Video: How and Why to Use a Hackle Guard

Welcome to the latest installment of our series of videos called “One-Minute Fly-Tying Tips and Techniques” from Tim Flagler of Tightline Productions. Each video will teach a single tying skill, from the most basic to the advanced. Ultimately, the series will serve as a sort of encyclopedia of tying skills that will be a valuable resource for anyone who sits down at a vise to create a fly.

One of the more annoying things in fly fishing is when it’s hard to thread your tippet through the eye of a fly because there are hackle fibers in the way. Hackles too close to the eye can be a problem at the vise, as well, because they can become trapped under the thread wraps for the head. This leads to a fly with a disappointing profile. One way to deal with this issue is to use a hackle guard, which holds the hackle fibers out of the way while you make wraps just behind the hook eye. The result is an elegant profile, a clean head on the fly, and a pattern that’s easier to tie on when you’re out on the water.

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