Testing for Cracked or Broken Fishing Rod Line Guides

You can find hair-line cracks in line guides by pulling an old pair of pantyhose across the hard surface. The fine threads will snag on any cracks.
You can find hair-line cracks in line guides by pulling an old pair of pantyhose across the hard surface. The fine threads will snag on any cracks.
A cracked line guide will damage monofilament fishing line very quickly. Be sure to inspect your guides often.
A cracked line guide will damage monofilament fishing line very quickly. Be sure to inspect your guides often.

Line guides on fishing rods are easily damaged if knocked or mistreated

Most modern rods feature rings made from hard materials such as: ceramic agate and aluminum oxide. These rings are held in place by a plastic shock absorbing ring, which in turn is held in place by a metal ring. The metal ring is then silver soldered or welded to a metal frame. Fuji of Japan have improved the design further on some of their line guides by stamping the outer ring and frame from a single piece of stainless steel

Materials such as aluminum oxide are used because they are very hard and can be diamond polished to an almost friction free surface finish. However the drawback with these materials is that if hit by any hard object they are prone to cracking and breaking much like a porcelain cup or plate might be if hit with a hammer.

One of the major causes of damage to tip guides is over vigorous winding of the reel handle arrested only when the swivel on the lure or surfcasting rig slams into the rod tip. Ouch!

Here is a cleaver tip. Push a short length of soft rubber tube over your coastlock swivel to provide some protection to your rod tip should you accidently wind your line up too quickly.
Here is a cleaver tip. Push a short length of soft rubber tube over your coastlock swivel to provide some protection to your rod tip should you accidently wind your line up too quickly. Very useful when winding up from deep when boat fishing.

This type of damage is often difficult to detect with the naked eye. On smaller diameter line guides you will need a magnifying glass to see these cracks and chips. Cracked rings rapidly cause damage to your monofilament line as a result of greatly increased friction. Sharpe edges and groves on cracked line guides will ruin a new spool of monofilament line very quickly. This unseen damage later results in mysterious bust-offs!

Often cracked rings will be difficult to detect with the naked eye. You can try peering through a magnifying glass to find the little cracks. Broken rod tip rings will cause damage very quickly, so check these first!

An old way of checking for such damage that still works is to pull a section of old pantyhose through the ring and feel for snags.

If you do find a cracked guide either purchase another and replace it yourself, or have the shop do it for you. Good tackle stores will often replace a tip guide while you wait. It is a simple matter of gently heating the guide with a flame to soften the glue before pulling it off and pushing on a new one.

Salmon angling requires constant casting and retrieving of your lure. A stony beach and river bed also contribute to line damage. This results in poor distance casting performance. Be careful to avoid accidentally winding your zed spinner or ticer all the way up so that it smacks into your rod’s tip ring. I have been guilty of this on many occasions particularly if I’m talking away to a mate and looking the other way!

You can find hair-line cracks in line guides by pulling an old pair of pantyhose across the hard surface. The fine threads will snag on any cracks.
You can find hair-line cracks in line guides by pulling an old pair of pantyhose across the hard surface. The fine threads will snag on any cracks.

I always carry a few spare tip rings and line guides in my tackle box so that I can replace a broken one while out fishing if required. The thread holding a broken line guide in place can be carefully cut away with a very sharp knife and a replacement guide held temporarily in place with plastic insulation tape. Such a repair will keep you fishing until you get home and will be much better than risking the sort of damage that, later in the day, could cause the escape of a trophy fish!

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