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Use Fish Tape : The Definitive Guide (2023)

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1. Fish tape definitions.

2. Overview of Main fish tape Parts.

3. Fish tape types.

4. How does fish tape work.

5. What is fish tape used for.

6. How to choose the best fish tape.

7. How to use fish tape in wall.

8. How to fix a fish tape.

9. Steel vs fiberglass vs nylon fish tapes.

10. Where to buy fish tape.

1. Fish tape definitions

You may have heard about the WORD FISH TAPE many times, but what on earth is that? In fact, it is subtly simple tool,which is well known as drawing tape or drawing wire, widely used by an electrician to route through electrical conduit or walls for wires. Fish tape is made of narrow spring steel strips or fiberglass rods,or nylon rods in 3-4 mm diameter. The tape can be guided through these cavities by careful operation.

Normally Steel fish tape is with specific length kike 15-100 m, flat and thin steel wire belt which rolls upon a round wheel and sturdy housing with handle. Many people may ask again, why is it called Fish tape? You could imagine that when you use it, it's very like Fishing the steel tapes by pushing a wire though the electric conduit. At the other end of conduit, you need attach the wire tightly onto the tips of fish tape, so you could pull wire through. What is the conduit we mentioned? It is made of plastic pipe or metal pipe, which  has no other purpose but to protect the electric wires, it’s kinda like plumbing pipe.

2. Overview of Main fish tape Parts

♦  Tape length: 10-100m

♦  Diameter: 3 mm, 4 mm for nylon and fiberglass material, 3.0*1.3 mm steel belt

♦  Tips: cooper tips with eye

♦  Housing: ABS plastic

♦  Color: can be customized to blue, red, orange

♦  Application: To pull Wire and Cable in conduit



Overview of main fish tape

3. Fish tape types

Fish tapes are normally divided into fiberglass fish tape, nylon fish tape, steel fish tape.

Sinta could supply fish tapes with reliable quality and favourable price, welcome to contact us for more details.

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4. How does fish tape work

Fish tapes are often specified with exact length from 15 m to 100 m. We need to pull out the tape from the wheel housing, it very convenient, you just press the button or trigger near to the handle. This will release the belt of tape to allow us to pull it off the housing wheel simply. Since we unwind the tape, we could feed it into conduits.When steel tape comes to the end of the other side of conduit, the auxiliary tool connects the wire to the end of the tape, which has a hooked eye, and then pulls the wire back through the conduit. To roll the fish strip back, grab the center of the wheel with one hand and turn the handle. This will drag the tape into the wheel easily.


How does fish tape work

♦   Attach the wires.

When connecting multiple wires with the fish tape, we need to remove the outer insulation from the wire and wrap the bare wire around the eyes at the end of the fish tape. Wrap the twisted wire around all connected wires and wrap the entire head of the wire connection with electrical tape. Adding puller lubricants makes pulling easier.

When a job requires the use of a large wire in a conduit, an electrician may pull the wires in a rope by using a fish, and then use a rope to pull the wire. Although the wire is sturdy and flexible, it is not a good idea to pull wire in heavy loads with this fish tape tool. 

  ♦   What is the Tips for Pulling Wires via Fish Tapes.

When we are faced in the box and ready to feed wires, we need to pull all wires by even strength from the bobbin when we feed the wires into conduit. In addition, try to untie the wire while feeding. Use one hand to lubricate the wires and send them into the tubing. Pull the wire from the spool with the other hand.

If you are exactly the one pulling the wire on the other end, pull the wire at 2 to 3 feet intervals. Stop and count to four before you pull. Check with the feeder to see if this is a good step. Pulling too fast will cut the wire and grab the assistant's finger in the box. Leave enough time between the cables so that the person has enough time to lubricate the cables and pull the spools long enough to feed them into the duct. A simple signal to remind each other that you are ready to pull the next time, is to use a metal tool to tap the catheter.

  ♦   Can We Fish the wire Alone?

It's not hard for us to feed the wire though a very short conduit by oneself, however, it would be better to have an assistant when guiding the wire into the conduit and periodically apply a wire lubricant, which will help the wire slide run without trouble or damage.

We are not recommended to pull very hard on the wire, which most tends to get the wire insulation damaged. This is very dangerous since the wires cannot be exposed during metal conduit. We need take care of this.

