The 11 Steps to Fixing a Broken Fishing Rod

Whether your fishing rod breaks during a trip or while you’re at home, you may not have help to fix it. That’s why anyone who fishes regularly should know the steps to fixing a broken fishing rod. If your rod ever breaks, you can use these steps to get it back to working condition as quickly and efficiently as possible.

What are the steps to fixing a broken fishing rod? The first thing to do is to figure out the extent of the damage, which can help determine the next steps. After that, the next thing to do is to collect the right materials, which will include epoxy, an old rod, and winding thread. Then you will have several steps to follow:

  • Find the break, and check to see if the rod blank goes through the entire rod.
  • Grab an old rod about the same size to use a section of as an insert for the broken rod.
  • Place the section of old rod in place of the broken one, and make sure everything fits.
  • Apply some epoxy glue to the insert.
  • After the epoxy dries, secure the area around the break.
  • Coat the rod for an extra layer of protection.

If you ever break a fishing rod, you may be tempted to replace it. However, you can fix it with the right materials and a bit of patience. That can be especially useful if you have a favorite rod, and it happens to break.

Step 1: Assess the Damage

The first thing you should do to fix a broken fishing rod is to see how and where it broke. Understanding the extent of the damage can help you select the right materials for fixing your rod. It will also help you determine if you can repair your rod immediately or if you will need time to get the materials before you can fix it.

Typically, when a fishing rod breaks, it breaks into two pieces, though that may not always be the case. If a rod breaks into two sections, it will be easier to repair than if there are multiple breaking points. It will also be more challenging to fix a rod that breaks near one of the guides, although it’s not impossible.

You don’t need to be an expert at how fishing rods can break, but you should know what to look for. That way, you can figure out how bad the damage is so that you can take the necessary steps to fix it. While no two fishing rods will break in the same place, the same way, having an idea of the ways a rod could break can also be useful.

If you tend to go fishing often, that could increase the chances of you breaking your fishing rod. Obviously, if you use an older rod, it may not hold up as well and be more prone to damage.  

Step 2: Collect the Right Materials

Without the correct materials, it will be much more challenging to repair a broken fishing rod. 

Of course, you may need more or less of a specific material based on the damage your rod incurs. However, most breaks can be repaired with the same basic materials.

  • The first thing you’ll need is epoxy. Ideally, you should have an epoxy that can dry quickly, but it’s not necessary.
  • You should also have a clear rod coating. If you’re in a pinch, you can also use clear nail polish, though that will require more coats than the rod coating.
  • Next, look for an old rod that you no longer use, but that is the same size as the broken rod. Specifically, the blank should be close in size.
  • Also, you should have some rod winding thread. The thread comes in different sizes, so have some different sizes on hand to help you choose the right one.
  • Finally, you should have a coating that you can apply to the rod. This will help the thread stay in place, which can help protect the entire rod.

Most broken fishing rods can be repaired with these materials. As long as you have an old fishing rod, or at least a fishing rod blank, you can use this method. However, don’t worry if you don’t have an extra rod, because you can still repair your rod with a similar method.

Step 3: Find the Spot of the Break

When you first checked your fishing rod for the damage, you should have noticed where the rod broke. If there’s a slight crack, it may be hard to tell, and even if the damage is visible, make sure you take a good look at it. Figuring out the spot where the rod broke can help you in the fixing process.

Once you find the area where the rod broke, consider what part of the rod that is. Consider if it’s near either end and if it’s near the handle the other end of the rod. You should also see if the break happened near one of the guides.

Figuring out where the rod broke can help you when you go to fix it because you’ll know how thick the diameter is as well as other important details. It’s also essential to find the break because no two breaks will be the same. Even if you’ve broken a rod before, odds are this rod probably broke somewhere else.

The spot of the break could also affect the rod winding thread to use. As mentioned earlier, that thread comes in different thicknesses. If the rod breaks near the handle, you’ll want thicker thread than if it breaks farther down.

Step 4: Measure the Rod Blank

Finding the spot of the break can also come in handy when you measure the rod blank. For example, your rod may not break smoothly, so there may be some jagged edges. You’ll have to account for those edges when measuring the blank of the broken rod so that you don’t count a portion twice.

If there’s a sharp angle, that could add an extra inch if you measure each part from the end to the tip. When possible, line the two pieces up so that you can get as close to an accurate measurement as possible. This will help you determine the size of the rod that you need to use to repair this one.

In the age of the internet, you may not even have to measure your rod. You could go online and find your order history, which should tell you the length of your fishing rod. However, the older your rod, the harder that information may be to find.

Whether you find your order form for your rod or measure it the old fashioned way, knowing the length of the rod blank will help with the next step. That way, you can easily find an old rod that’s similar in length, which will help you repair your current rod.

