I was in a my good friends, Brain and Todd Connley’s custom rod building shop “CONNLEY fISHING”  the other day, and was shown a relatively brand new custom rod, that was broken in four pieces. The client who had the audacity to bring the rod back for guarantee replacement, told them it broke on a fish. ‘Well, maybe, but I doubt it very seriously.” Unless some “Bozo” like this guy is on the other end.

I have fished professionally and for fun for over 60 years. I have used rods that were built out of bamboo, split bamboo, metal fishing rods, solid fiberglass rods, hollow fiberglass rods, composite blank rods, graphite rods, and rods made out of tree limbs. I have fished rods from the smallest light tackle spinners and bait casting rods, to the 130lb. IGFA tournament rods, that we tied to the fighting chair gimbels to keep them in the boat. I have caught tens of thousands of fish personally from the thinnest bream to the Blue Marlin, Giant Blue fin tuna, and bull sharks 700 lbs. plus. I have used fishing lines form 2Lb. test to 400 lb. test.

It is my opinion that the toughest pull on a fishing rod that I have ever experienced is that of the Giant Blue fins, which can scream off 500 or more yards of line off a 130lb. stick at 40+ miles per hour, pulling 45 ot 50 lb. of strike drag like its nothing. The toughest “dead” pull is that of a giant 400lb. or more Goliath grouper, which is something like pulling the plug out of the bottom of the ocean.

I spent eight years working head boats as a mate, with an average of 15 to 20 anglers on the rail, two and three trips a day and have coached thousands of beginners on how to fish.

All that said, I have seen maybe a dozen rods break while fighting a fish. I have seen them break in car doors. run over by cars, caught on pilings while docking, broken when clipping a tower leg at strike, etc. But out or the dozen of so I’ve seen break in the heat of battle, the old saying is “KEEP THE ROD RAIL!

Rods are made to bend, butt to tip.They flex to tire a fish out over time. They are made to hold stand up, mount in a rod holder, or fish from a fighting chair gimbel. They are not made to be doubled over a boat rail or gunnel and used as a leverage pole. They will break almost every time. If not the first time. Trust me they will eventually break.

They are made with butt grips and fore grips from which you hold and rod to fight the fish. You should never try to hold the rod from anywhere else. The bend in a rod is a good thing. That mean the rod is fighting the fish for you. Let It bend!

Remember-  You do your job, –  “KEEP THE ROD OFF THE RAIL”, keep you hands in the grips and turn the handle. The rods and reels are made to do the rest.

“Just Sayin”

Captain Mickey Oliphant

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