Just The Tip

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Photo by Louis Cahill

By Justin Pickett

I’ll bet you that just about every one of us has done it… Heard the “snap-crackle-pop” of a fly rod echo upstream as your hopes and dreams shatter before you, crushing your soul along with any hopes of a fish-filled day on the water.

It sucks.

The good news is that fly rods can be repaired. The bad news…. It often takes weeks to get your mended stick back from the shop. At no fault of the repair shops, they do amazing work as fast as they can, and take an amazing amount of pride in their craft. However, it’s hard to compete with the present world of immediate feedback and the “I want it now” mentality. 

Orvis took this into consideration and developed a new, streamlined system that would allow for quicker turnaround times for repairs. With the H3’s new ferrule design and consistency of the build process, Orvis is able to replace the broken section (with the exception of the butt section) of your Helios 3,  leaving you, the angler, with nothing more than a few days of down time that you can use to refill your fly boxes, or fish some of your other rods.

Let’s say…. Oh I dunno… you smack your H3’s tip on a tree limb while attempting a hookset on a big angry fish you’ve been chasing all summer. You. Are. Pissed. Not only did you miss your Unicorn, but you also broke your rod. Your fishing is done for the day, and the thought of being without it for up to six weeks is looming in the back of your expletive-riddled mind. You’ll have to go home and stuff the shattered shards of your once lively wand of majesty back into its rod tube and spend your hard-earned coin to ship it cross country, which only buries the dagger deeper, penetrating your once-optimistic spirit. Oh, the sorrow.

Hark! What’s that? I can get a tip section mailed to my doorstep in just a couple days? Take my money!

Well, that’s just exactly what happened to me just a couple weeks ago. I was ready to be without one of my rods for many weeks while it was repaired. I made the dreaded phone call to the repair shop line, but was gratefully informed that I didn’t need to send the rod in at all. THREE DAYS later, I had a shiny new tip section delivered to my doorstep and all was right with the world.

Are there other rod manufacturers that offer this type of repair service? Yes, actually. If you own a recent Echo fly rod and happen to snap the tip section, all you need to do is go online and purchase a new tip section for your rod. The only downside being that if you break any other section, or your rod isn’t on the list, then you’ll have to submit a warranty form and send the rod in to be repaired. However, Echo has great customer service, as do most, and they’ll get your rod back to you as quick as possible. 

This newest concept of the “one leg” return (as I’ve come to refer to it) is great. While I do understand why premium rods need to be sent to the repair shop, it is nice to be able to just pick up a phone, or fill out a quick form online, and know that a replacement section will be on your doorstep within a few days. Life is hectic, and we all want to be on the water as much as possible. We certainly don’t want to miss opportunities to be on the water because we’re missing a piece of gear, and warranty programs such as these get us back on the water lickety-split!

Justin Pickett
Gink & Gasoline
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18 thoughts on “Just The Tip

  1. Orvis has an amazing repair process. I left my H2 rod leaning against my car packing up after fishing. Didn’t realize it until I was driving down the road and realized the rod wasn’t in the car. I went back and found I had run over the 2 middle sections. I made the call to Orvis, got return approval, shipped the rod back on Monday morning. Friday afternoon the same week, there was my repaired rod on my doorstep. I’m an Orvis customer for life. I now own 6 Orvis rods. Awesome customer service and products!

  2. I’m a little concerned that this isnt common practice, already.
    Each rod is assembled by the maker from component parts, right?
    They probably make them by the thousands.

    Like, say, a car.
    If my cars framistat goes out, I get another one and put it in.

    So here’s my currently catalogued rod, made up of 2-5 sections. One section goes out (the tip, in your example), what’s the big deal in obtaining and putting on a replacement?
    I bought the thing as essentially an assembly of parts, after all.

    If I had a one piece rod, I can see sending it back.
    And I can see it with an older rod that might need a custom made repair part.
    But what sort of mystery requires wizards and magical spells to replace a standardized piece of a current one?

    • You’d likely be surprised at how manual the rod making process is. Much more is done by hand than by machine, in most shops.In most cases each ferrule junction is fit by hand, which is why you traditionally have to send the whole rod in for a repair. Rods made in Asian factories are made, “Like a car.” Fit and finish usually suffers. I got to hand roll a blank in the Orvis shop. They are one of the most technical rod shops I’ve seen, and I’ve seen most of them. This is actually a pretty cool trick.

      • No kidding. I toured St. Croix a while back and the hand work that goes into the process amazed me.

