Cure for stuck rod sections

Hi All,

Went fishing last week with a friend and we both broke our rods at the 2nd section as we were trying to collapse them. 2 very different rods, same problem.

I’ve seen mention of using candle wax to lubricate the male sections. Has anyone use silicone or some other lubricant as well?



PS - This rubber band technique totally works to get sections unstuck. Tenkara Fishing Tips : Freeing stuck segments

Lubricants attract dust and grit. I would avoid it.

By section 2, are you talking about the section above the handle?

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I may be crazy, but I have had success cooling the stuck sections a few different times now.

All three times I tried to put the rod away normally, but found the number two section stuck or the tip stuck into the number two section. When normal fails, I try to unstick with the piece of rubber that comes with Tenkara Bum rods.

The first time I couldn’t get the tip into the number two section of my AirStage Fujiryu 330 after letting a friend fish with it for a couple hours. I took the two stuck sections home and was lucky they would fit in the freezer. I let them cool for an hour and was able to unstick them with just my fingers.

After that success I was able to duplicate the results by submerging sections in the river for a couple minutes when the tip stuck into the number two section of my Kaname iii43.
Most recently, I packed some snow around the number two and number 3 sections of the Kaname for a few minutes and was also able to free with just fingers…

This may just be a thing in places like Utah where we have big temp swings and a hot ass sun most of the year; or maybe I’ve just been lucky…


This issue with sections sticking almost turned me away from Tenkara. I saw it, and see it as a major problem (I’ve been using Tenkara rods since 2011). Nothing worked for me except using the “gripping pads” that came with some rods. I would immerse the stuck sections in ice water (in hopes of shrinking them slightly), drying them and using, applying pressure (pushing the sections together) with the griping pads. It worked more often than not.

However, what I came to over the course of the 12+ years using various Tenkara Rods (I have 40 rods by 8 manufacturers) is this. 1. I am most careful in extending the rods; making the sections slightly snug, but not tight (all so subjective, I know). Over the course of, say, four hours of fishing, I will take 45 - 60 seconds to collapse all the sections (as if putting the rod away), and then extend it again and continue fishing. I do this after any big snag, or big fish, or any situation where I feel the rod may have been stressed and the sections pulled too tightly.

As a strategy, it has worked and I’ve only experienced stuck section issues twice since - then I use the gripping pads. I had three rods break in the first two seasons (years), none since. I choose not to see this as pains-in-the-ass issues, just the nature of Tenkara Rods and the price of using them. Hope this is helpful in some way.


No, I mean the 2nd section from the tip.

Definitely interesting to hear your perspective on this. I’m finding that the mountain streams I’ve fished recently all require me to collapse the rod frequently in order to move from one location to another safely. With a traditional fly rod, I would just separate it into 2 pieces to move. While the shorter collapsed length of the Tenkara rod is advantageous, that’s only true if it CAN be collapsed.

I’ve sprayed some silicone lube on the male sections and will see if that helps before trying wax. I’ve also thrown a couple rubber bands in my fishing bag, as that seems like a good way to collapse them, albeit at the cost of having to disassemble the rod at the side of the water to do so.

Oh, if I may, I didn’t state how I fish. I am mainly fishing for smallmouth bass in rivers and larger streams. Current is pretty strong. But I also end up catching largemouth, carp, walleye, channel catfish, white bass. The flies and lures I cast run to 3" in length and 1/10 ounce in dry weight. Rocks and wood result in snags, fish run to 30" and have power in the current.

So I put a LOT of pressure on my Tenkara Rods (although I will break off quickly rather than try to pull flies free from snags). 8-pound-test is my max tippet strength.

So, the frequent breaking down the rod and re-extending it over the course of a 4 hour fishing session pays off in NOT having my sections sticking. I may do this up to eight times in that 4-hour period - it is now habit. I catch it before the sections get strongly or irreversibly stuck. I don’t use lubricants as they do hold dirt and grit, especially in the warm water environments I fish.

Of course, I break down, clean thoroughly and dry my rods after EACH outing. A pain in the butt? It could be, although I mentally and emotionally interpret it as a pleasure and a joy, not a pain, so I don’t find “reasons” not to it. Those gripping pads really do help when sections get a bit sticky-to-stuck… Thank you for letting me share.


A lubricant or wax might cause the sections to slide even tighter than they should, the opposite effect of what you are hoping for. I would stay away from doing that as I think it will eventually require you to have to replace those sections that you applied it to. Sounds like to me you should bring the grip pads with you, I don’t seem to have as many issues as you are describing but I don’t know what I might be doing different than you.


I have never had a stuck section…ever and have used a lot of different rods.

I suspect all of you are over seating your sections.

I just seat sections with the lightest of tugs. Just enough so the rod sections do not collapse.

I always found it odd that Tbum would send those grip squares. Never needed them so I would just throw them away.

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I have been fly fishing for more than 50 years now and I have never had to replace a rod section because of putting wax on rod sections.

What ever works works, but cooling things down tends to make them tighter or smaller in diameter. Hence the use of Bearing Heaters used by mechanics. The bearing is heated to increase its diameter and the shaft the bearing goes on is cooled with Ice. The hot bearig will slide on the cold shaft easily and be locked in place when both reach the same warmer temperature.