Step 5: Find an Old Rod of the Same Size

Once you know the measurements of your current rod’s blank, you can find another rod like it. This is why you should avoid throwing out old fishing rods if you can. That way, you’ll have some backup ready to go if another rod breaks in the future.

  • Grab your old rod and put it next to the broken rod. Not only will this help ensure the rods match, but it will help determine what part of the old rod you will need.
  • If the old rod is broken, make sure it’s not broken in the same spot. Otherwise, that rod won’t be suitable for the repair.
  • Once you set up a rod that can work for the repair, mark the rod at roughly the same place as the break on the other rod.
  • Next, use a tape measure to measure six inches on each side from that initial mark, and mark those spots, too.
  • Avoid cutting a 12-inch section from the wrong part of the rod. You need to choose a section with the correct diameter for the repair.

Once you find an old rod and cut it so that it can work as an insert for your broken rod, it’s time to get to work with the repair. Of course, the repair wouldn’t be possible without the prep work, so don’t skimp on any of the preliminary steps. Now, it’s time to grab your old rod and get to fixing.

Step 6: Place the Old Rod in the Insert

The next step involves making sure the insert fits in your broken rod. To do this, place the insert in one of the broken pieces. Then, place the other broken piece over the rod to make sure that everything fits together.

If you want to make this even easier, remove the fishing line and any guides near the part that broke. That way, you won’t have to deal with those extra parts while you start fixing your rod. Removing those things will also make it easier once you use the epoxy and winding thread.

You may feel a bit of movement, which is okay. However, if the insert is moving around a lot, you may want to consider cutting another piece to use as the insert. If there’s too much movement, your fishing rod won’t work as it should, and it won’t be as secure.

There’s no need for extensive testing to see if the insert moves with every little movement of the rod. Just check to make sure it fits nice and neat within the broken rod and that it doesn’t move a ton.

Step 7: Double-Check Your Measurements

If you do experience more than a little bit of movement, double-check that you measured everything correctly. Check the measurements of your broken rod, of the old rod, and of the insert. You may find that something doesn’t add up, in which case, you may need to measure something again.

Consider measuring another 12-inch section on the old rod if you can, especially if the first one didn’t fit properly. Before you cut that section, though, make sure the diameters will match up so that you have a better chance of this insert working.

Again, test the new insert like in the previous step. Hopefully, this one will work, but again, make sure there isn’t an excessive movement. That way, you can move on and start putting everything together with some epoxy.

Step 8: Apply Epoxy

Now that you have your rod measured and your insert cut and ready to go, it’s time to add some epoxy. That way, your insert will stay in place, and you can finish up the repairs on your fishing rod. While you won’t be able to use the rod that same day, you will be one step closer to using it again.

  • Grab some two-part epoxy and mix the two parts together.
  • Once the two parts are mixed, coat the bottom half of the insert and put it in the right section of the broken rod.
  • Make sure half of the insert is in the rod and half is exposed. You can use a tape measure to double-check that six inches of the insert are in the rod.
  • Next, coat the other half of the insert with the epoxy so that it’s ready to go.
  • Grab the top half of the rod and place it over the insert.
  • Make sure the two pieces meet and fit together and that the insert doesn’t move.

While you can let the epoxy dry on one side before doing the other, that could leave a bit of dried epoxy on the outside. Doing both sides close together will help you fit the two together and make sure that everything works. Plus, that way, you don’t have to wait for one side to dry before working on the other side.

Step 9: Wait for the Epoxy to Dry

After you apply the epoxy to the insert and both parts of the fishing rod, it’s time to wait. Surprisingly, this could be the hardest part since you can’t always control how long it will take. If you choose to use a quick-drying epoxy, you won’t have to wait as long, but you will have to work quickly and put everything in the right place when you use it.

It might be wise to consider an epoxy that doesn’t dry as quickly if you’ve never used it before. That way, you can take your time to make sure that you line up all of the parts correctly so that the repair will make the rod usable. To figure out how long your epoxy will take to dry, see if the package has any information about drying time.

If you want to be safe, give it a few hours to an entire day to make sure that everything is in working order. This way, you can test the rod for durability before you finish it off with winding thread and rod coating. You can also take this time to make sure you have all of the materials you need to finish the repair.

Step 10: Secure the Area

Once the epoxy is completely dry, you can add winding thread to add some extra protection to the broken area. There are winding threads of various thicknesses, and it can help to find the right width for the break. For example, a break near the handle will work better with a thicker thread than a break near the middle of the rod.

Wrap the winding thread tightly around the area with the break, and don’t be afraid to add the thread a few inches in both directions. That can help secure the area, which can help prevent that spot from breaking again. However, you want to make the thread as tight as possible to give your rod the best chances of being durable.

Since winding thread comes in multiple colors, you can choose the color that works best. You could choose a color that’s similar to your rod so that the break isn’t as noticeable. On the other hand, you can select a different color if you want to make your rod unique.

