Whipfinish video

Published Jan 29th 2009

A short video on using your fingers to whipfinish


We have covered whipfinishing with your fingers before in this very popular article here on The Global FlyFisher, but many people have wanted further instructions on how to do it.

I have now produced this small 40 second video, which shows the process from the angle of the tyer, and clearly demonstrates the ease of this finish. The video is hosted externally, and uses Macromedia Flash, so you will have to be abe to show Flash to see it. Most systems will have no problems.

As you can see the whole trick is to wrap the thread over itself. Even in the video it can be hard to see, but the principle is that you wrap the thread coming off the hook over the thread coming out of the bobbin holder while it's "catching itself".

Some tyers argue that using a whipfinisher - a tool - leads to nicer heads on the fly, but with a little care, your fingers will do an equally good job. I would even argue that the increased control and sensitivity of your fingers give you even better heads.
But first and foremost the advantage of using the hands is that you need no tool.

If you can't see the video above, here is a 3.7 megabyte high rez WMV-version, which you can download.


User comments
From: Richard - Full name and email anonymized  Link
Submitted March 7th 2012

Excellent and clear instructions. Thank you. Richard

From: Pat Connell · phonnell·at·cox.net  Link
Submitted February 10th 2011

Thank you for putting the description and video up on the web. It took me a little more than five minutes and 7 tries and now they coming out like the video. Thank you again

From: John DeNicola · jdenicol·at·twcny.rr.com  Link
Submitted March 19th 2009

Decent video.. just watching it without sound may even make more sense.
I've been tying a little over 2 years ago, and graduated from a whip-finish tool to my fingers. I DO use one method or the other depending on what I'm tying(ie those #18 drys where my material was just a wee bit closer to the hook eye than intended.

From: Jim Hunter · jimfishon·at·wavecable.com  Link
Submitted March 15th 2009

The hand wip-finish has always been a bit of a problem for most tiers. Myself at one time, all I used was a half hitch tool and it worked fine, as you know three wraps on a half hitch tool and you've done a whip finish. Now I'm using the Matarelli whip finish tool, took me a while to get used to it, and now its all I ever use.. Your video is very good, and should help those that want to do the hand whip..
Thank you I really enjoy your sight.

From: rybolov · rybolov·at·ryzhe.ath.cx  Link
Submitted January 29th 2009

If you do a whip-finish with a tool in slow-motion, you can figure out how to replace the hooks on the tool with your finger.

I've been whip-finishing by hand for a bazillion years now, the only thing is I put a bodkin in the loop when I pull it down into the knot so that I have tension on the loop.

The thread that's winding around the hook is the thread attached to the head. You're just winding it over the thread coming out of the bobbin. It's basically a half-hitch with multiple wraps.

From: Ruan Hinze · ruanhinze·at·hotmail.com  Link
Submitted January 29th 2009

great video Martin, thanks ...I will certainly give it a try.



GFF staff comment
From: Martin Joergensen · martin·at·globalflyfisher.com  Link
Submitted January 29th 2009


It's difficult to explain more precisely than the video combined with the illustrations in the original article - linked above.

I don't know what you mean by "fingers are twisting from one to the other", but the thread is kind of moving from one finger to the other. The fingers switch places for each round.. in order to stay attached to the hand! ;-)

But look at the illustrations and the video again and you might see it.


From: Steve Edwards · musango·at·microlink.zm  Link
Submitted January 29th 2009

Thank you - a little confused as to which thread is actually winding around the hook - please explain this part. It looks as though your fingers are twisting from 1 to the other ? Great to have this type of educational video - thanks.

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