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by Bob Banfelder

There is a striking resemblance among the many varieties of strike indicators on the market today. Some are comprised of cork with a rubber wedge that holds a leader sandwiched between the two materials. They may be oval or shaped like a tiny football. Some indicators are a bubble bobber-type, comprised of a hollow plastic ball with a plastic screw and washer that locks the leader in place. A popular brand-name indicator is one called the Thingamabobber that uses trapped air technology; they come in assorted sizes and colors. You simply loop the leader through its grommet. Other strike indicators utilize yarn in lieu of cork, rubber, or plastic, the leader held in place by any number of methods, knots being but one manner of fastening material and leader. Knots and/or kinks prove problematic. Too, yarn eventually absorbs water and has to be chemically treated continuously or it will sink. And then there are those sticky foam Palsa pinch-on type indicators that have been around forever.

As we used foam strips to tie our winged ants and hoppers, why not stick with foam and construct your own strike indicators? We'll make one here by using two strips of pink 2 mm foam, a ½" length of 1/8th" flexible tubing, epoxy, and a toothpick. This simple strike indicator will not knot, kink, or make a sticky mess of your leader as would several of the other strike indicators mentioned above. What's really neat about this crafted strike indicator is that you can adjust its length up and down in a heartbeat. And, yes, it will easily float those heavier 1/0 and 2/0 hooks we've been using for saltwater angling as well as smaller, lighter hooks.


Constructing Your Own Strike Indicators

Here are the materials you will need:

2 strips pink 2 mm-thick foam
length of 1/8th" (outside diameter) flexible tubing; (inside diameter large enough to accommodate folded leader [doubled over onto itself] so as to pass through tube opening—generally .078–.096 ID)
2-part 5-minute epoxy
wood toothpick

Step 1: Measure and cut two strips of pink foam to size; that is, 1¼" long x 3/8th wide.

Step 2: Place one strip atop the other and pierce the center of the strips with the sharp point of a pencil to make a small hole.
Step 3: Cut a ½" length of the flexible tubing at a very sharp angle then insert it into the hole. This facilitates insertion. Allow both ends of tubing to protrude.

Wing Triangle Petal Wheel Automotive wheel system

Foam strips and piece of tubing

Step 3: Cut a ½" length of the flexible tubing at a very sharp angle then insert it into the hole. This facilitates insertion. Allow both ends of tubing to protrude.

Step 4: Glue both strips together, right up to each side of the tubing, being careful not to allow the epoxy to touch the ends of the tubing. Allow to dry thoroughly.

Step 5: Trim both ends of the tubing flush with the face of the foam strips.

Step 6: Double over and pinch the leader at a point where you want the strike indicator set. Insert the folded leader through either end of the tubing, forming a small loop.

Step 7: Pass the loop over and around the ends of the strips and snug down lightly, perpendicular to the embedded tubing.

Step 8: Stick the narrow end of the toothpick into either end of the tubing to lock the leader, allowing ¼" of the toothpick to protrude; break off at this point.

Sky Cloud Parachute Parachuting Electric blue

Top to bottom: completed foam strike indicator ~ leader section ~ winged ant

Changing depths is quick and easy. Depending on where you would like your fly suspended into the water column, remove the toothpick, loosen the loop, slide the strike indicator up or down the leader, reset and lock it in place with another piece of toothpick. Compact and cheap to construct, these strike indicators work wonderfully well with tapered and non-tapered leaders in either monofilament or fluorocarbon. Good to go. When casting light flies such as nymphs, I always use knotless tapered leaders for better turnover. Too, my choice of tippet material is almost always fluorocarbon. I'll conclude this piece by stating that employing strike indicators with wet flies will aid in catching more fish in either freshwater or saltwater.

See you on the water this summer season—at least in spirit.

Bob Banfelder

Award-Winning Crime Thriller Novelist & Outdoors Writer
Member: Outdoor Writers Association of America
New York State Outdoor Writers Association
Long Island Outdoor Communicators Network

Recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from Who's Who in America

Book Publication Shelving Window blind Book cover

Several of My Award-Winning Crime Fiction Novels Incorporate The Great Outdoors

Top to Bottom:

The Richard Geist Three-Book Series ~ Trilogy

Dicky, Richard, and I. A story of madness in the making. A curious mix of a mother's care and cruelty concerning her young son, Dicky Geist, and the precocious boy's metamorphosis into that of a multiple murderer.

The Signing
. An account of a clandestine murderous cult monikered the Inner Circle of Friends, led by Richard Geist. Geist and cult members are hellbent on creating chaos and bringing about the eventual collapse of our government.

The Triumvirate. A tale of Neo-Nazism. Three most powerful men covertly control governments around the globe. Fifty-year-old secrets begin to surface referencing Hitler's progeny, the Manhattan Project, and Nazi gold in this mystery within a mystery. It is the genesis of the Fourth Reich.

The Justin Barnes Four-Book Series ~ Tetralogy

The Author. A prolific serial killer is the author and architect of a covert operation whose job it is to place government operatives within the ranks of worldwide extremist groups. Justin Barnes, a street savvy Afro-American maverick, searches unrelentingly for the madman who viciously murdered Justin's female cousin.

The Teacher. Justin Barnes, working clandestinely with Suffolk County homicide detectives on Long Island, is assigned to help track down Malcolm Columba's associate, serial killer Professor Clarence Emery. The pair had worked in concert, and Justin is out to stop Emery before he strikes again. A terrifying tale of evil and what it takes to stop it in its tracks.

Knots. Kalvin Matheson, an out-of-work insurance salesman obsessed with immortality and hero worship regarding two notorious serial killers, follows in the footsteps of his two diabolical pals, but with a subtle signature twist, utilizing intricate knots.

The Good Samaritans. In this final four-part series, Justin Barnes, once again, assists Suffolk County homicide detectives as part of a covert operation in tracking down Sep Cramer, a politically well-connected, ruthless serial killer.

Trace Evidence
. Inspired by the Robert Shulman Serial Killer Trial in Riverhead, N.Y., Robert Banfelder spent every day for 15 months as a spectator to obtain fodder for this novel.

Battered. Based on a true story of an abused woman who murdered her husband, Robert Banfelder communicated with abused women, one of whom spent 15 years in prison for her crime.


The Fishing Smart Anywhere Handbook for Salt Water & Fresh Water. A concise yet comprehensive angling and on-the-water activities handbook covering spin, bait, fly-fishing, fly tying, clamming, crabbing, kayaking, canoeing, seafood recipes and much more. For novice through experienced anglers. Endorsed by Left Kreh and Angelo Peluso. [black & white photos]

The North American Hunting Smart Handbook: Bonus Feature: Hunting Africa's & Australia's Most Dangerous Game. A concise yet comprehensive small and big game hunting handbook covering guns and bows. Includes upland bird hunting, land management, whitetail tactics and much more. Special bonus feature includes stories of big game hunting in Africa and Australia by seasoned hunters. [color photos]

The Essential Guide to Writing Well and Getting Published. A must-have guide for both novice and veteran writers. This handbook includes tips on how to make money and gain rewards from outdoors writings. Color-coded lessons for easy comprehension
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