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5 Ways To Get A Fishing Rod Unstuck

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There have been a few times I have had a fishing rod or telescopic pole get stuck together. Fishing rods can be fragile and many people break their rods while trying to get them unstuck. Here are some tricks I have learned to get your rod apart without breaking it. And at the end I’ll go into some preventative measures you can take. 

If you are in a hurry, here is the quick answer:

The best way to take apart a stuck fishing rod is to use the duct tape method. Tear off two 8 inch strips of duct tape and fold each one into a loop with the sticky side out. Stick one loop to the palm of each hand. You can now get a good grip on both sides of the rod ferrule and twist as you pull apart.

There are a number of other methods that are popular for getting a fishing rod unstuck. I’ll start with the most practical and effective, then add some others that might also help.

If you are trying to get a stuck telescopic pole or tenkara rod to collapse, apply the same methods, except obviously push the sections together rather than pull. And make sure your hands are close enough together so that there isn’t any bend in the pole which can cause it to snap.

1. Use Tape

The difficulty of pulling apart two stuck sections of a fishing rod has less to do with strength and more to do with grip. It’s hard to grip something that small, round and smooth. 

There are a couple ways to improve your grip on the rod, but the most powerful way is to use duct tape or packing tape. 

Use duct tape to pull apart a stuck fishing rod.

Simply take a strip and make it into a loop with the sticky side out. Stick the loop onto your palms or onto the rod right where you want to get a good grip. Now just twist and pull like you normally would and the rod should come apart easily.

Sometimes duct tape can leave a little sticky residue, but you can clean it off. 

2. Use Your Knees

If you don’t have any tape on you, this is the next best method. It won’t give you a better grip, but it will give you more pulling power.

Use your legs to pull apart a stuck fishing rod.

You can do this while standing or sitting. If you are standing, Hold the fishing rod horizontal and behind your knees. Have one hand on each section of the rod with your forearms leveraged against your thighs. 

Now, use the strength of your legs and the leverage of your arms to pull the sections apart.

If you are sitting down, hold the rod horizontal in front of your knees and leverage your wrists against your knees while also using your leg strength.

As with all methods, make sure you are pulling the rod sections directly apart without any bend through the ferrule otherwise it could break. Also make sure your rod isn’t going to hit anything and break when it finally comes free.

3. Use Ice

This is one of the most talked about methods for getting a fishing rod unstuck. However, the results are hit or miss. It also takes time and is a bit of a hassle. 

The idea here is that cold temperatures can cause materials to shrink as molecules slow down their activity. By cooling the rod ferrule, theoretically it should contract and become loose.

However, different rod materials react more or less to temperature changes and that’s why this doesn’t always work. 

If you still want to give it a shot, here are 4 ways you can introduce cold into your rod ferrule to get it unstuck.

  1. Lay a bag of ice over the rod ferrule for about 10 minutes.
  1. Soak a couple paper towels in water then put them in the freezer. When they are almost frozen, take them out and wrap them around the rod ferrule for about 10 minutes or so.
  1. If the weather outside is cold, you can leave your rod outside in a safe place and try to pull it apart after a few hours.
  1. If there is snow outside, you can pack snow around the stuck ferrule for a few minutes. Make sure the rod isn’t somewhere it can get stepped on.

4. Use a Non-slip Pad

If you don’t have tape handy, but you have a non-slip pad, then you can use this to get a better grip on the rod sections.

How to pull apart stuck fishing rod sections

These non-slip pads can be bought in the kitchen section. It’s used in the base of drawers or cupboards to prevent things from sliding around. 

If you are constantly getting your fishing rod sections stuck together, then cut a couple squares out to keep in your tackle box.

5. Use a Friend

The 4 handed crossover is a popular method for pulling apart a stuck fishing rod. This can work well, but it’s also a bit risky.

First off you need a second person to work with you. Stand facing each other with one hand on each side of the stuck ferrule. Now each of you pull with the hand closest to you and push with the hand farther from you. The key is to do more pulling than pushing. 

Here is a short video I found explaining this method…

The danger here is that it is hard to make sure both people are pulling the sections directly away from each other. If there is any bend going through the ferrule, you risk breaking the rod. 

Also make sure there aren’t any objects behind you that you’ll ram the fishing rod into once it breaks free. And make sure you both have good footing so nobody falls down and gets hurt or breaks a rod.

What Not To Do When Getting a Fishing Rod Unstuck

Fishing rods can be fragile, and you can be applying a lot of force when trying to pull apart a stuck rod. Here are some common mistakes people make when trying to pull apart a stuck rod.

They bend the rod. I’ve already talked about this a couple times, but you never want a fishing rod to be bent as you are pulling it apart. This can split the ferrule as it comes out.

They twist on the guides. Oftentimes when trying to pull a stuck fishing rod apart, we are tempted to hold over the line guides to get a better grip and more twisting leverage. However, this can easily bend the guides, or even break them off.

Keep your hands away from the line guides, and use tape or a non-slip pad to get a better grip.

How to Prevent a Fishing Rod From Getting Stuck

wax your fishing rod to prevent it from getting stuck or coming apart

A good practice for when you get a new fishing rod is to rub a little wax on the part of the rod that slides into the ferrule. You can get special rod wax, but really all you need is a cheap candle. This will help the rod come apart easily, but it will also hold it together for regular use.

Another good practice is to make sure you keep your fishing rod clean. What you really don’t want is for dirt or sand to get into the ferrule. This can not only cause your rod to get stuck together, but it will wear out the ferrule and eventually your rod won’t stay together. Just make sure the rod is clean before inserting it into the ferrule. 

Keeping a rod clean is especially important if you are fishing in saltwater. The salt water can get into your ferrules then evaporate leaving behind the salt. This salt build up is a big cause of rod sections getting stuck together. Just wipe it down before putting it together and after taking it apart.


Hopefully these tips help you next time your fishing rod gets stuck together. It happens sometimes. I recommend using the wax to hopefully prevent it. And just be careful not to break anything when pulling it apart.

By John

Hi I'm John. I'm the author of I have been obsessed with fishing since my dad took me to catch bluegill in the creek as a little kid, over 20 years ago. I love learning and perfecting all kinds of fishing techniques. I have spent time living in different countries learning their unique traditional fishing methods, and then combining the best of all worlds to catch as many fish as possible. My hope is that this website can help you, or someone you are teaching, to have a better fishing experience early on so that you too can be hooked into this wonderful sport.

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