A fishing rod is a long, flexible pole or stick used by a fisherman to catch fish. It is attached to a line with a hook on its end. The rod’s [...]
Why Do Fishing Rods Break and How to Prevent It From Happening
Published: July 15, 2021
A fishing rod is a long, flexible pole or stick used by a fisherman to catch fish. It is attached to a line with a hook on its end. The rod’s length varies between 2 and 50 feet (0.5-15m). To attract fish, fishermen attach lures or bait to one or more hooks located at the end of a line, which is generally stored on a reel to reduce tangles and assist in landing a fish.
Contemporary rods are generally made of carbon fiber or fiberglass, while traditional rods are usually made of wood, such as bamboo, ash, and hickory. While nets are used for commercial and subsistence fishing, fishing rods are more often used in competitive and recreational fishing.
Fishing rods go back to ancient Egypt, Greece, China, Trinidad and Tobago, medieval England and Rome, based on stone inscriptions dating back to 2,000 BC.
The material used for making rods changed from heavy wood to lighter, more elastic varieties imported from other countries. These lighter, tough, and more pliable materials were ironwood, maple, lancewood, malacca cane, ash wood, hickory, or Tonkin bamboo Calcutta reed.
In 1913, an all-steel rod was first introduced by the Horton Manufacturing Company, but was heavy and flexible, which did not satisfy many of the customers. By 1940, fiberglass rods were introduced and developed by Robert Gayle and a certain Mr. McGuire. Boron and Graphite fishing rods came around the 1960s and 1970s, when the United States and the United Kingdom invested substantial research into the development of new technologies.
Modern design and construction techniques, along with more advanced materials, including graphite, boron, fiberglass composites, magnesium alloy, and stainless steel have allowed manufacturers to tailor both the action and shape of the fishing rods for a greater casting distance, accuracy, and fish-fighting abilities.
While fishing rods are flexible, can withstand weight, and resist corrosion from saltwater, there are still a lot of reasons that cause them to break. For instance, fishing rods can break due to improper usage, transport, and storage, or also because of manufacturer defects. Luckily, there are many ways to prevent such breakage. Read along to find out about these hacks.
Materials and Construction
- Fiberglass Rods
These types of materials have been used since the 1950s and have proven durable enough to take a beating as they are strong and enduring. They are also very affordable and easy to make but may provide limited feedback and have a pliable nature that makes it a lot harder to detect lighter bites.
- Graphite Rods
These are lighter than fiberglass rods and very sensitive to bites, which can make casting and handling easier. Although, they can be more brittle and stiffer.
- Composite Rods
These rods are made of a blend of graphite and fiberglass, which gives you all the flexibility you need, without the added weight and without sacrificing its sensitivity. This type of material is particularly versatile, which is good for fishing in various bodies of water.
Do graphite rods break easily?
Graphite rods do not break easily, although it depends on how you handle your gear. Graphite rods are actually considered superior to fiberglass rods because they can withstand more intense conditions and may be more appropriate for catching large fish. Besides, graphite fishing rods are best for experienced anglers who can handle their gear well and don’t mind the fast action it provides.
- Fast Action (Heavy)
Fast-action fishing rods bend at the uppermost part, below the tip. They are sensitive to the lightest bites and will send vibrations straight to your hand. They can also snap back very quickly. Fast-action fishing rods have a strong backbone and fast-moving tips and work well with single hooks, worms, and large jigs.
- Medium Action
These medium-action rods bend in the top half of the pole, allowing for good hook setting capabilities and feedback. They can also allow you to cast relatively far.
Although they move a bit slower than fast-action fishing rods, they are still good for multiple hook setups and allow the fish more time to bite. A medium-action rod also has added versatility to catch big and small fish.
- Slow Action (Light)
Slow-action rods can bend all the way to the butt of the pole, making battling even the smallest critter super easy. These are good for fishing panfish or trout and provide very impressive casts. Although, you have to match your lure size to the rod and it takes more time to lodge the hook inside a fish’s mouth, which means it is not that easy to set the hook in it. So, if a fish bites, you will have to pull back farther.
