Making a Wading Staff

Two coats of spar varnish, one more coat and add in leash, done like dinner

I used a simple lightweight hiking stick for fishing in Japan the last time I was there. It helped me nurse a an old sore and recovering ankle injury but the truth of the matter is, it helped me immensely on multiple water crossings we did. It also served as a third leg when traversing or descending a slope.

When hiking, I use a set of poles that helps tremendously with stability, and it actually helps ascend and descend at faster pace. I use the poles as I would if I was skiing. I plant the pole in front of me steps, plant the other, steps and I use the pole plant as a pivot point when I am turning on steep paths with hairpins.

The streams in my home area basically fall in to two categories, steep gradient with lots of rocks and shallow gradient with grassy and undercut banks. Both types of streams can benefit from the use of a wading staff.

During my fishing season, winter allows me to focus on the Colorado River in Glen Canyon. This is a classic big western river with heavy flow and a slick bottom. In my approach there with honryu tenkara, a wading staff will help as I am often moving from one place to another in deep water sometimes walking on "greased bowling ball" type rocks on the bottom.

My inspiration to make a wading staff comes from the fact that my travel hiking and wading pole is petite. It will not support my weight. Many times I've had to lean on it heavily and felt the shaft bow and was thankful that it did not give. I've stuck it between rocks and always have to let go, if I held on, it would break. I need stability, I don't need to get additionally hurt if my petite balance pole breaks.

Dr. Tom Davis from Teton Tenkara has been using a wading staff for some time now and swears by his. Chris Stewart uses one and his is similar to Dr. Tom's. Jean Santos and friends also use a hiking staff. Their staffs are made of wood and one piece, they will not break under normal conditions of hiking and wading.

I decided to build one and this is my story.

image by permission of Jean Santos

image by permission of Jean Santos

image by permission of Jean Santos

Further information on wooden wading staffs

Hardwood dowels
Ace Brand Wood Leaf Rake Replacement Handle
Elmers (waterproof) Wood Glue
Minwax Tung Oil Finish
Epifanes Spar Varnish
15/16" Flat Boring Drill Bit
Gear Keeper Retractors - TenkaraBum: Gear Keeper info on Wading Staff
Wrapping a Staff with Paracord

Teton Tenkara: Making a Human Tripod - My Most Important Tenkara Item...

Tenkara Videos of Wading Staffs in Use

Three blanks made, attaching the T-Handle with a stainless steel screw and wood glue

Tung Oil finish on the lower section is done and now I'm starting on the Spar Varnish finish

The handle is fit and tight with a oversized stainless steel screw to keep things together. Next session
I will sand and glue the T-handle on and then varnish/tung oil finish. After that it's balance then wrap with paracord and grip. They are coming out nice and each one has some character but is bomber. I'm making one for my fishing buddy, I need to order some nice pink paracord for him so he will stand out nicely on the stream. I don't want him to lose it. If you are interested in purchasing the last one, let me know, look at the site and tell me what ever color you want and I will wrap it with that.

1 comment:

  1. Very cool project. You could get really creative decorating the shaft too.