Making a Wading Stick

 

How to make a simple wading staff

by John Gray

Making a wading stick for salmon fishing

Until this year, I had never used a wading stick. Apart from the very occasional lapse of concentration, resulting in an unscheduled, and never life threatening, ducking, I have managed to keep my feet fairly well over forty years of loch and river fishing. In general, for loch and river trout fishing, and for night time sea trout fishing, I would find a wading stick an unnecessary encumbrance, and I have never felt a pressing need for a third leg in such fishing. In recent seasons, though, an increasing number of outings on medium and large salmon rivers, such as the Spey, Teith and Earn, combined with the lack of agility which comes with the slow but steady advance in years, has convinced me of the wisdom in taking a bit more care in potentially risky situations.

Wherever possible, I find much more satisfaction in using tackle I have made rather than bought .... rods, flies, spinners, priests etc. So, in the early Spring, before the fishing season got properly underway, I went in search of a stout stick. I must say that I found the search itself most enjoyable, a bit like searching through a second hand bookshop for a hidden gem, with the added benefit of a good bit of much needed exercise thrown in. Having cut several likely looking sticks of various kinds from a number of locations, including ash and willow, I finally settled on a nice length of hazel. Hazel sticks could almost have evolved for use as wading or walking sticks. They have a smooth and attractive bark, grow straighter than most other trees, with a gradual taper and a minimum of side shoots. Ideally, when cut, a stick should be sealed at both ends to prevent cracking and stored in a dry place for six months or so before working on it. Being rather impatient, and in need of a stick for the imminent fishing season, I left the stick for only a few weeks before starting on it and I must say that I can detect no fault in the resulting wading stick, which is shown in the photographs below.

The stick is 54 inches in length, loaded with about 12 ounces of lead contained within a length of 22 mm copper pipe, while the foot is a rubber rod butt cap, all held together with silicone sealant. The short detachable cord is looped to the ring on my wading jacket or waistcoat. I have found the simple flat top on the handle useful for leaning on, rather than a v-shaped thumb grip.

 

Wading stick handle with lanyard

The Wading stick handle and lanyard

 

Metal ring and clip for lanyard

Metal ring and lanyard clip

 
 

 

 

 

weighted copper tube for wading stick

Weighted copper tube and rubber foot

 

 

HMH Tube Fly Tool

 

Resources

Grays of Kilsyth

Salmon Flies

Trout Flies

Fly Fishing Knots

Salmon Fishing Scotland

Trout Fishing Scotland

Sea Trout Fishing

Sea Trout Flies

Tube Flies

The Tube Fly Shop

Salmon Recipes

 

 
 

 

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