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.


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

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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.

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

  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.


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