Jeff Faulkner Presents: Rods 101 – Repairs on the Water

“On a warm summers evenin’ on a train bound for nowhere” a wise philosopher once said, “You got to know when to hold ’em, Know when to fold ’em, Know when to walk away, And know when to run.” Breaking a rod on the water can be frustrating, but it doesn’t have to be a game ender. Let’s take a look at some scenarios and see what we can do about them in this release of Jeff Faulkner Presents: Rods 101 – Repairs on the Water.


Broken tip 

Probably the best break you can get on the water. Tip top repair kits are in the $10 range and make it so you can glue a tip top back on. This is an on the water repair that is easily done and is a total day saver. The top tip repair kits come with glue and 3 different sized tops.  

All you need to do is; 

  1. Open the package 
  2. Choose the tip top that is the right size to where it is broken 
  3. Heat the glue and rub the broken tip in the glue 
  4. Don’t forget you will need a lighter in your pack 
  5.   Slide the tip top on and hold it in line with the other eyes 
  6. Get back on the water 

The rod will obviously be shorter but will be perfectly fishable. Will it change the action? Sure. Will you notice? Potentially, but there isn’t much else you can do. One note, if the tip is splinter like in the picture, you can trim the tip to square with a small saw, like on a Leatherman, or super glue the end up prior to putting the tip on.  


Broken Eye 

I got a call from a customer a few months back and he explained to me that their brand new very expensive line was getting shredded. The cuts were length wise along the line. It was a little perplexing until I saw a picture. The guide foot was cracked and shredding the line. This gentleman travels back and forth from Texas to Park City every year and somewhere in his travels he was had crushed one of his double foot guides. The guide had snapped, but you couldn’t really tell until the rod was under flex. So when casting the broken guide would lift and then shred the line as it passed through the eye. This is not a day-ender either, but it does require some preparation. You will need a knife, a sharp knife. What you will do is cut through the finish and the threads that are on top of the guide foot as shown below. Take small shavings and only gut on top of the metal guide foot as not to damage the blank if you slice through. Once you see the metal start pushing the eye side to side and it should pop right off. Caveat, this is not a permanent fix. Depending on which eye you may be putting some added stress on the blank. That said, if you are on a once in the lifetime trip in Algoma Country it makes sense to do the repair to stay on the water. If you wanted to be extra prepared, you could carry some thread and a few spare eyes. The repair on that is a little more complicated, but totally doable on the bank with some super glue. I’ll leave that instruction guide for another day, but it’s a fix you can pull off on the bank.  

Broken Mid Section 

This is a rough one. That is a 3rd section break on Spey rod. This is total day-ender. The best bet on this is to take a moment and send up a prayer, or other form of cosmic manifesting, that this is under warranty. In the shop I have been able to successfully splint these rods and get them to fish again. They will never fish the same, but they will fish. You could accomplish this on the water, but it would require taking a spare blank, 5 minute epoxy, tape and a few other items. At which point taking a spare rod is probably a better option. 


When to fold em’ 

If right before your break happens you hear a “wiiiiiiiiiiz bang” you may be in trouble. In the case of the photo below there is not much you can do. The good news is that you will have a great story about a trip that you will never forget. In case you didn’t have a “one that got away”, breaking a rod that bad will give you one.  


At the end of the day, being able to repair your rod on the water requires preparation. You won’t be able to save the day if you don’t have the proper tools. The things I would carry to even have a chance at repair are.  

  1. Some nylon thread. Whether it is from fly tying or sewing it doesn’t matter. 
  2. Super glue. Not only can it help with rod repair, but it’s also a good first aid item. 
  3. Wader repair or other UV cement. Make sure you know how it works, but this is a good alternative to super glue that has more flex in it.  
  4. A few spare guide eyes.  
  5. A tip top kit. You or someone you fish with may need it.  
  6. A knife or other sharp tool of your choice.  

With the right tools, or even enough of the wrong ones, you can repair your rod on the water and get more time throwing loops at fish.  

For those of you that are more artistically minded here is a haiku to help you understand the importance of being prepared.    

“Prepared for the day, 

Tools and supplies at the ready, 

Peaceful mind at ease.”