By Montana Grant

Posted: March 22, 2020

Each year there seems to be a new photo op that fishermen choose. The classic put the rod in your mouth seems like a good idea. I saw a recent picture that reminded me of why Biting the Rod is a bad idea.

Maybe it is because the rod needs to be out of the way, or the fisherman needs 2 hands, or the sight of a fisherman chomping down on a rod is just cool. There are certainly other ways to position the rod. Some guys balance the rod on their shoulders. Others dump it in the water. Some hold the fish next to the rod for a size comparison.

Biting the rod has some advantages. It does free your hands up, while keeping your rod out of the water. Some negatives are that the fisherman can’t talk. They can only grunt or groan. This could be considered a positive too.

Biting the rod could damage it. Most decent rods today are made of wrapped graphite fibers. Each fiber by itself is flimsy but laid together with hundreds of others, they become very strong. Once the matrix is made, a clear coat is applied to give the rod a nice finish and added strength.

Some fishermen get very excited when they catch a fish. It is at this moment that they also want a perfect picture. As the cell phone or camera is used, the photographer will direct them to “Say Cheese”. Now they need to smile and still hold the rod with their teeth.

On one guide trip, I witnessed a client bite down so hard that he bit the rod in half! Ouch! This was an expensive and dangerous outcome. Graphite filaments can become nasty, hard to remove splinters. Swallowing them could cause a host of other digestive issues. Sage rods don’t taste very good.

I used my forceps to remove several fibers that had penetrated his lips. A cold beer washed the rest of the fibers away. No internal problems came up. A loaner rod was required for the rest of the trip. I did enforce a No Bite Clause for the loaner.

Fiberglass rods could also crush or shatter. Maybe Rod Biters need to buy rods made of steel! They could also bite the rod at the handle.

I am not sure if rod companies offer a warranty for rods impacted from fishermen jaws or teeth.

Montana Grant

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