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Broken Rod


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What my friend did was hook a drift of watercress (a very close relative of Mark Wendt's birch trout, actually) and set the hook a trifle enthusiastically.

Have you ever seen a watercress patch with its eyes crossed?

And the rod broke cleanly right in front of the male ferrule.

No premonitory clicking, no  looseness, and this on a tip which had, I guess, landed its share of a hundred fish, mostly in the 2-3 LB range.

I am becoming more and more fascinated by this little Garrison taper,  and had already  planned to make a couple more this winter, one for myself and one for the bloke who broke this one.  The broken tip I  will just referrule and  fish it as a tip an inch down, and I suppose I will never know the difference.

But I would love to know why it broke.  (Peter McKean)

    It may have just been a previously undetected weak spot in one of your splines, and after landing a bunch of healthy fish, finally got to the point where the straw broke the camel's back, so to speak.  Call in CSI!  We need forensics done on this rod!

    I've never seen anybody rip the lips off a watercress before, but if anybody could do it, I'm sure I could.  Just ask Dave Haidak...  (Mark Wendt)

    The only rod I broke so far (knock on wood) was an Orvis Trident graphite 8' 5 wt that was their top of the line in its day and before I got hooked on bamboo. I used to be real lazy and kept the rod strung up and kept it in my fishing car (Mark you remember the car) with the reel on the passenger floor and the tip extending back to the rear window. Now you might  think that would be enough to bring the rods demise but that was not the case. I came home from fishing one day, and for some reason, decided to bring the rod into the house all this time still stung up. I heard the phone ringing and, in my rush to get to it, broke the tip in the door. The phone call was meaningless, a tele marketer, who bore the brunt of my rage. Orvis, to their credit, honored their unconditional guarantee and gave me a replacement tip. The rod sits in the corner now collecting dust, no longer strung up,  a passing memory along with the fishing car.  (Bill Bixler)

      Losing the fishing car musta been like losing an old friend...  (Mark Wendt)

        You solved the mystery !  The reason I'm not catching as many fish this year must be that I sold the lucky fishing car !  ('85 Subaru wagon; the wife said it was the car or her) (the reason could not possibly be because I'm not getting to fish as much; this gives me an idea, now I can blame her, although  that seems like female logic).  (Carey Mitchell)

          Crossing that line is a slippery slope.  Using they're own logic against 'em, I mean...(Mark Wendt)

      I have had two broken rods during 50 years of fishing.  One was fiberglass and one was plastic.

      The fiberglass one was broken on a trip with my family to the Red Lakes region of Colorado.  I had been out fishing early in the morning before the family got up and left my rod strung in the back seat.  Got to the lakes and watched while Colorado Conservation guys were stocking some rainbows from 2 to 6 pounds in the lake.  With shaking knees I ran back to the car and found that the rod had been broken about 6 inches  from the tip.  It seems the rod had fallen over against the window and my son had opened the window and shut it not realizing that the rod tip slipped through the window.  Have you ever tried fishing with 6 inches of the tip gone and no tip top.  I did and caught some nice fish.

      The other one was a plastic rod and broke while trying to get loose from a snag.  The company replaced the tip section free of charge.  (Tom Peters)

    If the break was a clean one, without splinters, as if the rod had been sawed, I would suspect you are the victim of accumulated stress. If there were splinters, blame your clumsy friend.

    Having worked with people in the spring business for many years, I am possibly overly concerned with fatigue type failures. Anything that flexes back and forth will eventually fail. It may take a hundred years, but it will fail. The failure will be greatly accelerated if stress is concentrated in one area. In a cane fly rod the ferrule area is the danger zone for that kind of problem.

    The first problem is that you have the metal ferrule put on over the cane, which wants to abruptly stop the flexing of the cane, creating a point of high stress. I can't tell you how many failures I have seen on production rods with the bottleneck type ferrule, which were not tapered or serrated at the wood/metal transition. The break is clean and abrupt, right where the cane enters the ferrule. I have  every confidence that you know that, and prepared the ferrule correctly.

    The other issue is how we handle the transition from hex to round when fitting the ferrule. My personal method is to turn the cane round to the beginning of the ferrule tabs, and then keep the hex/round transition the length of the tabs, or very slightly longer. The end of the tabs rest on a hex section, or at worst, very slightly rounded corners. I avoid any sort of notch or abrupt change in the transition area.  I like the pointed tabs idea, and have taken to that method, putting the points on the cane apexes, I sure can't prove that it's any better than the other schemes, but it appeals to  me.

    You have been on the list long enough to have heard a few stories of  newbie's rods snapping on the first few test casts because they did not make a smooth round to hex transition. If you had really messed up, the rod would never have lasted for 100 fish. If you must search your conscience for the Original Sin which caused the failure, however, I would look for a small lapse in this area.

    All of the above assumes that I am reading you correctly that the failure was right at the ferrule. Someone once had a delayed failure an inch away from the ferrule, and it was suggested that they might have too aggressively squeezed the section with the lathe chuck when mounting the ferrule. That's something we all should be thinking about.

    By now, everyone on the list knows I consider metal ferrules to be implements of the devil, so I'll spare you the usual diatribe on that topic, and compliment you for discovering Garrison. It's about time:-)  (Tom Smithwick)

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