Issues: Are We Going to Talk About Rod Warranties This Year?



This has been a taboo subject that gets brought up, skirted around, and shelved from year to year, but we expect more serious talk on warranties at IFTD this year.

I know the retailer who sent us this chart is ready to talk about it…

Those are real sales statistics over the past 17 years.  You can see that this shop has grown sales tremendously, despite the fact that rod sales have remained flat.

Which may be okay.  Maybe rods are to fly fishing what copy machines are to Office Max… the real money isn’t in the machines, but in the ink and toner that makes them run.  Maybe that’s also true with fly rods.

But there’s something that causes rod sales to be flat, despite great technology improvements and (mostly fair) marketing efforts to support them.

Is that the warranty?  If not, tell us what you think it is?




  1. Hi,

    Mark Boname owner of the Platte River Fly Shop.

    Just got a letter from G.Loomis stating they are no longer offering lifetime warranty on fly rods, and are going back to the one year manufactures default warranty. I can only hope that other fly rod manufacturers will now follow suit. If this tells you anything, I call my fly shop a authorized Sage repair return center instead of an authorized sales center. It’s time the public is responsible for their own actions and if they break a rod due to negligence, then they are responsible to have it fixed or BUY a new one. I’ve had one customer bring back the same Sage fly rod five time for repair and each time I asked what happened and each time was his fault. Another tell tell sign is that I sell 10 reels for every fly rod sale. Sage, Winston, St. Croix, Scott…etc are you listening? And if you can’t bring it back the way it was, I’d rather see a normal one year warranty program with additional and/or optional insurance policy program. Get rid of the lifetime warranty and BRING RETAIL PRICES down and you will see rod sales pick back up again.

  2. John Mangold on

    Fly rods are major purchases and yet there is very little objective information available to compare and contrast them.

    The desirable objective and subjective qualities of fly rods are not standardized.

    The “feel” of a favourite rod is something that gets almost no serious attention but any long time fly fisher will tell you that his favourite rods “feel” right.

    The Yellowstone Angler shoot-outs, for example, tell you which rod, in the hands of an expert caster, will shoot the farthest. This is of no use to a week-end angler on the Battenkill or Farmington backhanding a size 18 Sulphur into a pool under an overhanging tree limb.

    Fly rods don’t wear out either, like wading boots and fly lines. Yes, they get broken and lost but a trout rod can last for decades without servicing.

    For an angler, the practical approach is to pick a brand he likes, one that does what he needs it to do when fishing his home waters, and buy their newest model every couple of years to see if he is missing anything. This may account for the flat curve of rod sales.

  3. Rods both new and used are finding their way to the internet, both at full price as well as huge discounts. I talk to customers who may own a different rod every two months. They either buy them slightly used at about half price or they trade them for something on Craig’s List or other sites. These are brands like Sage, Orvis, Hardy, etc.

  4. So a quick on-line review shows the average price of a new Fly Rod (baring custom stix) to be around $400.-….give or take.
    Here’s the “easy” skinny IMHO. Rods from $100-800 should have a 1 year manufactures warranty against DEFECTS from manufacture, tip to seat, from the date of purchase / NON transferable. Copy of original receipt required. Each rod should have a scanable bar code. When purchased, information is sent directly to the Company. Purchasers can buy additional coverage if they want at a nominal fee…just like refrigerators and computers. If you fall coming out of the canyon, or have a few to many beers and close the door of your rig WITHOUT moving said product and it causes a break…it’s your fault, so man up.
    This is NOT rocket science, yet year after year folks are happy walking by the bones of this dead horse… and give it one more kick.

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