Hackle Guards

diawl bach

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A hackle guard makes my fly tying easier, it keeps the fibres clear when I tie and varnish the head. I've been using a short length of ethafoam booby tube which seems to do the trick nicely for most patterns but at the expense of the hackle on parachute flies. I wondered what others use.
 

morayfisher

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I’ve heard of people using the flat plastic things that used to hold bread bags closed.
It will be interesting to see what else is out there. I use fingers but it would be handy to have both hands free.
 

Vermontdrifter

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I was given one if those metal guards and they are clumsy to use. I sometimes wonder if with hackles a half hitch tool might not be the way to go?
 

morayfisher

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I was given one if those metal guards and they are clumsy to use. I sometimes wonder if with hackles a half hitch tool might not be the way to go?
Yes, I use the half hitch tool to push the hackle back and then hold the hackle with fingers. I think it’s something simple to hold it back whilst continuing to work is what we’re after.
 

kerryjordan

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An old pen barrel works well.
 

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Cap'n Fishy

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I don't use any tools for those jobs. For winding and finishing, I just smother the whole fly with my thumb and first 2 fingers, making a 'chuck' shape, then draw back the entire fly to leave the head totally clear for applying the whip finish, which I do with the other hand..

For varnishing, I use just the very tip of a needle dipped into the varnish, so it picks up such a small amount, it can be homed-in and applied to the head without catching other fibres, or 'bleeding' through.

Col
 
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The best hackle guard is fashioned from the bottom of a piece of goose quill or such like. You should have something suitable in your fly tying kit. I learned this at 14 when at fly tying club in school (which was by far the only good thing about that school). I'm now 61 and have never found anything better.
 

Cap'n Fishy

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The best hackle guard is fashioned from the bottom of a piece of goose quill or such like. You should have something suitable in your fly tying kit. I learned this at 14 when at fly tying club in school (which was by far the only good thing about that school). I'm now 61 and have never found anything better.

That's the job my thumb and first 2 fingers do. It saves all the faff of stopping and picking up and engaging and then disengaging a tool. Nothing could be simpler! (y)

I checked this clip I made and I didn't even use 3 fingers, just thumb and forefinger. Start at 6:05...


The one time I find it useful to smother the fly and have two hands free is when doing a muddler head in front of a leggy hackle. Very difficult to clip the deer hair without catching hackle fibres, so I take a length of copper wire and strap the whole fly down and out the way before applying the deer hair head.

Col
 
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Oh don't get me wrong. Whatever works for you go for it. It's just that I have always had fingers like lawsons bangers and hands like shovels and I find it useful to guard the hackle sometimes. I wish I knew how to post pictures or videos so I could show it here.
 

arkle

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I've never used any of them, however the blunt end, of a safety pin seems like it might work
 

Cap'n Fishy

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Oh don't get me wrong. Whatever works for you go for it. It's just that I have always had fingers like lawsons bangers and hands like shovels and I find it useful to guard the hackle sometimes. I wish I knew how to post pictures or videos so I could show it here.

Fair enough. I would have thought that the bigger your fingers, the easier it would be to engulf the fly with them and be able to pull everything back out the way? No? :unsure:

Col
 

morayfisher

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Just knocked this up in a few minutes. The tip of a spare nozzle from a silicone gun, slotted to slip over the thread and glued onto a cotton bud stem. Reinforced with UV resin.

1B53144A-068D-4640-8FE3-3EB476B92477.jpeg
 

BobP

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Fingers. By the time you've faffed around looking for, picking up the tool and positioning it you could have finished off the fly and be starting the next one.
 

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