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Stupidity or Still Learning

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

A couple of weeks ago there was a thread on the Bulletin Board about the Fly Tiers Benchside Reference. On that thread James Castwell put down that Frank Amato Publishing had it on sale along with a magazine subscription for 5 years. Since I wanted the book and the magazine was an added bonus I sent for it.

The book came in last Friday, but I did not get a chance to look at it until Wednesday. I read the first part hat talked about how the book was put together and looked at a few places, but was always going back to look at another page in their reference system. I finally decided to start at the front and go to the back. This is where my trouble started.

I have been tying flies for over 10 years to the best of my memory. I really did think that I had a few of the basics down. I thought I could get thread on the hook. Tie in tail, body, thorax, abdomen, wing and other materials on the hook. The one thing I never did get to work very well was the whip finishing tool.

In fact it was so bad that I learned to do it by hand so I could do it that way and forget the tool. I seemed to do a better job that way anyhow. Now I am so comfortable with it that I just do it that way all of the time. I even thought my heads we coming out halfway decently.

Here comes the problem. I am at the start and reading about whip finishing. That is great, I have been doing it that way. I even had the thread on the whip finisher right and had it aligned with the hook correctly. The one thing that I never did, or even read that I can remember, was to put the loop on the whip finisher on the shank and twist the thread that way. My wife tells me that I am not supposed to pay attention to the pictures(to keep me away from 'those' magazines I think).

Now my problem with the whip finisher makes sense. I immediately put a hook in the vise, attach the thread and then spend 10 minutes hunting down the whip finisher so I can try it. I set it up like the picture and it puts the thread on so nicely. Next time the Scouts are in for a class I will show them this and see if it helps them do it, correctly. I have been working with a few Scouts toward their Merit Badges.

I am not sure if my not picking up on this was stupidity, a good chance as I taught myself to tie. It might be that I never paid attention as people used the whip finisher. But now I understand how it was supposed to be used. One of those first tools that you are advised to get. (If you are still having a problem with the whip finisher, there is a movie of it here: Thompson Whip Finisher.)

My guess is that a few other folks have done something like this. If you have please let me know. I don't want to be the only idiot on the board.

It does scare me to think of how many other things I may find out that I did not know as I go through the rest of the book.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick

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