Do You Loan a Rod, or Gear Out,
What do You Expect if it Gets Broken or Lost ?





What to Do  ;   I have had numerous boat guests for a day's fishing, who bring an old salmon rod that they inherited from Uncle Charlie.   Many times the rod is too short or too heavy an action to effectively fish out of my boat with the methods that I use, AND the reel may not have seen any maintenance for 40 years.  Also, the mainline could be the same the came with the reel originally.  This could limit the outcome for that fisherperson for the day, even though I, the skipper may put them onto fish, and that he does not know when he had a strike because of the HEAVY rod, thereby does not hook or land any.  Along with the fact that they probably are not a fisherperson, and do not have a clue to the benefits of even using somewhat matching gear to the intended fish, as a rod is a pole, right, and they all serve the same purpose don't they?  And all hooks are sticky sharp out of the box aren't they?  And why do you need more than one type of knots as they all serve the same purpose?


In a situation like this, do you should expect the "friend' to go out and purchase a complete rod/reel and line for a day or week-end of fishing that they may never use again?  Or do you be the "good guy" and loan them one of your outfits?


OK, you do invite a friend or neighbor on your boat, and they then bring along a friend, whom you loan both, one of your rods.  Now what if YOUR loaner rod gets broken or even lost over the side because of his/her actions?   Let us look at a few scenarios here.


(1) This friend is probably not really a truly dedicated fisherperson and may not even own a rod, if they do, it may not fit the type of fishing you do.  For ocean/bay fishing about any rod can/will suffice under most circumstances, but river fishing where the boat may be side drifting or backbouncing, even hoglineing for salmon, for the best effectiveness, rod action helps you determine whether the lure is functioning properly, which can mean catching a fish or going home empty handed.  Also if the boat is fishing more than one fisher, rod lengths may need to be matched for the fisher's seat location in the boat in order to ensure that there are less tangled lines, (longer rods and heavier sinkers nearer the front of the boat).  This helps separate the lines/lures.


(2)  There also is a distinct possibility that this person, being unfamiliar with fishing, has no idea of the price of rods and reels, or even terminal tackle for that matter.  And they figure that since you own a boat, that everything is cheap, or that you are filthy rich, OR they do not even have the ability to even consider the situation, as it is totally beyond their conception.  They may not realize that you have saved over many years to purchase the boat/motor or gear you have, and that you take great care in maintaining it all.  Or that you could possibly be making payments on both your towing vehicle AND the boat.  And that you are having a hard time even subsidizing your own fishing habit, requiring that second job. 


(3)  If the invitee declines your offer to use your rod and or gear, saying he has his own tackle (that he inherited from Uncle Charlie), do you simply allow this, or do you impose an inspection/evaluation?  If you allow tackle that does not conform to your style of fishing, you may have to change your tactics which may result in lesser catches for everyone on board, because the attractor/lure they want to use does not work properly at the speed or depth that you need to troll at when using your gear.   Or do you let him do his thing as long as it does not interfere with your or the rest of your crew's fishing, even though he may not even get a bite on his own.  Then at the same time, this inequity in gear could result in downtime because of possible line tangles. 


(4)  Maybe this invitee is on a very limited income, and is deep in debt for medical bills but is too proud to admit it to you, placing them in a situation similar to scenario #3


(5) Then there is the other part, BAIT.  Do you also supply the bait/lures/sinkers etc.  If any of the lures or sinkers get lost, do you expect reimbursement?  What is your friendship worth with them?


(6)  Now comes the main subject of this article, what happens if your invitee breaks or even looses a rod overboard?  Where do you, and/or where do they stand?  Most fisherpersons, if they broke a rod, or lost a rod over the side, would offer to have the rod repaired or simply replace it with an exact duplicate (if at all possible). 


However most of these invitees are probably not fisherpersons and would not even comprehend the value of our tackle.  They see a trout rod and reel combo on sale for $18.99 at Wal-Mart and think that is the standard for all rod/reel combos.  While in reality, usually the most economical decent rod may run in the $60 to $120 price range with reels going from $85 to $200, then the price of the line added to that.  They can not comprehend that the high end rods are going upwards into the $250 to $500 + price range.


(7) Then we may have a relative who is the invitee, (like a brother-in-law or father-in-law) or a friend of that relative who breaks something.  How do we deal with that?


(8)  So do you simply insist that you (the skipper) supply the rod/reel and terminal tackle, or let them bring theirs, or do you just go fishing alone in peace and solitude?


