Merwin: Broken Rods and High-Sticking

So I broke yet another rod yesterday when I got distracted somehow and our spring-loaded screen door slammed shut on the rod tip. Pretty stupid. I can get the rod tip replaced okay, so that's not too big a deal, but breaking a fishing rod is always a little traumatic. It got me thinking of other breaks at other times.

Power windows in various vehicles have been a frequent culprit. Ditto automatic seat-belt retractors. The worst one, though, is when I leave a rod sitting on top of the car or truck cab while taking off my waders. Then I forget about it and drive off as the rod crashes to the road.

Despite all that, I'd say most rods get broken by what's called "high- sticking." I think you've all seen people yarning back on a rod as they fight a fish so the rod is near vertical and there's a deep bow in the tip and midsection. Rod butt sections can handle a tremendous amount of lifting force. Tips and mids can't. If a rod is held too near vertical and with a heavy load, it's apt to snap somewhere in the upper half of its length--often near the uppermost ferrule in the case of a 4-piece fly rod. Hold the rod low during a battle--not more then about 60 degrees above horizontal--and fight the fish with the rod butt.

Most of the time I remember this, and it's been quite a while since I've broken a rod on a fish. All my other rod breaks, though, are just dumb and dumber....