Sunday 25 August 2013

Broken Rods

Oh Dear!   I have two J.W. Young barbel travel rods.    I use them for tench, crucians, bream, roach and so on.   I have long doubted their ability to cope with barbel, but am still prepared to give them a good go... sometime!   They have nevertheless been excellent for tench, fishing a light legering set up, or with a float.  A few carp, none of them huge, have fallen to these rods, whilst fishing for other species, and the rods have coped well to date.   They are a very nice rod to use. And at 50 quid each, none too pricey.

They are, however accident prone.   A few weeks ago I found one had a broken tip section, a clean snap, a few inches from the tip ring.   I have no idea how it happened, but my clumsiness and devil may care attitude to my tackle probably had some input.   So I contacted J.W. Young to ask for a replacement tip:   The price, including postage was about £38 quid.   Hardly seems worth it when a complete new rod, complete with hard case, would be about £50, just a few pounds more than the price for one spare section ( the rods are each of five sections in total, plus a spare tip).

And so I chose to try and mend the broken section.  Quite a fine tube at the tip of the rod, and so I straightened a paper clip and glued it inside the two sections, and added a two inch length of thin copper tube ( sourced from an old central heating boiler thermocouple) to encase the outside of the join.  With copious amounts of super-glue, this repair is now lasting well, and looks as if it will do the job both adequately and permanently. It has not, so far, noticeably affected the performance of the rod.

Yesterday I was again fishing, one rod for tench, the other for roach, on yet another new water.  I was fishing a light-ish method feeder with breadflake.  Three fish were lost on the previous day, to hookpulls, a couple of tench and a carp.  The second day produced a couple of roach, both nearing a pound.  I was using six pound line, and figured that, with the barbel rods, nothing I could possibly do using that line would overstress the rods.   However this was not to be the case.

Anglers of experience naturally seem to know, instinctively, just how much ooomph you can give a rod when casting a particular weight. It is a good way to fish, knowing that you will not damage the rod casting, yet you can also play a fish well and hard.  But thinking that nothing can be done with just 6 pound line to cause damage was a mistake.  It is true to say that playing a fish is unlikely to cause such damage, because the curve that the rod takes up is designed for such a situation, and the bend gets progressively further down the rod as pressure is applied.

But I decided that I wanted to gain a little extra distance on the cast.   With the rods not being designed for heaving a feeder at the horizon, this was a mistake.  It is possible to wind up a rod, even with 6 pound line in such a way that the rod breaks. It can break in two, midway down the middle section.  I know now!    The curve that the rod takes up under such circumstances is very different from the curve when playing a fish. A rod is a complicated form of lever, and during my cast the middle section of the rod especially was subjected to a massive moment ( in simple terms a force at right angles to the length of the rod). When playing a fish the middle section does not usually see forces applied in such a combination of direction and strength.   Part way through the cast it buckled and broke.  I had applied too great a moment to the rod.  This is sometimes heard referred to as a bending moment.   I don't propose to explain this in more detail. Those of you with some physics knowledge will be able to work it out for yourselves.  Those without such knowledge probably couldn't care less.

 So a second attempt to repair the rod is under way.  Hardly a professional repair, I have filled the broken area of the rod with short lengths of wooden barbecue kebab skewers, added the remains of the super-glue, and crossed my fingers.   If it works, fine and dandy.  If not I will have to replace the rod.   Wish me luck...and remind me not to be so damned stupid in future.

P.S.  The rod has now been used, and with a fair old bend applied, in dragging some carp around the two pound mark, out of some heavy weed into which they had dived.   Quite a strain on the rod, but the repair coped well.


  1. Hi JAYZS
    i love your blog we have spoken in the past on another site and usually about fishing the River Mersey. recently I have had a couple of small barbs off a tributary of the river in warring ton and hopefully we will be getting an input of these fish from the EA fingers crossed.
    anyway repairing rods I have found that superglue is affected by water after a while. it may be that i used an inferior glue but i do strongly recommend an epoxy resin and reinforcing the inside with a piece of old fishing rod glued into place with the same epoxy and finish the outside with some whipping and then a further layer of epoxy heated to make it runny and thin and speed up the drying process. I only have used Areldite in the past but am trying out stuff from the pound shop for my float building.
    I do hope you get your rod sorted out I have done several repairs in the past and they still work for me.
    Also if i loose a very short bit of a rod top I just remove the top ring by putting it over a small flame which burns off the glue. A light sanding may be needed to make the new ens take the top but you can then fill the inside if the rod end with epoxy to make it stronger before adding the top ring again with epoxy.

  2. Thanks Martin: I have used Araldite myself in the past. I think the pound shop stuff is just as good: similar composition. Just didn't think about getting some for this repair. And I have also used a section of tapered broken fishing rod to line a repair in the past. Surprised to find someone else using the same idea. The repair I have made is so far holding out well. Although I lost it it the weeds to a hook pull, the rod was dealing well with a carp of maybe 5 pounds yesterday. Didn't know about superglue being affected by water long term, all I knew was that water , or humid atmosphere actually helps the glue to set.