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retiredbosn

what the heck is boron?

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As stated before I started fishing when I was big enough to hold a pole, I took a hiatus when the bird hunting bug hit me hard, so say from 1987-2004.  When I returned to fishing to say the least I was overwhelmed with all the new technologies.  Up to that point I had no idea what my rods were even made of, figured glass, now with the plethera of options my head was swimming.  I now use graphite almost exclusively, my crankin rods are composite.  Today I ran across a term that I am unfamiliar with, boron.  So what is a boron rod?  Is this technology that emerged and dwindled away while I was bird hunting, or is this something new?  Advantages? good bad?

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So what is a boron rod? Is this technology that emerged and dwindled away while I was bird hunting, or is this something new? Advantages? good bad?

i think you got it right with the first guess. i had a boron rod that i bought back around 1984 or so. it was cutting edge at the time but it was heavy and not sensitive and i guess that is why it never caught on. graphite was still lighter and more sensitive. IIRC, the fenwick and phenix graphite rods ruled the world back then.

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Yep.  I recall BPS was selling a boron rod in the mid eighties, somebody else was too.  Never caught on.  

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BPS still does under the browning brand........I dont know much about them, I've heard their more brittle than graphite but dont know for sure on that....

I'd assume if they were any competition to graphite, our "next big thing" tackle industry wouldve been all over it....

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Boron is an element that is very similar to Carbon in the way it behaves.  Boron is the 5th element, and Carbon the 6th.  Carbon comes in many forms (allotropes), but the one most common to fishing rods is Graphite.  Boron can be used in the same way, but it's lighter.

Carbon and Boron atoms both like to form covalent bonds which is what gives them their strength.  Although very similar, Boron molecules actually lock together a little more tightly than Carbon.  So with the same construction, a Boron rod will want to rebound a little quicker, and will transmit vibration better.  But the more "elastic" Carbon bonds allow a graphite rod to absorb stress better than Boron.  When a Boron rod is pressed to it's limits the bonds just release (ie the rod explodes).

Boron rods you see now are typically blended with graphite for added durability.

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I had 2 experiences with the Boron rod, sold by BPS under the Browning name. Both 100% pure garbage, just plain cue stick/brittle garbage with really poor workmanship on their guide warps. Big disappointment, I didn't even know they were still trying to sell them. We won't even take them for the giveaway program. Why give something to someone that is bound to snap anyway? If you want to spend 120 on a rod ( I am sure others will have good suggestions too, I only talk about what I have used) take a look at these

Fenwick HMG

Team All Star IM 10's ( cheaper)

Cabelas Fish Eagle LL ( 80 bucks)

Cableas XML 140, some on clearance now for 40 to 70 bucks

Stick with graphite, this Boron thing, if it was so good how come they never really caught on?

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Boron is an element that is very similar to Carbon in the way it behaves. Boron is the 5th element, and Carbon the 6th. Carbon comes in many forms (allotropes), but the one most common to fishing rods is Graphite. Boron can be used in the same way, but it's lighter.

Carbon and Boron atoms both like to form covalent bonds which is what gives them their strength. Although very similar, Boron molecules actually lock together a little more tightly than Carbon. So with the same construction, a Boron rod will want to rebound a little quicker, and will transmit vibration better. But the more "elastic" Carbon bonds allow a graphite rod to absorb stress better than Boron. When a Boron rod is pressed to it's limits the bonds just release (ie the rod explodes).

Boron rods you see now are typically blended with graphite for added durability.

hmm i wanna see that,,that would pretty cool to see a rod EXPLODE!!!!

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Diawa made boron rods (Procaster model). I got one in '84. It was a 6' MH with an Ambassadeur Ultramag 1 baitcaster. IMHO it was a GREAT setup. The rod was unbelievably sensitive and light. Got to where I could turn the brakes off and it would cast a lure a country mile. I really had no problems with the rod. It got thrown in the back of a pick-up many times. Later I learned they quit making them because they didn't take abuse well. It sure took all that I gave it...

skillet

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For the sake of any 'kids' that might be researching Boron rods, I think it best if we describe thier appearance.

You know how when you hold a graphite rod at a certain angle to a light source, you can 'see inside it'? It looks charcoal colored and you can see fiber wraps? Boron looks the same but tends to have a golden-brown hue.

Boron, for all of it's sexiness, just didn't cut the muster against graphite. If you have a Boron rod, there's no reason to just toss it. I have a custom-built 6' boron from back in 1986 that I still employ as my #1 back-up for throwing T-rigged plastic worms on Summer nights. Dig on this... it sports an old Shimano Bantam 100GT. With 10 test.

It is very sensitive and has a lot of backbone. Actually, TOO MUCH stiffness. That's why it is resigned to back-up status. It would make an awesome buzzbait rod, but, I already have a few of those.