If catching smaller fish is your goal, a 7-foot rod with lightweight power and a moderate to slow action is the perfect setup for catching trout, small bass, or any panfish.
If you aim for longer distances or fishing off-shore, then a 10-foot rod and moderate action are sufficient. This is a great setup for catching catfish and it can also handle multitudes of baits and lures.
If you prefer catching bigger fish, it is best to have an 8-foot rod with fast action. This setup is good for larger lures, even when fishing on a regular basis.
Types of Fishing Rod
- Casting Rods
These types of rods are ideal for conditions where you need a pinpoint placement of a bait/lure. These rods feature guide rings on top and have the reel sitting on top of the rod.
The two categories of a casting rod are:
- Spin-casting Rod
This type of fishing rod is a great choice for true beginners and kids. It features smaller guide rings with a forefinger trigger grip. This design combines a pin casting reel and a covered spool.
- Baitcasting Rod
This type of rod is best for more advanced anglers. It has a guide ring close to the reel and it is bigger than a spin-casting rod. It utilizes a more specific baitcasting reel that is open spooled and has a strong backbone that will allow a lure to hook into tough fish or even rip through the vegetation.
- Spinning Rods
The shape of a spinning rod is similar to that of a casting rod, but it is thinner and lighter. It is 5 to 9 feet (2.74m) long and its reel attaches and hangs off the bottom of the fishing rod. It is equipped with a larger guide ring, closest to the reel to reduce friction on the line when you cast. Beginners can learn with it comfortably enough.
- Fly Rods
It is an advanced anglers’ rod that comes in a wide range of sizes and shapes and is designed for fly fishing. Fly rods are thin, flexible, and lightweight to allow you to apply a specific method by mimicking a fly moving right above the water surface. It uses your wrist action to snap the rod forward and backward. Its most distinctive feature is the lack of a butt section to help you make accurate casts.
- Ocean Fishing Rods
These are short if used on boats, and long and designed for the ocean if used from the shore. They are heavy duty and have a thick and long butt section, typically for fighting large strong fish. They also have distinctive and large guide rings to be able to handle thick fishing lines. Additionally, the heaviest ocean fishing rods will be able to target a shark.
- Surf Rods
These are good if you prefer fishing at a beach. It’s a type of ocean rod that is super long and has a long butt and handle. It is lengthy to allow a heavy sinker and bait to be cast farther offshore. It closely resembles a heavier, longer version of a spinning rod.
- Trolling Rods
These are used to drag lures behind a moving boat, which means you are tempting the fish to strike moving “food.” A long, heavy, fast-action trolling rod is best if you are fishing on a boat and trying to catch massive tuna.
- Ice Fishing Rods
These closely resemble spinning rods but are much shorter and don’t use a reel. Instead, they utilize a hook attached to the rod and another one to cast out under the ice. To reel in the line, you have to wind in the line manually. Ice rods are usually 24 to 36 inches (91cm) long and feature fewer guide rings.
- Telescopic Rods
These rods are designed to be compact and extend out from the handle and fold up into themselves during transport/storage. Usually, a packed telescopic rod measures about 1 to 2 feet and can reach up to 20 feet (6.1m) when expanded. These are typically simpler types of spinning rods that have fewer to no guide rings, a flexible tip, and the line passing through the center of the rod. They are best suited for surf fishermen since they are long and easily transportable and stored.
- Pen Rods
This type of rod is the most compact and is similar to a telescopic rod’s function. It resembles a large pen that can fit into a pocket or backpack if closed. Pen rods are super lightweight and can only extend a few feet. Their performance depends on the quality of the line and reel you use.
Reasons why fishing rod breaks
Now that you know what goes into a fishing rod, let us take a look at the reasons why they break.
