DamselFly Fisher: Spoil the rod and spare yourself trouble

When selecting any fly-fishing or outdoor product, customer service and warranty policies are key. When dealing with customers at Próis Hunting Apparel, it is so important to us that we stand behind our products 100 percent. As a result, I have started exclusively dealing with other companies that do the same. Spending the extra money for a product that you can get repaired or replaced will save you money in the long run – rather than buying cheap products again and again.

I find this especially important for fly rods, which are bound to break at one point or another if you fish with any regularity. When speaking with clients, I always recommend purchasing a rod with a lifetime warranty that will repair or replace your rod with no questions asked, as long as you have the butt section and serial number still intact.

Katherine Browne. Photo by Eric Grand -- the fly rod dragger.

How we break ‘em

My fiancé, Eric, and I have always found new and creative ways to break rods and we almost always have a least one rod out for repair during peak season. Eric has run over a rod with a vehicle; I have slammed them in car and screen doors; we have stepped on them; clients break them regularly in a variety of ways; and every once in a while we have broken them fishing or landing fish.

Good companies that back their fly rods

The following companies have excellent warranty and repair policies and we have dealt with them directly, but most high-end rod companies offer these services. Just make sure to do your research before spending your hard-earned money. Eric and I are both Orvis-endorsed fly-fishing guides and own several Orvis rods, the Helios being my personal favorite. Orvis will repair any rod for a small fee, no questions asked. The turnover time is good, especially during the winter, but during the summer months it may take a while to get your rod back while they are flooded with repairs. This is the case with most companies. Sage, Winston, Ross and Redington also stand by their rods 100 percent and I own and have had to have rods repaired with all these companies and highly recommend them. Another of my favorite rod companies that I recommend frequently is TFO (Temple Fork Outfitters). They make excellent rods at very reasonable prices that perform as well or better than many much more expensive rods. They make great inexpensive rods that you won’t outgrow as your skill level increases and they also offer a lifetime warranty. Most companies, including TFO, just charge a small repair fee in the neighborhood of $20-$30 to cover shipping, etc.

How about custom rods?

Beware of custom-built rods that use rod blanks from one of the major companies. There are some amazing custom-built rods out there that declare they stand behind their rods 100 percent, but you may only be able to get it repaired during the lifetime of the rod builder. So, if the rod builder is pushing 90 and doesn’t have an heir to the business, you may want to take this into consideration. If you send the rod back to the company that manufactured the blank, you will only get the blank back and you or the rod builder will have to re-wrap it and add all the hardware. There are many rod-building kits available, but you will not be getting a rod back that you can fish immediately.

Katherine practices catch-and-release fishing. Photo by Eric Grand.

What if … the unthinkable happens …

Furthermore, no company that I know of will replace a rod if it is lost or stolen – so, hold onto your rod like it was your child. If you fall in the river, hold onto that rod like a soldier would hold onto his gun. Don’t place your rod on top of your vehicle for any reason; just put it straight in your vehicle. I know of many people who have driven off with a rod resting on or on top of their vehicle and though you can get it repaired afterwards, you may never see it again. Eric dragged a rod behind his vehicle for miles once, sent it back and got a brand new rod … but that was very lucky. I have yet to lose a rod (knock on wood) and I will be heartbroken when and if it happens. Last, but not least, if you send in a rod for repair that has been discontinued, you may get a comparable model back – but not your old rod. If you are particularly attached to your old rod and it is no longer being manufactured, just be extra careful with it because you might get something different back. This happened to us with our old Winston Ibis rod when we sent it back for repair. We got back the Winston Ascent which is also a great rod but we both liked the Ibis a little better.

Tight lines and … thanks for reading!



  • About Katherine Grand

    Katherine Grand pens "DamselFly Fisher" and works as Pro-Staff and Dealer Relations Coordinator at Prois Hunting and Field Apparel in Gunnison, Colo. She also guides in fly-fishing waters near Gunnison.


The Conversation

  • Cliff Grand says: June 20, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    Been there and had them repaired/replaced. The majors you mentioned are great to deal with, treat them right and honestly and they will go out of their way to treat you right.
    Another good article!

  • Gretchen Steele says: June 20, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Super advice Katherine – Especially for someone like me who is pretty new to this flyfishing stuff 🙂 Like you I’ve found that in long run it pays and is more cost effective to pay a little more up front instead of paying a dozen ti,es over for a not so well made or well backed product.

  • kirstie pike says: June 20, 2011 at 10:32 am

    Another awesome article, Katherine!

  • Bill Bowers says: June 19, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    Another great post, Katherine, filled with excellent advice!