High Stick Rod Breaks


A broken rod can cause an abrupt and frustrating end to a day of fishing.

When that occurs, most anglers will curse the rod manufacturer, thinking they purchased a defective rod.

Unless you are in the minuscule two percent of anglers that actually experience a defective rod, the blame should be on angling technique.

Poor technique constitutes the majority, (98 percent) of breaks.

©Temple Fork Outfitters.

An angler demonstrates two common rod angles while fighting fish. The rod in the right hand is getting dangerously close to the 90-degree angle, where most rods can fail.
©Temple Fork Outfitters.

“High-sticking,” is the most common break that is serviced by the TFO warranty department, but, also one of the most avoidable.

A high stick break occurs when the tip of the rod—the weakest part—is forced to bear the brunt of the pressure. As the bend of the tip increases, the graphite on the inside of the curve compresses until it snaps. When a graphite fly rod is bent, the fibers on the top of the bend are stretched, while those on the inside of the bend are compressed. Since the tensile strength of carbon fiber is higher than the compression strength, a fly rod will almost always fail on the compression side.

When fighting and landing a heavy fish, it’s important to be aware of the amount of stress being put on the rod. The closer a rod gets to a 90 degree angle with the water (think of a candy cane), the closer it is to failing.

Anglers fishing out of boats often high stick as they try and slow a fish from running under the boat.

Wading anglers are equally susceptible to this kind of break as poor habits, or the lack of a landing net can lead them into compromising a rod. Poor habits can appear in anglers who catch and land smaller fish and begin lifting or dragging fish in. When they are placed into situations with larger fish­–common among steelhead and salmon anglers–poor habits translate into broken rods.

It’s also possible to high-stick the rod when not fighting a fish.

Many rod tips are snapped by anglers who rig their rods by threading the fly line through the bottom guides, and then bend the rod to thread the line through the remaining guides at the top.

The angler demonstrates the proper rod angle when fighting a fish. Remember! always fight a fish off of the butt of the rod.
©Temple Fork Outfitters.

For other insights into “high-sticking,” check out what those in the industry have to say about this type of break:

-Fly Rod & Reel Magazine: goo.gl/OA9mH

-American Angler weighs in:goo.gl/FXs0I

-Rod builders talk about high stick breaks: goo.gl/RxLU5 and goo.gl/FIupL


About templeforkoutfitters
Armed with a lifetime passion for fishing, we set out to establish a new standard of value for fly and conventional rods. We have relied on our own experience and advice of many professionals in creating what we believe is the perfect marriage - price and performance. Sound too good to be true? Cast one and you be the judge.

3 Responses to High Stick Rod Breaks

  1. Pingback: High Stick Rod Breaks « Gin Clear

  2. JG says:

    I think you guys mean 180 degrees – (just like a candy cane) 😉
    90 degrees should be perfectly fine for any rod on the market.

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