(9)  Or then what if you are offering a trip because you feel you are repaying an obligation?   How do you then deal with that broken rod then?  It could be an expensive obligation that you did not count on.


(10)   Some rod companies who sell high end rods, offer a replacement, or at a discounted repair fee.  However most warranties only cover factory defects, not being stepped on or "high sticking" a rod at net time.


(11)  Another situation, but slightly different.  That is an invitee that is sloppy with candy bar wrappers, cookie/cracker crumbs etc., salmon eggs or herring bait on the floor that can get washed into your bilge, plugging things up to where your auto bilge pump quits after a rain storm and you are moored to a dock.  And then once fish blood and scales dries it is very hard to get it off. 


I even had a old bachelor one time who cracked his hard boiled eggs and left the shells scattered and stomped into my deck like he was in his cowbarn.   This can create a lot of extra effort cleaning up on your part later on, that they seem to be totally blind too.  Kind of like they have their mother or wife who still picks up after them.


(12)  Then, most of us, at the end of the trip/day spend time washing the boat / trailer down, getting ready for the next trip at O-Dark-30.  Do they even consider offering to help here?  And if you mention this chore is yet to be done, they remember something at home that is important and needs attention.


(13)  It may be in your best interest, to prior to the trip to clarify with your invitees, the operations you expect for the day.  Cover in this discussion what you expect as far as reimbursements for their part of fuel, launch fees, bait, and the possibility of lost / broken gear.  However even though it may be to your best interest, I will bet this discussion never happens on most outings.


Whereas you can not legally charge for a trip, (as the law looks at you as then chartering, which you then need a charter/guides license), however you should be able to expect to have part of your expenses reimbursed or shared.   However, you can not set a price, but when asked, you should be able to relate your average daily expenses and let them figure it out.




Yes, I know  #13 is probably is not usually included in most pre-trip instructions.  So do you say nothing and let them "DO THE RIGHT THING"?   Maybe they do not understand, and are one of those borrowers who break the neighbors chain saw, takes it back and say it broke, then walk away.  Maybe they don't even take it back. 


Broken Rods ;   OK, this is something we try not to have happen, but sometimes $hit happens.  The usual situation is someone knocks a rod over and steps it rod during the height of fighting a fish.  Or if the fisher may be somewhat inexperienced during the fight and the fish makes a fast move under the boat (possibly because of a bad attempted netting job) the rod does not have much of a chance if it gets compressed against the side and chine as the fish goes underneath.


The other would be from  "High Sticking", which usually happens at the last, just before the netting, the fisher attempts to hold the rod straight UP to give the netter more of a chance.  However often the fish makes a desperate attempt to flee and with a tight reel drag, plus the high rod, it can not flex enough, breaking the tip section, usually about 6-8" of the tip section, OR even in the ferrule.


This can get expensive.


Examples of two broken rods, the top rod in 3 pieces & was on a fish that went under the boat, the bottom rod tip section in 2 pieces which was stepped on 



If so, these friends may have one idea and you have a totally different slant on the same situation, AND they having alligator arms, (can't reach their wallet at the end of the day).  Will you ever get it replaced or a reimbursement?   The answer to this may not be to your likening.  Do you confront them and explain the situation, along with loosing a friend, or do you just mark it on the wall with their name behind it and never ask them onto your boat again?  Or if you do accept them on another trip, do you tell them up front that their share of that day's trip will be equal to the previous loss they incurred plus today's expenses?


In all likelihood you may loose a friend.  Some may say friendship is worth more than the cost of a rod or repairing it, but the issue will always be in the back of your mind.  You may well be in that camp if you are a young person and are in need of being socially accepted.   However as we get older, yes friends are valuable, but if they are self-centered, blind to what is happening, take you for granted, are a cheapskate, and do not even thank you as they step off the boat for the day on the water, then it is time to scratch their name off your list.


YES, accidents happen at times, and it seems that some people may be VERY SMART in their chosen field, but VERY IGNORANT outside of that, being tunnel visioned, and it seems that many times these are the ones who, when bad things happen, they always find a way to have it, TO ALWAYS BE SOMEONE ELSE'S FAULT. 


So one suggestion is to, (a) not offer one of your best rods as a loaner, but an older fiberglass rod you picked up at a garage sale or a unbreakable Shakespeare Ugly Stick as compared to a more sensitive, expensive higher end graphite rod, or that sentimental one that you would shed tears over if it gets broke or lost overboard.  (c) Then if this happens, use that opportunity to make an upgrade.



Here one fisherman has a spring Chinook on while the other reels in 




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Originated 02-02-2014, Last updated 03-02-2018
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