Hemostat Hacks For Fly-Fisherman

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Don't leave home without them. Photo Louis Cahill

Don’t leave home without them. Photo Louis Cahill

By Justin Pickett

A pair of hemostats can save a fly fisherman serious time on the water!

If I were asked what one tool, or accessory, I absolutely have to have with me on the water, I would have to say it is, without a doubt, my trusty pair of hemostats.

Not my sunglasses, nippers, or my net, but hemostats. All of my tools are useful, but I can’t stand it when I find out that I’ve left the house without my hemos. When I do, I immediately start thinking of where the nearest drugstore might be, hoping that they’ll have a backup pair on the shelf.

In my opinion, they are an invaluable tool to a fly angler. I use them for so many things when I’m on the water. Of course the most common use is to aid in removing the fly from a fish’s mouth. However, one of the main reasons why I love my hemostats so much is that they help me tie the knots I use the most while I’m on the water, the triple surgeons, and the clinch. These easy tricks save me tons of time re-tying my rig while on the water, and are extremely helpful during the winter months when dexterity is hindered by the frigid temps.

Having a hard time holding on to that size #22 zebra midge? Using hemostats makes tying on small flies easy as pie. If I break my entire rig off on a snag, it doesn’t take me ten minutes to get re-tied. It keeps my flies in the water longer, which increases my chances of catching fish.

It’s no secret folks. You have to have your flies in the water in order to catch fish. So if these tips and tricks help save you a few minutes re-rigging, that’s easily gaining you at least a few more casts and presentations each time!

Here’s a video that demonstrates how to tie the Triple Surgeons and Clinch knots using a pair of hemostats.

Disclaimer: I didn’t invent these methods! A quick search on Youtube will display several videos pertaining to the same subject. I’m just sharing my experience with these two particular knots and how I believe it may save you valuable time on the water. Enjoy!

Justin Pickett
Gink & Gasoline
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28 thoughts on “Hemostat Hacks For Fly-Fisherman

  1. These are great time and frustration saving tricks for older fly fisherman or anyone with fine motor skill impairments.

    • It definitely helps with the dexterity problems that more experienced anglers come across. It’s great for anyone on really frigid days on the water!

  2. Are you kidding me?! That’s awesome. I’ve used hemos to help with a triple surgeon, but never thought to twist three times.

  3. Excellent! I also tie a length of old fly line to the hemos and attach it to my vest so that I’m not fishing for hemos in waist deep water

  4. Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure that first knot is actually a seaguar knot, not a triple surgeon’s as stated. At any rate, great trick and a huge time saver for sure.

  5. I never like to do things halfway so I attach my nippers to my hemostats with split rings and a swivel. That way, If I lose my hemostats I’m really SOL.

  6. I do an improved clinch with my hemos. Start like you did, but put the hemos through the tag and standing line next to the eye of the hook. Twirl like you did the surgeons, five or six times. Then, reach up with the hemos, grab the end of the tippet, and pull it through the hole. To improve it, don’t let go of anything, but push the end of the tippet through the loop to make an improved clinch. Works great in low light, with cold hands, and limp tippet. Hope that helps.

  7. You can also tie a clinch knot by:
    – Inserting the hemostats through the loop first created, as shown in the video
    – Using the hemostats to wind the line
    – Grabbing the tag end with the hemostats, and then pulling it back through the loop.

    That take a lot of the challenge out of inserting the tag end through a small opening.

  8. Great tips and terrific timing. It’s 14 degrees and snowing, haven’t cast a line since september but dammit! I’ve got the day the day off and I’m going fishing!

  9. Thank you Justin, for a great hemostat trip. Where can I buy a pair of the hemostats you used in your video?

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