Hackle Guards? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Hackle Guards?

04-06-2003, 12:25 AM
I'm looking to buy a hackle gard or set of hackle guards to hold hackle, wings. etc. out of the way as I finish the head of the fly. Are there any hackle guards out there that slide on to the hook and stay in place without having to hold them? I would like to free up both hands for tying. Any recommendations on hackle guards that meet these criteria?

Also do you guys think that hackle guards are necessary or helpful or are there other tricks to easily finish the head of a dry fly? I'm finding it hard to hold everything back with my fingers as I finish the head. Suggestions?

Dble Haul
04-06-2003, 03:52 AM
I suggest that you continue to tie without a hackle guard. This probably isn't what you wanted to hear, but practice and more practice will eventually show you that they aren't necessary (IMO).

In lieu of a hackle guard, practice using your left fingers (if right handed) to pinch the hackles out of the way while securing them in place and/or finishing the fly. After a while, you may see that the guard would only be a crutch that impedes the development of your manual skills.

My two cents. :)

04-06-2003, 09:22 AM
If you REALLY need one, consider (depending on fly size) using either cut-off sections of plastic straws, "twizzle" sticks, coffee stirrers, etc. These will do the job, and don't cost much at all (if you are dumb enough to buy 'em!), free at most McDonalds or other fast-food places.


04-09-2003, 02:30 AM

Using your fingers (thumb and forefinger) is the best hackle guard you can every buy. And the price is right as well. I know, I know, until you get the hang of it, you well poke some holes in your fingers or tie some hackle down; but the end result of learning how to hold the hackle back out of the way with your fingers is worth the trouble to learn how.

If you absolutely must have a hackle guard, get yourself a bodkin that has a small, wire loop on one end. The loop goes over the hook eye and is a very functional and easy to use hackle guard. And bodkins with this loop on the end are not expensive.