How to Whip Finish a Fly Without a Tool

Throughout your life as a fisherman, I’m sure we can all reflect on a time where our “money” fly was shredded due to an incredible bite. Whether or not this has ever happened to you, we can all agree that securing your wraps while tying flies is crucial. While the half-hitch will get the job done, the whip-finish holds its ground as one of the most secure knots to finish off your flies. This knot acts as a slip knot and when tightened it rarely comes loose. There are plenty of tools on the market to aid in the whip finish process, but the only tools you really need are simply your hands. In this tips and tricks tutorial, Tim Flagler of Tightline Productions demonstrates how to whip-finish while only using your hands.

How to Whip Finish with Your Hands:

  1. Start by pulling down your bobbin to expose three to four inches of tying thread.
  2. Lay the tips of your index and middle fingers on top of the tying thread.
  3. Pull the bobbin up with your left hand and over top of your fingers as you rotated them until your pads face you.
  4. Keep the thread from your bobbin in line with your hook shank.
  5. Rotate the pads of your fingers away from you and the thread from your middle finger should lead straight back toward the bobbin.
  6. The thread from your index finger should be roughly perpendicular to the hook shank.
  7. Push your index finger away from you and as you wrap your fingers under the shank, turn the pads of your fingers so they are facing you.
  8. Continue this wrapping process five to six times.
  9. When finished, release your middle finger and pinch the loop between your thumb and index finger.
  10. Pull the bobbin to tighten the loop to the hook shank.

The hand whip-finish technique is a great process to learn especially in a pinch or if you forgot your tool. Now, take your freshly tied fly to the river and hook some monsters! Tight lines!

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