Rods Softening

Rods Softening

Paul Arden | Monday, 7 January 2019

Many years ago I was having a chat with Marc Bale and Jerry Siem at Sage when I brought up the subject of rods softening over time. Jerry said with the modern resins this shouldn’t happen. However I was a little skeptical because in my experience they were softening prior to breakage. I took in a TCR to the Denver FTD show the next day and Jerry measured it. He said it was on the soft side but couldn’t say if that was because it was manufactured that way or if had softened with use.

Shortly after this, in a discussion with Lasse Karlsson, he said that he had measured a Sage rod using the CCS system over time and had measured it softening.  

Mind you, as competition casters we do tend to beat the crap out of them...

I have a long history with TCRs and then TCXs - they would last me 1 yr of competition use, would feel noticeably softer by the end of this year and finally crack at the first female ferrule. 

Before Sage I was fishing and casting with Scott Rods for about a year when I worked for Guide Fly Fishing. My favourite stick was a 5WT STS. I used this rod for demos and all my fishing. When I left that company my STS905 ended up in another instructor’s hands . A few years later he said to me “I don’t know what you did to it, but it wasn’t a STS any more! It was soft!”

The reason I’ve been thinking about this is because last weekend I was in Cumbria and James was casting my HT10 “competiton” which was the final HT10 prototype and the one that went into production. It’s two and a half years old now. It’s my go-to 10WT Snakehead Rod, and my Comp 5WT and has been at two world championships. The blank is all original sections - not one has broken in this time. James said “It’s softer that Zhongxiang’s!” 

So yes I’m now entirely certain that we can soften carbon fibre rods through use. What other explanation is there?


I’m in Sardinia for a few days with Ashly. My mum has a flat out here and there is a car we are driving back to the UK. Next Saturday we will be in KL for a casting competition (with soft rods). And then it’s back to Jungle Fly Fishing full time!! Lots and lots happening - watch this space!

Cheers, Paul

ps Aitor has a Spey course in Sydney next weekend. 
So if you are down that way you might want hot pop over!