Introduction: Cheap Kayak Fishing Rod Leash

About: Scientist, photographer, writer, cyclist, tinkerer.

Kayak fishing is great fun, but one hazard is that your rod may be pulled from its holder by a large fish and lost . Leashes are the solution to this problem. Store-bought ones are not expensive, but it’s more fun to make one yourself. I made this one from things I had lying about, with a cost of $0.

Materials: old cell phone charger, plastic zip ties, attachment devices, diagonal pliers.

Step 1: Cut the Ends

Cell phone chargers seem to die at will. You probably have a few lying about. Car chargers generally have a coiled wire, which is perfect for a retractable leash. The trick with this instructable is to leave an end on the wire that is larger than the wire diameter so that the zip tie will hold the end loop together without slipping off. Fortunately, each end of the wire generally has a thick reinforcing portion that prevents the wire from breaking from repeated bending. On the cigarette lighter end, I found that there was a disc-shaped terminus to the wire reinforcer just before it enters the housing. I cut it between these points. On the cell phone end, I cracked the little housing, found a T-shaped end to the reinforcer inside, and cut the wire off of that end. If your wire does not have these bits, you can simply leave a bit of the reinforcer on the end of the wire to hold the zip tie.

Step 2: Make End Loops

Use an appropriately sized plastic zip tie to hold the loop together at each end. You may need to place your attachment device on the wire before closing the loop, as I did with one of mine. I use pliers to make sure the zip tie is good and tight. Cut the excess from the zip tie with the diagonal pliers. Sometimes this leaves a sharp point or two, so file if you feel it’s necessary.

Use attachment devices appropriate to your application. I had a plastic swivel snap on an old camera strap that I used for one end, to be attached to a pad eye or other point on the kayak. On the other I put an old carabiner, which will attach to the fishing reel.

Step 3: Finished

Done! Enjoy your rod leash whenever you’re out kayak fishing. I don’t know how long this type of leash will last. I suspect the wire coating will not tolerate the inevitable sun exposure for long. But, then, it was free. So there’s that. It’s fun to outfit your kayak with things that you’ve made yourself. One bonus is that you know how to fix them if they break.