Best Hackle Pliers

We gathered the best hackle pliers for your better fly fishing experience. From our best overall pick to the best budget pick we got them covered for you.
best hackle pliers

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The best hackle pliers available are either from Dr Slick or the Loon Outdoors. Both are very high quality and made from stainless steel. I’d recommend the Dr Slick Pliers for most standard flies, but if you’re looking to tie larger flys then check out the Loon Outdoor hackle pliers.

Image Product Details  
flyfisherpro-table__imageBest OverallDr. Slick Hackle Pliers with Rubber Tubing
  • Made Of Stainless Steel
  • Non-Slip Rubber Jaw
  • Non-Rotary Function
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest GripLoon Outdoors Ergo Hackle Plier
  • Excellent grip
  • Easy To Open
  • Strong Jaws
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest TensionStonfo Pinza Elite Hackle Plier
  • Ideal For Large Flies
  • Fantastic Tension
  • Easy To Control
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flyfisherpro-table__imageTiemco Spinning Hackle Pliers
  • Silicon Soft Tip
  • Combined Funtionalities
  • Easy To Use
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flyfisherpro-table__imageUmpqua Dream Stream Hackle Pliers
  • Sleek design
  • Anodized finish
  • Surgical-Grade Japanese Stainless Steel
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Having a good pair of hackle pliers is like having an extra hand. You can use them to delicately grab the different hackle materials, and take your time to wrap them around the shank, pausing to let the pliers hang.

If you are a beginner at fly fishing in the US and you’re looking to grab the best hackle pliers from a fly shop, here are a few options to begin with:

The best hackle pliers we reviewed in a nutshell:

  1. Dr. Slick Hackle Pliers w/Rubber Tubing – Best Overall
  2. Loon Outdoors Ergo Hackle Plier – Best Grip
  3. Stonfo Pinza Elite Hackle Plier
  4. Tiemco Spinning Hackle Pliers
  5. Umpqua Dream Stream Hackle Pliers

Dr. Slick Hackle Pliers with Rubber Tubing

Dr. Slick Hackle Pliers w/Rubber Tubing

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Best Overall
Rating: 4.5/5.0

  • The hackle plier is made of stainless steel
  • It comes with a non-slip rubber jaw
  • You can choose any size you wish
  • Non-rotary function

What stands out?

Arguably one of the best non-rotary tools that is made of stainless steel you can find on the US market right now at an affordable price.

Since these fly tying hackle pliers come in an assortment of sizes, you don’t have to be worried about the size of your flies. Therefore, whether you are out fly fishing with small flies like nymphs or large size streamers, these pliers would do the job incredibly well.

Also, there is a non-slip rubber jaw, which makes it easy on your hands and one of the most ideal hackle pliers to easily tie flies.

Loon Outdoors Ergo Hackle Plier

Loon Outdoors Ergo Hackle Plier

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Best Grip
Rating: 4.5/5.0

  • Incredible fly tying tool
  • Excellent grip
  • Feature pretty strong jaws
  • Easy to open

What stands out?

Considering the fact that these hackle pliers come from one of the most trusted names in the fly fishing arena, you can trust that you will be buying a quality fly tying equipment.

Possibly the most outstanding feature about this fly tying pliers is the incredible grip. This fantastic grip will make sure that the pliers doesn’t slip between your fingers as you go on fly tying your nymphs or streamers.

Furthermore, it features strong jaws to ensure that they hold onto your thread and easily hackle the thread but at the same time remain easy to open.

Stonfo Pinza Elite Hackle Plier

Stonfo Pinza Elite Hackle Plier

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Rating: 4.5/5.0

  • Standard size for 16-4/0 hooks
  • Micro size for 14-24 hooks
  • Ideal to use for large flies like streamers
  • Offer fantastic tension

What stands out?

This is an elite pick at a reasonable price point that comes in two different sizes-the micro size, which is suitable for 14-24 hooks and the standard size, which is ideal for 16-4/0 hooks.

Therefore, if you prefer fly tying large flies like streamers during your fly fishing trips, this could be yet another great pick for you. However, you can also use it to tie nymphs if you so wish.