While the color of your winding thread shouldn’t affect the durability of your repair, it can be a nice excuse to customize your fishing rod. However, you should choose a color that you’ll be happy with since you probably won’t want to change it in the future.

Step 11: Coat the Rod

The time has finally come to grab the rod coating, which means you’re almost done fixing your fishing rod. This step can be difficult because you need to apply the coating to all areas of the thread evenly. You also have to let it sit for many hours, but you also have to make sure the coating stays in place.

  • One of the easiest ways to apply the coating to your rod is with something that can keep the rod rotating. That will help keep it from running to one side of the rod.
  • You can use a rotisserie, or you can find something else that will rotate the rod slowly and evenly.
  • Once you have your rotating method, grab the rod coating and apply it evenly to the area with the winding thread.
  • Keep the rod turning for a few hours to a day so that the coating can settle in properly.

If you don’t have rod coating or something to keep rotating the rod, you can also use clear nail polish. This can be an easier option in a pinch if you can’t make the first option work. You should know that you’ll have to apply multiple coats since nail polish isn’t very thick.

Also, you should still keep an eye on it as you apply the nail polish to make sure it doesn’t run down the rod. However, you won’t have to worry about letting it sit and cure overnight like you would if you used rod coating. That can be nice if you don’t have a ton of time or special tools to use.

When You Don’t Have an Extra Fishing Rod

For one reason or another, you may not have access to an extra fishing rod. Or, if you do, you may not want to cut it up to repair your current one. In that case, you can still fix your rod, but you will have to follow a slightly different process.

These steps won’t take any longer than if you used a second fishing rod, but the materials do differ a bit. Instead of a second fishing rod, you can use a piece of fiberglass to repair your rod. This can come in handy if you have a fiberglass rod, though it may not work as well if your rod is of a different material.

In any case, having a second method can give you more options when you need to repair your fishing rod quickly and easily. So consider the following steps as another option for fixing your beloved fishing rod. To learn more about this second method, click here.

Sand Down the Ends

For this method, after you gather your supplies, you’ll need to sand down the ends of the broken fishing rod. That way, you won’t have to work with jagged edges that could potentially cut or scratch you. Sanding the edges will also help make them more durable since they can fit together better.

  • Use sandpaper with 180 or 220 grit as the roughness. This will help smooth the rougher edges so that they can be easier to work with.
  • You can also use a pair of scissors to cut more pronounced jagged edges. That will make it easier for you to sand down the edges.
  • As you sand down both edges, check them a few times to see how they fit together. Then, you can reevaluate how much sanding you have left to do.

The better your two pieces of rod fit together, the easier it will be to repair them. You won’t have to worry about hurting yourself when working with the broken rod, and you can increase the likelihood that the rod will be durable. However, this next step may be a little more problematic.

Cut a Piece of Fiberglass

If you don’t have an old fishing rod to cut up, the next best thing is to cut a piece of fiberglass. Assuming your rod is fiberglass, the material can stand-in for an old rod. You can find a fiberglass pole at a hardware store, but don’t buy just any fiberglass.

Make sure the pole you buy is slightly smaller in circumference than your fishing rod. That way, it will fit nicely in the rod without much movement. However, make sure you use the measurements from the area of the break so that you get the correct size.

Once you have your fiberglass pole, cut out one foot worth of it. This will serve as an alternative to the section of the old fishing rod. Although this time, you don’t have to worry about messing with guides or fishing line getting in your way.

Use Fiberglass as Insert

Next, it’s time to follow the same steps as with the old fishing rod so that you can insert the piece of fiberglass correctly. As before, test the insert without using epoxy so that you can verify that everything fits together. You can also use this time to check for excess movement within the rod.

  • You should also double-check your measurements, especially if you do notice something is wrong.
  • Now’s the time to make those small mistakes since you don’t have the commitment of the epoxy.
  • Run the same tests on the fiberglass to make sure it fits as it should. However, there should be a little bit of wiggle room to allow for the epoxy.
  • Without a small amount of space, it may be hard to get the insert in place once it’s coated with epoxy.

Once you make sure that everything fits and you have it all set up, it’s time to grab your epoxy and put everything together. You can follow similar steps as the other method, but make sure you know what kind of epoxy you’re working with so that you know how long it will take to dry.

Add Epoxy

As before, you now get to add some epoxy to one half of the insert and place it in one side of the fishing rod. While that side begins to dry, you can add epoxy to the other side of the insert and slide the remaining piece of the fishing rod over it. Make sure that everything fits smoothly and together.

After that, you can follow the same steps as the other method, and you can use winding thread and rod coating. That can help add extra durability and strength to your fishing rod. However, it can add extra time, and at least with this method, it’s not necessary.

Final Thoughts

Whether you have an old rod or need to buy some fiberglass, fixing a broken fishing rod is surprisingly easy. You don’t have to worry about throwing out your favorite rod just because it breaks. Instead, you can give it a new life.

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