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Rod Breakage due to 'material fatigue' — Update

by Pete

Broken Kiyotaki

Broken Kiyotaki

Thanks to everybody for their help and advice regarding the rod break incident featuring my tried and trusted Shimotsuke Kiyotake 240.

I'm still waiting for a new Shimo 240 to be delivered but I picked up the old rod again this evening to see which sections I could keep as replacement parts in case of another breakage incident (the original break occurred in the third from bottom section, just above the joint with the second from bottom section).

The tip sections still feel fine, but as soon as I examined the lower two sections it became obvious how degraded section number two was just above the joint with section number one. It felt distinctly 'pulpy' and with only minor force exerted began to splinter. I then looked at the place where the rod snapped on the river two weeks ago and the material there was similarly degraded.

Conclusion: wear and tear does affect these rods. I'm meticulous about drying out all my rods between use, so I don't think water ingress is an contributing factor here.

As previously stated, I'm a great fan of the Shimotsuke Kiyotake rods and have absolutely no complaints about how the 240 has performed for me. It probably wasn't designed to catch 14" brownies and grayling but it can, and has...


Comments for Rod Breakage due to 'material fatigue' — Update

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Aug 21, 2019
haha for sure
by: chris

100%, i'm sure the high amount of stress you are putting on the rod is to blame. Those are much larger fish than this rod was designed for. It's cheap enough though, that I would just keep doing it haha.

Aug 21, 2019
Big Fish for a 240
by: Les Albjerg

I have the same rod and feel totally maxed out with 7 inch fish! I’m sorry about the broken rod but you need a bigger stick for those size of fish! Those two fish must have given you a wild ride! Chris may have a recommendation for a short stout rod.

Aug 21, 2019
Small Rod Big Fish
by: Chris Stewart

Just so everyone knows, the "haha for sure" post was not mine.

I do agree with the first half of his post, though. the rod clearly was not designed for fish of that size.

Few 2.4m rods are. Of the rods I carry, the Daiwa Keiryu-X 24 is the only one I would recommend for 14" fish.

Aug 21, 2019
Rod breakage
by: Craig

I just had my Nissin 540 ZX break for the third time.It broke while I was casting on the forward stroke.I think rods break with no fault of our own a good deal of the time.Carry extra rods so your day can continue.

Aug 21, 2019
It's earned its keep
by: Pete

The wonder of it is that I didn't just land a couple of 13"-14" fish in the time I've been using the rod, I landed quite s few...

Add to that the numerous 10"-12" fish I've also caught with the Shimo during that time and I think I can safely say that I've had my money's worth!


Aug 21, 2019
Diawa - Yes!
by: Les Albjerg

I forgot that the Diawa Keiryu X comes in a 24 length. I bought the older model the Kiyose in the 30 length when Chris had them on a Christmas sale. I was going to give it to my son for a Christmas present, but ended up giving it to myself! I've used it more than anticipated. I love that it will fit inside my ZimmerBuilt Tenkara Sling Lite. Last fall I was fishing for small brookies with the Kurenai 30 and had a 13 inch cutthroat slam my fly! It put some real pucker in my cheeks as it maxed out one of my favorite rods! I switched to the Diawa Kiyose 30 and ended up catching several 14 -15 inch cutthroat out of a creek that seemed too small for such large fish as well as many 4-8 inch brookies. The Diawa handled those bigger fish much better than the Kurenai and the smaller fish were fun. Not as much fun as with the uber light Kurenai. Rather than destroying your Shimotsuke Kiyotaki again, you may want to consider upgrading to a Diawa Keiryu X. Check out the big ciclid Robin Evans caught on her 24! I have two Diawa rods and they are great rods. Not a bad price point either!

