How to Fish Electrical Wire


Fishing electrical wire is a technique for routing power wires in confined spaces, typically behind walls, for safety and aesthetic reasons. The wire can be guided behind a wall with a fish tape; a tool for fishing wires in spaces where the electrician cannot reach. The fish tape is steel wire that becomes rigid when pulled from the housing. The tape is strong enough not to bend while it is guided from one opening in a wall to another, such as extending electrical wire from the opening for a wall outlet to another opening for a power switch.

Things You'll Need

  • Fish tape
  • Pencil
  • Spool of electrical wire
  • Power drill and bits
  • Jigsaw and blades
  • Shut off the circuit breakers to the room where you will be fishing electrical wire.

  • Determine where the wire must go into and come out of the wall. If pre-drilled holes are available, use them.

  • Mark the spots on smooth drywall with a pencil where the outlets will be installed. Measure the outlet boxes carefully to prepare a hole no larger than necessary. Mark the outline of this space with a pencil as a guide to cutting

  • Drill a hole large enough to insert a jigsaw blade, then use the jigsaw to cut around the pencil mark. Make an opening where the wire will go into the wall and a second where it will emerge.

  • Insert the end of the fish tape in one of the holes and guide it into and behind the wall toward the other hole for mounting an outlet.

  • Grasp the end of the fish tape when it appears inside the second hole and pull it a few inches out of the wall.

  • Loop the end of the electrical wire through the eye at the end of the fish tape and secure the wire with an overhand knot.

  • Pull the fish tape back through the wall with the electrical wire attached and remove both the tape and the wire from the hole where the tape was inserted.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be certain the circuit breakers to any wires are shut off in the room where you will be working.

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