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Tales of breaking a few fishing rods

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Jamestown Sun
Tales of breaking a few fishing rods
Jamestown North Dakota 121 3rd St NW 58401
One of the most ingenious stories of breaking a fishing rod is a tale I read not long ago about a fellow fishing for smallmouth bass out of a kayak (why in the hell would anyone fish out of a kayak?)
According to this guy’s account, he landed a smallmouth caught on a jig, but while unhooking the fish a snake of some kind crawled out of the fish’s mouth, causing him to shriek and drop fish and snake into the lake. Meanwhile, his jig sank to the bottom and snagged on a rock. Just then a big wave from a passing boat caused the kayak to rise a couple feet, breaking the tip of a $400 G. Loomis spinning rod.I don’t think I can beat that story, but I have some that might bring a tear to your eye.
I have no statistics to back up this assumption, but I believe most fishing rods are broken when bringing rods in or out of vehicles or cabins. A good idea is to transport one’s rods in sturdy rod cases that are supplied with quality rods. For many years I have used PCV pipe fashioned into rod-holders, and one time in Saskatchewan a partner backed a pickup over one of these rod-holders and didn’t break any of the rods!I have broken several rod tips in uneventful fashion by tugging on the line to hook the snap-and-swivel into the little metal loop above the rod’s cork meant to hold such things. I have learned it is wiser to take a couple “pulls” of line off the reel to make the slack rather than pulling against the rod tip.Another favorite of mine is “reefing” on lures snagged on the bottom. A couple times I have broken rods that came apart with the sound of a rifle shot, and I stood there, cursing a bit I might admit, but with a broken rod.
I must say I have been a fan of graphite rods for more than three decades. They are lighter in weight and more sensitive than fiberglass rods, but I have an acquaintance in Wyoming who quit using graphite because he broke too many of them, inadvertently striking them against the gunwale of his boat while casting.My rod-breaking antics are more spectacular than the fellow in the kayak: In May 1983 I floated the Situk River in Southeast Alaska with a dour fellow who was as uninteresting as he was good at casting a fly and catching steelhead. On the final day of the float, and less than half a mile from the take-out point, I pushed our johnboat off a sandbar, suddenly found myself in deep water so I leaped into the boat … and right on top of my No. 7 weight Fenwick flyrod, breaking it to pieces. (Fenwick, God bless them, has replaced more than one of my rods in spite of my clumsiness.)
On another occasion I was floating the Madison River with boyhood friend John Thorp and Dr. Dean Center, when the drift boat suddenly struck a rock, hurling me forward and onto my Berkley spinning rod, breaking it in half. Such things happen.Sometimes a broken rod takes a different twist. About 15 years ago Laurie and I were down in the Dubois country of northwestern Wyoming, doing some fly-fishing and hiking in the wonderful Shoshone National Forest. I generously offered to treat us to dinner in a steakhouse in Dubois, so we left Labrador Josie in the Suburban while we dined. Josie, who was less than a year old at the time and who lived to more than 14, managed to fish (excuse the term) my bamboo fly rod out of a tubular case, and then chewed the middle section to splinters. The rod had two tip sections but she chose only the one middle section, so the rod essentially was ruined.There are lots of ways to destroy a fishing rod, and I think I have accomplished most of them!Bernie Kuntz, a Jamestown native, has been                             an Outdoors columnist for the Sun since 1974
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