whip it..........whip it good (Fly Tying Question)

As a fairly new fly tyer I am wondering how many of you use a whip finisher?

If yes, what kind do you prefer?

I know guys that use one everytime and others that just use a half hitch.

Thanks for the help,
Thanks for sticking that song in my head for the rest of the day!;)

I use a couple half hitches on my flies. Been doing it since I was a youngster and got tired of fumbling with my POC whip finisher.


Active Member
:) So you are making some Olive Wooly Buggers are you Dave? I have a Materelli whip finisher that I have used about a dozen times in the last ten years. I don't like the monkey-motion action of the damned thing and prefer a simple half hitch tool. I have tied thousands of flies using just 3 half hitches and a drop of head cement. Except for the ones I gave to Old Man Jim my flies have all stayed together too. Half hitch tools are not that common any more and seem difficult to find but having no moving parts and never wearing out they are not big sellers at your local fly shop. Try that whip finisher before you buy, they are not for everyone. Ive

Old Man

Just an Old Man
I use the barrel of two pens for my half hitch tools. One for bigger flies and one for tiny flies. But most of the time I use a whip finisher.

And Ive I haven't tried the others you gave me as for them falling apart. I haven't been close to any water since I came home from Ropers place. I seem to have lost my desire to fish anymore.

I seem like an old man just getting older.

I prefer the Materelli (sp?)whip finisher but have also used half hitches. Both work okay but I like the whip finisher best because that is what I learned first.


" When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee" Isaiah 43:2
Whip finish as much as you can, more secure than half hitch. I use half hitch only when I do not have enough room to whip it. I use Dr Slicks rotating whip tool. Only 5 bucks at Sportco. Great deal.

Peter ><>

Mark 12:30-31

Tim Cottage

Formerly tbc1415
My two cents

Forget the whip finisher. Forget the half hitch tool. Learn to do it by hand. Why bother using a tool to do something so simple?
Think about it. Isn't thread control and hand/eye coordination an essential key to good tying?
Four whips or half hitches and a drop or two of cement and you are good to go.

--------* <O>>>><

Matt Burke

Active Member
I also whip finish by hand. I have some half hitch tools too, but don't know how to use them. I've been doing it since I was a kid, but I do use a bobbin threader. Go figure. For me it is faster the way I do things. For you, you'll have to see what's best for you.

Matt Burke
I probably wouldn't know how to use a whip finish tool. I've been whip finishing my flies with my fingers for 32 years. It's quite easy, once you learn how, and both neater and more secure than half-hitches.

I'm tempted to try to describe it, but on second thought, that couldn't work, could it? Find someone who can show you how it's done.

Jerry Daschofsky

Staff member
Actually, I used to do them by hand (whip finish). How I started (mostly because I couldn't figure out those cheap wire whip finishers). Then I tried a buddies materelli, and fell in love. I actually like it, and with my big hands helps out alot (I wear an XXL glove). So doing intricate work sometimes is hard for me without pulling out 2 yards of extra thread. :D But I have to use a whip finish, since alot of my flies are going to customers. They want a nice clean head (though it doesn't really effect the fishing). It's helped me out. But I don't buy the materelli brand. I buy the knockoff of it. Look identicle, and work the same. Plus, they're $13 cheaper. Has actually sped up my tying (mostly because, i have alot of rewinding thread on spool when I'm done because of my hands). But with a good materelli type whip finisher, it should seem like the whip finish is doing it on it's own. If you're doing it correctly.

Kent Lufkin

Remember when you could remember everything?
One thing nobody's mentioned is how you can use a whip finisher to build up a head at the same time you're tying off. I use a Matarelli and usually give it about ten turns or so before trimming.

But on small dries (size 18 or less) I prefer to use three or four half hitches as the whip finisher usually won't easily fit into the small space between the hackle and the eye.
I like to whip finish by hand, it seems quicker than the tool and it's one less thing to futz with. I do use half hitches (at least 4) to finish smaller flies or ones with a bead or cone head where the head butts right up to the eye. The whip finish heads seem to hold up better, in my opinion anyhow... :beer2