Dealing With Stuck Ferrules, the Smart Way

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Don't Let This Happen To You Photo by Louis Cahill

Don’t Let This Happen To You Photo by Louis Cahill

Years of fishing bamboo rods taught me one thing for sure. Stuck ferrules are as unavoidable as the occasional skunk and that holds true for graphite. Sometimes it’s avoidable but often it’s not. What is totally avoidable is damaging your rod in the process of unseating them.

Often it’s as simple as getting a good grip on the rod. When a rod is wet it’s easy for your hands to slip and strip off or bend snake guides as they go. When you get a good grip on the rod you find the ferrules were not as tight as you thought. I carry a pair of latex gloves in my pack for that purpose. The latex gets good traction even when the rod is wet, making unseating the ferrules much easier.

When ferrules are stuck and more force is needed there are a couple of options. Most folks know the trick of holding your hands high and pulling them down behind your head. This lets gravity and the natural rotation of your shoulders work together to pull the ferrules. You can also put the rod behind your knees and push out on your forearms with your legs. Both of these methods work, sometimes.

When ferrules are really tight you need the help of a friend. Your natural reaction will be to grab the rod on one side of the ferrules while your buddy grabs the other side and heave-ho. Not a good idea. There’s a whole list of things that can go wrong in this uncontrolled scenario that all end in a broken rod. There’s a better way.

I’m always shocked how few people know this old bamboo guy trick. Two guys pull the rod apart but each puts one hand on either side of the ferrules. It’s so easy and so controlled that the first time you try it you won’t believe how great it works. I have never seen it fail.

Watch the video of me and Jeb Hall for a better understanding.

Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline
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22 thoughts on “Dealing With Stuck Ferrules, the Smart Way

  1. I had one of the furrels of my 3wt nymphing rod get stuck this past fall. The top two sections of the rod flew off in a parking lot while I was whipping the rod around in the air. DOH! The two sections flew up in the air and landed on the pavement, perfectly on the the furrel, driving the two sections together. And while I didin’t try this method, I did try just about every other method of getting the furrels “un-stuck” to no avail. What finally did work, however, was WD40. I spayed a bunch of it around the furrel and let the sections of rod sit upside down for several hours. When I came back to it, it pulled apart pretty darn easy. I’ll be trying this two-man method next time though. Cool video Louis!

  2. Pingback: Dealing With Stuck Ferrules - The North American Fly Fishing Forum

  3. NOOOOO, that image is heartbreaking!
    I carry around patches of that stuff people line cabinets with. It’s very grippy and takes up no room. Also a simple technique is to put the rod behind your knees with your hands on the outside of your legs, then push your legs apart. This keeps the pull in a straight line and your legs are pretty strong to force it apart.

    • Don’t cry for me. I make my own bamboo. Thats the forth time I broke that rod. That break happened on a big brown on the White River. I hand lined his ass and still landed him. I’ve fixed broken rods with my leatherman on the bank. I just made a new one and that rod lives on the mantle. It was a handy prop to illustrate my point. I’ll never fix it but I can’t bear to throw it away. Old friends, you know.

  4. On hot days in the salt, I’ve had luck pouring some cold water from the cooler over the ferrule. I’m guessing the cold water causes the blank to contract enough to loosen the tight ferrule slightly, but I don’t know if this is what is actually happening. For whatever reason, it’s worked several times for me at the end of the day when I’m breaking equipment down.

  5. Clean ferrules inside and outside can help prevent problems. On plastic rods a bit of paraffin wax on the male section helps in keeping sections together yet eases things when taking them apart.
    The two people with alternating grips on each section has never failed me in taking stuck rods apart except one time when the owner had to put the rod in a walk-in freezer for a while to seperate the sections. I wasn’t around to witness that scary feat.

  6. On bamboo rods with metal ferrules, try rubbing the male ferule on your scalp or behind an ear, this will transfer some natural oil to the ferrule, then put together. A straight pull will then part them quite easily.

    • The downside to using oral from your skin is that it also transfer salt to the Ferrels as well as any grit that might be on your skin. I use camellia oil. It’s a good lubricant vegetable oil and does not go rancid. You can get it a good woodworking supplies.

  7. Had a rod that has not been taken apart in probably a year. and fished hard. just tried to break it down and the tip section would not separate. Got frustrated and found this. Works like a dream.

  8. That’s a good idea to have some gloves to help you get a better grip on the ferrules. I have been trying to get some unstuck for a while now. I’ll have to start carrying some gloves with me when I go fishing from now on.

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