How to Use a Whip Finish Tool for Fly Tying

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Of the many tools used in fly fishing, many people still don't know how to use a whip finish tool for fly tying. A whip finish tool, or simply a whip finisher, is the tool used to tie off the fly. The use of this tool ensures that the thread remains unraveled when you are fishing. The tool helps you to properly tie your fly by making a secure knot at the end of the process. There are two major whip finishing tools: the Matarelli whip finisher and the Thompson style whip finisher.     

How to use the Matarelli whip finishing tool  

Commonly identified as the rotary whip finisher, this tool is among the best fly tying tools ever made. The handy fly tying tools allow you to make a uniform and very neat by way of exact spacing and placement of the thread. The procedure for using this tool is very simple:   

- Hold the tool between your forefinger and thumb to prevent the tool from turning.  

 - Hook the one tip of your thread to the tool  

- Bring the thread past the hook just at the point near the origin of the thread you are wrapping 

 - While still maintaining tension on the thread, rotate the tool naturally to its handle so that it forms the shape of a triangle.   

- Rotate the tool once more around the hook. 

You can keep rotating until you achieve your desired number of turns. 5 turns are normally fine, but you can make them up to 7 if you like. Do not exceed 7 turns. In case you need more thread, wrap the tool back and forth using a slight rocking motion 

 - Dis-engage the thread by simply pulling it to a position above the wrap. Finally, dis-engage the tool from the wrap and the pull the wrap.    

How to use the Thompson style whip finishing tool  

This tool ties the same knot as the Matarelli tool described above. However, the procedure for the Thompson style whip finisher is a bit different. You'll make the best out of this tool if you are using the hackle guard to keep the hackle of the way.  

 - Start by hooking the thread between the bobbin and the fly using the arm of the whip finisher. An s-shaped bend will form at the end of the finisher. As the thread comes off the fly, make a hook  

- Following a clockwise direction, use your fingers to rotate the finisher tool behind the hook's eye. Do not put too much pressure on the thread. Use moderate pressure to keep away the slack out of your thread.   

- Depending on the number you like, make 6 to 10 turns with this tool. Note the clear difference between this tool and the Matarelli tool which you'd make 5-7 turns  

- After making required turns, put your index finger on the whip knot and carefully back the whip finisher's s-shaped bend out of the knot.   

- Use the arm of the whip finisher to maintain pressure on the knot as you pull slack out of the knot with the aid of a bobbin. When the whip finisher's arm reaches the knot, gently remove the whip finishing tool and finally snug the knot.

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