“If you don’t want to lose it, strap it down or make sure it floats.” While I can’t remember where I first read this, I certainly haven’t forgotten its importance when fishing out of a kayak. I tend to carry four or so rods with me when I head out on the water and have been used homemade rod leashes since day one. These cheap leashes have saved me from losing a rod on a couple of occasions so far.
I made my first DIY Rod leashes from cell phone car charger, a brass clip and a section of strong, waterproof Velcro. Large zip ties and marine adhesive shrink wrap create the clean and strong connection points. The spring-like action of the coiled car chargers help to keep the cords bundled and out of the way.
While the Velcro option is secure, I found a connection method that I like even more. About 6 months ago, I was in Home Depot and came across a product designed to keep cords and wires organized called the “Cable Cuff".
I purchased a couple of the smallest versions for $0.99 each. These little cuffs are surprisingly strong for their size and fit perfectly on most fishing rods. They ratchet into place and wont scratch or damage the rods. The kicker is that it is very easy to secure and remove these cuffs on a rod – even one handed. This factor alone gives them a large advantage over the Velcro version.
These are very easy to construct. Start by drilling a hole in the tail end of the cuff as pictured below, making sure the Cable Cuff is in the open position. Secure the charger wire to the Cuff with a large zip tie. I used a small length of marine heat shrink to dress up the tag end but this is not necessary.
The pivoting arm of the Cuff needs to be trimmed at the second tooth back to make room for the cable wire. A little pressure on a sharp hand chisel makes a very clean cut.
Add a clip of your choice to the other end of the car charger wire, utilizing the same connection methods used on the Cuff end. Here I used light weight Nite Ize S clips available at The Backpacker if you are in the Columbia area or most Harbor Freight stores.
Enjoy! - Paul
****One note on coiled cell phone car chargers - they aren't all built the same! Look for a thick coiled model that is uniform in shape and will stretch to at least 6'. Most of the Nextel branded chargers are very strong, as are the Motorola and Verizon branded models. I often donate old clothes and other items we don't use anymore a church-based consignment shop called "His House". I purchased 4 thick Verizon car chargers there for $1 each. The money goes to a good cause the chargers stay out of a landfill and they work perfectly for this application.****