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Broken Fly Rods – How It Happens + How To Prevent It

Broken Fly Rods – How It Happens + How To Prevent It

If you fish enough, you’ll eventually break your fly rod. This happens to everyone, and it’s just part of fly fishing. Anyone who hasn’t broken their fly rod, hasn’t fished enough.

Luckily, most quality brands will offer a lifetime warranty on their fly rods. This is great, just pay a small fee and they will build you a new rod section. Fees vary by brand, with nicer rods costing more to repair. These warranties have become the industry standard, so be wary of a rod if it does not come with a warranty.

There are dozens of ways a fly rod can break. Although fly rods are built to last, they can be delicate as well. Making sure your rod has a warranty means more peace of mind when you break your rod.

This article will cover the ways fly rods break, and how to prevent it from happening.

Doors Break Fly Rods

This is a big one. It can be your car door, your trunk, or the door to your house/ apartment. When we are transporting rods, we can forget how long they actually are. Accidentally slamming a door on a fly rod has happened to me multiple times. It is a very common occurence.

Try to be more careful when getting rods out of your car or house. Make sure the rod is completely clear of the door before you close it. Taking a little extra precaution can help you out a lot.

Nicks And Dings Can Break Fly Rods

This can be from split shot, or heavy streamers with lead eyes or cone heads. If you ding your fly rod when casting, it may not break right away. However, these little nicks cause structural damage, and the fly rod can break days (or even weeks) later. This is usually the case when your friend says “I was just casting, and it broke!”.

To prevent this, try to use a more open casting stroke when throwing streamers or nymph rigs. The last thing you want is a bunch of nicks in your rods graphite.

Holding The Butt Section When Fighting A Fish

When you are fighting a fish, hold only the CORK. This will allow the rod to bend naturally, all the way through to the cork. If you start putting pressure on the butt section, this adds unneeded stress to the fly rod. When you do this, the rod will often snap right at the butt section.

If you have a habit of doing this, consider getting a fly rod with a fighting butt. These are small cork sections at the end of the fly rod, and putting pressure on these is totally ok. It is much better than holding the butt section of your rod when fighting a fish.

Stepping On Your Rod Will Break It

Sometimes, we lay our rod on the ground and forget it’s there. This can be when you’re re rigging, or having lunch on the bank. When you get back up, you may step on your rod – and it will snap.

This is quite common, and has happened to me on multiple occasions.

To prevent this, try to always lean your fly rod up against a tree or a bush. Laying it on the ground can lead to lots of problems.

Large Impacts

This can be when you drop a rod, or smash it into a tree when walking. There are lots of ways that large impacts can happen – and they usually result in a broken fly rod.

When you land a fish, try to set your rod on the bank gently instead of throwing it. When walking, point your rod tip behind you – this will prevent slamming the tip into a tree or rock.

Simply being more careful on the river can prevent these impacts from happening.

Lending Your Rod Out To Friends

This one may seem obvious, but it’s so true. About half of the time I lend out a rod, it comes back to me broken. Although I trust my friends, they always seem to be tougher on gear that’s not theirs. This is especially true if they are beginners, and they don’t understand the mechanics of a fly rod.

I have stopped lending out rods for this reason. Then, there’s the other issue of getting them to pay for the repair fee. Most friends will cough up the money, but some will try to argue.

If you value a specific rod, just don’t lend it out. It’s hard to say no, but I have started saying this to friends when they ask to borrow a rod.


These are just some of the ways that a fly rod can break. In reality, there are dozens of situations that can result in a broken rod.

Try to be more careful and follow this advice above. However, accidents do happen. Luckily, fly rod warranties are here to stay, so make sure to invest in a rod with a lifetime warranty.