5. What is fish tape used for

The fish tape is an ideal tool to be used by electricians to route new wiring through walls and electrical conduit. Sinta could supply you with both fiberglass fish tape and steel fish tape.Steel fish tapes are made of a narrow belt of spring steel, normal size as 3.2*1.6 mm. Fiberglass or Nylon fish tapes are made of diameter 3mm or 4mm fiberglass or nylon rod. By careful manipulation, the fish tape can be guided through confined spaces such as wall cavities. Fish tapes are are normally with length 10-100 m. They are widely used to push toward an area where guide string has been dropped inside the confined space and to pull it through, so the guide string can be used to pull through various types of wiring, such as phone wire, network cables or speaker wire. Fish tape is designed to pull through guide string only. Using it to directly pull the target wire can damage or warp the fish tape.

6. How to choose the best fish tape

  ♦   For length:

Here are a variety of sizes of Fish tapes, usually in 25-feet length. While 50-foot length is best length to fish alarm wires which allows you to rotate and manipulate the tape as it is sent to the attic easily.

Bigger fish tapes will be heavy and difficult to control it. What is more, we donot necessarily need that long. So we’d better to save the long fish band to pull the extended wire through the catheter.

Shorter fish tapes normally leave you no room for mistakes. The next shortest standard length below 50 feet is 25 feet. If fish tape becomes irreversible (and eventually it will!), you must cut it off. This will make the 25-foot tape too short to use effectively.

♦   For sizes of steel belt:


For sizes of steel belt

♦   For material:

If for non-conductive condition, then we need to choose fiberglass fish tape or nylon fish tape. Fiberglass fish tape is with higher tensile strength and more flexible.

Besides the tape material, you may also consider the cost of each type. Nylon is the most economic if the plastic reel is not necessary, many clients will purchase it only in rolls without reel.

You may need to choose the best and proper fish tape according to your required operation conditions.

7. How to use fish tape in wall.

It may be boring and tedious for us to fish cable wire through the wall, but it would be much more easier in most cases if we prepare basic and simple tools to help with the work. We need to be patient thoroughly the approach wire work, and this will help us to avoid the work getting bogged down due to damaged wires or any wasted drilling.

When operating fish tapes in wall, we need to shut off the electricity to keep it safe. So it's better to do it on daytime with enough natural light. But if you have no choice but to do the work in nights, you may take a electric torch with you. What most important thing is to make sure all the power and lights are turned off to ensure the working space condition is enough safe.

Before fishing the wires, we need to do something in advance, first to check whether duct work or crossbeam existing in the path space.

When fishing the wire, use a fish tape to pull wires though the wall. Carefully we need to spread the steel strip evenly from the opening to the other one. Connect the tape tips tightly with eyelet and the electric cable wires. We need to make sure that the steel tape is smooth by adding lubricating to ensure the cable slide easily. Then handle the fish tape to pull the cable wire through the wall. The main tips are that we need to handle evenly with slow speed, otherwise, the friction will get the cable winded or damaged. This will cost us much time to correct it. If we got trouble guiding through the cable wire, we may need to give it try to coat steel tape with lubricating. If you cannot pass the cable, try smearing the tape with petrolatum.

8. How to fix a fish tape.

It occasionally happens that the fish tape jammed or the tape broke during operation of a fish tape.

To repair the fiberglass fish tape, it is better to prepare the repair box,mainly include multi-function ratcheting tool ,additional eyelets and glue for fiberglass fish tape. You need to replace the eyelets or tips when it is broken; when the fiberglass rod, you need to connect new eyelet onto the remaining fiberglass rod to get it still operational.



How to fix a fish tape - step1


How to fix a fish tape - step2

9. Steel vs fiberglass vs nylon fish tapes

Normally fish tape are divided into 3 types by tape material, that is Steel fish tape, fiberglass fish tape, and nylon fish tapes. Steel fish tapes is with spring steel with higher tensile strength, suitable for long cable runs and heavy load duty. Steel fish tape is conductive and used for empty conduit.

Nylon fish tapes normally with smaller bend radius and non-conductive with 10-40 m length. Price cheaper than fiberglass material. Could be used for conduit with wire or crossbeams. Nylon fish tapes without reel can be with diameter 3 mm, 4 mm, 6 mm.

Fiberglass fish tapes is also non-conductive, but with higher flexibility than nylon material. Gloves needed during operating. Fiberglass rod diameter normally 3 mm, 4 mm.

10. Where to buy fish tape

No matter you are end user or wholesale or retail of fish tapes, if you need fish tapes, Sinta will be the ideal supplier for you. Sinta works as the manufacturer as well as trading company, so could provide clients with very favourable prices and many different types, even customization can be acceptable with special requirement. Logo,color and packing can be customized.

So far, we sell directly to global clients, and we haven't set any office or agent abroad. So please feel to contact us by email or call us if you have any inquiry,questions or concerns,we have trained professional team, all inquires will be treated carefully and replied within 24 hours. All products we offered are with guarantee 6 month after sale service.

Sinta team would be very happy to assist further with your next project!