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Skills: Using a half-hitch to save your work

As an enthusiastic, yet ham-handed fly tier, there’s nothing more frustrating to me than having a fly unravel before my very eyes thanks to a simple lapse in focus. It’s aggravating.

Tim Flagler to the rescue.

This is actually a pretty old trick, but I was reminded of it recently as I watched a size 20 Blue-winged Olive disintegrate in the vise—and a size 20 fly for me is about my limit when it comes to small fly size. Not only are my fingers too big, but my vision up close isn’t what it once was, so its an exercise in patience and perseverence. When a fly shoots craps on me while I’m at the vise, I’m just as likely to drop the whole idea and grab a beer.

By using simple half-hitches, as Tim demonstrates above, you can “save your work.” Consider the half-hitch the “command-S” sequence on your fly-tying keyboard. It locks a fly’s contents in place, making it possible to take a break in the middle of a fly, or, just as importantly, lock down some tricky work so you can move on to the next step.

Next time you’re at the vise, consider saving your work. Mabye you can get through a Blue-winged Olive in less than a six pack!

— Chris Hunt