Homemade Strike Indicator Rubber Bands for Fly Fishing

Homemade Strike Indicator Rubber Bands for Fly Fishing
Strike indicators are used by fly anglers when fishing in a variety of stream conditions. A strike indicator can be used with dry flies in fast moving riffles or to set the depth of nymphs in deep languid pools. Although there are many variations of indicators manufactured commercially, many anglers choose to custom design and make their own. The rubber band or O ring, used as a stopper for the strike indicator, is perhaps the most important piece of the puzzle when making your own strike indicators.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • 5/16 to 3/8 inch diameter rubber O ring
  • Surgical forceps
  • Green yarn
  • Sharp scissors
  • Yellow, orange or red yarn
  • Green thread
  • Surgical rubber glove
Step 1
Choose a rubber O ring in either a 5/16 or 3/8 inch size depending on personal preference and the diameter of the leader you will be using. A smaller O ring will typically hold in place more securely, while a larger diameter may be easier to slide and reposition.
Step 2
Slide an O ring over the end of a pair of surgical forceps. The forceps jaws should be closed and the O ring will need to be slid back as far as possible so that the jaws can be opened later on in the process.
Step 3
Select a 9-inch length of green yarn. Pinch off a small clump of yarn no larger than 1/4 inch in diameter. Cut the yarn to a length of 9 inches with a pair of sharp scissors. Fold the length of green yarn in half and then fold in half again.
Step 4
Cut a 3-inch long piece of red, yellow, orange or other brightly colored yarn from the skein with a pair of sharp scissors. Lay the bright yarn on top of the folded green yarn.
Step 5
Open the jaws of the forceps and clamp one end of the green and bright yarn in place by closing the forceps 1/4 inch from one end of the yarn. Trim the short end of the yarn extending from the forceps jaws so that it is even the loops in the green yarn are cut free.
Step 6
Slide the O ring down from the forceps jaws and onto the middle of the yarn. Remove the forceps from the yarn and fold the yarn in half with the O ring in the middle.
Step 7
Cut a 1 inch long and 1/2 inch wide strip from a rubber surgical glove. Slide the rubber glove strip half way through the O ring. Pull both ends of the rubber strip along side the doubled yarn around the O ring.
Step 8
Wrap green thread around the rubber strip and yarn just above the rubber O ring. Loop the thread around the gathered yarn and rubber strip so that it is tightly held in place as close as possible to the O ring. Make six to seven turns with the thread. Tie off and cut the thread free from the bobbin with scissors.
Step 9
Trim the yarn flush with scissors to a length of about 3/4 inch long. This trimming will even the yarn, remove the remaining loops of green yarn and expose the bright colored yarn in the middle of the strike indicator.

Article Written By Keith Dooley

Keith Dooley has a degree in outdoor education and sports management. He has worked as an assistant athletic director, head coach and assistant coach in various sports including football, softball and golf. Dooley has worked for various websites in the past, contributing instructional articles on a wide variety of topics.

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