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Broken, Again and Again and….

by Steven Brutger
photos by Steven Brutger

Broken Fly Rods

Bad luck, lack of skill, karma, it’s hard to say. What seems certain is that I’ve far exceeded my quota of broken rods for the year. Maybe it’s because I went several years without breaking one. But five, and it is still September, that seems excessive. Other than the end result there doesn’t seem to be a trend, but here’s how it went down:

January, I hooked into a fat rainbow and Matt anchored the boat while the fight ensued. I noticed the snag beneath us and thought the fish would certainly dive into it at the last minute. But since Matt was tending to three kids, while I had a fish on, it seemed unreasonable to ask him to move the boat. Sure enough the fish dove towards the woody debris and I attempted to horse him out by lifting straight up on the rod. It snapped in two.

February, the thermometer read 18 above but it felt like 18 below. I had one of those days where everything went wrong. My casts were terrible, I broke of my rig repeatedly, and there was no sign of fish. To cap it off, I snapped the tip off my rod while removing ice from the guides for the umpteenth time.

April, blue skies, baetis everywhere, it was a perfect day. In non-dramatic fashion I shoved a rod into the rod holder of the drift boat and managed to catch a guide and rip it off completely.

August, I thought my luck had turned. A feisty native cutt had just broke me off and I decided to sit down and re rig. With toes cold from icy mountain water I tied on a new bug. Finished, I cast again into the pool and watched as the tip section of my rod followed the fly into the water. Maybe my dog stepped on it, or I hit it on a rock, I’m not sure. It was definitely broken.

August (again), fishing with new friends in the backcountry the subject of broken gear came up. I told them my story up to this point and we shared a few laughes. Later that evening I leaned my rod up against a willow and shot pictures until last light. Returning to my rod, which had remained exactly where I left it, I decided to make one last cast for the day. Almost comically, I noticed the broken tip as I reached for it.

The rods are broken because of me. It’s almost all my fault; there is no denying that. I should be more careful with my gear, but at the same time it feels like something more. Regardless of the rationale or other cosmic forces, I’m grateful for lifetime warranties and the much improved speed of repair services offered by rod companies today. I still have to get my act together and ship a couple rods back, but I’m hoping my luck will turn and I can avoid a similar streak in the year to come.

MidCurrent Fly Fishing
 
Raised on a family-owned guest ranch in Montana, Steven Brutger is a Westerner who has been criticized for having terrible East coast geography. Steven also works for Trout Unlimited, protecting the places we hunt and fish, and is a cofounder of Stalking The Seam, a website dedicated to hunting, angling and family. See more of Steven's photography at www.stevenbrutger.com.
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  • Richard

    Yep, last January I broke an 8wt in half while tied into a monster who knows what at reef’ edge (left the second rod in the hotel). Then in March the guide at the end of my 9wt fell off while bush whacking between spots at rivers edge. I was reduced to using the fishing guide’s spinning rods. Thank god for no fault warranties. However I ‘need’
    to bring/buy more rods!