Fly Tying Techniques- Whip it Good !

by Hans Weilenmann

as much as possible i’ll always try to use a whip finishing tool because i find they give better control and precision, specially with the smaller flies but the hand finish is sometimes the only option available, for instance, when tying off at the back of the fly or when the materials are all over the place or bulky or when the tool has mysteriously disappeared…  anyhow, the hand finish is a must to know and learn and Hans’ video tutorial is the best i’ve seen.

as a side note, the ‘secret’ to a good and strong finishing knot, whether using a tool or by hand is to place the locking wraps side by side, in touching turns (we see this on the video) and not on top of or overlapping each other as this encourages them to roll off during the tightening sequence, reducing the effective locking surface. as Hans demonstrates on almost all his tying videos, a good, three turn whip is more than enough for most flies and a properly executed knot usually never needs any kind of varnish or glue to hold it together in time.

if you’re learning this technique, do yourself the favor of practicing it first with just thread and hook and not while tying an actual fly. done this way most people get it perfectly after two to three tries. enjoy !

post note- i wasn’t aware of the following video at the time of the original post. here’s Hans demonstrates the exact same knot but by using just one finger.
the guy’s impressive, to say the least…

3 thoughts on “Fly Tying Techniques- Whip it Good !

  1. It isn’t the only secret to getting a secure whip finish. As you wind the thread twist builds up in the thread. This twist gives a rigid shape and size to the thread. If you leave the twist in the thread when you whip finish you tighten down on the rigid shape (round basically). No matter how much you pull to tighten the whip finish it will only tighten to the shape of the thread. When you cut the thread it will relax and fibres will then slip out of the loose whipping turns.
    If you remove the twist before forming the whip finish the turns tighten down on relaxed thread. This makes for a tighter finish, one which will not slip when the thread is cut.

    • very good point, Alan !
      as noted above, and one that always makes me cringe when i see poorly made finishes on videos… is all the wraps should be in touching turns and not overlap. this prevents the knot from ‘bunching’ and shifting and has a much larger surface contact area. this is of course valid for any knot.
      hmmm, these two points might make an interesting article 😉
      thanks for stopping by and for a great comment !

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