Rod Blanks or Hot Dogs?

A few years ago I was approached by a gentleman who informed me that certain blank manufacturers claimed to be experiencing breakage problems among certain lines of multi-modulus blanks. This is supposedly due to articles appearing in the magazine that advise building on the straightest axis rather than on the “spine.”  Due to the nature of what a fishing rod goes through on the water under actual fishing situations, the idea that a rod must be used on a particular axis at all times in order to prevent breakage is a bit of a stretch. It would, in fact, be impossible. However, it brings up another interesting question – what are these folks selling? Fishing rod blanks or hot dogs?

A hot dog needs no instructions.  Just about anyone that you hand one to can quickly figure out what to do with it. With rod blanks things are a bit different.  If there is, in fact, a particular axis upon which they should be built, why not include that stipulation with the rod blank? Nearly every other product under the sun includes information pertaining to the correct and safe use of the product.  Why not rod blanks?

While no one should expect blank manufacturers to include a full instructional treatise on how to build a rod, it would be a simple matter for any blank maker to use the back of the blank package header card to stipulate upon which axis the blank should be built, or whether or not a ferrule reinforcement wrap is required and if so, how long it should be. A sentence or two on use and safe storage would certainly not be out of line either and would indeed go a long way to educate the rod builder and fishing public about the dangers of things like “high sticking” or “overlining.”

If there are specifics about a blank that are critical to the use of that blank, the manufacturer should assume the responsibility for informing their customer and include any and all required information.  The packaging is already in place, the means is already available and the cost to include such is absolutely infinitesimal. A paragraph or two on the back of the header card is all that’s needed. Unless, of course, you’re selling hot dogs.


Tom Kirkman



1 Comment

  1. David Dosser on November 20, 2012 at 4:16 am

    I have never had a rod break after building on the straightest axis, excluding neglect or abuse (like a car door). I do not build on a large scale, but I have built several that see their share of abuse in tournaments. I have not seen any hard proof that breakage is related to the axis of the guide train. I agree, if the spine is a critical factor, let the builder know. Show us test results. Where are they?