Rod Breakage due to 'material fatigue'?

by Pete

I've just got back in from a reasonable few hours fishing on one of my local urban streams — 15 wild brownies up to 12". That's the good news... the bad is that I broke my beloved Shimotsuke 240 rod. Actually that's not quite true, a fish broke my beloved Shimotsuke 240 rod!

I've had the Shimo 240 for a couple of years and it has been my go-to rod for urban streams where the trout can range from 3" to 15" and the overhanging trees and bushes, plus submerged detritus, cause multiple foul-ups. When I know I'm not going to get anything bigger than 10" and the vegetation is less dense, I'll use my beautiful Nissin Air Stage Hukabai 240, but I generally feel much safer using my cheap and cheerful Shimo in most situations.

As soon I hooked fish number 16 today I knew that it was considerably bigger than anything I'd previously caught on this river (and I've caught hundreds of fish there). The Shimotsuke bent double, as it often does with larger fish and I caught a brief glimpse of the big guy as it headed downstream taking advantage of the strong current.

The next thing I knew there was a loud "crack" and I was left holding the butt-end of the rod, which had somehow broken just above the second lowest section. Once I got over the shock I wet-waded downriver until I spied the rest of the rod caught up among rocks. I picked it up carefully, making sure to get hold of the line at the same time in case the fish was still on. It was, but only briefly... a big tug and the 6x tippet snapped between fly and level line.

I have no complaints about the Shimotsuke 240; it's an inexpensive rod and I've probably caught more fish on it than all my other rods combined (although that's obviously a reflection of the type of rivers I fish). However, I'd always assumed that, providing the recommended tippet strength is used, a Tenkara/Keiryu/Seiryu rod should not break under normal conditions, especially not where mine broke. User error is another matter... I should know, I've broken two tip sections on other rods through clumsiness.

So the only thing I can attribute my Shimotsuke's demise to 'material fatigue'.

Has anyone had a similar experience?

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