How often do rods break?

(Adam Trahan) #21

I think I have completed 8 seasons of Tenkara and have broken one tip section while folding the rod. It was a used rod that I bought. I have not broken any new rod, only the one used rod.

I’m provably more experienced at fly fishing than any of you. This is not a boast, it’s just the truth. There are not many people that have specialized in the different aspects of fly fishing and rod making before getting into tenkara and I’m also early into it.

And now tenkara is all I do.

So one rod, no fishing breaks, caught plenty of big fish and trees.

I do think it is an experience thing.

(Duncan Philpott) #22

Well I guess I can now participate in this discussion, a very adventurous huge rainbow stockie just snapped the second section on my pretty much brand new rod, second outing!

Handling the rest of the battle was rather interesting and despite having the fish to hand once, it managed to get away and I’m merely left with a story and no substantial proof haha.

(Adam Rieger) #23

I have had a rod break on me in what I thought was random…but I have since come to understand that if during snags on the bottom or in trees etc you “whip” or pull too hard that that angle of pressure can weaken the rod…and this tends to happen in the 2nd or 3rd section. Then when you least expect it…crack. The key is to not use the rod to free a snag and always compact it (if you can) and pull the line. If you cannot do that then try to get the pull angle so the rod is completely straight.

(Kohei Yamamoto ) #24

I broke my rod only once.
I hooked a rainbow trout less than 1ft.
The trout jumped then my rod got broken.
I used Tenryu Furaibo, a very expensive rod, it was quite light so it lost toughness, I guess.
I got angry about the rod’s toughness if it had toughness enough I wouldn’t lost the fish and the rod itself.
I will use tough and inexpensive rods, never expensive but breakable rods.

(James Hopkins) #25

That is exactly how I was taught to free a snag. It’s also how you can deal with an unexpected very large fish in heavy current. Point the rod straight at it and trust to fate . . . the fish will turn or the tippet will break, but the rod will not.

(Gressak) #26

I am not sure of the formulas or options for graphite or what is in the Tenryu Furaibo. I would guess it is some fancy higher end graphite that would be expensive. From having rods of that nature in surfcasting I find the same thing you are noting. I owned a $600 surfcasting rod, that failed on me. It was 100% my fault…but at the same time my other rods would have survived the same incident. High end rods require more care, and to me…that attribute is just unrealistic.

fishing rods should be workhorses and should survive a moderate level of abuse.

Breaking a rod on a fish as you note seems highly unusual, the rod has a flaw. A flaw from manufacturing, from handling, or from you.

I agree in using less expensive rods but within the 150-200 US dollar range is probably a good place to go.

I equally enjoy all the rods I own. Nissin, Suntech, TUSA. I will say the ones I use the most are the tusa rhodo and sato. They are not as delicate as the other rods, but they are crazy strong and robust. It could very well be that the Suntech rods are equally robust, but they feel much more dainty and their tips are about half or quarter the diameter. This could be some weird pshychology. One would have to go through the expense of a torture test, to see which could handle the most abuse. I do not have the financial luxury.

I am fond of rods that have a little bit of fiberglass. The Tusa rods I own have the feel that they might…but I am not sure.

Its sort of interesting that blank material is rarely discussed when talking about tenkara rods. In some ways it does not matter as often it is just technical rhetoric. But durability is a huge factor.

I do not know how many trees and even rocks I have cracked my rods against. This goes for all of them…Nissin, suntech, TUSA…The type of perpendicular strikes that make me cringe…as I know from experience that those are the type of strikes that can cause the rod to fail. Ticking time bomb types of rod injuries.

(todoroki toshirou) #27

This is a private idea :thinking:

Thinking as a tool the durability is high is “Daiwa”
“Sakura” is also good, but it does not like finishing
Weak as the dimension dimension is short and the number of joints is large
In general, the current “Tenkara rod” is too lightweight
Also, the Japanese made “Tenkara rod” is too delicate

The current Japanese-made “Tenkara · rodl” is too weak against rainbow trout
I am looking for durable products even if the thickness and weight of the rod increase.

It is likely to be the same topic as a competition bicycle :wink:

(Kohei Yamamoto ) #28

I like to use 二代目てんから兄弟(Nidaime Tenkara Kyodai).
It’s less expensive, about 5000JPY, useful and tough.
It has also good castability.
I caught 2ft carp with it.
So I think the value of rods doesn’t depend on expensiveness.

(Evan R.) #29

Thanks for the recommendation! Is there a tough, inexpensive rod that you can recommend in the 3.6m to 4.1m size?

