By: Phinla Sinphay
Cork grips are wonderful on a new fishing rod.
However after a couple months of use you begin to notice all the little craters and holes that magically appear one day in your fishing rod grip. Time to do some cork grip maintenance. Most rod manufacturers use inexpensive cork for the cork handles and usually end up filling the holes and craters with some kind of filler. So what do we do to refurbish the grips?
Here’s a picture of a grip of an old fishing rod grip. It doesn’t have too many holes and craters on it but you’ll notice it’s very direct.
First thing you need to do is to clean the grip.
Get yourself some Dawn and an old toothbrush. Clean it with warm water and use the toothbrush to get rid of all the fish slime that’s been caked on there. Once you have it clean, let it completely dry.
This would be a good time to take a trip to your local hardware store. At your local hardware store pick up some wood filler and fine sandpaper. I’m using MinWax Wood Filler and a 220 grit sand paper and a bottle of Tru-Oil Gun Stock Finish. You guys with guns know what I’m talking about. You can also use a cork sealer made by U40, which is available online. If you have access to cork, you can use cork dusk and Elmers glue to create your own filler. Its just easier to buy the MinWax Wood Filler in my opinion.
Take the fishing rod handle and clean out the pits/hole/craters on the grip by using a bamboo skewer (or something with a point). Once that’s accomplished, start filling in the pits/holes/craters with the MinWax Wood Filler with your fingers. Don’t fill it flush because the filler does shrink a little when it dries. Put the rod aside and let the filler dry. Usually an hour or so.
Once the filler is dry, take your sand paper and sand the handle. Start with the 220 grit sand paper or so grit and if you want it smoother use a higher grit paper. After sanding, wipe the grip down with a moist paper towel and let it dry.
The last step in the process is to apply the Tru-Oil. Tru-Oil will help seal the cork handle and actually extend the life of the cork. Next time you buy a new rod, apply the Tru-Oil (or Cork Sealer) before you even begin using the rod. Apply the Tru-Oil with a paper towel or an old cloth. Two coats will be all you need.