Home Fly Tying

How to Feel Like a Thick-Fingered Dolt

magallowaymagalloway Senior MemberPosts: 1,034 Senior Member
A few hours ago, I was sitting here at my computer desk with my tying vise in the keyboard tray attempting to use some online instructions on how to tie pheasant-tail hopper legs. I might add that I was not-so-silently raining curses on the head of a Michigander poet, the owner of a Denver-area flyshop, the pheasant tail feather, the latch hook, and just about anyone and everything else involved. After several minutes of this, my youngest daughter walked in and asked what was wrong; when I explained, she said, "Well, let me give it a try." she sat down, looked over the instructions, grabbed two barbs of pheasant tail, and proceeded to produce a perfect leg. When I said something only slightly less foul than I'd been muttering, she turned, looked at me, and murmured, "Dad, I've been knitting and crocheting since I was twelve--this is simple. Here, let me tie some more of these for you." She then tied up about 75 legs, smiled sweetly, and said, "Call me when you need more."

People, please believe me when I say that when It comes to fly tying, I didn't just fall off the turnip truck; I consider myself a well-practiced and fairly talented semi-amateur. Today, though, I got my hat handed to me by someone who's never wrapped thread on a hook. I guess, though, that there's a shiny side to the tale--she'll tie more when I need them.



  • Auntie EmAuntie Em Senior Member Posts: 159 Senior Member
    Jim, there's a real simple little tool available at Michaels crafts, or most knitting stores, called a "knit-picker", that makes knotting those little knees almost bearable! Get one, and let your daughter show you how to do it! After the Cabelas fly tying contest this year .... or in preparation for it ... I learned how to knot knees straight down a pheasant feather. Right knees on one side, left knees on the other. And, yes. I hate the Dave's hopper for that reason alone!!
    Lord ... give me patience, and give it to me RIGHT NOW!!!!!
  • magallowaymagalloway Senior Member Posts: 1,034 Senior Member
    Knit picker/latch hook are one and the same, and I was trying to use one. The major problem I was having was in the instructions--Charlie Craven's instructions have a point at which magic happens, and I was practically breaking my wrist trying to get the tool twisted in the proper manner. I was able to knot maybe one in five, but Steph showed me the error of my ways and I can now do fairly well. My other lame excuse is that I'm left-handed and right-handed instructions for something like that often throw me for a loop.

  • flytrapflytrap Banned Posts: 1,659 Senior Member
    What you're calling a latch hook, is that the same as a crochet needle?
  • Don NewtonDon Newton Senior Member Posts: 431 Senior Member
    Jim ... uh ... to be anatomically correct, ask your darling daughter to tye a 76th leg. You will thank me one of these days. Is she up for adoption? ;)
  • Auntie EmAuntie Em Senior Member Posts: 159 Senior Member
    flytrap ... no, the crochet hooks come small enough to knot little legs, but lack the latch that falls across the open side of the hook that holds the materials in place.
    Jim ... the latch hook is basically the same, save for size. Usually the latch hook is for larger rug yarn and would be extremely difficult to knot a little fibre leg. The knit picker is designed to repair little knitting mistakes on delicate yarns/knits. Far easier to knot legs with the size of this hook.
    Lord ... give me patience, and give it to me RIGHT NOW!!!!!

Leave a Comment

BoldItalicStrikethroughOrdered listUnordered list
Align leftAlign centerAlign rightToggle HTML viewToggle full pageToggle lights
Drop image/file
Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction.


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Fly Fisherman stories delivered right to your inbox.