Aug 21, 2019
Alternatives to Shimotsuke 240
by: Pete

I might consider the Daiwa Keiryu 240 or 270 (I actually have the rod in a 420 length but hardly ever use it) but I have a feeling I'd lose plenty of fish at the lower end of the scale if I opted for such a hefty rod.
In fact, since my Shimo broke I've been forced to rely more on my Nissin Fine Mode Kosanui 270 and my Nissin Pro Spec (7:3) 320, fished at the shorter 270 length. In doing so I've realized that I was definitely over-reliant on my Shimo 240, using it in places where it was easily possible to fish a slightly longer rod, albeit
with a bit more side-casting rather than overhead. No excuses, just laziness in swapping rods (or even carrying them) when the situation demanded it. That said, I'd rather not spend half my time on the river deciding exactly which length rod was best for that particular stretch...
The Pro Spec is quite a delicate rod but the Fine Mode Kosanui (19 Pennies in Chris' Common Cents list) is certainly more capable of handling those 14" Brown Trout than the Shimotsuke 240 was, while still sensitive enough to land a reasonable proportion of the 4"-6"fish I hook.
So, for now I'll hold off on the Daiwa...


Aug 23, 2019
Rod Quality/Material Fatigue--Redux
by: John Evans

Not to whip this poor ol' dead horse too much, but I would repeat my earlier point: Material fatigue seems to be a greater problem, on average, with cheaper rods. I've been fishing lots of different tenkara rods over the past 5 years or so, from very cheap to very expensive, and the cheaper rods just tend to break more often, for whatever reason. Now, this is not to say that it's somehow wrong to buy a less expensive tenkara rod. Hey, they often work well, and if that's what a person likes, or can afford, so be it. No problem and no criticism.

I've convinced myself, however, that better quality rods give better service under most circumstances. No surprise there. I'm reasonably certain that at least part of the answer lies in the better quality control and better graphite tubes used in the more-expensive poles. In my experience, that typically means that the rods made either by, or for, Japanese companies, tend to be more reliable.

Well, there you go. Interesting discussion and good comments from all.

Aug 24, 2019
Pick the right rod
by: Les Albjerg

I wasn't going to say anymore on this. However, as I was reading about several other rods on the site, I realized that Chris really gives us a great assessment of the intended uses for each rod. Monday morning I was fishing one of my favorite creeks for carp with the Kyogi 12, a 3 meter rod, and tangled with a 4 inch smallmouth bass on a crawfish fly that was almost as big as the smallie. It didn't fatigue the rod much. The 6 pound carp caught next gave the rod a nice workout! The point, the Kyogi is designed for carp! I checked my logs and I have caught close to 2,000 sunfish on the Daiwa Sagiri 45, and upon a close examination of the rod, and using my micrometer, as well as a magnifying glass on the joints, I see little wear.

Sure there are times when a larger fish than intended for the rod will hit your fly or bait, but purposefully fishing an area with larger fish with a rod designed for fish half the size is just asking for trouble. I wouldn't call it "material fatigue." Many of the rods made by these Japanese companies are designed for certain fish of a certain size. Those days fishing Cache Creek, Sach Creek and Wyoming Creek for brookies 7 inches and under are best enjoyed with the Kurenai 30. If there are bigger fish, I'll fish with a rod that was designed for larger fish. As I think about the rods that I have broken, it had more to do with improper usage or technique rather than material fatigue. I like that we have so many choices that we can tailor our rods to the targeted fish to maximize the connection with the advisory. Sure, one could fish the Kyogi 12 instead of the Kurenai 30 for high mountain brook trout, but the pleasure of the catch would surely be diminished. One could also fish for carp with the Kurenai 30 on my special carp creek, and you might enjoy a few seconds of the battle before the rod totally blew-up! I am so grateful that Chris Stewart tests and gives perimeters for the rods he sells so we can make intelligent purchases as we head out to battle anything from micro-fish to steelhead! Thanks Chris!

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“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” - Benjamin Franklin

"Be sure in casting, that your fly fall first into the water, for if the line fall first, it scares or frightens the fish..." -
Col. Robert Venables 1662

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