8 Ways to STOP Your Fishing Rod From Breaking

STOP Your Fishing Rod From Breaking

Breaking a fishing rod, especially a custom made one, is a nightmare of every angler. You may not be able to prevent it completely, however there are ways to reduce that chance to a minimum.

There are many safety measures to take that can help your rod live a long life and help you land plenty of fish.

Proper rod handling, storing, and maintaining, are among the easiest and best ways to prevent failure. Besides that, you have to know how to handle it while fighting fish and be aware of your surroundings when using it to avoid accidents.

As a rod user, but also a rod builder, I try to be aware of possible mishandling of a rod, and after decades of experience, I want to share some simple tips.

It is much easier to save your rod from damage than you may think!



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Never Avoid Proper Storage and Transportation

Let`s start with the most basic principles. Storage and transportations are frequent culprits for rod damage, especially among inexperienced anglers.

Rods should be stored away from direct sunlight and high temperatures, or extreme coldness. High moisture is also a problem. Invest in a rod holder that will keep a rod in optimal position when not in use.

After every use, make sure that the rod is completely dry. Do not lean the rod on a wall in a way that the butt is on the floor and tip leaning onto the walls as that will eventually bend the tip. Improper storage damages rod materials and that can cause breakage under pressure when fishing.

When it comes to transport, rod goes on top. Everything else is below. Avoid accidentally putting a tackle box on top of it. Use rod cases or bags that will keep it safe and secure.

Storage and transportation are also important on fishing boats. Don’t leave your rod laying on a boat deck.

STOP Fishing Rod From Breaking - Transportation

Never Avoid Rod Maintenance

Maintenance is important as it has beneficial effects on every rod component. Properly maintained rod is stronger and more durable. If you leave it wet and full of salt and dirt, it may not break today, but with prolonged neglecting the rod becomes weak and prone to breaking and damage.

This may sound “obvious”, but you wouldn’t believe how many people get really surprised when their rod breaks during normal fishing circumstances as they are not aware of effects that improper maintenance has on materials.

Clean it regularly and replace any part that starts showing signs of weakness.

STOP Fishing Rod From Breaking - Maintenance

Always be aware of your surroundings

This is the last among the basic mistakes, but it is equally important.

People tend to damage their rods by accidentally hitting the tree, rock, or a part of a boat. Before you start swinging it around, check the surroundings. That tree may be 20ft away but if you are moving around a lot, it may end up it the way.

Don’t drop the rod onto the rocks. These surroundings are especially important on small and slippery boats where you may leave your rod in unsafe place and step on it.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you need completely obstacle free fishing areas, it simply means that you check for obstacles before you start and remember where they are.

STOP Fishing Rod From Breaking - Surroundings 

Avoid Improper Rod Testing

Now we get to some more serious breakage causes. Some anglers like to test the rod by bending it to see how it reacts. There is nothing wrong with that if you know how to properly do it!

If you want to flex the rod it should be flexed along the whole blank with gentle force. Some anglers take it into their hands, hold firmly and bend sharply. Many rods brake at that point. Fighting a fish will bend the rod and apply pressure evenly, and harsh sharp bending along a small section is not a way to test it.

You know how you would hold a branch if you wanted to break it? Well, that is the exact thing you need to avoid while testing the rod.

Put a palm of your hand along the rod tip and moderately apply pressure to observe how it will bend.

Of course, some materials are more rigid that others, and how easy is to break it will depend on that, not just build quality. Graphite can break easily while fiberglass can take more flexing.

STOP Fishing Rod From Breaking - Rod Testing

Avoid Wrong Fish Fighting Techniques

When fighting a large fish, your adrenalin rises, and you focus on getting it out of the water. While doing so, you may forget about a proper technique.

A lot of anglers will pull the rod hard, pull it up, and end up with a rod pointing upwards. Then, sudden pressure from a fish will bend it, and depending on flexibility and weight applied, the rod may break.

