I’ve also broken a rod before by sliding one hand too far up the blank. Most rods are built to have a parabolic bend or at least bend to some degree all the way back down to near the reel seat. If you have a rod that is designed to bend this way-say a 7-foot, medium heavy-action rod-but then you slide your hand up near the first eye of the rod as you go to boat flip a fish, you can very easily break a rod as well.
The reason being, you’re not allowing the rod to do what it was designed to do. It is unable to disperse the bend across the whole rod and now by placing your hand in that section, you’ve created a pivot point that can turn a 7-foot, medium heavy-action rod into a 3-foot, extra heavy-action and a 4-foot medium light-action real quick.
You see this happen quite often as well when trying to pull a snagged bait free; perhaps even more so than when boat flipping a fish. When we’re snagged, we have a tendency to slide our non-reeling hand up the rod and put a big bow in the remainder of the rod as we pull to either free our bait or break our line. Though this mistake is often only done a time or two before a loud crack and another hard lesson is learned.
If you find yourself in this situation, where you have been unable to free your bait and are left with only the option of pulling to try to bend the hook or break the line, tighten your drag all the way down and pull with your rod tip pointed straight at the bait. Your spool will try to slip but hold it the best you can with your thumb and you should be able to free your bait, break your line or pull whatever obstruction on which you’re snagged to the boat. Just be wary of a hook flying back at you if you’re snagged above or near the surface of the water.