The Frugal Fly Rodder

Being smart with your money... without being cheap

Whip Finishing Tools

I am selling the EXTRA LARGE Whip Finishing Tool. So, if you don’t want to make your own, simply place your order here:

Extra Large Whip Finisher

Whip finisher comes in 8 different colors.

$20 plus $5 shipping

Color Options for the Extra Large Whip Finisher handle:

Back to the Marketplace

If you want to make your own, the following is a little history and instructions on how to do so… 

Although the design in the first photo below does allow getting around large heads, (double barrel poppers for example), it doesn’t have the reach that I thought it would have.  So I had to go back to the proverbial drawing board or drawing program which in my case is Corel Draw to come up with an updated design… This is the first design, which is very similar to the ones you see sold in stores today, only much bigger:

UPDATE to the Giant Fly Tying Finishing Tool (I am working on one with a much larger opening to get around even more material):  

Although this EXTRA LARGE Whip Finishing Tool has a much longer reach than any other in the market, I noticed that the triangle in all whip finishers restrict the distance you can get out of the tool since it is closed up where the most clearance is needed. Below is the pattern that works best. It has a completely different design that allows the passage of large flies through the gap between the thread.

If you will notice… the modified Giant Whip Finisher  has a completely different profile in the back that holds the thread. There are now two points for the thread which is the reason for the wider gap. That wider gap is to allow the tool to eliminate the triangle and creates a rectangle opening up the thread from what was 3 three points to four providing a much deeper reach.

Also notice the grip. It is a pin vise tool that grips the wire to prevent spinning. The traditional design allows for a spin for controlling the tread, but the larger finisher with four points require a non-swiveling tool. You will see the reason when I get the demo video completed.



A Little History for Whip Finishing Tools Patents – (and there are many).  I found some design patents for the whip finisher; in which I have listed a few of them below.

As you will see, various tools have been rewarded patents for the exact same finishing results. They mention in some of the patent text that generally the use of these tools are fairly difficult to master and require considerable skill and training to produce quality tied heads on a fly. I do not agree with that, because with the right instruction (and there are many good YouTube videos to show you how) anyone can pick up on this very effective way to finish off a fly that they had just tied and pick up on it quickly.

There have actually been designs for either right hand or left hand users and I believe the only reason for the submitted innovation that was considered an invention, was to get around the patent original patent so a new one could be submitted and approved.
Out of all the whip finishers I could find through the US Patents Office, none of them had the modern loop that is incorporated into the wire on the outside of the post to hold the thread. The one that was invented by Frank W Matarelli in 1974 is the closest to what we see today; and by looking at his design… I can see why people considered it a tool that was fairly difficult to master, because you would have to snake the tool out of the single loop with no indent to hold the thread on the outside so the tyer could simply slip it off.

At the typical times of all the inventions listed below, they intended the use of these tools for flies that only had the front head of the fly to finish. Apparently not a whole lot of thought went into finishing of large deer hair bass bugs or long streamer used for musky and salt water fishing.

The Giant Fly Tying Finishing Tool, I call it that to avoid patent violations; it is designed to get a deep reach on flies that were not typically thought about during the times of these inventions. Below are the inventors and their submitted photos; I have the printable PDF for you to download and use to make your own Giant Fly Tying Finishing Tool.

Whip Finishing Tool Inventors:

from earliest to latest

Melvin E Whitlinger



Robert M. Lint



Fredrick Thomas Zauskey


Frank W Matarelli


Below is The Giant Fly Tying Finishing Tool. Click here for the PDF

Below is The Wide Reach Giant Whip Finisher. Click here for the PDF

Some links to materials and tools used to make your own Giant Fly Tying Finishing Tool… 



Add a Comment
  1. I am very excited to find your site, I just started tying Pike flies and kept coming across the issue of to small of a opening for the whip finish…
    I want to make the tool as my wife will kill me ( lol) if I spend another dime on fishing stuff haha… I am finding it hard to find the pen blank in Canada… please help… cheers


    1. There are links to pen blacks at the bottom of this post. Hope that helps.

  2. William wood-write in Canada has slim line products could you please let me know when have a min what pen kit I need to order to make the handle, I like the look of the one you make on your site… not the wood finish… its great. I received a few 1/16th stainless rods from my welding friend… excited to try it out on my new pike flies I am tying
    . I appreciate all the help I can get…
    cheers Daryl

  3. I am sorry, I must have misunderstood. Do you buy a pen and then just chuck the body and keep the insides plus tip and ends?


    1. Yep… just use the parts needed and through the rest away.

  4. Thank you
    I am glad I found your site, looking forward to following..

  5. I made one of your modified giant whip finishers this morning. Amazing. After struggling to use other whip finishing tools on lead headed jigs. this modified version worked like a champ. And I didn’t need a you tube video to show me how it worked. Thanks for providing the pdf of the exact profile!

  6. Mike – Very happy to find your website, I have been watching your videos and I’m a lot like you. I love fly tying and do all I can to make my own materials and tools. I fish mostly for large mouth in the lake but would like to go after crappie but the water here in NC is very stained. I will continue to follow you and thanks for all your ideas including the Streapper that I will be testing in the lake here soon.

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