The world of fly tying can be overwhelming for anglers to enter. The idea of using fine motor skills to tie a fly in hopes that it looks somewhat realistic isn’t always the most inviting thought. Spending all that time tying flies just for them not to work can be defeating!

Throughout this series, however, you’ll learn all about different fly-tying tools. By watching these videos and reading these articles, you’ll gain a better understanding and hopefully more confidence in your fly-tying abilities! All it takes is the willingness to try and you’ll find it’s not as difficult as you might think.

Half Hitch Tool for Fly Tying
Half Hitch Tool for Fly Tying

The Half Hitch Knot in Fly Tying

Finishing flies and ensuring that the thread and materials stay put can be some of the hardest part of fly fishing. It’s defeating when you check your fly and everything has slid down to the bend in the hook. If you’re having these issues, make sure you know how to use the half hitch knot.

If you aren’t able to secure your materials near the eye of the hook, your casts and strips in the water will start to pull your work further and further from where it needs to be.

What is the Half Hitch Tool?

The half hitch tool can be found on the “handle” portion of the bodkins. Bodkins are tools you can use to clean out the eye of a hook or apply any cement to your fly. They’re versatile and many don’t realize that the handle portion is the half hitch.

If you look at the handle, you’ll see a small circle on the end. This small circle is meant to fit over the eye of your hook to ensure your knot lands exactly where you need it. You will find different size half hitch tools depending on how large of an opening you need to fit over the eye of the hook.

For the smaller flies, it’s better to purchase a half hitch tool with a smaller opening so you don’t feel like you’re unable to be as particular as you would like.

How to use the Half Hitch Tool

To accomplish a half hitch knot, wrap your thread or floss tightly around the “tube”. Once you have done this, start sliding the half hitch tool off of the eye of the hook and allow the thread to slide down it.

As the thread is sliding off of the half hitch, pull tighter on your thread/floss. This will ensure the knot is tight when it’s completely away from the half hitch. You should see the knot tighten and secure your thread.

It’s not a bad idea to tie two half hitch knots on your flies. First, wrap the thread over the half hitch and tie a knot. For the second knot, do the same, but instead wrap the thread around from the bottom. This is going to ensure that your thread is fully secure!

This tool works well if you’re tying small flies. On these small flies, you likely have little room to work with near the eye of the hook. Many fly tiers prefer to use the whip finish tool, but the half hitch allows for a bit more finesse when tying.

If you’re tying a Royal Wulff or Klinkhammer fly, you’ll want to use the half hitch. It’ll provide you with the best and cleanest knots on these smaller flies.

Also, if you’re tying a fly with no bead, the half hitch can make your life easier. The whip finish tool allows you to tie knots right up against the bead, but the half hitch allows you to place the knot almost exactly where you want it on the hook.

When Finished with the Half Hitch Knot

When you’re finished with the half hitch knot, go ahead and make sure you use head cement. This is going to ensure that the knot isn’t going anywhere. Many anglers make the mistake of using too much head cement and it gums up the fly!

An easy way to apply the proper amount of cement is to use the bodkins. Dip the pointy part of the bodkins into the cement and lightly dab it around your knot.

Half-Hitch Alternatives

If you’re on a trip and forgot to pack your half hitch, you have a couple options to help yourself. First, you can use the end of an ink pen!

Using an Ink Pen to Tie a Half Hitch
Using an Ink Pen to Tie a Half Hitch

If you pull the actual pen out of the tube, you’ll see a small opening on the end and a nice circular shape that will allow you to tie the half hitch knot. Place the end of the ink pen tube over the eye of the hook, wrap the thread around it and then tie the knot.

Using Finger to Tie Half Hitch
Using Finger to Tie Half Hitch

The second option is to tie it with your hands. To do so, take your middle and index finger and form a “peace sign.” Wrap the fly line around both fingers and turn your hand over. This will create the loop. Grab the loop with the hand your thread is in and then pull the thread through with the opposite hand. It’s a fairly simple knot to tie on your own!


Looking for more info about fly tying and flies? Your in luck – Check out the articles below:


Hi David Humphries Owner of Guide Recommended. I love everything to do with fly fishing. Casting, Tying, YouTube, writing about it and even teaching. I’ve got a FREE video workshop teaching how to dry fly fish at this link How 2 Fly Fish