Rod life expectancy

Discussion in 'Tackle Talk' started by ESOX, Nov 19, 2010.

  1. ESOX

    ESOX Staff Member Super Mod Mods

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    How long a life do you expect to get out of a decent graphite rod? Looking back to the late 70's- early 80's when carbon fiber rods became readily available to no, it seems that for me any rod, treated well but used consistently has about a 10 year life span.
    What got me thinking of this was that I just discovered a pet 9' GL3 steelhead rod I was spooling up for tomorrow is developing a gap at the fore grip/ reel seat transition that opens and closes with the blank loading. Not good.:sad: That got me thinking about other favorites that died of natural causes. I guess the glues etc only have so long a life span.
    What kind of life spans are you guys getting?
     
  2. Zofchak

    Zofchak

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    It's been my experience that the more I pay for a rod the faster I end up breaking it! :lol: Don't forget that barring actual damage to the blank fishing rods really don't have a set life span. They can almost always be repaired or refurbished to look and perform like new.
     

  3. frenchriver1

    frenchriver1 Mr. Flatfish Premium Member

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    Take care of them well and they will take of you forever...
     
  4. Toga

    Toga

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    It all depends on how you care for them and the craftsmanship. My go to rod is fished hard and fished often. I built it approximately 25 years ago on a Dale Clemens custom builder blank (yes it is graphite) and used top quality components. I have caught thousands of fish on it and it is still in excellent condition. Heck the handle on it even after 25 years of use is nicer than the handles I see on store bought rods and most of the custom rods I have encountered. I'll fish it for a few more years then It will be time to re-wrap the guides to prep it for another 20+ years of battle :)
     
  5. earl

    earl

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    Had a wave take a Sage 4106 two years ago, was about 25 or 26 years old. Got a couple of others (a 2106 and a GII4106) that are probably now about 23 and about 17 years. Got a GLoomis 1141 that is about 15 too.

    Busted an IM 6 salmon casting rod that was only 5 or 7 years old, never loved it, and never replaced it either. Had a Lami 9.5 foot about 10 years old that the TSA shortened by 4 inches for me:(.

    I've rewrapped a few guides, but the goo, scales, and handle wear just adds charactor.:)

    I've added some factory rods in the last couple years, saves wear on the oldies and recognizes that the number of guides that I'm going to rewrap is limited...
     
  6. jd_7655

    jd_7655

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    Before Fenwick started making they're rods in China I had decent luck with them lasting. I had one for 10 years until something yanked it overboard.

    My current St Coix is going on 5 years. I've also had good luck with Shimano.

    I just bought a Berkly. I havne't even used it yet and it sounds like something is rattling in it.
     
  7. Eyefull

    Eyefull

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    How long a rod last is related to several factors. The most common factor in rod failure is unintended damage whether known or unknown. Todays high modulus graphite blanks are the best performing blanks ever, but that comes at a price. As the modulus ratings go up, so does their inability to take damage. Just a whack on a tree limb, gunwall of the boat, or dropped can put a scar on a blank that will result in failure. Often times the actual failure of the blank is down the road and the fishermen is left holding a broken rod, scratching their head and cussing the manufacturer, not remembering the previous bad act. The very high end rods that are utilizing the highest modulus blanks (Loomis, St. Croix, Sage, etc...) see the most of these types of unexplained breakages. They are also the ones that are broken by often unsuspecting anglers by practices like high sticking (fighting the rod past 90 degrees), jerking like Roland Martin trying to free up a snagged 4$ lure with a $300 rod, and overlining (using 50# braid on a rod rated for 15#). As with the previous mentioned damage related breaks, you can damage the blank doing something stupid, and have it break five fish later as a result.

    Once you get past the blank, it comes down to the components and assembly techniques. You can start with the best blank in the world, but if you use crap components, and assemble it using poor practices, it will surely fail. The retail rod manufacturers are working with very small margins and many rely on many across the pond companies for assembly, yes even the previous mentioned rod companies use overseas help.

    Take one of your scrap rods and cut the reel seat in half. I can almost guarantee you will find that plain old masking tape was used to create bushings. What happens when water and masking tape get together? You get a mushy mess that will eventually just fail. Guides are another way they cut costs. Using a $3 set of guides on a $85 blank is another way to cut costs. Retail rods also have their finish applied by machine, often if not always resulting in a poor job. Next time your rod shopping, take a close look at the thread finish edges. Most if not all rods in a store will have at least one guide that water can get in around one of the edges, that is when that guide twists or falls off unexplainably.

