Top 10 Ways to Break a Tenkara Rod or Telescoping Fishing Pole

by Randy Knapp
(Warm Springs, VA)

Top 10 Ways to Break a Tenkara Rod or Telescoping Fishing Pole

1. Connect the line to the lillian with the tip section of the rod with any part of the tip except the lillian outside the nested rod.

Note: even slight pressure side to side on a partially nested tip section may cause it to snap

2. Try to free a snagged fly with the rod.

Note: Anytime a fly or line is stuck in an underwater snag like a submerged rock, tree branch, heavy weeds, or streamside vegetation, it should be freed by carefully grasping the line and pulling steadily while making sure there is no more than a slight bend in the rod. A snagged fly may take up to 10lbs or more steady pressure to pull free. If possible, it is best to nest the rod sections completely, detach the line from the lillian, put the rod in a safe place and then work on removing the snagged line or fly.

3. Point the rod directly at a heavy fish or snag and pull the rod backward.

Note: Anytime the rod sections are extended with great force there is a risk that one or more sections may become permanently stuck so tightly that only breakage can release them.

4. Extend the rod by whipping the sections out of the rod with centrifugal force rather by than by slowly extending each section until snug starting with the tip and working toward the base.

Note: see #3

5. Try to remove an overhead snagged fly or line without first removing the line from a nested rod.

Note: see #2 and #3

6. Walk through the woods or brush with an extended rod.

Note: allowing the tip to hit an immovable object like a tree, tree branch, or rock while moving forward or backward (backward if you carry the extended rod with the handle forward) will inevitably end in a broken tip section.

7. Drag a heavy fish to the net, hand, or bank with the extended rod arced behind the fisher and not straight up.

Note: an excessive rod angle (usually caused by the extended rod handle angled backward rather than straight up) will inevitably cause the weakest or most strained section of the rod to break. Beach a large fish by backing up with the rod handle in your hand held at a forward angle of no greater than 90 degrees and preferably in the 45 to 60 degree range. This includes having a guide or friend netting a fish too heavy to bring in with rod alone. After a heavy fish is sufficiently subdued, if alone, it is best to bring in a heavy fish by grabbing the line, laying the rod on the ground in a safe place, and then pulling the line in hand over hand. A really big fish can then be netted, unhooked and released or scooped onto the bank with a free hand. This particularly true of fish weighing 50 to more than 100 percent of the tippet strength.

8. Leaning an extended rod against a car, tree, or rock.

Note: an extended rod that falls down unto the ground or other immovable object can break or be weakened by impact.

9. Casting the rod without first clearing it of overhead branches or other obstacles (like the underside of a bridge).

Note: striking the a rod section on an immoveable hard object will either brake it or weaken the integrity of the rod structure to the point that it later breaks under a normal load.

10. Step on the rod, fall on the rod, or run over the rod with a car.

Note: One must be aware of where the rod is at all times and be especially aware of others nearby who may not see where you laid your rod.

I have posted this in other places and hope it gets wide distribution. These rods/poles are special and durable, but they are also very sensitive to misuse in ways not necessarily apparent at first glance.

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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

As age slows my pace, I will become more like the heron.


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The fish are slippery when wet.

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