        It’s unlikely there’s a part on a shelf.

        • I can add a personal experience with St Croix on the topic. I recently broke the tip on my beloved 6wt Legend Elite Salt, just like in the picture for this article. Not only was I able to immediately purchase a replacement section online for a truly modest amount, but because I live in Australia and shipping is expensive, they threw in an extra section for free. I was and still am truly delighted.

  3. I just managed to get a piece of gravel stuck in the ferrule of my 6wt. After weeks of playing mad scientist, I could devise no scheme to remove the rock, and had to ship it off. Beware the parking lot!

    I’ve got a couple rods from Moonshine Rod company and they come with two tip sections from the factory. It eases the sting a bit to keep fishing while waiting on a replacement.

  4. I agree Orvis does a great job with their products.. unless they don’t have anymore blanks… I had a great 2-piece Zero Gravity rod…broke the tip… called for service.. sent rod in with expectations of repair… three weeks later rod was mailed back not fixed… called for explanation, and learned they didn’t have any more blanks to repair my rod…it wasn’t like the rod was 20 years old…less than 10… so what good is a lifetime warranty… they did make me an offer to purchase one of their new rods at a reasonable price…which was nice… but it didn’t replace my favorite rod..

  5. I broke the tip of my TFO landing a skip jack in Baja. Took it to my local fly shop, who sent it to TFO. Got a call from the fly shop in 8 days to pick up my fixed rod.

  6. I bought three Sage RPL rods back in the early 90s. I have broken each several times and have had no issues getting them repaired. Last year I broke my 5 weight falling down a log jam, sent it in at the beginning of October, and couldn’t believe it when I opened my front door and there was the replacement butt section rod back in 11 days. I live in Calgary and to have that quick of a turnaround was amazing. This is the reason I will support Sage products cause I figure that the amount of times I have sent back 2,5 and 7 weight, I now average about $100 bucks a rod!

  7. Broke the tip off my 2 wt small creek rod this summer. Heated the tip-top off the broken piece and glued it back on the remaining stub. Works great!

  8. I’d like to echo that Echo customer service is awesome. Snapped tip of me my switch and they took care of it stat.

    Always love it when companies stand behind their product and take care of their customers.

  9. I recent’y experienced fast turn on an Orvis tip repair.

    Called it in on a Monday, had a new rod tip in my hands Friday, caught pike on Saturday.

    Can’t beat that with a stick.

    Special thanks to Chris M. @ Orvis who listened to my plight and jumped on my repair!

  10. We are fortunate the whole industry is pretty fair these days. Customer service is so key. Anglers talk and share their experiences so any bad experience gets shared. All of the companies know this. Through the years I’ve broken my share of rods and every company has handled it differently. I would argue all to my satisfaction though. I have to say the best experience has been with TFO. I’ve sent back two. The first time I did not even send back the part and they had me back fishing in two days. Last time I was back in business in six days. More recently I had to send back a Sage. They have an option to pay for and print your own shipping label while going through the return process. This was a major time and effort savings.

  11. I wish I shared the sentiment that all rod companies have good customer service and rod repair. I bought a premium American made rod. The tip broke while rigging it up. The repair took six weeks with no feedback from the company, that they received my rod, the status of the repair, or the shipping date of the return. Within months two guides broke on another rod by the same manufacturer. I didn’t even bother to send it in.

  12. When I sent my rod in a year and half ago for tip repair you replaced with a new rod rather than repair my old one. My original tip flex clearwater 8 wt. I truly loved, the new one a mid flex is functional. If you had repaired my original I’d be overjoyed as it is I’m minimally satisfied, at least I have a flyrod I can use in Canada. I did not make this discover till I returned to Canada this summer. I wish you had called and explained your decision to arbitrarily replace rather than repair.

  13. Not sure I agree that the Echo system is a good one. I know a number of anglers that had the tip break on the 10’6″4wt only to find the purchase of a replacement impossible since they were “sold out”.
    I’ve now run into the same problem.
    The only information they provide is they will “email when restocked”. A good friend waited several months and multiple calls before they admitted no tips were coming and they allowed him to upgrade (at his cost).

  14. Hi folks., I own a 4 pcs. Redington Voyant fly rod 9′, 8 wt. l lost the rod tip during a fishing trip. I have been trying to find a new or used rod tip but to no avail. Contacted the Redington company and they don’t carry any part for this fly rod anymore. Just wondering if there is someone out there who would know where I could get a rod tip made or one who has a spare one and would be willing to sell it! Thank You!

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