How to fix a snapped fishing rod

Updated: June 19, 2019

Fishing with rod on lake Photo by eans/Shutterstock

Fishing rods are designed to flex under the weight of a hefty catch, so fish rarely break rods—people do. The most common mishaps are stepping on a rod in the boat and shearing it in a car or screen door. But with simple supplies and basic know-how, you can repair a rod well enough to last the weekend, the season, or even longer.

The top
Perched on the rod’s slimmest point, the tip top guide (yes, that’s its real name) typically breaks off along with an inch or two of the pole. Fortunately, tackle shops and most cottage-country hardware stores stock replacement tip tops, usually packaged with a small stick of hot-melt glue. Shave off some glue and pack it into the end of the replacement guide. If the broken end is very ragged, trim it with scissors. Holding the tip top with pliers, heat it with a match or a lighter until the glue melts. Then slip the tip top onto the pole, aligning it with the other guides. This permanent fix won’t affect the rod’s performance.

The ferrule
The ferrule, where the sections of a two-piece rod slip together, is another vulnerable point. The solution here—jamming the pieces back together—is inelegant but effective. If a few inches are broken off the smaller (male) end, build it up with electrical tape until it fits snugly into the receiving (female) end, and then wrap the entire connection with more tape. If the break is on the receiving end, where flexing the rod will stress it, use the same fix, but finish with several cable ties to reinforce the joint. In both cases the rod will be a bit stiffer (and as a one-piece, less portable), but just fine for the weekend angler. And if your jury-rigged rod ever breaks while fighting a big fish, just think what a great story it’ll make.

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