Tying a simple whip finish knot

THE WHIP FINISH KNOT is used after the fly has been completed. It insures that the thread will not unravel from the head. In principle, the whip finish not is a process of “tying the thread over itself”. The easiest way to learn this knot is to do it with a piece of twine and a nail. (When tied with thread on Fly Fishing Instructional Knots Video - DVDa hook, the fragility and smallness of both make it a bit difficult if you’ve never tried it.)

Both the whip finish knot and the half hitch should be learned before a fly is tied. In any event, you will need at least one of them if you want your fly to stay together.

If you have a conventional bench vise, you can insert the nail into that… or just hammer a half-inch of it into an old board. It doesn’t matter what you use, as long as the nail is held firmly. Tie a piece of butchers twine to the nail… or use an old fly line. It should be something that is fairly heavy so you can see and tell what is happening.

To finish off tying the fly , the line running to the bobbin is looped over the hook shank two to three times, each time the line running to the bobbin is pinched to the shank by the loop. This is a half hitch. When I was a kid we called this a “boat knot”.

A whip knot is very much the same except, BEFORE the loop is slipped over the shank; the line coming down between the shank and the loop is wrapped around the shank pinching the line from the loop to the bobbin against the shank. This wrap is done 3 to 4 times, THAN the loop is slipped over the shank and the line to the bobbin is pulled tight, and everything is now secure.

There are a lot of different explanations of how to do this and all that I’ve seen are very good. I think first you have to understand just what the knot will look like when it is finished. How you do this will be the way it suits you, weather it is with the whip finish knot tool or your fingers. It tends to be harder if you have big fat fingers, and the tool doesn’t cost much. So it’s your choice.

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