The Wrap Knot

• Bring the thread in the left hand down, so that it forms a complete triangle.

The wrap knot (also called the "whip finish") is the best knot yet devised for finishing off a fly quickly, easily, and securely. The only other method is to use a series of half-hitches (see steps 2 to 6, and 13, in the following sequence of photographs), but these have a tendency to come undone, however well the thread has been waxed.

I use the wrap knot because most of the fishermen I supply use the double turl knot (or similar) to attach their flies to the leader. This knot, though excellent for the fisherman, puts a tremendous strain on the knot used to finish the fly, particularly if the fisherman changes his flies frequently. The wrap knot can stand up to this hard use, especially if you strengthen it with a coat of clear lacquer.

In the following photographs I used string instead of tying thread to show more clearly what happens when the "threads" cross. To be able to finish off a fly with a well-tied wrap knot is a satisfying part of the flytyer's art, and it is well worth practicing until you can finish off a fly perfectly every time. When you start to practice the wrap knot, you may find it easier to use string (or wool) and then to progress to tying thread once you have mastered the movements.

Finally, if you plan to use a whip finish (wrap knot) tool, please follow the manufacturer's instructions. The result will be the same as for the method shown in this book.

  • With the fingers of the right hand, form a "near triangle" of thread, close to the hook, as shown. Note that the left hand holds the thread in front (on your side) of the hook.
  • Do not make the triangle too small.
  • The photograph shows the "tying thread" (string) wound onto the hook shank ready for practice. Note: The last turn is shown further down the shank than it should be, because of the diameter of the "thread". The wrap knot is normally tied just behind the eye of the hook.
  • Keeping the left hand still, twist your right hand clockwise. Note how short the length of thread between hook and triangle should be.
  • Ease the tension on the thread a little.
  • Move both hands away from you, enlarging the triangle at the same time by opening up the right-hand fingers, until the short length of thread between hook and triangle is taken up.
  • The "join" in the triangle should now be tight against the hook shank.
  • Move your right hand so that the triangle is behind the hook shank. (Note the positions of the right-hand fingers in the triangle.) The bottom part of the triangle must always be under, and the top part over, the hook shank.
  • Keep the left hand still.
  • Keeping tension on the triangle, move the middle finger of your right hand so that it is under the index finger as shown.
  • The triangle now becomes an oval loop.
  • Move your middle finger upward until it is alongside the index finger.
  • Flatten your right hand so that the fingers face downward.
  • This action should give the loop a twist, as shown.
  • Leaving the middle finger at the top of the loop, use your index finger to push the twist toward the hook until it rests against the far side of the hook shank.
  • Note that the index finger should be slightly lower than the middle finger.
  • Maintaining tension on the thread, move the loop down and around behind the hook.
  • Continue moving the loop around until it is in the position shown. This completes one turn of the wrap knot.
  • Go through steps 5 to 11 at least twice more.
  • The three turns of the wrap knot are now complete.
  • The loop is ready to be pulled through. Note that the loop should be around the shank, as shown.
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