DIY Spool Tenders via Tightline Productions

by | Aug 26, 2016 | 3 comments

 

A plastic tube, some elastic braid, and some heat shrink tubing. After a quick trip to the hardware store and a little time with a glue gun, I’ve now resolved a problem that has plagued me since I was ten years old. Thanks, Tim Flagler.

Tim’s growing collection of videos (284 and counting) at Tightline Productions is arguably the best and most comprehensive video resource on the web for tying flies. Thrown into the mix are helpful videos on knots and other such things as the DIY Spool Tenders.

There are other ways to hold your tippet to the spool. I’ve tried a lot of them. The elastic bands that manufacturers include on tippet spools have certainly gotten better over the years. A decade ago, they used to break before I reached the thirty-yard end of the material. These days they don’t break as often, but the tippet still slips out of the hole somehow and I have to re-thread it … all too often.

I’ll bet most anglers don’t have this problem — and most of the rest don’t care when they do. But I know there are a few other fishermen out there who are delighted with anything that keeps a system running smoothly.  As I wrote in the Split Shot post earlier this week, “I tend to get hung up on the little, inefficient things that rob me of productive fishing time and cost me fish. So I fix them.” And if the little things don’t bother you, then “I envy your cavalier approach to life.”

I shared this link with my Troutbitten friends, and my buddy, Sloop, said, “This is truly a Dom activity.” Ha. Good point.

 

img_1728
Couple tips:

— Don’t build them too tight. Just follow the directions in the video for determining the length of elastic. If you cut the elastic shorter, the tender won’t rotate easily.

— These work on most spool. But some old-school spools are too narrow for the tubing diameter used in the video. Improvise, adapt and overcome.

— I originally built these for my Maxima spools, which ship with only a wimpy rubber band. They worked so well that I built more to replace the tenders on my tippet spools.

— The tenders also work well for spools of tinsel, wire, etc.

I’ll conclude as Flagler does in the video: “Happy crafting.”

 

Enjoy the day.
Domenick Swentosky
T R O U T B I T T E N
domenick@troutbitten.com

Share This Article . . .

Since 2014 and 600 articles deep
Troutbitten is a free resource for all anglers
Your support is greatly appreciated

– Explore These Post Tags –

Domenick Swentosky

Central Pennsylvania

Hi. I’m a father of two young boys, a husband, author, fly fishing guide and a musician. I fish for wild brown trout in the cool limestone waters of Central Pennsylvania year round. This is my home, and I love it. Friends. Family. And the river.

More from this Category

Why do we miss trout on a nymph?

Why do we miss trout on a nymph?

Late hook sets are a problem, as is guessing about whether we should set the hook in the first place. But I believe, more times than not, when we miss a trout, the fish actually misses the fly. However, that doesn’t let us off the hook either. It’s probably still our fault. And here’s why . . .

Loss of contact, refusals and bad drifts. All of these things and more add into missing trout on nymphs. So how do we improve the hookup ratio?

Fishing Light

Fishing Light

You’ve probably been wading upstream on a favorite trout stream and seen another angler’s lost tackle. Maybe the whole mess was in the streamside trees, with split shot and bobber attached, or a misguided F13 Rapala with rusted hooks. Maybe you’ve snagged a pile of monofilament stuck in waterlogged branches and lodged against a rock. And when you’ve seen all that mess, maybe you were stunned by how heavy the tackle was. Are you with me? . . .

Be a Mobile Angler

Be a Mobile Angler

Wading is not just what happens between locations. And it’s not only about moving across the stream from one pocket to the next. Instead, wading happens continuously.

Many anglers wade to a spot in the river and set up, calf, knee or waist deep, seemingly relieved to have arrived safely. Then they proceed to fish far too much water without moving their feet again. When the fish don’t respond, these anglers finally pick up their feet. Maybe they grab a wading staff and begrudgingly take the steps necessary to reach new water and repeat the process.

This method of start and stop, of arriving and relocating, is a poor choice. Instead, the strategy of constant motion is what wins out . . .

Beyond Euro Nymphing

Beyond Euro Nymphing

Euro nymphing is an elegant, tight line solution. But don’t limit yourself. Why not use the tight line tools (leaders and tactics) for more than just euro nymphing?

Use it for fishing a tight-line style of indicators. Use it for dry dropper or even straight dries. And use it for streamers, both big and small.

Refining these tactics is the natural progression of anglers who fish hard, are thoughtful about the tactics and don’t like limitations. I know many good fly fishers who have all come out the other side with the same set of tools. Because fishing a contact system like the Mono Rig eventually teaches you all that is possible . . .

New Structure | Old Structure

New Structure | Old Structure

One of my favorite places in the world is a deeply shaded valley that runs north and south between two towering mountains of mixed hardwoods. The forest floor has enough conifers mixed in to block much of the sunlight, even in the winter. The ferns of spring grow tall, and thick moss is spread throughout. The ground remains soft enough here that all large trees eventually surrender to the valley. When they can no longer support their weight in the soft spongy ground, they fall over, leaving a broken forest of deep greens and the dark-chocolate browns of wet, dead bark. It’s gorgeous.

Fallen timber also dictates the course of this cold water stream. The fresh tree falls force the creek to bend away from the hillside. Rolling water carves away the earth and lays bare the rocks — these stones of time, as Maclean puts it. And when water cuts into a neighboring channel, previously dry for centuries, new river banks are undercut and fresh roots exposed . . .

Light Dry Dropper in the Flow

Light Dry Dropper in the Flow

. . .The flow of the fly line through the air is finesse and freedom. Contrasted with nymphing, streamer fishing, or any other method that adds weight to the system, casting the weightless dry fly with a fly line is poetry.

The cast is unaffected because the small soft hackle on a twelve-inch tether simply isn’t heavy enough to steal any provided slack from the dry. It’s an elegant addition that keeps the art of dry fly fishing intact . . .

What do you think?

Be part of the Troutbitten community of ideas.
Be helpful. And be nice.

3 Comments

  1. Now that’s a great idea. Thanks for posting it, Domenic.
    Bruce

    Reply
  2. I too have tried many things over the years; none of them completely satisfactory. I made some the way you and Tim suggested and they work great! Thanks to you both for sharing.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Articles

Recent Posts

Pin It on Pinterest