Fish Sticks and Fishing Tools
REELING IT ALL IN
The routing of wiring for voice/
data/video, security, alarm and control systems
is done differently from electrical cable and, in
most cases, is completed with different tools.
Today’s expanding line of fishing tools in-
cludes products especially suited for installing
a building’s structured wiring.
Telescoping poles and threaded rods are useful above suspended ceilings, below subfloors,
in crawl spaces and spaces where insulation
already has been installed, and other places
where a tape may be difficult to navigate. They
also are useful when fishing for short distances
or when trying to route a wire in a small area
where a worker cannot go.
It usually is dark in overhead plenums and
suspended ceilings, so installers can use high-visibility glow rods and rods with an LED light
attachment on the tip to illuminate the work
area. These features can make feeding fishing
cable easier and more efficient by helping to
avoid obstacles in the cable’s path.
In some situations, magnetic pulling systems
are an effective option that can significantly
speed up fishing operations. A magnetic coupling allows pulling through drywall, insulated
walls and wood studs. Magnetic pulling systems are promoted as being especially useful
for installing wires for building controls, alarm
and surveillance systems, data communications
cable and electrical cable.
Handling requirements for delicate fiber op-
tics also are a factor in the choice of fishing tools
for a building’s structured wiring.
“VDV, alarm and control cables
Poles made of fiberglass also are popular
are usually not routed in conduit,
which can be one of the first
and most obvious differences when fishing
these cables compared to electrical wiring,”
said Sean O’Flaherty, director of product man-
agement at Klein Tools, Lincolnshire, Ill. “Also,
VDV cables often may be pulled across ceilings
or crawl spaces without as much attaching the
cable to joists, studs, etc., as would be required
with electrical wire.”
Tools such as fish rods of varying flex char-
acteristics are widely used for routing these
types of cables in crawl spaces, between joists,
in walls or over ceilings. Telescoping rods in
lengths up to 20 feet are also commonly used.
and commonly used. However, as fiberglass rods
age and wear on their surfaces, they become
prone to splintering, O’Flaherty said.
“When an operator is pulling or otherwise
maneuvering and forcefully stressing the rods,
they may induce splintering from the surface of
a worn rod, thereby receiving painful fiberglass
splinters in the hands,” he said. “While miti-
gated with the use of work gloves, sometimes
the dexterity required to fish rods through walls
or other tight spaces requires the operator to
have the touch and feel of ungloved hands in
order to master the task at hand.”
Solutions have been developed to eliminate
the splintering problem.
“This typically is achieved by coating or
“Examples could be speaker wires, category
otherwise encapsulating the fiberglass rod
within a protective outer layer,” O’Flaherty
said. “These types of rods protect users from
receiving fiberglass splinters in their hands,
regardless of how much force or stress they
deliver to the rods. Market-leading products
can even be stressed to the breaking point
without releasing any potentially harmful splin-
ters. Splinter-guarded rods bring tremendous
value to customers in the VDV cabling segment.”
In situations where structured wiring is
pulled through conduit, O’Flaherty said conven-
tional fish tapes are very useful.
cable or coax cable,” he said.
Klein Tools makes steel and nonconductive
fish tapes, fish rods and telescoping fish rods
that extend to lengths of 18 feet. Its magnet-
ic wire-pulling system won a Showstopper
Award at the 2016 NECA Show in Boston. Its
swivel leader eyelet securely connects to most
wires and mesh wire pulling grips, enabling
quick routing of cables in enclosed spaces and
through walls as well as floor and ceiling voids.
Its leader-pull design can navigate many ob-
structions. It has nonmarring nylon leader-pull
with 20 feet of heavy-duty nylon rope.
Tayler Brinson, product manager, Southwire
Tools, Carrollton, Ga., said fishing VDV cable is
a much more delicate process than fishing stan-
dard electrical cable.
“The pulling tension required is much low-
er because pulling at a high tension rate can
glow-in-the-dark fish sticks
Klein Tools manufactures steel and
nonconductive fish tapes, fish rods
and telescoping fish rods.