Emergency Rod Surgery

How to save the life of your mortally cracked fishing pole. PLUS Web Exclusive: Directions for fixing a broken tip

David Arky: www.arky.com

There's no worse sound to an angler than a lead split shot or jig slapping your graphite rod, since it's usually followed by the ringing of a cash register as you fork over big bucks for a replacement. The same goes for a cracked ferrule in a takedown rod. The good news: A single crack can be repaired simply and cheaply.

(STEP 1)If the crack is near a guide wrap, gently cut through the epoxy finish with a razor blade and remove the old thread. Sand away burrs around the damage and score the finish with 300-grit sandpaper. Tape the rod at both sides of the crack, leaving 1/2 inch on each side. Start wrapping size 00 thread around the rod, overlapping the tag end.
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(STEP 2) Make a simple rod jig out of a 2x4, then sandwich the thread running to the spool between two heavy books to maintain even tension, and spin the rod to continue wrapping tightly over the tag end.
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(STEP 3) While maintaining tension, wrap most of the crack. When there are only five or six wraps left to make, take a piece of mono and make a loop, laying it on the rod. Continue to tightly wrap over the loop. Hold the last turn in place, cut the thread, and run the end through the mono loop. Holding the cut end in one hand, draw the opposite end of the loop, pulling the line through the wraps. Tighten and trim.
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(STEP 4) Mix 5-minute epoxy and quickly apply it around the threaded wrap. Nail polish will also work. Apply a second coat, let it dry overnight, remove the tape, and go fishing.
[NEXT "Web exclusive: How to fix a broken tip"]

Whether it's the fault of an unforgiving car door or a fish flogging your rod, you will eventually break a rod tip. To be ready, keep a repair kit in your tackle box.

Buy a selection of at least four replacement tips (the salesman can provide sizing help) and some wader-repair rubber sticks. Get a box of matches and a sheet of 300-grit sandpaper. Throw it all in a zip-seal bag, and leave it in your tackle box.When misfortune strikes, grab your kit. Clean the broken tip with sandpaper, and find a new one closest in size. Heat up your rubber stick and goo the end of the rod. Slide on the tip, quickly line it up, remove the excess, and let it sit for 10 minutes. You now have a permanent repair.