Emergency Line Splicing

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Not Perfect But It Kept Me Fishing. Photo by Louis Cahill

Not Perfect But It Kept Me Fishing. Photo by Louis Cahill

The other day I was out fishing with my buddy Rob Parkins when things took a sudden turn for the worse.

I was making a cast and the line at my feet caught on something sharp. I shot the line with so much power that my eight weight line was cut in two. We were a long way from the car and a spare setup. It looked like my fishing was going to be cut short.

I got the head back. About sixty or seventy feet had been cut off. It was enough line that I could make a short shot but shots were scarce that day and I hated the idea of being limited. I tried tying the line with a blood knot but it was impossible to get through the guides. Rob came up with a brilliant solution.

He suggested that I overlap the cut ends by a couple of inches, then secure them with a series of nail knots tied around the line with tippet material. I tied three nail knots to secure the line and trimmed all of the ends close. To my surprise, it worked pretty well. It took a couple of extra false casts to get the mended section through the guides (not ideal) but it was totally doable. It got me through the day at least.

When I got home I started wondering how strong the field repair actually was. I got out a spring scale and put it to the test. It held about nineteen pounds before it gave. Plenty of pressure to put on most fish. It’s not my first choice for a day on the water but in a pinch, it’ll get you through. If you carry a little UV Knotsence in your kit, a dab at each end will make it a lot smoother to cast.

Thanks for the great idea Rob!


If you don’t know how to tie a nail knot here’s a video.

Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline
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12 thoughts on “Emergency Line Splicing

  1. I’ve always played the “what if” game with this situation, but luckily I’ve never had the need to actually figure out how to fix a cut fly line. However, I have created connecting loops with a hair straightener before though! In situations like these you just have to be adaptable and creative. Just do what you can, with what you have. Really cool, informative, and very useful tip though Louis!

  2. Always carry a foot of braided mono. If (when?) your line gets damaged, severed, etc. just insert it over the 2 ends of the line and it’ll work like a chinese handcuff. Has worked for me a couple of times after my line got dragged over oyster bars by redfish. I also use the stuff to make braided loops for the tip of my fly line.

  3. Thanks to this post I had a dream last night that my fly line broke. At least now I know what to do stream-side if this happens.

  4. I broke my 5 weight on a trip into the wigwam river and then that same afternoon the line was on my backup rod was cut by a sharp rock! I gave up and started drinking beer! Sure wish I had these tips then!

  5. Pingback: Emergency Line Splicing | MidCurrent

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  7. Don’t remember the exact details because it happened over thirty years ago, but I cut my line by stepping on it. I stripped the coating off the flyline and tied the core using a blood knot.

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