    Finally the owner themselves play a role in keeping their rod in great shape. Periodic maintenance can avert many small problems. I use Pledge Orange Oil to clean and leave a nice protecting sheen on my rods. Never use things like WD40 or fingernail polish to clean or touch up guide wraps, they contain acetone, lacquer, or other solvents that breaks down the epoxy.

    That is why a good custom rod will last for years, and why I have a lifetime service guarantee on my rods. They are made one at a time with the best components available. Sorry, this wasn't meant to turn into a shameless plug, but it did:yikes:.

    There are great retail rods out there, but they are made by machine and will have some issues related to that and costing. Choosing them or even a custom rod carefully, using them correctly, and taking good care of them will help them last for years, maybe a lifetime if your lucky.
     
  8. Eyefull

    Eyefull

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    I talked about the high end rods, but left out the obvious. If you pay $20 for an 8'6" downrigger rod, you have to know what your getting. Start with a cheap or second quality blank, cheapo guides, and a grip and reel seat setup that is poor at best. If you fish hard and often, these types of rods will fail for sure and normally quickly. Rod manufacturers aren't concerned about giving you a $20 rod that is a quality marvel because it makes them feel good. They sell you a $20 rod because they still make $8 profit on it.:rant:
     
  9. Cpt.Chaos

    Cpt.Chaos

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    My Dad made a couple of rods back in the 70's, he used all quality materials, he has and uses them to this day.

    I mostly troll, I have good old Ugly Sticks and some Cabela's DM downrigger rods and they are going on 11 years. I have a Browning noodle rod that is 12 years old.
     
  10. -Axiom-

    -Axiom- Premium Member

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    I have a custom made Lamiglas steelhead rod and a Fenwick HMG that are both over 15 yrs old.
    The Fenwick has been fished to death every year since I bought it, it should have broken many years ago.

    This Fenwick amazes me, I quit using it a long time ago but someone is always using it.
    This Fenwick has gone through pretty much everything short of being slammed in a car door.
    Even novice fisherman can't break it.
    The ferrules and seat are still tight also, simply amazing.
    I think the Fenwick is 18yr old or more, it was the first high quality rod ( over $100 at the time) I ever bought.

    Aside from the wear they are both in perfect shape.

    I have some St. Croix's that are approaching 10 yr old, they are in perfect shape also.
     
  11. Whit1

    Whit1 Premium Member

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    I've had rods for many years including a graphite/Eagle Claw blank that I built about 25 yrs. ago. It still serves me well and I use it for steelheads. The comment above about the components is spot on correct as is those speaking about taking care of the rod.

    I have an old Shakespeare fiberglass rod that I've refinished. For you gents that have been around more than a few decades it was one of those white rods.........what was the name??......and it was a favorite of mine for many years. The last time I used it was at Homestead Dam on the Betsie R. during the salmon run. I caught a king that went about 10lbs. with it and there was no trouble at all. I rarely use it now.

    Back during WWII rod makers would use steel for rods. I still have one of my father's. I would be very reluctant to use it now because the steel gets brittle and some rust does set in. It is a hollow steel rod by the way. Dad broke one on a carp in the Grand River in front of Fourth St. Dam back in the late 50s. By "Fourth St. Dam" I am, of course, referring to what is now called 6th St. Dam. In reality it is at Fourth St.

    Whenever I broke a rod it was my own fault rather than a problem with the rod.

    By the way Fenwick used to make some of the best glass blanks available and they're still around.
     
  12. earl

    earl

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    The legendary Shakespeare Wonder Rod...did you match it with Mitchell 300? or something else...


    Are those Fenwick fiberglass 12's really still available?
     
  13. Whit1

    Whit1 Premium Member

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    Yes, I know "Wonder Rod", but there was another name and it applied to fly rods. I used a DAM Quick 221.........the quick retrieve version of the 220........with the rod. I still have that reel along with two other 220s.
     
  14. MSUICEMAN

    MSUICEMAN

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    probably worthwhile to get that fixed E, sounds like the cork just came loose.
     
  15. Eyefull

    Eyefull

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    Yep, probably very worth getting it fixed. Either the cork is loose as stated or the reel seat bushings (tape, cardboard, or worse) are mushy and the seat is moving. Either way it can be fixed. If it is the cork, hit it with steam to get the epoxy underneath hot, it should break free and slide up the blank. Clean away the residue and scuff the blank. Re apply a good epoxy (Rod Bond) and slide the cork back down. If it is the reel seat that is moving, it becomes quite a bit more involved, but still very worth doing if you love the rod. Good luck, you have to love a quality rod.