The nice thing about using wax is that it becomes soft as it is warmed, lubricating the joint. Having two thicknesses of rod materials at the joint, the outer one warms faster than the inner one does, causing it to expand quicker. This is how bearing heaters are used to remove bearings. With fishing rod joints and wax, body temperature from your fingers is usually all the “heat” you need. But, the wax should be used sparingly and smoothed out with finger pressure and body heat and then cooled to room temperature before rod assembly.

G’s tip on rod assembly is The Way Things should be done! My problems with stuck T-rod sections have been due to snagging the fly up in trees high enough that your line is unreachable and the tippet has to be broken, which can jam the #2 section easily. That happened to me with a brand new rod. When I went to take the rod down that evening the #2 section was stuck. And the temperature was dropping by the minuet as I was above 9,000 feet. But rolling the joint between my thumb and first two fingers so all sides of the joint were equally warmed saved the rod from breakage…Karl.

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I understand you have lots of good experience with fly rods and wax but consider that a fly rod is completely different joints than a telescopic rod that can pull tighter with big fish and snags and such so that wax just allows it to slide even more into the direction of tightening the joints when pulled on. With a fly rod when you pull a snag free the pressure is all on the line, not the joints. With a Tenkara rod the pressure is pulling on the rod parts and the line.


It is also important to pull your rod apart and clean them after fishing. Sometimes stuff from the water will dry up on the rod sections causing them to stick. I would be very careful on seating each section. One time I pulled too hard and caused this problem. Slow and easy, these sections can be very temperamental. Especially at the top where the rod sections are extremely thin.

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Come to think of it, i have never used the rod to pull a snag like that, and cant remember the last time I have had a high snag. It has been a long time, i think since then I changed hooksets to be more lateral.

When i had high snags…many moons ago, I went off in the woods and found a really long stick to reach up to the mainline…do a few wraps and yank it down without straining the rod.

Using the rod to pull snags could damage it for sure…and can see how it could jam the sections.

I suspect with smallmouth bass, one could do the same thing and jam the sections if the rod extends straight during the fight. Not sure what to say but most t-rods are small trout rods. Those small mouth can pull like a bulldozer. I would dig seeing folk fight them, but wouldn’t target them myself with my trout rods.

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Pretty cool you are tangling with all those species and in current. Must be a blast. It would be cool to see some video or pics of the fight and the fish.

I hope you get it sorted out with the sticking segment issue.


yes, all those differing types of fish, with their differing styles of feeding and fighting is a blast, and really helped me GROW and learn the intimacies and characteristics of various types and styles of Tenkara Rods - what they can do, what I can do with them.

Note: About the sticking issue. It did damn near cause me to junk Tenkara Rods as hopeless. Unfortunately, I am not an engineer, designer or such as that. However, I have thought "what if the male and female sections of each section, were made of a very thin, slippery graphite, teflon, or other such non-stick material? One that didn’t swell or shrink with temps, were not prone to sticking, were not affected by getting wet, didn’t pick up grit or such, but also were not prone to coming loose and sliding around during use?

Possible? Affordable? I’m not an engineer, but I can dream can’t I? In the meantime, I don’t mind breaking down and re-extending the rod as many times as I feel necessary during a fishing outing. Thanks.

Have you tried zen tenkara or other rods marketed as big fish rods? I think a rodzilla was a recently mentioned option.I would suspect that if a good fighting angle were to be maintained, all would be good. Forgive me if you are maintaining good fighting angle. I am assuming situations where the rod is pointed at the fish.

I would also reach out to karin miller and other big fish folk to discuss this problem…especially if related to their products. If it is a dead end, You may get more honesty in the situation from groups who hunt large.

@Jonathan_Antunez do you know of any big fish facebook or other forums that might be good to query this problem?

Other considerations are to just avoiding rod pointing to the fly or fish, if you find that this is causing the jamb. I could see this happening on strike if you are trying to extend your casting range. I do it on occasion, but I am not hunting large. Often issues are in how we are using a tool and just a change in behavior can resolve the problem. You need to correlate the jamb with a repeatable chain of events.

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I got into the habit of doing this with a bamboo fly rod so it is natural for me with a T-Rod.
I’ve never had a stuck joint but I can’t say empirically the reason is cleaning & drying after using my rods. I suspect cleaning & drying at least has something to do with the sections not sticking though.

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With reference to fighting Big Fish that straighten the rod out and get a straight pull on the line, causing a stuck tip or more rod sections, the best way to solve this problem is to set things up before making your cast: (you can test this for yourself with a T-rod still in its rod sock) Grip the rod so that your first finger is resting on top of the rod blank in front of the grip, with the heel of your casting hand resting in the valley between the two grip humps.

Raise the rod to 90 degrees as if to make a cast and push forward with your first finger as in making a cast. Notice that the back on the grip Will make contact with the inside of your forearm, at just the right angle to make a Fly-First presentation every time. This is the position you need the rod and your casting hand to be in while playing fish.

Now move your hand to the bottom of the grip and push the rod cap end of the rod forward, and notice how easy it is to push the rod forward and down with the lower casting hand placement.

Now move your hand to the first finger on top of the blank position and push the rod forward again, noticing how much more control you have when the rod grip makes contact with your forearm. This is how Tenkara rods were designed to be fished. There is nothing wrong with the rod, it is a matter of angler error in how the rod is being griped and fished.

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