September 3rd, 2007

For the want of a nail...
By James Castwell

"For the want of a nail the war was lost." Because the nail was for a horse shoe and domino effect took over and one thing lead to another and you know the rest, they lost the war. Does this sound familiar? It is real, I was there. I just won't say where it took place or when. I started it off:

"Hi, what you got. Busted rod?"

"For sure."

"I see all the paraffin is worn off the butt section."


"Ya, the candle wax that you should put on the ferrules to help keep them together and make sure they don't get stuck together."

"What paraffin are you talking about?"

"I think it is in the instructions. Some rods even come with a little can of it. Didn't you ever put any on it?"

"Nope, never thought about it. Don't know anyone who ever did."

"When the rods start to come apart, just a tiny little the joint is badly weakened and will bust on the next cast. You might think it is a defective rod, but it is just that you didn't maintain it properly. Most companies replace them, but they know what really happened. Shame too, it all goes into the cost of rods for everybody."

"Just regular candle wax?"

"Votive candles, birthday candles, any paraffin works. Just rub it on the butt section, it goes up into the tip when you put them together. Check it every so often and clean it off and replace it when needed. Be sure to check when you join your rods though. The the ferrules."

"So, this broken rod is really my fault?"

Guess what he did? Of course, he exchanged the 'defective' rod for a new one. And I am sure that scene is repeated often these days.

Of course, it's cost is added to the overall price of rods, causes folks to do without their fly rods for a while, spoils many fishing trips, could lose a big fish and may wrongly damage the reputation of a company.

Why all companies don't implore the buyers to use wax? Supply some with every rod and even make sure the rod has some on it when it is sold. Why can't I convince folks to use paraffin? How can I get to the new guys before they break their first rods? Are there some good reasons not to use it? If so, I have never heard of them. I have personally used it for a few decades and my rods do not get stuck together and they do not fly apart while casting.

I take that back. We did have one that did come apart, a 'Signature G. Loomis' seven weight. It was a darn nice rod, one we used in our casting school and it was all my fault, I simply did not check it as often as I should have because it never was fished, only used for practice casting. A student was casting it, my wife and I were both standing there and we both heard it break. It had come lose and busted on the very next cast. The ferrules are very strong when tight together, but when even a little lose there is virtually no strength at all. By the way, it is a sickening sound and worse when you realize that it is one of your rods.

If you have the chance to talk to anyone new to fly fishing please bring up the subject of paraffin on the ferrules. You might be doing them a big favor and saving some company the cost of a replacement for yet another 'defective' rod. Oh, and paraffin is cheap too. ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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