- Lay your rod on the ground. If you’re taking a picture of your buddy’s fish, our answering nature’s call, or stopping for lunch, don’t prop your rod up on a stick or a rock where it’s easy to see. Just lay it down flat on the ground, where you or your buddy or your enemy can easily and unwittingly take one step and help ensure job security for the Sage repair department.
- Yank on your fly line when it’s caught in the tip top guide. This is yet another way to take advantage of the delicate tip of your fly rod. If you’re pulling line through the tip of your rod and a knot gets hung up on the tip top guide, just give it a hard yank! The thinnest, weakest part of your rod will double over and snap, and rod breakage victory will be yours.
- Flail the rod wildly when you’re hung up on a snag. The safe, easy way to get your fly off the snag (or break it off if it’s really buried), is to point your rod straight at the fly and pull the line with your stripping hand. That’s never going to break your rod though – to succeed here you should yank up, yank down, yank left and yank right until your rod gives up and you get to take the rest of the afternoon off.
#11: Don’t clear the ice from your guides. I had a steelhead run, and the flyline-backing knot got jammed in the guide/ice. As I struggled to yank the knot through, I broke the rod AND lost the fish. Learn by my mistakes…
#12: Be sure you have at least 1, and preferably several, dogs running wildly around you as you try to string up your rod. This gives the added benefit of potentially hooking yourself at the same time as the rod gives way to furry energy.
Kyle Shea says
Ha! Good call, Mike. Thanks for chiming in!
Kyle Shea says
Bummer, Frank! Good call, we’ll certainly keep that one in mind come winter time. Thanks for the input!
Will Novy-Hildesley says
Addendum to #9. Assemble your 14′ 9 weight Thomas and Thomas for the very first time, fresh out of the packet, lean rod into Deschutes side bushes. Step back and admire it’s gorgeous, untouched finish. THEN yank on the leader and snap off the tip before you have even acutally cast it, at all.
And yes, young Jedi’s I know, no-one fishes a 14ft 9 weight for summer steelhead anymore, ever.
But I will have you know young whippersnapper hipsters, there was a time the 9 weight ruled. And with a midspey on it, you could cast it stupid, stupid distances as well. Or use it for jousting competitions. Plus you didn’t have to reel in the fish you just pulled hard once and they landed on the bank behind you.
Patrick McGinnis says
When stowing or removing your rod from a drift boat’s tube rack, make sure you hold it by the middle toward the tip, definitely not the butt section. Let the weight of the reel bend it sharply, it should snap nicely.