(Kohei Yamamoto ) #30

剣峰てんから390(Kenpou Tenkara) about 5000JPY
It’s useful, tough and inexpensive.
プロックス 剣峰てんからSE 390 KPTKS39

(Chris Lynch) #31

This discussion has taken a VERY interesting turn!
I like the observation about cheap vs expensive rods.

I sold my Oni Type III partially because the length didn’t work for me, but also because I was worried about breaking it. It seems like if you fish an Oni rod long enough, you will have to replace sections… And I just didn’t want to get there.

Regarding cheap but tough rods, I’ve been quite rough on my Daiwa Seiryu-X 45. Yesterday I caught a 24" (if not more) spotted gar with it. I have fought moderately sized spotted bass in strong current. I have whipped poppers out of branches… I have not been gentle on this thing… And it was what, 8000JPY?

I’ve owned all four Nissin Pro Spec 2Way (320 6:4/7:3, 360 6:4/7:3)… was not gentle on any of them, never broke them. My wife still has my old 320 7:3, it has been dropped on rocks several times, has caught decent sized stocker 'bows, and it’s what I learned on. Still good. I think these cheap made in japan nissin rods are good.

Recently fell in love with the Shimotsuke Tenkara Gen 240. This rod is very light with thin sections, I feel like it could get broken if I’m not careful, but it was really cheap and I’m just not worried about it. I’ll fish it rough and find the limit.

(Chris Stewart) #32

I used to carry the first generation of Tenkara Kyodai. Then production was switched to a different factory in China. The replacement parts did not fit the rods made in the first factory. Sometimes the replacement parts for the Kiyotaki don’t fit. There is a disadvantage to buying cheap rods. I almost decided against carrying the Tenkara Gen 240 for the same reason. Too soon to tell if replacement parts for it will be a problem.

(Gressak) #33


what rod would you recommend for a nice balance between durability and functionality.

A rod you would take with you if you had to pick one to be shipwrecked with on Trout Island?

(Chris Stewart) #34

Not too long ago I went through all the replacement parts I’ve sold to see if there were any patterns. The bottom line is all rods break. Only one rod stood out as breaking significantly more than average (and I no longer sell that rod). As could be expected, the more robust rods, like the Daiwa Kiyose SF and its replacement, the Keiryu-X don’t get broken often but even with them, the rate was not substantially lower than others. As could be expected, the tip and #2 section broke more than other sections. Surprisingly, though, section 5 was right up there in frequency. That is often where the break occurs in rods that were reported as breaking on a fish as opposed to putting on the line, collapsing the rod, trying to “whip” out a snag etc.

A nice balance between durability and functionality still requires a relatively robust rod. I would suggest a Daiwa Expert LT36 or LT39, although the Daiwa Kiyose M would be a good choice as well if one is not wedded to a “Tenkara” rod.

If I could only have one rod it would be the TenkaraBum Traveler 39, without hesitation.

Edited to add: it is not uncommon for someone who broke a rod to say he thinks it was a manufacturing defect. I have done a quality check on every single rod I have shipped since I started selling rods. I have seen manufacturing defects, but I have NEVER seen a manufacturing defect that would contribute to a beakage. Might one occur that I couldn’t see? Of course, but I am convinced that they are exceedingly rare and that, realistically, almost all breaks are caused by operator error. I know of two rods, and suspect one other (none of which I will name, and none of which I currently sell) for which I think poor design contributed to rod breakage.

(Adam Trahan) #35

I have broken one section, one time while nesting a premium rod. I was tired and it broke like a balsa toothpick. In retrospect, it was my fault, tired and in a rush.

I’ve sold a lot of tenkara anglers their first %100 Japanese rod, a Sakura. Only one section broken by a young boy scared by a sudden violent thunderstorm trying to stuff the rod closed quickly.

I believe closing a rod is when we should be careful (and no bass fishing hook sets or tree whip freeing). I teach closing the rod with just the fingertips and always a inch apart on the joint. This prevents out of column pressure that can lever a breakage on the end of a section.

I am pretty careful with my rods, I treat them well except my Rhodo. I beat the F out of it. Smack it against trees and limbs. I fall on it. Throw it down on rocks. It hasn’t broken yet and if it does, I got TJ and John to help me get a section.

Most of the time I carry only one rod. My last trip on a plane, one rod. I have learned to take care of my rods, to protect them, they can be broken like Chris says but you can also take care of them and not break them.

