Fortunately for me the amount of time and use it may take is at this point irrelevant. That 1979 Far and Fine still feels the same though, with that in mind I figure I'm safe with the Sage and Hardy rods I've bought in the past 8 years.
I have not listened to Rosenbauer's podcast on this subject, so I don't know what his opinion is. There are some facts at play here but terminology, like "worn out" suggests "no longer works". A graphite rod is a composite of scrim for hoop strength, longitudinal carbon fibers for tapered action and resin, holding the matrix together. The carbon chains are remarkably durable and flexible. The resin is more brittle. As a rod flexes during casting and bending fighting a fish, micro fissures form in the resin. A lot of this occurs when the rod is new reaching a broken in stage. More occurs more slowly as the rod is stressed. The rod does not delaminate or fall apart but over years of continuous use, its action slightly softens. In extreme use cases, particularly in lighter line weights, a rod can feel noodly compared to the same model in as new condition. Is it worn out? Really, no, it has just "matured".
SS thanks for that explanation, I guess i should have said "does A rods actions get compromised" sounds kinda like a top end fly lines we use in Mexico, they don't break but after a months worth of pulling on big fish they do turn into an old wore out rubber band, soon as I install a new line I can't understand how I was able to cast the old noodle line. CB
Two friends of mine that used to own a fly fishing school and guide service favored G.Loomis GLX rods. Their 9'/#5's got a daily work out and, at the end of their season they would relegate them to school rod status and buy fresh ones. They always told me that the difference in action was notable.
The only "worn out" rods I've ever witnessed personally, and I have used the terminology "worn out rod" when doing vintage rod appraisals or for personal acquisition is on internal spigot ferrule rods where the ferrule gap has been fully "used up," in which case the rod can be "rebuilt" with new ferrules, not that uncommon, but it is testimony to the use the rod has seen.
FyI and mine, I have a fiend of mine who sent me this email, I found it VERY interesting.
Any sort of modern fishing rod is a rather complex thing, and fly rods are no different in that regard.
In the crudest sense a fly rod (let's limit it to carbon fiber) is a composite of carbon fibers and some sort of encapsulating resin. The individual microfibers generally come in a bundle, called a "tow", and the individual fibers in the tow are relatively haphazard. The resin is supposed to keep the fibers in the places the rod designer wants them to be, so they don't move out of place.
Such a composite structure is sort of like putting piano wires or guitar strings through a slab of cheese. The two materials are very unlike each other.
The manufacturer is hoping that the fibers and the resin, somehow stick to each other and don't "slip" relative to each other. If they do, adhere to each other then the resin can give and stretch and compress to absorb most of the "Strain" (fractional stretch) while the carbon fibers don't stretch or compress much at all, and it is they that absorb all of the "Stress" (pounds per square inch).
Not all resins are chemically compatible with all manner of fibers, and some sort of chemical bond would be superior than just a "grab" type connection; like you grabbing a baseball bat in your bare hand.
When the fibers and the resin do disconnect, you will get a local defect, and such things will grow over time each time you put your favorite rod to the test.
So in that sense they do wear out.
It is rather unlikely that the stresses of fly casting or any other sort of casting, would seriously harm the rod, but I bet some people could bust the tip of a really fast spinning or plug casting rod if they put their mind to it in a cast.
A lot of the technology involved is in the nature of trade secrets. Trying to get the fibers and the resin to hold hands in peace; may be a company secret, and if I knew how any of them do that, I wouldn't tell you; because each of our great equipment suppliers, depends on that secrecy to stay ahead of their competition and keep making excellent products for us.
Tennis rackets, golf clubs, and skis, all use fiber resin composite structures. But no tennis racket is required to warp itself into a pretzel while doing its job. So they can use different materials and different structures, from the way a fly rod is built.
So as Dan says, they eventually wear out, and the more you abuse them, the faster they go. So learning how to horse a big fish without horsing the rod, is something we all have to try and learn, and some are better than others. I'm a total dud when it comes to that; so I cheat.
I tend to stay with other materials that are better at storing flexure energy, than high modulus carbon fibers. But I have plenty of standard carbon rods too.
Can any body give me a de-code/de-crypt here? I'm not tracking his post...at all which I believe is owing to the fact that I must be getting on in years and am not up on the lingo the kids are using these days on the interwebs and related social media stuff like you know Twister, Myface, Spacebook, etc., ya know all the cool ones.
I’ve not seen any notable change in action on a fly rod but my favourite PE 8 spin stick that I’ve used on big GTs over the years has definitely slowed down in action. I will say though that that particular rod has been to hell and back and is still a competent piece of kit.
I'm on the same page as Trevor with my 1979 Orvis Far & Fine, I have fished with that rod every single year since 1979...…. It has more hours of casting and more fish of all sizes and I think it works as well as when it was new. If it has changed at all the difference came over such a long period of years I never noticed. The Far & Fine was a high price rod at $370.00 back then.
My go-to rod for steelhead is a 40 year old Winston 8 wt. so I would say no they don’t wear out. And over the years if it’s become softer I haven’t noticed. Of course it was never a fast rod like today’s.
99 percent of casters will never be able to tell if or when a rod breaks down, heck 98 percent of those wouldn't be able the tell the difference between two identical blanks spined opposite. Spine, guide spacing, single vs snake.... Can go on and onnn, I'd stop entertaining the idea of a rod breaking down personally.
"So as Dan says, they eventually wear out, and the more you abuse them, the faster they go. So learning how to horse a big fish without horsing the rod, is something we all have to try and learn, and some are better than others."
I try to be mindful of the rod position when I'm aggressively fighting fish. Most of the time I have the rod slightly over my head and to the right or left depending on where the fish is. Over the years I've committed this action to muscle memory, which I believe is paying dividends in the longevity of my graphite rods. Some fly anglers devote their efforts to the cast and art of attraction then give little thought to hook sets and the issue of fighting fish. Hence broken rods (rod failure) and lost fish. Youtube videos explicitly bear this out. Graphite fly rod manufacturers understand this phenomenon all too well.
cb3fish, this was a terrific FYI article written by your friend, Dan. Thanks for sharing!