Saltwater Fly Fishing In The United Kingdom

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Mending a Broken Flyline

We've all been there. Spending the best part of a King's ransom on a new fly line only to damage it is enough to make you cry! Damage can happen in several ways. The top three are probably

  • 1) Wrapping the leader around the line and it cutting in.
  • 2) Standing on the running line
  • 3) tangling the line around rocks

Luckily, I don't suffer from the last two anymore because I own a Flexi-stripper!

If you are unlucky enough to damage your line there is a way to fix it. Below we highlight the way to fix a cut line and also a snapped line. Some lines are easier to fix than others and I know we had problems trying this with Rio lines due to the core not being able to take the heat. Rio use a slightly stiffer PVC than other manufacturers. We've not tried this on Airflo line because.. well, we don't know anyone who uses Airflo lines.

NB: We'd recommend you practice this with an old flyline or with the back of the running line until you get a feel for it!

To repair a cut fly line

If the fly line has been damaged by you standing on it or by the leader wrapping around it and cutting in the chances are the core hasn't been damaged. In this case, all we need to do is melt the line to join the cut back together.

You'll need to get yourself some clear Shrink wrap tubing which is available from various electrical outlets. You'll need some of the right diameter to fit over a knotted fly line and also some that contracts to the size of your running line. You will also need a gas lighter or soldering iron.

To fix the cut first slide the shrink wrap tubing over the line and down to where the nick in the line is.

Holding both the line and the shrink wrap tubing in the fingers, flash the lighter flame CLOSE to the line whist rotating the line and tubing with the fingers. Too close and you'll bun the line. You will see the shrink wrap tubing shrink (not surprisingly) and then the line inside the tubing will begin to soften. DON'T heat the line too much as this will begin to melt the core!

Once you have done this, let the line cool completely before going on to snip one end of the shrink wrap tubing with some fine scissors

Pull the shrink wrap tubing against the fly line and the line will cut its way out of the tubing. Check the line is fully melted back together and also test the strength of the fly line by pulling each side.


If you've done it right,it won't snap. If it does, Don't panic! It's probably because the core was damaged too. Just go on the the fix below for joining two pieces of snapped line together.

Fixing a snapped fly line

If the damage is worse than that above or you have heated the line too much and melted the core in the process above, here's hot to join the pieces back together.

First of all, slide the shrink wrap tubing onto the fly line before tying any knots.

Next tie a reef knot in the line using the two snapped ends.

Pull the knot as tight as it will go. Make sure it is really tight.


Take a pair of scissors and cut the tag ends off leaving about 5-8mm (1/4 inch) of tag on each side of the knot.


Next, slide the shrink wrap tubing down over the knot.

Make sure one tag end is on each side of the knot. Heat the line in the same way as described above. Flash the flame CLOSE to the tubing but not touching it whilst rotating the tubing between the fingers. Look for the point where the plastic on the knot and tags starts to melt.

Whist the line is still hot and the plastic is melted, lick your fingers on the free hand used for the lighter and roll the knot in your fingers to lower the profile of the knot and weld the melted plastic together. DON'T over heat the line or you'll melt the core.

Once completely cold, snip one end of the tubing so the line can be pulled through.

Finally, check the line is melted properly together and if required, redo the above steps with another piece of shrink wrap tubing.

Finally check the line still has it's tensile strength by pulling on each side.

The finished result should look like this...

Thanks to Lee Cummings for the idea behind this fix.


      See you in the Forum

Tight loops.


Carl Hutchinson


Carl Hutchinson is a qualified instructor with the EFFA and FFFUSA and runs saltwater fly fishing Mullet with He is a member of the board of the British fly Casting Club and has fished extensively in many saltwater locations and specialises in saltwater fly fishing for Salmon in Canada.




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