I don’t like breaking things, not proud of that. I take pride in sustainability, taking care of my stuff.

Seems like the fisherman thing to do, take care of your equipment.

(Duncan Philpott) #36

I’ve been made wary since the one rod I broke, did go all of a sudden quite early on. The manufacturer Kindly replaced the broken section FOC since it was the rod’s second outing and it broke on a fish, will be intrigued to see how the new section fares now.

(Adam Trahan) #37

My one rod for trout island?

I’m actually going to trout island in June, going to hunt down some rainbows in Kauai. I’ve heard more people have climbed Everest than have caught trout on Kauai.

I’ll be taking one single Tenkara USA Hane.

I’m looking forward to trout island.

(Mike Kotowski) #38

@CM_Stewart it is not uncommon for someone who broke a rod to say he thinks it was a manufacturing defect.

I’d alter this slightly and say that I do think it’s fair to wonder about design defects leading to rods breaking. Not a bad manufacturing process on an individual rod, but a bad rod design in general. I don’t think it’s unfair to believe that if you use a rod with the correct rated tippet, it should never break during normal use (i.e., it should never break while fighting a fish, no matter how large). The tippet should fail long before the rod breaks.

Regardless of whether my point of view is reasonable (I’m not an engineer after all), I have learned my lesson as far as rod buying. I am apparently not gentle on my gear, so any future purchases will be more thoughtfully considered in terms of robustness over delicacy.

(Gressak) #39

I would imagine that the majority of breakage are user error. I think Chris is seeing a volume and scope that we cannot see.

Most of all my broken rods in other disciplines were my fault. Only one comes to mind that was not. Sometimes rods do have flaws, but I would wager 95% or higher are a result of abuse and the ignorance/errors of the customer.

There are tons of guys who try to get away with warranty claims by passing blame. I know guys who would trade in their waders every season to LL bean and Cabelas…after they hammered them. One guy returned his simms waders after his cat used it for a scratching post. Simms replaced them but asked…what happened to them… The guy said it was briars. A lot of folk have low ethics.

(Chris Stewart) #40

“I don’t think it’s unfair to believe that if you use a rod with the correct rated tippet, it should never break during normal use (i.e., it should never break while fighting a fish, no matter how large). The tippet should fail long before the rod breaks.”

It may not be unfair to believe that, but it is not an accurate belief. Rods can and do break in normal use even when the correct rated tippet is used. First, you have to understand that tenkara in Japan is a method for catching 8-10" fish. That is the size fish the rods are designed to catch! Ten inch fish are not going to break your rod or your tippet. Who knows what Chinese copies of Japanese rods are designed for.

“No matter how large” is a concept that makes no sense with respect to tenkara fishing in Japan. Their fish don’t get large enough to break a rod. If the Japanese manufacturers thought their customers considered the tippet rating to be a guarantee rather than a suggestion, no rod would carry a tippet rating. As it is, Daiwa, Shimano and Tenryu do not give tippet ratings for their tenkara rods. I suspect I should take all the tippet ratings of my website.

Next time you watch a video of Japanese tenkara, try to find even one tree within range of their back cast. Here in the US, lots of rod breaks are caused by people trying to free a snag by whipping the rod. Also the unweighted wet flies used in Japan are rarely going to get snagged on the bottom. I am pretty sure that a fair number of broken rods here in the US are a direct result of snagging the bottom. The most dramatic rod failure I’m aware of was in a good quality Japanese rod. The angler, who shall remain anonymous, was pretty new to tenkara but was an experienced fly angler. I am certain that the rod was held low, like a fly rod, the weighted nymph caught a rock, and the angler set the hook as if there was a lot of heavy fly line stuck in the meniscus that had to be ripped out with an 8’ fly rod. Well, a 12’ tenkara rod moves a lot more line, which is a lot lighter and is not stuck in the water. The herculean hook set jammed the tip and second section - permanently - and broke two sections in the middle of the rod. The angler shared the story (although not the details) with a lot of people and no one could believe a rod could break “in four places” with “just” a hook set. That would not have happened in Japan, and no Japanese rod is designed to take that degree of what at least some American anglers think is “normal use.”

Quite a few tenkara anglers in the US have proven that you can catch larger fish than the Japanese would even imagine, but it takes skill and experience, and possibly a few broken rods, to understand how to fight a big fish and when you have to surrender in order to save your rod.

You are wise, though, in thinking that if you are not gentle on gear, you would be better served to choose robust rather than delicate.