Video: How to Make Your Own Tippet-Spool Tenders

Tim Flagler of Tightline Productions, has a special treat for us this week. Instead of walking us through a fly pattern, he offers step-by-step instructions for making elastic tenders that will control any material that comes on a spool—tippet material, monofilament or fluorocarbon, or even tying materials. For less than $10, you can make a bunch of these things and gain control over unruly materials.

          DIY Spool Tenders
          1. 1/4-inch Soft Stretch Elastic braid.
          2. Clear plastic tubing, 3/16 outside diameter and 1/8 inside diameter.
          3. 1/4-inch heat-shrink tubing.
          Tools: Scissors, ruler, bodkin, candle, hot-glue gun, xtra-fine Sharpie.

12 thoughts on “Video: How to Make Your Own Tippet-Spool Tenders”

  1. While I am happy with the tippet spool covers that come with leader material. On the other hand it is interesting but one of your best was tying the Davy knot. I have used it and it is great and the trick with the hackly plier to do it really helps as I m older and anything smaller than 4x is indeed a chore. And particularly when the wind blows the tag around when trying to do a clinch knot.

  2. Pingback: How to....tippet tenders. - The North American Fly Fishing Forum
  3. I use elastic and eyelets to make my leader tenders. You just need eyelets and elastic. Much faster to make and less materials.

    1. Don’t you also need a special tool to secure the eyelets to the elastic? I personally don’t like this type of tender as the leader or tippet material often doesn’t stick out above the edge of the spool and can be difficult to get to quickly. With the ones I described in the video the end of the material is never below the edge of the spool because of the length of tubing and it stands off the spool at 90 degrees so it’s very easy get to and quickly pull off the appropriate length. But, as I always say, whatever works best for you.

  4. I loved this idea and immediately made some up. I carry a 200 yard spool of 4X fluorocarbon line that I use for most of my nymph fishing and this system seemed particularly useful for non-standard spools like that.
    However after using these for a while, I’ve found that the tubing “grooves” where the tippet runs through it and then it starts to abrade the tippet. I have noticed this primarily with fluorocarbon tippet in 4X or 5X. Wondering if there’s specific kind of tubing I need to look for? I’ve also tried using beads, but they are harder to handle and find in the right size.


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  5. I buy flouro tippet material (cheap) 250 yards for $12 and load it into old spools of Rio. So I’ve been living with these loose elastic retainers for years. I just did what you taught and thank you, thank you so much!!!

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