The best fly tying hackle pliers is going to act as your third hand while tying. Whenever you’ve run out of thumbs, fingers, toes or the tip of your nose to hold something in place just know you’ve got your hackle pliers to help you out.

The best hackle plier is a fly tyer’s best friend. After a while, it just becomes a part of them and without them, their flies would ultimately suffer.

So, if you’re new to the tying world and are looking to get started then check out below for all different types of hackle pliers, products, as well as some features that make a great set.

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What is a Hackle Plier?

The most common job that a hackle plier does is hacking. This is to grab a feather and wrap it around the body, shank, or post of a hook.

fly tying Hackle pliers

These pliers have a great grip and will allow you to control exactly where you want to place the feather. for some feathers, a hackle tool is basically a necessity.

Besides just wrapping feathers, it can also be used as a weight. So you can keep the hackle taught while you finish another step in tying your fly.

When to use Hackle Pliers

Whenever you’re using feathers on the fly your tying you should also be using a set of hackle pliers. Or if you need to burn ends of monofilament (like when creating eyes for flies), hackle pliers are essential to avoid injury.

If it’s a large feather and you’re an experienced tyer then you may be able to get away with just your fingers.

Damselfly Larva Fly Pattern Step14

But for me, and most other tyers it’s best to use a hackle plier. Not only will it make your tying process easier but it’s also going to make a better-looking fly.

Even though they’re mainly used for hackle, the best hackle plier tool for fly tying can also be utilized for holding and tying yarn, tinsel, quills, thread, loops, and just about anything else you could think of. It’s a jack of all trades tool.

Types of Hackle Pliers

Below we’re going to go over four different types of hackle pliers. Each of them is going to serve a unique purpose to your own tying experience, and one of them will be the best hackle plier for fly tying for you.

Basic Clamp

Some of the simplest clamps are just made of bent steel with a set of jaws. These work by putting your finger through the tool and you wrap by moving your finger around the fly.

Fly Tying Hackle Pliers Tool

Tweezer Clamp

You’ll find that some pliers are closer to tweezers than they are to actual pliers. These are usually going to be flat and won’t have any room for a finger to be used. So most of these will also have a ring.

Finger Grips

Sometimes pliers will be given fingers to allow for better handling of the tool. This allows the tyer to be more in control of what they’re doing resulting in a better fly.

top fly tying hackle pliers

Nabbers

These look a lot like tweezers. The main difference is that they come with a sleeve that slides down. This allows you to lock in place and keep the material where it is while you work on something else.

What Makes a Good Fly Tying Hackle Plier

Below we’re going to cover some different features of fly tying hackle pliers. Each of them will benefit you in some way but certain features may work best for different flies. Check them out and see which one works best for you.

Easy to open

The last thing you want when your fumbling with the hackle on a fly is to strain to open up your pliers. Tying flies requires a lot of focus and if one of your tools is not operating at full capacity then it makes it that much harder.

good fly tying hackle pliers and tools

So, you want something that requires not too much tension to open but not something that’s so easy that any little bump could open the jaws.

Grip

You want a set that has a solid grip that is going to hold exactly what you need. If thread or feathers begin to slip in your pliers then something is seriously wrong with your pliers.

Some of the more expensive pliers will have some sort of coated grip on them. This will make it easier to hold and will allow you to have more control over what you’re doing.

Smooth Edges

A set of pliers should have any sort of sharp edge to them that could potentially cut the thread or anything your tying. It should be smooth and if there are any sharp edges then they should be filed down or the tool should be returned.

Easy Handling

You don’t want your pliers to be too heavy or too light in certain spots. This makes them off balance and makes tying all the more difficult. Find something you can easily hold and maneuver.

best hackle pliers

Weight

You want your pliers to be somewhere in the sweet spot of being not too heavy and not too light. You want it to be heavy enough that it can hold down the thread and other items, but not so heavy that they’re a burden to tie with.

Best Fly Tying Hackle Pliers

Below we’re going to go over three different types of hackle pliers. If you’re looking for the top hackle pliers for fly tying, then you’ll find them here. Check them out and see which ones work for you!

Stonfo Pinza Plier

The Stonfo Pinza pliers come in two different sizes. Perfect for the tyer who enjoys tying larger streamers as well as small nymphs.

These pliers provide excellent pension and are very easy to control. Ideal for any fly tyer.

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Loon Outdoors Ergo Pliers

One of the most trusted names in fly fishing gear. Loon makes wonderful fly tying equipment and their Loon Outdoors Ergo Pliers are great hackle pliers.

These pliers have a great grip on them so that they won’t slip from your fingers. They also have a strong set of jaws that will hold onto thread and hackle without being too hard to open.

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Dr. Slick Non-Rotary Pliers

The Dr. Slick Non-Rotary Pliers are your classic bare-bones stainless steel pliers. They come in several different sizes so you can choose which size works best for the flies you’re tying.

It features a non-slip rubber jaw and is the best hackle plier tool for tying easy flies.

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Best Hackle Pliers Conclusion

The world of hackle pliers can be a little overwhelming when you first start tying. Hopefully with the information above you now have a better understanding and can pick out the best hackle plier fly tying tool.

So, with the information above, head on out to your local fly shop and pick up some pliers of your own!

Some images in this post are courtesy of Shutterstock.

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The Best Fly Tying Hackle PliersGuide To The Best Fly Tying Hackle Pliers