Tying a few flies that require spun deer or elk
hair can literaly be a painful experience. Many
tyers will pull and compress the hair clump back
toward the rear of the hook using their thumb
and first two fingers of their materials hand. I
do it this way because it's very quick and effective
for creating a flat face on a clump of deer hair before
tying in the next clump. The hook point will invariably
prick the pad of your third finger when you do this. It's
not unusual to draw a little blood after tying only one
or two flies. You can avoid the pain and bloodshed by
wearing a latex Finger Tip on your third finger.
The Finger Tip by Swingline is available at most well-stocked
office supply stores and was designed for use by people who
handle lots of loose pages or paper money and need to be
able to sort one sheet at a time. Like many other gadgets
we adopt for fly-tying use, you'll have to alter the design of
the original a little to make it a useful aid. The Finger
Tip has dozens of tiny latex bumps all around it that
cling to the deer and elk hair too much. You can deal
with these by putting it on your finger and then carefully
snipping them off with a sharp pair of scissors, or you can
simply turn it inside out; it's smooth on the inside.
Wearing a Finger Tip while you tie with clumps of deer
or elk hair will seem a little awkward at first, but
after two or three flies, you'll be glad you took the
time to get accustomed to it. ~ A.K.
Credit: From Advanced Fly Tying, by A.K. Best,
published by The Lyons Press. We appreciate use permission.
Please check out the Fly Tying Section, on the Bulletin Board, here at FAOL too.
If you have any questions, tips, or techniques; send them to