Rotary hackle pliers

Discussion in 'Fly Tying' started by jonbackman, Feb 2, 2008.

  1. jonbackman Member

    Posts: 236
    Mt. Vernon
    Ratings: +19 / 0
    I just bought a set of these, thinking that they would be a great tool. I've only used them for two flies so far, reverse spiders w/ mallard flank for the hackle. I didn't get the top of the line pliers by any means, but, at least with the mallard hackle, I wasn't all that impressed. Obviously I can't fully judge before trying them with multiple feathers/materials or a little more time to get the feel for them. Anybody out there use them much and want to share why you like them or not?
  2. klintd Member

    Posts: 229
    South Sound
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I have tried them out a couple times also and came to the same conclusion.
  3. tkww Member

    Posts: 464
    WA
    Ratings: +66 / 2
    Personally I love 'em. I've been using them so long I almost can't use regular hackle pliers. You can twist dubbing loops with them, etc. Maybe it's just a preference thing.... What did you not like about using them?
  4. Speydee New Member

    Posts: 18
    bothell, wa
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I love my rotary hackle pliers and like the previous user have retired all other pliers. I can control where and how the hackle lays down much better with the longer reach and find my fingers aren't in the way so much. Combined with the Norvise, I can whip on a hackle lickety split.
  5. klintd Member

    Posts: 229
    South Sound
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    If do not have a true rotary vise so I am still winding all materials on the hook by moving the material around the hook. Because the thread is still attach I pass materials from hand to hand. For this procedure I dont find the roatary hackle pliers much of an upgrade over any other pliers.
  6. _WW_ Fishes with Wolves

    Posts: 1,906
    Skagit River
    Ratings: +648 / 0
    I've used them for about 15 yrs. The pair I have are long handled and somewhat flexible/springy. The long handle helps when maneuvering around the hanging thread bobbin and the flexibility helps keep me from breaking hackle feathers. If they weren't available, I would have to invent them. :)
  7. FT Active Member

    Posts: 1,242
    Burlington, WA
    Ratings: +102 / 0
    Got my first pair about 16 years ago when Griffin first put theirs on the market. I love 'em, but they aren't the only hackle pliers I use for the simple reason that they aren't the best for all hackling operations. I also have and use teardrop hackle pliers and the little plastic, electronic grab-it type with the small hook and plunger(I usually see them advertised for midge flies) I bought at Radio Shack.

    Plus, there is my fingers, which I use on things like mallard, teal, gadwall, blue-eared pheasant, and spey hackle.

    I view hackle pliers like I view hackle, different types work best on different flies.
  8. Dave Ellis Member

    Posts: 39
    Eatonville, Washington
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    I think they are great for winding hackle without a rotary vise - with the long handle, they give me more precise control over placement of the hackle feather stem and the ability/room to more easily stroke the filaments back as I wrap forward - and then an easier tie off. :thumb:
  9. jonbackman Member

    Posts: 236
    Mt. Vernon
    Ratings: +19 / 0
    Thanks for the input so far. One other question. The pair I bought has a little plastic sleeve over one of the jaws that holds the hackle. Is this some sort of shipping/packing thing, or does it sound like something that is meant to stay on during use? Maybe it helps grip the feather better?:confused:
  10. Richard Olmstead BigDog

    Posts: 2,487
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +786 / 0
    It's designed to help grip the feather.
  11. Daryle Holmstrom retiredfishak

    Posts: 2,572
    Mount Vernon, WA
    Ratings: +106 / 0
    Just went to the big box store to get a griffin set, all out so I bought brand x starts with A and ends with haus (what a piece of crap), upon further reading made in india. Going back tomorrow for a refund. It wouldn't grip any of the hackle I tried. Just hope they don't put it back in inventory.

    Daryle
  12. jonbackman Member

    Posts: 236
    Mt. Vernon
    Ratings: +19 / 0
    Daryle:
    I bought the same one, probably from the same place, judging by your location. So maybe quality of the tool is my problem more than anything else. The hackle slipping out of the pliers has been my biggest complaint so far, although I still haven't used them all that much.
  13. traditionalist New Member

    Posts: 80
    Europe
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    You can make your own quite easily. With or without springs etc etc..
    Just get the smallest "English" type hackle pliers you can find, and modify them like this;

    [IMG]


    As with ALL hackle pliers, it is essential that you use a slip of rubber or silicone tubing on BOTH! jaws. ( Only one jaw has the rubber in the picture! So you can see it!) These grip anything, and will not slip or break hackle. An ordinary key ring is used here, and a swivel as used on trolling gear, but there are various ways of doing it. This also makes the small "English" type pliers usable, as you can simply rotate them on your finger. Normally the hole in the pliers is too small for most people´s fingers.
  14. Daryle Holmstrom retiredfishak

    Posts: 2,572
    Mount Vernon, WA
    Ratings: +106 / 0
    Great Tip
  15. jonbackman Member

    Posts: 236
    Mt. Vernon
    Ratings: +19 / 0
    Traditionalist:
    That is excellent info. Thank you for the picture as well. I think I may return my rotary pliers and make what you showed me. I already have the supplies right here at home. Also, I had never heard that tubing is essential on the plier jaws, but it certainly makes sense. I learn so much good stuff from this site.
  16. traditionalist New Member

    Posts: 80
    Europe
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    My pleasure. You may find some of this useful as well;

    http://flytyingforum.com/mike/Flies/Techniques/Tools/Rotary_Pliers/rotary_pliers.html