Bass rods can cost a lot of money. And when we spend a lot, we expect a lot. But even when we don’t pay a premium price we still want a rod to last. Earlier today I made the drive to Bass Pro Shops to find a crankbait rod. Maybe I could have appealed to some manufacturer, but frankly, I’m going fishing tomorrow, so I couldn’t wait.

What I found were some nice-looking BPS Crankin’ Sticks so I went through the models to find something I could use with a range of medium baits. But as I was checking them out, a thought struck me from back in the day when I wrapped my own.

Although you can’t really know if all the fibers and resins were properly “cooked,” you can sure determine if the guides are wrapped in line with the natural bend (or spline) of the blank. If not, you will end up pulling on fish in one direction when the blank wants to bend in another direction.

I know there is some tackle executive out there saying, “Our quality control people will never let that happen.” But when we’re talking mass production–even for the guys known for high quality–anything is possible. And in the case of today–when I wasn’t going to pay a premium price–I made sure there was proper alignment before I went to the cash register.

And sure enough, of the four rod models I checked, one was 90 degrees off! Bingo, I just saved myself some headaches.

And it’s so easy to do. With one hand take the rod tip under your thumb or forefinger, and with the index finger of the other hand, lift (but don’t pinch) the rod about 4 or 5 guides down from the tip. The idea is to barely lift the rod off the ground and allow the blank to freely turn if it wants to. If the blank and guides don’t lean or turn one way, but stay straight in line with the reel seat, you’ve found a good one.

Of course, this won’t help you with car doors or locker lids or bouncing a fish with an acute tip bend, but for all normal casting and fish-fighting use, this works. And BTW, if you have a rod shipped to you, don’t unwrap it until you’ve checked it out. If the guides don’t align, send it back.


5 Responses to “Avoiding rod failure–before you buy!”

Good tip! (Double meaning for extra value!)

Did the same thing with a buddy looking at a rod there last month. There was more than one rod in our inspection that was mis-splined. Hopefully everybody starts using this tip to avoid defective rods. BTW we were looking at “yellow” rods.

I’m going out on a limb and buying one of the new Duckett rods with micro guides. Although I am a touchy-feely guy when it comes to rod purchases, I decided to spin the roulette wheel of chance and hope that I like this new rod. Otherwise it’ll end up in the classifieds. Fingers crossed.

by George Kramer

A bass rod is a personal item. Get the right one and it’s hard to switch. Just wanted guys to know there is at least one thing they can do to check quality before they buy.

by Robert Schneider

Now you tell me……