First the disclaimers. I suck at taking pictures. I suck at explaining myself. Now let’s get started. I've learned a lot over the last year from many of you guys yet I have not contributed much in the knowledge arena. I am the proverbial jack of all trades master of none and I will always be an amateur hobbyist fly tier. Here is an attempt at adding something to the mix that some may enjoy doing. Hope it works.
I’m a minimalist. I like carrying as little as possible. I make these lanyards for myself and give them to friends. They make great gifts and everybody I give them to seems to like them so I’m sure a few of you guys and your friends will as well. You can buy these for 25 to 35 dollars or you can make two for about ten or twelve bucks. The larger the roll of 550 cord you buy the cheaper they get to make. If you are totally unfocused and hesitant you can complete this in an hour. If you’re on you’re A game about 20 minutes.
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First the things you will need: a board with two nails and a rubber band. My board is 18” long. A pack of black crane duo lock swivels. These are Boone brand size #3 65lb test. They cost two bucks for a pack of ten at Gander Mountain. A cord lock, 4 for a buck at Walmart. 550 cord in your choice of colors, 18’ for 2 bucks, 50’ for 5 bucks, 100’ for 8 bucks at Walmart. 550 cord is even cheaper on line. 9MM beads from a stash from when my kids were young. Not sure the cost but I'm pretty sure a lifetime supply of beads will cost a dollar or two. I like using two colors of 550 cord.
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Take a 29” length of cord and fuse the ends together to form a 14.5” loop or sized to fit between your wader straps. Youtube has plenty of videos on fusing 550 cord. Basically, heat both ends with a lighter and smush the ends into each other, they will cool and stick to themselves. Roll it around in your fingers to smooth it out. You may burn your fingers a bit. Suck it up. Loop this cord loop over one nail and put the rubber band through the other end and loop the band over the other nail just to keep things from flopping around. I like to put the fused part centered down one side.
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Now you will need a 10’ length of 550 cord. If using two color take a 5’ length of each and fuse them together. I kind of knit mine together but you will need two fibbits for this. Fusing works just fine though. Slide this length of cord under our loop held between the nails placing the center or the fused two color cord underneath the looped cord. I like to start about 2.5” down from the nail. You can slide the knot up and down the cord if you need to readjust. The more knots you make the harder it gets to slide.
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Now, with which ever color you want to be in the center in the case of two color (doesn’t really matter since the opposite side will be reversed.) form a C crossing over the top of the looped cord. It does not matter which side of the looped cord you start on. In this case I started on the right side of the loop and made a reverse C with the camo cord. Then take the other cord, in this case the black and run the tag end over the top of the running camo cord.
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Now take the running end of the black cord and pass it under the camo cord (You just went around the camo cord), under the looped cord and up through the reverse C that you made in the beginning. Hope that makes sense.
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Pull tight keeping the center or fused part under the two strands of the looped cord. Bam your first knot is done. All we have to do is repeat this on the other side of the looped cord. If you notice the camo cord is now on the left side of the looped cord. We will always be crossing the camo cord over the top of the looped cord.
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Make a C with the camo cord and cross over the looped cord. Take your black cord and run it over the camo cord.
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After going over the camo cord bring the black cord up under the camo cord, under the looped cord and up through the C,
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Pull tight. BAM! Looking good! keep the same amount of tension on the knots for uniformity. I like this portion tight.
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Repeat these steps, making a reverse C on the right side of loop
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Now before making the C on the left side of the looped cord slide a crane swivel onto the camo cord. Make your C and repeat the knot tying process. Keep the swivel on the left side and pull the knot tight.
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Keep going, don’t stop now. Every 6 camo cord loops on the left side I add another swivel. This will give me 5 clips across the front when I’m done.
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My last swivel is placed on same loop count as the first one to make things even. My end loop in the looped cord should be the same length as the other one. If not you can pick it apart until you can slide the bar up and down the looped cord then retie to finish.
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Cut the left-over camo and black cords leaving about a ¼” of cord.
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Heat the ¼” nub with a lighter and press a flat surface on it to smush it flat so it can’t pass back through the knot. I use the blade of my scissors to do the final smush. Bingo Bango you’re done. I use this bar 95% of the time simply by passing my wader straps through the looped ends. I hang my tippet off it, a bottle of gink, nippers, forceps, and a cork for drying flies on the other clips. If you want a convertible it’s a simple process to add the actual lanyard part.
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You can use beads, skulls, bear claws, or whatever you want. Here’s one with wood beads I made by drilling out a dowel rod and pointing the ends. I start with two 18” lengths of cord. Pass the cord through a crane lock with the swivel removed. Place a bead over the end of the cord and heat and smush the cord end so the bead won’t fall off. The bead is too fat to pass through the crane lock. My thinking here is if you manage to accidently hang yourself the bead will be forced off the end thus saving your life. That’s the theory but I never tested it or came close to hanging myself. If your accident prone they sell break aways for this purpose and recommend you put one on. Add another bead to the other side of the crane lock then add more beds, skulls, bear claws or whatever to give yourself some space before threading on a crane lock swivel to hold a tippet spool rod. Do the exact same thing on the 18” second cord. Slide both ends through the cord lock and you’re done.
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The tippet rod is just a 6” dowel with pointed ends and two small eyelet screws. The rubber washers keep the tippet spools from flopping to and fro. If you don't want the tippet rod leave it off and use the crane locks to hold small light weight fly boxes. The configurations are up to you.
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If you want to go above and beyond the basic Here’s another. I added bars on the lanyard to spread the pressure out along the neck. Yes a single strand of 550 cord will start bothering your neck.
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The bars are more of the same except I tied them over a single lanyard cord as opposed to the fused looped cord. Each bar is made from a 6.5’ length of cord. I just use one color typically for these. If you tie the knots looser then before the entire bar will slide up and down the lanyard for adjustability.
Hope you guys all make a couple for you and your friends. looking forward to another good year. Enjoy.