Gear Do all rods break during normal use?

Questions about flyfishing gear, camping gear, whatever.


New Member
Most of my rods are budget rods, only a few are those more expensive name brand rods. Among these, I broke two of them during normal use. More accurately, they broke during a backward cast and forward cast, respectively. Not too big flies, no over line, all within reasonable range of use. One of them is a $400 single-handed rod, the other is a $800 double-handed rod, they are at the lower end of the product line from a famous and reputable company. (With great warranty, I must add.)

So, my question is, has anybody experienced the same thing? I mean, big-name, expensive rods break during normal casting? If I spend more money to go for thousand-dollar rods, will they be worth the money? (Not considering the lifetime warranty.)

Love to hear your thoughts. Thank you.

Tom Bowden

Active Member
Fish cane, they don't break :rolleyes:.

Bamboo rods aren’t subject to failure from little nicks, but most of the guidance on caring for graphite rods still applies. The weak points on cane rods are the glue joints (especially for hollow-built rods), the area around metal ferrules, material stress that causes a “set”, and rot caused by storing the rod in a wet place.

Rob Allen

Active Member
If a rod is going to break due to any manufacturing or design defects it will do so in the first outing or two.
All other breaks are the result of angler error or abuse. With modern graphite rods what constitutes abuse may seem mild to a lot of anglers.. just so I am not sounding judgmental, I abuse my rods often. And if one breaks. It's my fault

Nicks ,abrasion or lose ferrules are the main reasons rods break while casting. Loose ferrules is more common with 2 handers but not uncommon with singles.

Most common breakage at other times is simply overflexing the rod usually while stringing the rod or landing a fish. try to flex the whole rod during these operations not just the tip.


Active Member
Another vote for "it's not the rod, it's the angler."

Some anglers accept responsibility for their rod breakages, others do not. I wouldn't be surprised if rod companies have "repeat offenders" who are constantly returning rods that break, never thinking they are at fault. I don't think I could handle working in a returns department.

Rob Allen

Active Member
Another vote for "it's not the rod, it's the angler."

Some anglers accept responsibility for their rod breakages, others do not. I wouldn't be surprised if rod companies have "repeat offenders" who are constantly returning rods that break, never thinking they are at fault. I don't think I could handle working in a returns department.

I know I had repeat offenders. In my situation I dealt with plenty of really good folks who came to steelheading and two handed rods later in life when they finally had the money and their trips consisted of two trips to be every year. They just didn't have the experience for handling fishing rods, let alone with big steelhead on the end of the line and no good places to land fish. Lots of two handers broken that way, particularly when the move to light 7wts became popular.
People just don't listen when you tell them they need to stick with 8s and 9s.


New Member
One thing most people don't realize:

Higher priced rods are often priced higher because they use higher modulus graphite, which is more expensive. While higher modulus graphite is lighter and more responsive, it's not nearly as durable, and far more prone to breakage from minimal trauma.

Cheap rods tend to use that heavy duty cheaper graphite that will take a bit more abuse.
Yes, that's true. I read somewhere IM12 rods are more, ... I forgot the word, fragile, maybe?... than IM6 rods. Thanks for the tip.


New Member
Having read the replies above, thank you all, the consensus seems to be "it's not the rod, it's the angler." So, that means, the chance for manufacturing defects to break a rod is low. Moreover, given the same material, say, IM10 graphite, and same level of abuse and whatnot, an $800 rod is the same as a $80 rod when it comes to ease of breakage. Then, one should not spend more money on a rod simply because he wants it to be more durable. Money has nothing to do with graphite blank's durability. Thank you all.

Evan Burck

Fudge Dragon
I had to take over management of the warranty department last fall out of necessity. I've made a lot of people very happy, and a few very very angry. It's a tough spot to be in when you 100% know the rod isn't defective or the reason it broke. Many take great offense when you tell them that it was indeed an incidental breakage.

I've been doing what I can to spread the word on how graphite works in this regard. Mainly to make my own life easier :D

Guy Gregory

Active Member
I don’t fish as much as lots of you guys.

I’ve broken a couple rods, each time has been my fault.

Each has left me with a good story.

Yes, all rods break in normal use because all of us make mistakes: nick ‘em, drop ‘em, or sit on ‘em on a boat seat.


My rods never break they just come from togetherness . One time I broke a rod while setting the hook by accident . I was spacing out in the San Juan not paying any attention that my wooly bugger had been drifting behind me and when I "woke" haha , up I cast that line straight in front of me only to realize I had a 4-5 ilb Brown on it and well the rod came from togetherness ! Another in an Idaho river I caught a 400 LB Rock with a hook set , total from togetherness . BTW , it was a 6'6" Maxcatch 2wt and they sent me the section I needed FREE ! I also broke a Griggs rod 6' 2wt in the same river casting , it broke on the forward stroke . Rods of all price ranges can and do break for a bunch of different reasons .


A collector never stops collecting!
WFF Premium
Rods break or can be broken, no matter the price!! I saw a ton of different failures, working at Orvis for many years.

I've broken a few and they were my fault.. the most impressive of my breaks was one of my early trout rods, that a buddy was fishing and snapped while he was casting. Sounded like a gun shot! He offered to send it in to be repaired, but I wouldn't let him since the rod was old and had a good warranty anyway. Plus he was rowing the drift boat on the Yakima!! I had knocked more than a few big streamers against it anyway!


Recreational User
I've had the (dis)pleasure of watching a few dozen rods break during my guiding career, usually accompanied to the music of my own voice asking the guest to do one of 2 things - 1) stop pointing the butt of the rod at the fish; or 2) please keep their hand on the handle.

This is after we go over "salmon fighting best practices", which includes how to apply pressure low and to the side, effectively fighting the fish with the bottom (power end) of the rod, and also includes a bit about shear stress and why your hands should stay on the cork when fighting fish.

As a split-shot (and conehead / leadeye) enthusiast I also see a couple of snapped tips every year on my guest's fishpoles, and I usually know it's gonna happen because the sound of metal hitting graphite is unmistakable.

Old Man

A very Old Man
I was fishing the S/F Stilly about 100 years ago or so. Well it seemed like it was that long ago. I wanted to get down to the river and fish. But to do that I had a small cliff I had to go down. Well I slid a ways and then slid on my butt the rest of the way. When I hit the bottom, my butt end of my rod hit a rock pretty hard and the tip shattered. It was a Courtland 5/6 wt. rod. I tried to cast with out a tip top guide. It really sucks trying to fish that way.

Back in them days I just threw the rod away and bought a new rod. Didn't know squat about Warranties.

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