This blog post is nothing to do with defending or damning certain lure rods, rather it’s something that has been bouncing around my head almost ever since I first started using what we might term “modern lure rods”, and was then rammed home when Mark’s rod broke the other day, as per Monday's blog post. How fragile are these lure rods that so many of now fish with, and if in a perfect world we should be looking after them a bit better, in reality can we possibly do so when we do what we do with them?
I would hazard a guess that many of you here who are are into lure fishing either come from or are still actively involved in your more regular UK-style shore fishing with beachcasters etc. Now while I haven’t cast one of these types of rods for a long time now and I don’t know much about the newer shore rods that are out there these days, they were always a pretty robust bit of carbon in my eyes. So whilst many of us got into lure fishing via that world as such, do the lure rods we tend to fish with these days bear any correlation at all to beachcasters? Do we kind of expect them to be banged around over the same sort of ground and withstand that sort of abuse when a thin-walled, delicate looking lure rod couldn’t be more different to say the old Conoflex Scorpion Sport that I so loved shore fishing with?
If you come from fly fishing then perhaps your take on this is a bit different, indeed something like a modern, lightweight and delightfully responsive 9’ 10-30g Major Craft Skyroad lure rod reminds me much more of a fly rod than it does a great big beachcaster - and wow are fly rods some delicate carbon tubes. Sure, I have seen some seriously big and powerful fish landed on fly gear over the years, indeed I have stood there open-mouthed on many occasions whilst photographing what this “delicate” gear can actually do in the right hands, but if that same rod which landed say a 50lb+ GT on a shallow sand flat then gets dinged with a fly in the cast, is dropped hard on a rock, gets trodden on or is high-sticked while landing a fish, it is most likely going to snap.
The photo above is literally a split-second before a 12-weight fly rod breaks as the angler tries to grab his fly line to land a lively but not very big GT out in the Seychelles. Look at the rod tip, where the fish is charging around, and how the angler is grabbing the line, and I am sure you can picture exactly how the rod broke. Angler error, plain and simple, but that same rod landed a stack of fish on that particular trip before it snapped. I have winced on numerous occasions when photographing fly and lure anglers landing fish and what is happening to the rod, but sure as night follows day these same anglers won’t actually know they are doing anything wrong in the heat of the moment.
As I said at the start, I am not here to tell you that so and so lure rod has or has not got a flaw or whatever, but I know what I do with my lure rods, and I would guess that most of you do the same. I do my best to look after them, but they get knocked about via use fishing, walking, wading, scrambling or whatever. They are transported to the actual fishing on the rod racks stuck to my car and from time to time I drop a rod or something like that. I would try and look after my beachcasters as best I could as well, but mistakes happen. A beachcaster looks like a more robust/thicker carbon tube to me though, whereas that lure rod you thrash about is surely a far more delicate tool? None of us exactly wants to be breaking fishing rods, but should we be more realistic with our expectations of many of these modern lure rods?
Mark kindly left a couple of comments on that Monday blog post about his Truzer which snapped, and I am going to copy and paste those comments here as an example of an angler being totally honest and upfront about what he has done with the rod and why he isn’t throwing his toys about: “Before I go and upset anyone I would firstly like to say that I am only describing what happened to my rod and no one else's Secondly I feel sorry for anyone who has had a rod blow up within a few hours use. I have owned my Truzer for just under two years so I think a manufacturing fault can be ruled out as I have abused this rod which is rated to 23gm. Yes I have launched a 28gm Patchinko with it I have slapped it on the surface of the water whilst casting. I Have dropped it and walked it tip first into a cliff face. Two weeks ago which was the last time I used it I dropped it with the reel attached on some jagged rocks Most likely this was the cause of the breakage, not to mention the countless times I have stuffed the tip into the sea bed while testing the depth of water. ANGLER ERROR I THINK SO. Just in case anyone is interested I will purchase another In no way has it put me off the rod. At work this morning while pondering what might have happened I realised that I did in fact drop the rod on my last outing albeit only about waist height but it did land on jagged rocks.” I wonder how many other anglers have been this honest with a rod breaks on them?
I really respect Mark for being so honest about what he has put his 7-23g Truzer through and at the same I then wonder how honest most other anglers are when a rod breaks and they try to sort a replacement out. I also wonder if many of us here are simply doing it a bit wrong from time to time with these delicate bits of carbon we use as lure rods (what, a man, wrong, seriously?), and on the flipside I wonder if indeed there are either a few rods which are not really fit for purpose, or via the manufacturing process that mistakes do happen and less than 100% quality rods do slip through? Look at various car recalls for an example of less than perfect quality control. Same with the Penn Clash spinning reels I used last year - the 2500 went “grindy” yet Mark’s 2500 hasn’t (after nearly a year of use as well I might add), and the 3000 one I have used a lot now is as smooth as it was when it first came out of the box. Go figure!
I will leave you with a comment that was posted on my Facebook page the other day, and to me this perfectly sums up my opinion that most broken fishing rods are down to some sort of angler error or mistake - and note the word “most” as opposed to “all”, and that it’s my opinion and not remotely fact. “Every kitchen waste I've ever unblocked has been as a result of fat going down. Every single customer has told me they NEVER EVER put fat down the waste. Every broken rod returned to a shop has been carefully looked after much like a newborn. Not knocked, bumped or similar.”