Best Way To Fix A Cork Fishing Rod Grip?

I've been spending a little bit of time with my 8-wt TFO Mangrove Series rod lately.  The rod itself is great, it's not a saltwater broomstick and loads well with just enough feedback to let me know what's going on in the backcast.  From that standpoint, it's got a lot going for it.

But the cork grip...I'm not too happy with it.  To be blunt, it's kinda cheap and there are far too many deep pits and gaps in the cork to make it comfortable in hand.  I tried to look past it at first, but the more I use it, the more noticeable it's getting...some being exactly where my fingers rest on the rod.  It's like they forgot to use any filler at all.  The brand new rod "only" ran me $250, so I'm not expecting perfection, but I have $50 fishing rods that are better.

So, I went on (where else) YouTube to find a video on how to fix this.  I had an idea, but I'm not a rodbuilder so I needed some sort of validation.  This is what I found, courtesy of Tim Ansley...

If you didn't watch it, he suggest making a 1:1 paste of cork shavings and wood glue, filling the gaps, and then sanding.  Sounds right to me.

But before I do that, any other suggestions?  I know my readers are a bunch of MacGyvers.  Is there something else I could do to get similar or even better results?  Would be nice if Redington made an aftermarket Vapen Red sleeve to slap on top.  Just curious...


  1. You might have to experiment a little with the glue/shavings paste to get the right consistency , but I can vouch for sanding cork handled rods. Just scuffing them up a little makes them feel like new , and I've done it for years on some of mine.

  2. You can seal and sand them, but buying another grip and replacing it is not difficult either. Mudhole is based in Florida, and I also deal with J Stockard.

  3. Since I used old vintage rods, I've found that minor fix-ups like this are common. I used the method described in the video. My wife saves corks from the wine she drinks and I provide the Elmers glue. The only drawback, which doesn't bother me is the cork patch will usually be a little darker than the original.

  4. Michael
    This post is why I love blogging so, you pick up some great information, such as what you are sharing here. I would go with the cork shavings, which will blend in nicely with the handle itself. I too have sanded my cork handles on some of the ultra light rods I use and in some cases I have sanded out the dents completely. I have used Mudhole and their rod handles are awesome. So if all else fails try them, I think you will be impressed. Thanks for sharing

  5. I would agree with the glue/shavings paste method. I've used it a couple of times. Just be sure to use a more weather/water resistant wood glue.

  6. I agree with Bill, always learn a lot through the fishing blog community. I damaged a cork pretty badly on my St. Croix and could have used this info. Luckily they took care of me but I still had to pay shipping. This is good info for next time though.

  7. I'd say its a real good idea to quickly fix it. I'd buy a few bottles of wine and contemplate the fix a bit more while draining the bottles. Then I'd use the corks, a sander and a good wood glue to get the job done. If it doesn't work at least you had a good time. Don't blame me if you have a bad hangover though.

  8. I almost bought a new rod today right before I found this post. Saved me some money. Thanks!


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