top of page
Abstract Background

Everything you want or need to know is here.

Each section provides important information about the the tool functions and how to properly use it for a successful retrieval.

THEFETCH is made up of a solid body and a set of slides that when operating, move a set of jaws (dogs) that retract into the body of the tool. The tool is fixed to a cable or rope (not provided) to be able to retrieve the tool and pipe. It works by “finding” the opening of a broken pipe or pump by dropping it down the sidewalls of the well casing. The slides move up when it contacts the pipe and the dogs retract into the body to allow the tool to seat onto the broken pipe. It then grips the broken pipe by using pressure from pulling up on a retrieval rope. If the object being recovered is lodged into place and cannot be withdrawn, THEFETCH has a recovery system that allows it to release the pipe. 


How It Works

Fetch Tool Options

We offer three different series of tools. Each tool is sized to accept a different combination of pipe and casing diameters. The body of the tool allows the slides to be interchanged to work either with or without a coupling attached to the pipe to be retrieved and is defined with either a "P" for pipe without an attached coupling, and "C" for pipes with an attached coupling. What's the difference between the long and short slides? The longer slides allow the dogs to slip over the coupling to retrieve the pipe, while the short slides move the center of pressure down to allow for maximum bite to the surface of the sidewall since a bare pipe does not have a coupling to grab onto. If you have a need for multiple setups, we offer a combination on each series of tools that come with both the long and short slides. Use the Tool Selector to determine the best option for your setup.

What you need to know about lifting capacity.

Each situation is different on how much weight can be lifted. The type of material, age, and condition of the pipe all have to be taken into consideration. With PVC pipe, the test was run successfully between 400-600 lbs. of weight before the sidewall starts to tear, but it has the potential to hold over 1,000 lbs. on PVC. We have tested 1500 lbs. on galvanized pipe (which was the max weight we had available at the time). Our testing is performed in a controlled environment with new materials. Your situation may have different results. The photos below are examples of the potential capabilities of THEFETCH tool.

Heavy Weightlifter
214 Cap test_edited.jpg

Fetch 214-P

Lifting 1 1/4" Galvanized pipe.

Tested to 1,555 lbs.

We ran out of weight to add. Maximum capacity is unknown.

210 Cap test.jpg

Fetch 210-P

Lifting 1" Galvanized pipe.

Tested to 1,036 lbs.

210 Cap test_edited.jpg

Fetch 200-P

Lifting 1" PVC pipe.

Tested to 1,025 lbs.

Read the Don'ts and Dos carefully before using for a successful retrieval! 


 Do not disassemble or loosen the bolts if the tool is in a bind or if the slides are not free. They need to be tight to prevent them from backing out during use. Refer to the reset procedure or call for further instruction if the tool is not operating properly.


Do not attach the tool to a fixed rig or a spear. It needs to be able to align itself with the pipe when it is dropped into the casing.


Do not “fish” for the pipe. Let the tool drop naturally so the momentum and weight can seat properly onto the pipe.


Do not bounce or jerk the tool during retrieval. A come-along is strongly recommended for initial pulling and control. A hydraulic or electric winch creates a bouncing effect which amplifies the load on the tool and can cause damage to the dogs, or cause the tool to slip off the pipe.


Do not hit the slides to remove the tool from the pipe after a retrieval if it is locked. The dogs are locked onto the pipe and hitting the slides will only damage the tool. Simply strike the main body at the top to release the dogs from the pipe.

The tool will need to be reset to operate again. Refer to the reset procedure.




Check the function of the slides to make sure all components move freely. Use a scrap section of pipe comparable to
the pipe being retrieved to test the tool. The dogs should move freely as the tool engages the pipe. Pull up on the body
to seat the dogs onto the side of the pipe. Letting go of the body and pulling up on the slides will release the dogs and
disengage the tool from the pipe. If the tool is in a bind, refer to the reset procedures or contact us for help!


Set up the tool properly. TheFetch needs to be able to rotate freely. For the retrieval line, use a heavy duty rope or steel
cable rated greater than the combined weight of the pump, pipe, and potential loaded water that will be retrieved.
Attach to the tool with a wire rope thimble, or a shackle. A light duty rope can be used for the retrieval line. The release
line is designed to reset the tool if it grabs an unintended object like a stray wire or to get a better angle on the pipe. The
dogs will invert and lock onto the pipe after enough force is applied (approximately 200-300 lbs.), making the release system


If the tool is locked onto the pipe and you can't retrieve the pipe or pump (wires could be wedged, or an obstruction in casing) contact us for further instructions.

