What do I look for when buying a Used Rod
Here are some things to look for when buying a used rod. There are 4 areas that you should inspect. 1. The Grip/Reel seat, 2. The Graphite, 3. The Guides/TipTop, 4. The Ferrules.
1. Check out the cork for chips and other damage. If the cork is dark or soiled this generally means the rod has been used a lot. Remember that cork can be cleaned and a clean grip doesn't mean the rod hasn't been used a lot. Look at the threads on the reel seat for any damage. Screw the locking nuts up and down. They should screw easily. Tightly grasp the graphite just in front of the grip and try to twist the grip and reel seat. Use moderate pressure. If they are loose you will feel it without a lot of twisting. Attach the reel you are planning to use on the rod. The reel feet on some reels are thick and may not fit the reel seat. Hold the grip and make sure the reel seat won't twist with the reel attached. If the rod has a metal butt cap, look for scratches or dents.
2. Visually inspect the graphite and run your fingers all over the rod. You may feel something you don't see. Look for scratches, blemishes and consistent color of the graphite. Minor surface scratches may be alright but deep scratches should be avoided. If you see or feel a spot that is unusual you have to be very careful. Many rods are damaged by impact from split shot or hitting something while casting. Never take a rod that has a spot that appears to be impact damage. Impact damage can usually be felt with the fingers. When you run your fingers over an impact area it will feel slightly different.
3. Visually inspect the guides looking for loose, bent or broken guides. The best way to check a guide for imperfections is with a cotton ball. First, roll the cotton ball between your palms so the ball becomes longer and skinner. You may have to dampen your palms to get the cotton ball to roll. Run the cotton ball through the guides and if there is a problem the cotton will stick to the guide. You should gently grasp each guide and apply slight pressure to see if it loose. If the stripping guides have inserts make sure the insert is not cracked or broken. Do the same procedures with the tip top. Inspect all of the wraps for damaged. Look for cracks in the finish over the wraps.
4. The Ferrules should be visually checked for any damage. Check the glue joints for cracks. Grasp the male ferrule and check for any looseness. Insert the male ferrule into the female ferrule and check for looseness in the joint. Assemble the rod and give it a wiggle test to see if everything feels tight.
One other thing to look for is if the rod comes in a rod tube from the manufacture, make sure it is included. Sometimes when you buy a used rod the seller hangs on to the tube or wants to charge extra for it. One exception is some of the TFO rods. Certain TFO rods don't come with a tube and the seller may want to keep the tube if he bought it separate.
The very best test is to cast the rod before you buy it.
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