Replacing Your Rod Tips

By Capt. Steve Chaconas

You don't have to tell fish stories if you would just check your rod tips!

You make a cast and snap, your favorite lure goes flying into the next county as the line breaks; you set the hook on your biggest fish ever and the line snaps; or you just about have Bubba in the net and snap ... another big one gets away.

Inspecting Rod Tips

One of the simplest do-it-yourself repairs is replacing the tip on a rod. This top guide takes more abuse than any other! It is the first contact with fishing line during retrieves.

If you do a lot of cranking or spinnerbaiting, just plain old winding, then you need to inspect this tip frequently!

In addition, this tip takes a lot of abuse when anglers dip their rods into cover to free stuck lures. Not to mention the abuse in rod boxes. I check my tips whenever I'm in doubt!

Trouble is, that unless you check the tip, you could be creating a weak spot on your line. If you start to see "fuzz" collecting on the tip of your rod, there is probably a scratch or cut in the ceramic or metal guide. If your line is starting to shred or even break, there's a problem. In any case, the guide will cut your line and you will either lose fish or lures, or both.

Here's what's happening. Lines, especially braids or fluorocarbon lines, will wear a groove in guides. In addition other abuses, this can lead to chips or scratches in the guide ring. Both will cut line.

To check the guide, take a Q-Tip and wind it around the tip guide. If there are any stray fibers left behind, you have a chip or crack in the guide.

Removing Rod Tips

I use a magnifying glass and take a very close look at the guides. If I have been having trouble, I replace even if the trouble spot seems minute.

To replace you first have to remove the existing tip. First, scrape the epoxy rod coating off the guide. Also remove any windings on the tip. Heat the tip with a lighter and gently pull straight off with a slight twisting motion, careful not to force the tip.

The glue will heat up enough to allow you to remove it. While the rod is still hot, take a rag and wipe off excess glue.

Replacing Rod Tips

It is important to match the style, color and size of the tip. I have found that the folks at Jann's Netcraft are very helpful and can actually help you find the right tip over the phone! They also sell top and ring gauges. You just measure your top and order the right one.

A handy top chart will measure the size of the rod top and another will measure the size of the guide ring.

From these measurements, you can choose the right style and size. Or, you can use the free ring and rod tip guide in the Jann's Netcraft catalog! (

Once you receive the tip, compare it with the original.

Check to see how it fits on the rod after you clean the tip of the blank. If it fits snugly, then you are ready to put it on.

Heat the glue stick and apply to the rod blank.

Heat the guide a bit to allow it to expand and to heat the glue a bit more, then insert the rod into the tip and line it up by looking down the rod to ensure the tip is in line with the rest of the guides.

Adjust while the glue is still pliable

Let it sit, remove the excess, and re-apply some rod varnish!

Done. Your rod is as good as new, ready to reel in memories!

I carry a few rod tips with me all the time! Jann's Netcraft has a handy assortment pack.