Gather as much information about your well as possible. If the casing is angled or damaged from natural events like a
cave-in or an earthquake, it may not be possible to get the correct angle to retrieve the pipe. Make sure the casing goes
all the way to the bottom of the well to the pump.

Make sure the wires are clear. If the wires to the pump are dropped in the casing, they will need to be cleared before
retrieving the pump. They can bind up between the pump and casing making it irretrievable. The tool may be able to
grab the wires to bring them to the surface.

Break the vacuum (suction) at the bottom of the well. The pump will be settled in mud, sand, or silt. Pulling up the pump creates a vacuum that will amplify the load. When retrieving the pipe, use a come-along attached to the retrieval line to apply
around 200 pounds of pressure to the pipe. If the pipe does not immediately start to come up, mark the line with a piece of tape level with the top of the casing for a reference point and wait for the line to move up. Patience is required at this point, if the line hasn’t moved after a few hours, apply a little more pressure and repeat the process. Compressed air or a water hose lowered down to the pump can help this process. After the pump breaks free from the vacuum, then you can switch from the come-along to whatever method (like a hydraulic or electric winch) you prefer to finish the pulling process.

Use the side walls of the casing to find the pipe. Drop the tool at different points along the side walls of the casing. Go
down 2 or 3 feet below where you think the pipe is located, then back up 2 or 3 feet higher than the top of the pipe. Let
the tool drop so it can seat onto the pipe.

Release the tool from the pipe after retrieval. Simply hit the main body at the top with a hammer to release the tool
from the pipe. This will drive the tool down and allow the dogs to retract.




1. Determine how far the top of the broken pipe or pump is down in the well. Use a length of rope or cable for the retrieval line long enough to reach approximately 3-6 feet beyond the top of the broken pipe. Ensure that the tensile strength of the retrieval  line is stronger than the combined weight of the pipe, pump, and potential water in the pipe. A secondary rope or twine of equal length will be needed for the release line.

2. Tie the retrieval line securely to the large hole at the top of THEFETCH. A bowline knot is recommended if using rope, and steel wire clamps for steel cable. Make sure you understand how to properly secure the tool so the line doesn't come undone. The release line is tied to one of the smaller holes on the release mechanism. The release line does not carry any load or weight on the tool. Simple nylon rope or twine will work.

3. Test THEFETCH with each use by sliding the release mechanism back and forth. It should move easily without binding. If there is significant resistance, check the tool for any obstructions or sediment that could prevent it from operating properly. If the tool is clean, then it may be in a bind and needs to be reset. Refer to the reset procedure on the website. Call us for technical support if problems persist.

4. Keep the retrieval line and the release line separated to prevent tangling. The tool will not work properly if the lines get tangled. While holding the retrieval line, or securing it to an external support outside of the well, drop THEFETCH down the side of the well casing. Pull up on the retrieval line to seat the dogs onto the pipe. This may take several attempts at different points along the well casing.

-Helpful tip: Broken pipes are usually located on the side wall of the casing. Attempting different points along the side wall will yield better success than dropping it down the center.

5. IMPORTANT!!! When retrieving the pipe, a come-along is recommended to start the pulling process. There will be a vacuum that gets created from the pressure of the pump being stuck in silt or sediment. Using a come-along applies smooth pressure to help break the vacuum. If a hydraulic or electric winch is used to start the pull, the load will be amplified and could cause the tool to slide off the pipe or tear the sidewall. Use a piece of tape on the retrieval line to mark a reference point level with the top of the casing. Apply approximately 200 pounds of pressure to the come-along. If the pipe doesn't immediately come up, let it set for a while then come back to check the tape reference point to see if it has moved. Apply some more pressure and repeat the process until the pipe breaks free of the vacuum.

6. If THEFETCH will not pull up the pipe, or if it gets stuck, relax the retrieval line and pull up on the release line. If the release line does not break the tool loose, then it is locked and will need to be driven down to break the tension on the dogs. Contact us for more information on how to build a pipe slide. A pipe slide can be made with a section of 1 1/4" ID pipe weighing about 3 pounds with a hole drilled through the top sidewall. Tie off a section of rope through the hole and run the release line and retrieval line through the pipe. Drop the pipe down to hit the top of the tool. It may take several tries to drive the tool down. This relieves the pressure on the dogs, and allows the tool to be recovered.

Click here for a printable version
Reading a Book

Reset Procedure

Click here for a printable version
bottom of page