Just because it's Boron, don't discredit it.  

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I had a boron spinning rod in the mid 80's that was super sensitive.  I used it for jigging and I am pretty sure it would have beaten about any graphite rod of the time in the sensitivity department.  It has the "brownish hue" described above.

Matt

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Yep, I also owned a boron rod in the 80s.

Not only was it brown in color, but it was a Browning.

As described above, my rod did EXPLODE, after which I hand-landed a "small" summer flounder (locally called fluke).

That was the day that Browning and I parted company (although I do still own a 12-gauge Browning autoloader).

Roger

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Yep, I also owned a boron rod in the 80s.

Not only was it brown in color, but it was a Browning.

As described above, my rod did EXPLODE, after which I hand-landed a "small" summer flounder (locally called fluke).

That was the day that Browning and I parted company (although I do still own a 12-gauge Browning autoloader).

Roger

 a GREAT TOOL IN INTERVIEWING YOUNG MEN WHO WANTED TO DATE MY DAUGHTER ;)

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Yep, I also owned a boron rod in the 80s.

Not only was it brown in color, but it was a Browning.

As described above, my rod did EXPLODE, after which I hand-landed a "small" summer flounder (locally called fluke).

That was the day that Browning and I parted company (although I do still own a 12-gauge Browning autoloader).

Roger

a GREAT TOOL IN INTERVIEWING YOUNG MEN WHO WANTED TO DATE MY DAUGHTER ;)

Exactly, Muddy

I was lucky though...I never actually used it more than 2 or 3 times

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I am an ole' horse shoe'er and boron is used to make shoes rough to allow for horse walking on pavement without slipping. I guess it can be taken to another level and made into rods, never heard of boron rods.

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I still use my Phenix Boron rods that were made in the late 70's,and early 80's,and they still perform as great as the day I got them.The difference between Boron rods,and graphite rods is the boron rods were lighter,and smaller in diameter plus they were more sensitive.Phenix added some fiberglass to the blanks to give them different actions.I have heavy action rods that are smaller in diameter than most of the newer rods on the market with similar actions.The reason you don't see any more boron rods on the market is because of the cost.Boron costs quite a bit more than graphite,so most rod makers choose graphite because of the lower cost.I have never had a rod explode on me,and the only rod I had broken was because of someone stepping on it! My brother worked for Phenix Rod Co. for 17 years.I don't think the Bass Pro Shop or Browning rods had a high Boron content,and the Fenwick rods were larger in diameter than the Phenix rods were.The Phenix rods also were one of the first to have lure specific actions(Doodlin',Split-shot,Jig,&Pig ect)more so than any other manufacturers.  

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I have an old school phenix boron crankbait rod that is great. When I use medium sized cranks/ lipless cranks this is the rod I use. My Falcon LR CB rod is now my spinnerbait rod. 2 years and counting, still hauling in the piggies.

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Yep, I also owned a boron rod in the 80s.

Not only was it brown in color, but it was a Browning.

As described above, my rod did EXPLODE, after which I hand-landed a "small" summer flounder (locally called fluke).

That was the day that Browning and I parted company (although I do still own a 12-gauge Browning autoloader).

Roger

a GREAT TOOL IN INTERVIEWING YOUNG MEN WHO WANTED TO DATE MY DAUGHTER :)

I'll by using a Browning 12-gage Side-by-Side for my interviews ;)

When I got back into fishing a few years ago, I picked up a boron Browning Midas because boron was the ultimate when I was fishing as a teen in 1980 and I've always been a big Browning fan.

At $169 the Midas is overpriced, but at $99 I like it, even though it doesn't have a great warranty. I haven't used it much in the last 2 years because my father usually claims it. However, I would say that it handles similarly to my Crucial & HMG and also has similar sensitivity. However, this particular Midas model significantly outcasts both.

I will usually grab my Midas before either the Crucial or HMG. However, I think my All Star Titanium, Techna AV's and Cabela's XMLTi offer better performance. There is no real science to these preferences..., JMHO

Leon

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You can find some Phenix boron rods on Ebay right now for about $75.There's a 65M that would be good for drop-shotting & shaky heads.

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I had a fenwick 6' boron-x rod in medium action back years ago.I remember the blank being black in color with a fuji pistol grip handle and had the best guides at the time.It was lighter than graphite but stiffer.Sad thing i was using it one winter fishing small jig,pig combos,went to set the hook and the thing blew into ??? pieces!Looked like someone had thrown a bottle of graphite in the air with fibers and dust everywhere!Needless to say i did not hook the bass! ;D

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GLoomis made some boron rods early on.  I think they ran into the same issues.  

Like graphite, there is a trade off between stiffness, lightweight and brittleness.  I believe the brittle factor in boron is more extreme.

Comparing both though, boron is much lighter than graphite.

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