It’s been interesting to see this thread again after 12 months. My original post was on April 25 of last year, when I had just started out, after my second day fishing tenkara. Since then I fished 92 days, caught just under 400 fish and ended up breaking 4 rods. The fourth happened a few days ago, almost on the exact anniversary of the original break.
All four breaks were due to operator error. Two were when I was trying to put away a rod and had a stuck joint. Adam said, “I believe closing a rod is when we should be careful.” In my case, for sure.
One break was when I was casting but didn’t realize I had snagged the hook (that one was loud).
The best break was when I was about to land a big chub and was getting my net ready when the chub darted under some weeds, pulling the line along with him like a rope through a pulley: the rod was already bent and the chub pulled hard enough to snap the third segment. (Still operator error, but the fish and the angle helped.) I made a quick sketch at the time to remember it, so I wouldn’t let it happen again.
Four broken rods in one year might sound terrible, but I’m fine with it. Guitars, cameras, fishing, computers, backpacks, whatever — I use my gear. I do not own any shelf queens or decorative collectibles. I fish in heavy canopy and rough waters and have multiple snags in both directions almost every outing. I don’t really plan on changing my approach, since I can’t really change the landscape. I do plan on buying robust gear whenever I can and being more careful when putting rods away. And of course I’ll keep purchasing replacements as needed, as long as they’re available. YMMV, etc.
Anyway, I guess I have an answer to my original question of how often do rods break. In my case, about every 3 months.