The number one reason why fishing rods break is because they can get tiny fractures over time. These tiny fractures may not be noticeable at first but can cause the rod to break when a fish is caught.
But that’s not the only reason. Here are more:
Do not transport your rod with a loose hook or weight, whether you are driving a car or a boat because a weight that is rigged up or a loose hook can cause small fractures.
It is also best to avoid transporting your fishing rod flat on the bed or truck or against the tailgate because the bed bounces up and down, which can cause small fractures to the rod.
You should also be mindful of how you carry the fishing rod, whether you are just walking or standing because the tip of the rod might jam onto the ground, which can lead to breakage.
If your fishing rod breaks at the bottom part, it is probably because it is overloaded, meaning you used a weight or power that is too heavy for it to handle.
- Leaning the fishing rod against concrete
You should also avoid placing your rod against rough concrete or even wood as it can result in damage and breakage.
Hitting the fishing rod against your car, the ceiling, or basically anything that can most likely cause trauma and result in breakage.
Avoid raising the fishing rod to an angle greater than 90° from the ground as this puts a lot of stress on the rod and increases the chances of breakage. Thus, make sure you keep it at an angle below 90° whenever you are fighting fish or trying to pull out a snagged lure.
- Wrong choice
Fishing rods come in different materials, and each of these materials has its positive and negative effects. At times, you cannot use a rod for saltwater fishing, while others can’t withstand a certain temperature. Therefore, it is important to select the type of material that best matches the water, temperature, type of fish you want to catch, and other environmental elements, so that you can avoid snapping.
Using a fishing rod too much can also result in breakage. If you overuse it or if the fishing rod is roughly used on a daily basis, it will put a huge amount of stress on it, which causes it to break.
- Manufacturer Defect
While this rarely happens, manufacturers’ defects or a bad design can poorly affect a fishing rod’s performance, which can also cause it to break. Some manufacturers make fishing rods that easily break, even just with a little fish fight.
Now that you know the reasons why a fishing rod breaks, here are some tips you should note to prevent it from happening:
- Proper Storage
Store your fishing rods in their cases whenever you are transporting them, setting them up, or not using them. To protect your fishing rod, you can opt for a magnetic rod holder.
- Transport Properly
As mentioned above, you should always be mindful when transporting or carrying your fishing rod to avoid damages and accidents.
If you are driving, avoid storing it in the bed of the truck and secure it in a pool noodle instead. For SUV owners, there exist straps and hooks that you can attach to the top of your car, on the inside, and then just hang your rod up there.
If you are not using your fishing rod, you can lean it against a wall so that it gets proper support while in a vertical position. You can also lay it down horizontally, but doing so may not be safe if there are kids around or if it’s a crowded area.
- Choose quality fishing rods
Not all fishing rods are perfectly created nor are they all of poor quality. Therefore, you have to choose your fishing rod wisely. Make sure it matches your technique and fishing style and that it is should be sturdy enough for its price.
- Hold it properly
Holding a fishing rod horizontally when not in use is the best idea. You also have to make sure your hands are in the right position when you are fishing, so that you can give the fishing rod enough support, especially during a fish fight.
- Wrong Setup
You must check check all your gear and make sure it is set up properly. Otherwise, it will not work well and may cause some damages.
The chart below shows a general guideline of how much line and lure weight you can add to your fishing rod. However, you should always check with the manufacturer for the recommended setup, plus the tools and accessories that are compatible with that type of fishing rod.
|Power||Line Weight||Lure Weight|
|Ultra-heavy||25 lbs. test||Higher than 1 ½ oz|
|Heavy||15 to 25 lbs. test||½ to 1 ½ oz|
|Medium-heavy||8 to 14 lbs. test||3/16 to ½ oz|
|Medium||4 to 12 lbs. test||⅛ to ⅜ oz|
|Light||4 to 8 lbs. test||1/32 to ⅛ oz|
|Ultra-light||1 to 4 lbs. test||1/64 to 1/16 oz|