Discovering the Backbone of a Fishing Rod

By: Eddie, February 18, 2011 | 0 COMMENTS

The Backbone

The backbone of a person enables him to bend forward more than he can backwards. Similarly a fishing rods has a backbone. The design of the rod, wall thickness, multiple patterns of design length and the slight differences when laying these patterns, will result one side of the blank to be slightly stronger; that is called the backbone. You may be able to find more than one backbone in the same blank; likewise you may be able to find different backbones when testing on a different position along the blank as well.

Now, how important is the backbone when you build a rod? How does it help or pose problems in fishing? As mentioned earlier, the rod using spinning reel, the guides face down, and those using overhead reel the guides face up. Just imagine, when you have a fish at the end of your line and pulling down and away, your rod bends, and it is bending on the backbone, say your rod is using the overhead reel, if your rod is not build on the backbone the guides will not be directly on top of the bent rod, it could be to the left or right side of the rod. You will then have a hard time twisting your rod back to position, and also fighting the fish at the end of your line which you definitely would not want to lose. But if the rod is using a spinning reel, the line is below the bend, even the rod is not build on the backbone, the guides will not move side way because you have the pull from the fish, and the force will prevent the rod to twist. So it is important for an overhead rod to build on backbone, but still acceptable on the spinning type.

How to find the backbone

The usual method and widely used is to hold the tip of the rod by the right hand, then putting your first finger of your left hand from under the rod, about 12 inches away from the tip, then slowly pushing up, until the butt end of rod is off the ground, then release your grip from your right hand so that the rod can roll on the first finger of your left. This is the backbone on the top 12 inches of the blank but it may not be the backbone we want. The backbone we are after is the one when the blank is bending around the middle. Because when you have a hook up, and you are pumping the fish, the rod will be at its maximum bend, so if the rod is not build on the backbone, it will twist, and bend away the backbone.

Another method is holding the blank at the middle with your right hand, place the butt end of the blank against the sole of your left shoe, with the top end of the blank resting on the palm of your hand, and rolling it with your right hand, until you feel a kick from the blank, and that is the backbone, mark it, and try it one more time and see you have the same. The accuracy of this method is vague as the blank may not roll very evenly thus giving you the wrong backbone.

The other method commonly use is to test the blank about ¾ from butt end on your palm, the butt end resting on clean and level cement floor at an angle of 45 degree, now pressure blank downwards and roll with your palm, until you feel a kick from the blank, and that is the backbone. Do it one more time to confirm. To test a completed rod, and if the rod is with a gimbal, rest the rod horizontally so that the reel seat is resting on the edge of a chair or table.


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