When fighting fish hold the rod parallel to water surface, or at a smaller upward angle (up to 45 degrees max). When pressure is applied in that position, it will be distributed along the rod, with most of the force on the hardest parts near the butt and to the middle of the length. This is the best way to save your rod from breaking and utilize its powers and features.

You can minimize the stress on the rod by pointing it downward to the water. This will put all stress onto the line, and the line will become a weak point without the rod to reduce impacts, but if you are sure that the line can handle it, you will remove all pressure from the rod.

STOP Fishing Rod From Breaking - Fish Fighting

Avoid Wrong Fish Landing Techniques

Landing a fish is the last step before you take out the camera and create a memory of a wonderful catch! Some anglers feel so accomplished when they pull it above surface that they forget about the last step.

Common mistake is reeling in close and then pulling a fish out by straightening your rod upwards. When the rod is pointing towards the sky and the fish is “hanging” from it, almost all that weight is bending it in unnatural position. The effect is like that in improper testing. Snapping is a common result.

Always leave a line length from tip to fish that is equal to rod length. Pull the hand holding the rod backward and behind you rather than just pointing up. That will keep a low angle and evenly distribute weight while you can pick up the fish with the other hand.

Alternatively, use a fishing net to scoop up the fish as that is the best way.

STOP Fishing Rod From Breaking - Fish Landing

Avoid Wrong Reeling Techniques

Even if you have a very powerful reel, keep in mind that is connected to the rod and they work as one unit while fighting a fish.

Reels are meant to be used in a way that you reel in under low pressure and let the fish pull the line if necessary under high pressure. You need to be wiser than a fish. That is why reels have a drag setting and you can make a fish tired.

This is not as prominent while fighting a panfish, but if you observe fighting a tuna, you will see what I am talking about.

Common mistake is to reel in at a steady pace non-stop, no matter what the fish is doing and how much pressure is applied. This delivers very high load, and this wrong technique is frequently combined with pulling the rod up at too big angles.

You can move the rod to the side when pulling the fish closer instead of too high up. So, use a rod either sideways or up to less than 45 degrees, and reel while returning the rod in the front/down when the pressure is low.

That way, the load will be evenly distributed.

By continuous reeling while the fish is pulling away rod can bend into unnatural position and snap.

STOP Fishing Rod From Breaking - Techniques

Learn Basic Physics Principles

Don’t worry, I’m not talking about Einstein’s theory of relativity here, but it would be wise to understand some basic stuff on which everything mention above is based.

  • Material fatigue – some mishandling occurrences may not break the rod at first, but they will cause irreversible damage within the material it is made of. Small, microscopic cracks will show up. You may not even see that damage, but a weak point will show up and it will break under lower pressure than it is made to withstand. Material fatigue happens in normal circumstances too, but the process speeds up with mishandling.

  • Breaking point – every material has a point in which it breaks when tension is applied. To protect your rod, don’t use too strong lines that can withstand more pressure than the rod. Pair the rod with recommended lines. Lines are cheaper, easy to replace, and they should be the weakest point in the whole assembly. The same goes for improper testing and puling it over 45 degrees under pressure.

  • Flexibility – this is property of a material to flex when pressure is applied and return to original position when pressure is removed. Some materials are very elastic and can bend a lot, while other are rigid and can not flex. This is especially important when your lure gets seriously snagged. Instead of pulling up and applying immense pressure onto the rod, overly flexing it, and inevitably breaking it, point towards the snagged place and use line and reel by pulling towards you.

STOP Fishing Rod From Breaking - Physics


Accidents may happen, but it is in your best interest to reduce them to a minimum. That will save you a lot of money and prevent stressful situations while fishing.

With proper care and handling, rods can last for many years. Treat it the proper way and you will enjoy rod`s efficiency every time you are on the water.

If you are unsure how to handle some situations, take advice from local rod builders and experienced anglers!

About Me

Slo-fishing - About Us


I am Siniša Pintar (friends call me Sina), the guy behind Slo-fishing.si and eBook writer. This site is base camp for fishing enthusiasts from all over the world. I love fishing and want to share all my stories, knowledge and my experience with any and all potential anglers. Read more ...

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