Getting good at breaking rods

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Screen door of motorhome. Mangrove stump. Yeti cooler. Front bumper of Toyota Tundra.

Any idea what these items have in common?

If you guessed they all played a part in breaking a fly rod, you are correct.

Four broken rods in two years. Some by me; some by others. All my rods!

Each broken rod has a story, none by big fish, but rather all involving carelessness or stupidity. All were repaired or replaced by manufacturer’s warranty.

Actually, a fishing rod is a relatively new experience with me.

I bought my first fishing rod when I was in junior high school and that white Shakespeare Wonderrod was my second most prized possession, right behind my baseball glove.

I still have it. All original parts. And I still have my first fly rod, a Garcia. All original parts.

All reputable rod manufacturers now include warranties as part of their MSRP. In other words, you’re paying for repairs and/or replacements even if you don’t need them.

Different companies handle their warranty programs in different ways, charging fees ranging from $40 to $100 per repair. Some pay return postage, some don’t.

All the companies I’ve dealt with require you to send them all the parts of the rod, broken or not.

When I tried to return an 8-foot 6-inch, two-piece spinning rod, I learned postage was nearly $60! I called customer service and asked if I could cut the rod into smaller pieces so it would ship cheaper.

The rod was already broken, right?

The company, St. Croix, informed me they had a pre-paid plan with Fed-Ex for $10.

Depending on volume, rods can be returned within days, or you might wait weeks.

I recently heard about a guy who broke his fly rod.

Right before heading to town to buy a new rod, a friend told him to call the manufacturer, again St. Croix. He received a replacement rod before his fishing guests arrived the following week.

Always ask.

And keep your rods away from screen doors, stumps, coolers and front bumpers.

Jerry Smalley’s Fishful Thinking column appears weekly in the Hungry Horse News.

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