Broken Rod Tales


Active Member
Another thread got me thinking. I have broken or witnessed the breakage of over a dozen rods in my fishing career. Sometimes they broke because of stupidity, sometimes because of defects, and sometimes because I just expected too much out of them. I'm sure there are some good rod breakage stories out there. I'll go first.

This one falls in the category of stupidity and expecting too much. I was standing in an opening on a brushy high bank with a 5 foot drop to the water - more like a small cliff over deep water - no way to get down. I spotted several huge fish laid up in the current. I could get my fly to them, but there was no way to land them. A more responsible person would have passed them up. But I couldn't resist. On the first cast I watched my fly disappear into the mouth of a 7lb Brown trout. Then I had the "oh crap" moment when I realized my predicament. I thought about breaking him off, but then as he tired and I got him close to the bank I came up with a brilliant plan for the release of the fish and the retention of my fly. I stripped in line until I had the tip of my rod tight to the fly and used my rod tip as a release tool. The fish came off and I had my fly back.

After high fiving myself and shouting for joy I looked down and saw there were more fish in the seam below me. Not one to count my blessings, I stripped out line and cast. Another huge fish took the fly and the battle was on. I tired the fish and got him close. Having mastered the rod tip catch and release on the prior fish, I stripped my line until the rod tip was again tight to the fly. But just as I was about to give the final flip of the tip the fish thrashed its monsterous head and snapped my rod tip like a twig. He came off and I was left with six inches of rod tip dangling (but I saved the 89 cent fly).

What is the most entertaining way you have broken a rod?

Steve Unwin

Active Member
I've only broken one rod so far. I found a great deal on a 3wt on craigslist. The second time out with it was at Munn Lake. I was throwing dries with the 3wt, and managed to get a few big ones landed, and decided I really liked the rod.

Then I did something stupid. I got tangled around the rod tip. In a float tube things are difficult to reach, so I did my best but still had to bend the tip over slightly. Not realizing how much more delicate a 3wt is compared to a 6wt, a bent too much and SNAP! Tip section broke into three pieces.

On the way home we stopped at Cabela's (it was a cabela's rod), and they have me a small store credit for the rod, which I thought was very decent. I ended up buying a nice glass 3wt from another member, and couldn't be happier with it. All worked out in the end!

Old Man

Just an Old Man
My first fly rod breakage was by my dumb self.. I was using a 5/6 Cortland rod. I was sliding down a hill to get to the S/F of the Stilly. I hit hard and the rod hit on it's butt, just like I did on mine. The rod tip shattered. End of fishing trip.

When I was younger I only carried one rod with me because I thought that one rod was all you needed. Boy was I wrong at that time. I now carry from 3 to 5 rods with me when ever I go fishing. You never know what is going to happen.

I have broke rods just stringing them up, getting tangled in trees, my dog stepping on them, or just break because it felt like it. The last one was a mystery breakage. It was good one minute and broken the next.

Greg Armstrong

Let one of your kids use your beloved, memory filled, mojoe'd up 40+ year old glass Fenwick 6wt. that's been your friend since it was new.
Nuff' said, here as well.
It was kind of quiet around the ol' campfire that night.

Greg Armstrong

Another one;
Back in about 1960 my great Uncle Mike had given me a brand-spankin' new fiberglass St. Croix 6 wt. I let my Dad (I was about 10 at the time) take it on one of his pack trips on a deer hunt. School was in session, so I couldn't go along. As the story goes, he leaned it against a tree with the beautiful trout filled alpine lake in the background, a gust of wind blew it to the ground, and one of the horses backed up and stepped on it.

Greg Armstrong

My last one;
My Great Uncle Mike (see above) was one of the best steelheaders on the Green River back in the day. He taught me a lot, but no one I knew could ever catch fish like that man.
Years ago he sadly, was killed in a car wreck (please don't drink & drive!). I had inherited his steelhead rod.
Time goes by. The rod speaks to me from the corner of the room, and we go fishing together for old times sake (you know where this is going - don't you).
I make my first cast. I'm fishing deep and catch a snag (wish I could say it was a fish). The slightest tug and old Uncle Mike's glass rod splinters to pieces.
I smile as I write this, knowing how many steelhead he'd caught with this rod. It was his...
Thanks for the memories, Uncle . RIP


Active Member
first one - my favorite st croix 3wt. i generally baby my stuff - even more then as i couldn't afford to buy another one. my girlfriend closes the car door on the tip. i got a lot of mileage out of that... and st croix replaced the tip. well worth it in the long run... :)

the first rod (i've only done 2) i wrapped myself - i didn't wrap the ferrule enough and applying too much pressure to a king in the salmon river (upstate ny), trying to muscle it around a log after getting it in - i snapped the rod. lesson learned. i had already hit a TON of steel head and 2 salmon in about 2 hours so it was well worth the lesson learned!


the sultan of swing
In the mid 90's I was suffering from rod envy,After some justification this lead to the purchase of a 9140 sage 2 hander from Skagit Anglers( about 650.00 which was hard to justify back then). That evening I had some buddys over to brag up the new rod, and after a few drinks somehow that new rod got tangled up in my ceiling fan and became a seven piece rod. This after less than 5 hours in my hands & needless to say to this day the ceilng fans are shut off before the rods come out .


Active Member
My most unusual break, at least according to Scott Rods, was a double break at the handle and at the tip. I was in the back of a drift boat and it was near the end of the day, my line came tight but no head shake so it has to be the bottom/snag. We were in moving water and before we could get turned around I heard a sharp crack, almost like a .22 rifle shot, and most of my rod was in the water. I retreived the rod and it had broken at the base and the tip.
" My first fly rod breakage was by my dumb self.. I was using a 5/6 Cortland rod. I was sliding down a hill to get to the S/F of the Stilly. I hit hard and the rod hit on it's butt, just like I did on mine. The rod tip shattered. End of fishing trip. "

Similar to Old Man,

The family was also up at the SF Stilly, I was a young 5-6 year old, and my brother and I went up river to fish. Being excited to go with my brother, we walked slowly out of camp, once in the woods, we quickly started running. Well, this little boy, zigged when he should have zagged, lowered the rod tip and snap! Also, was a 7 1/2' Corltand Crown, now down to 7 ft! Was so scared to tell my father, I broke the rod. Well, that shorty of a rod is still in the family and going strong.


Was fishing the upper Sky when a big ol' windstorm started up. It's about a half mile walk thru the woods to get back to the car. Limbs were falling and I wasn't sure I'd make it back to the truck without something hitting me. Big ol' tree branch was falling from about 50' up that I had to dodge. Unfortunately my 2 hander was its target and snapped it in half. Missed me by a couple feet but took the rod right out of my hand. Thank you GLoomis for helping me with the rod repair.