Brad Laabs: Here’s how to keep fishing rods and reels from breaking – Detroit Lakes Tribune


This week’s topic was prompted by some repeated behavior from several different customers: It’s the bad habit of snagging a jig or hook in the guide of a fishing rod.

I attach hook holders to all my custom rods, and they are used to hold jigs, hooks and lures. The problem with snagging a jig, hook or lure in the guide is the risk of putting a scratch in the ceramic of ceramic guides or creating a burr in a metal guide. As the line winds through the guide, it can fray or nick the line and create a line break – usually at the wrong time!

If your rod does not have a hook holder, do not use the cork or foam handle. Use the “foot” for the guide if your rod does not have a hook holder, so as not to damage the guide or any part of your handle. “Extra” hook holders are available at most bait shops to put the rod in if it is not equipped with a hook holder.

Another bad habit I see, and quickly address, is pulling the jig, hook or lure backwards to snag it by bending the rod or pulling straight on the tip. This habit will eventually cause the rod to break at the tip, either when you do it or at some other time when the tip is under tension.

To hook, leave slack in the line, hook the hook, then wrap the slack in the line. Do not tighten to the point where the rod is bent due to tension. Another surefire way to stress the tip that will eventually break the tip (or break at that point!) is to grab the rod in the middle to hoist a fish out of the lake or to try to free yourself from a snag . Don’t do that to your fishing rod. Use the whole rod to hoist a fish, or better yet, reach out and lift the fish itself or use a net.

If you get snagged, go back and try to pull it off at the same angle or try pulling it off several times. If it doesn’t release right away, point the rod directly at the snag, hold the spool, and pull straight away so the tension is on the line and not the rod.

A common problem maker I see with coils is the way people lay them. With an open face spinning reel, make sure the handle and suspension spring are up and the weight of the rod/reel is not resting on the handle or suspension spring.

Laying them on the deck or the ground and bouncing them on the lake can damage the handles and, for sure, weaken the bail springs. Whenever possible, it’s a good idea to tether rods or store them in rod lockers when traveling in rough water or over significant distances.

Always rest your fishing rod in a place where it is least likely to be stepped on, seated, or locked in a compartment cover. I make numerous repairs every season to rod guides, tips and broken rods due to improperly stored rods by their owners. Remember that your rod and reel are your friends. Treat them well and they will treat you well when you need them!

(Laabs owns Brad Laabs Guide Service in Detroit Lakes)

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