Fly Tying Finish Tools

How to Choose Your Fly Tying Vise
Casey and her husband Lubin live on the road in their blue van as full time travelling fly fishers. She has a fly tying business where she ties custom flies for clients all over, and also writes for several of Australia’s premier fishing magazines. Always keen to support and encourage ladies that want to fly fish, Casey has hosted groups and clinics in Australia and New Zealand, particularly aimed at those wanting to join competition trout fishing.
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Fly Tying Finishing Tools

There are a number of tools that can be used to assist with finishing a fly. The most common are a half hitch tool, whip finish tool, and plain old fingers. Not every tool suits every every situation, so here is a run down of when each comes into play.

Half Hitch

A half hitch tool can be purchased as an individual item, and are also found on the bottom of most bodkins. This tool allows you to finish a fly when a whip finish tool or fingers are too bulky, for instance a parachute fly like a klinkhammer has hackle fibres very close to the eye of the hook. If you were to use a whip finish, you would likely catch the fibres under the thread and ruin the fly. Size 18 or smaller hooks can also be difficult to whip finish when there is no bead, making the half hitch a valuable tool to have your fly tying arsenal.

Whip Finish Tool

The whip finish tool is an extremely efficient way to finish a fly. It creates several half hitches at once, and leaves a very tidy finish. This is ideal for beaded flies with a thread collar, as well as larger dry flies. Whip finish tools looks complicated and daunting, but there are so many YouTube tutorials out there to help you master the technique.


Although it pays to have both half hitch and whip finish tools in your kit, using your fingers can be a more efficient method to finish your flies. You can perform both a whip finish or half hitch with just your fingers, and it ultimately saves times because you are not having to pick up and put down tools constantly.

This is particularly true for those that tie with they’re scissors on their fingers. Although not all tools are suitable for all jobs, they are all worth having in your kit. Each person usually finds a prefered way to finish their flies, but having the option to use another method will mean much more successful tying.

UWOTF Fly Tying - Bodkin
UWOTF Fly Tying - Whip Finisher

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