A broken fibreglass fly rod can signal the end of a day of fishing or ruin a vacation, but with a little time and some easy-to-find repair parts you can quickly get the rod back into working order. Typically, a fibreglass fly rod is broken in one of three places: the tip top, the rod blank or the line guide. Although it is possible, but not very enjoyable, to fly fish with a missing line guide, it will be impossible to continue with a broken tip top or a busted rod blank.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Ferrule cement stick
- Needle-nose pliers
- 5-minute epoxy glue
- Wrapping thread
- Fine-tooth saw
- Fine-grit sandpaper
- 1-inch wooden dowel (diameter determined by inside diameter of broken rod)
- Single-edge razor blade
- Masking tape
Recover the original tip top if possible. Gently heat it over a small flame to melt the ferrule cement holding the broken rod tip in place. Remove the broken piece of fibreglass that was the original rod tip by pulling it out with a needle-nose pliers. (See the Tips if you can't recover the original tip top.)
Sand down the end of the rod tip where the tip top broke off. Do this gently until it is sufficiently reduced in diameter so that you can reinsert it into the tip top. Heat the ferrule cement stick and apply a drop or two of molten cement to the rod tip and reattach the tip top. Align the tip top with the line guides before the ferrule cement dries.
Wrap 1/2 inch of the rod blank in front of the tip top using wrapping thread (cotton will work in an emergency). Coat with epoxy cement and allow to completely dry. The rod is now ready for service.
Remove the damaged portions of the two pieces of rod blank by cutting with a fine-tooth saw. Use fine-grit sandpaper to smooth and true the ends of the rod blanks after cutting. Wrap the exterior of the larger diameter rod section with wrapping thread so that an area extending 1/2 inch away from the end is covered. Coat the wrapping thread with epoxy cement and allow it to dry completely.
Insert a 1-inch-long wooden dowel into the smaller diameter section of the rod. Sand and taper the dowel so that it can be seated 1/2 an inch into the rod section. Affix the dowel in place with epoxy glue. Make sure that 1/2 an inch remains exposed so that it can be inserted into the larger diameter rod section. Wipe away any excess glue. Apply winding thread to the exterior of the rod so that an area extending 1/2 an inch away from the rod end is covered. Coat the wrapping thread with epoxy cement and allow to dry completely.
Insert the small diameter rod section, with the wooden dowel extending, into the larger diameter rod section. This should be a tight fit; sand if necessary to ensure that both rod sections fit tightly together. The rod is ready for use.
Recover the broken line guide if possible. Use a single-edge razor blade to remove any remaining winding thread, varnish or glue still attached to the original guide position. If the line guide can't be found or it is damaged beyond repair, see the Tips for a suggested substitute.
Attach the line guide in the same location as it was originally positioned. Hold it in place by using a thin piece of masking tape. Align the guide with all other line guides so that the fishing line will move smoothly through it during casting.
Wrap the line guide feet into place using wrapping thread. Remove the masking tape as you wrap, but make sure that the guide remains aligned with all other guides. When the guide feet have been wrapped, coat the thread with epoxy cement and allow to dry completely. The rod is now ready for use.
Tips and warnings
- During a fishing trip, when finding repair parts may be difficult, you may fabricate a temporary tip top or line guide from a paper clip and attach it by using winding thread, then coat the thread with epoxy cement. Replace the fabricated tip top or line guide with a commercially available one when you return home.
- A hacksaw with a fine-tooth blade will work to cut broken fibreglass rod blanks.
- With the addition of a new ferrule, the rod will lose some of its flexibility, so when fighting fish, keep the rod tip lower than normal to decrease bowing of the rod.
- Broken or splintered fibre glass can produce sharp shards, so take care when working with the broken pieces.
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