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Thread: Confessions of a half hitcher

  1. #11

    Default Re: Confessions of a half hitcher

    I had the same issue when I first started learning to tie, I still can't use the thompson tool that came with my kit, ended up buying the matterelli and learned to use it. I still half hitch many times during fly creation, typically, when I finish a section of the fly I add a half hitch. For example, if I have wrapped some herl to the front, I put a couple wraps around it and then a half hitch to hold everything in place before proceeding to the next step. There are a lot of opportunities for a half hitch, and you can get away with it as a finish if you cement the heads, not as clean looking as a whip finish, but usable none the less. I almost exclusively finish my flies with a whip now, unless I have gotten a little sloppy and don't have room at the head for one, and I almost always use a drop of head cement to seal things up.

    I sat down at a vice with a bare hook, and the finishing tool and tied it up, cut it off, tied it up, etc until I got it down. now it is almost second nature.


  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Central Florida

    Default Re: Confessions of a half hitcher

    Hi Everyone,

    I have learned and re-learned how to use the tool but every time I come back to the vise after some absence, I forget how to use it. I have never forgotten how to whip finish by hand. So instead of fighting it I just whip finish by hand. In most cases the hand whip finish is quicker because you don't have to pick up the tool.


  3. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Merrimac, MA

    Default Re: Confessions of a half hitcher

    I'm a sailor, so the whip finish makes intuitive sense to me.

    What you're actually doing with a whip finish is the same thing that you do when you whip the bitter end of a line.

    Essentially, you are over-wrapping a straight piece of line (thread) with perpendicular barrel wraps (which is what happens each time you go around the hook with the tool (or your fingers); you're forming a barrel wrap).

    After 3-5 barrel wraps, you're pulling the end of the thread into the barrel and cutting it off; leaving the barrel wraps to keep the line tightly in place.

    As long as your wraps are butted up against each other; and going either forward or backward, you'll get good holding power from a whip finish; since you're, essentially, burying the thread.

    I usually use a double whip finish; first barrel wraps from the eye toward the back of the head; second whip finish, from the back of the head to the eye.

    You can use cement as an extra insurance policy, but unless you're tying a pattern that calls for a shiny head, with two whip finishes you shouldn't need to.

    That video is great!


    PS - I just re-read this post; it makes sense to me; hope it will to you....

  4. #14

    Default Re: Confessions of a half hitcher

    I've found that I only need to whip finish on flies that are bigger than 8-10, and/or I am going for a prettier head. Otherwise, it can get finicky, and it is way faster to throw two or three half hitches and rotate your bobbin backwards around the fly until the hitches "back up" to each other, throw on cement and call 'er done. It's plenty secure and takes all of a half a second per knot. On a size 16 dry, you can't really see the head unless you're looking through a magnifying glass anyways.

    I do use my hands for whip finishing, and I might sing a different tune if I had a proper tool, but it just seems to take up a lot of time.

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