Furthermore, they offer incredible tension while remaining easy to control. Therefore, even if you are a novice fly tyer, you can comfortable use this fly tying equipment.

Tiemco Spinning Hackle Pliers

Tiemco Spinning Hackle Pliers

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Rating: 4.8/5.0

  • Universal joint connects the bar and pliers
  • Keeps your hackle aligned at a right-angle
  • Features a silicon soft tip
  • Ideal for stopping your silicon from spinning and breaking

What stands out?

This is a pretty unique fly tying equipment because it combines the pliers functionality and a handle bar, which are connected by a universal joint. Therefore, while using it, you may have to change the holding hand to enable you undo the twists your hackle plier offers.

The combined functionality work to ensure that your stays perpendicular to the hook’s shank as you go on wrapping the hackle. It is also the reason why you don’t have to worry about your hackle breaking or spinning.

The silicon soft tip is a great addition because it makes it easy to use even for small flies.

Umpqua Dream Stream Hackle Pliers

Umpqua Dream Stream Hackle Pliers

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Rating: 4.5/5.0

  • Sleek design
  • A classic fly tying tool
  • Anodized finish
  • Made of surgical-grade Japanese stainless steel

What stands out?

Umpqua has been offering some pretty awesome fly tying tools and this hackle plier is no different.

The high-grade Japanese stainless steel construction is the reason why these hackle pliers are not only strong but also very durable.

Even if you are a beginner tyer, your first time using these hackling pliers would most likely be effortless and really enjoyable.

The great sleek design makes it great looking. Couple that with the wonderful performance and you would have yourself a fantastic all-round hackling pliers.

Best Hackle Pliers Buying Guide

buying guide

What to Consider when Buying

Before you commit to buying hackle pliers from a fly shop, there are a number of important considerations that you have to keep in mind. Knowing some of these things will be instrumental in helping you settle on the best option for your fly tying needs. Here are some of the important ones.

When you need to use the hackle pliers

Any time you find yourself in need of using feathers on your flies, you should make sure that you arm yourself with a set of hackle tools. Also, they could come in handy in case you need to burn the ends of your monofilament. Therefore, they essentially help you avoid injuries.

However, if you want to use really large feathers, you can easily get away with using your fingers instead of opting for a set of hackle tools.

However, if you are a novice tyer, we would recommend that you stick to using a set of hackle pliers until you are confident that you can use your fingers. Furthermore, you can use it to tie your yarn, loops, thread or tinsel.

The type of the hackle pliers

There are lots of different hackle pliers, each designed to work differently. You may choose a set of hackling pliers depending on your level of fly tying experience or the intended purpose. Some of the common ones are:

  • Basic clamp: You can easily find really simple clamps that are made of bent steel and also come with a set of jaws. Essentially, you need to put your finger through the tool and continue wrapping the feathers and go ahead and move your finger around your fly.
  • Nabbers: They may look a bit similar to tweezers but the primary difference is that they come with sliding down sleeves. Therefore, you can easily lock in and keep your fly tying material right where you want it and focus on something else.
  • Finger grips: These hackle pliers feature fingers to make sure that you have a better handling of your tool, which means you will be in control more. The result will be a better tied fly.
  • Tweezer clamp: Interestingly, some pliers might work well as tweezers more than they actually do as pliers. Therefore, they are generally flat with no room for using your fingers. Also, it is because of that reason that they come with a ring.

Ease of handling

east of handling

While out shopping for the best hackling pliers, you have to keep in mind that it shouldn’t be too light or too heavy in certain areas limiting how you handle it.

When it’s too light or too heavy in different areas, it disrupts its overall balance, which means that the handling wouldn’t be that easy. Therefore, always make sure that you look out for a set of hackle pliers that are effortless to hold and handle at the same time.

Comfortable grip

Since you don’t want a set of hackle pliers that easily slip through your fingers, you will have to go for a set that features a solid and comfortable grip. If you discover that the feathers or flies slip while hackling, you may have to reconsider your options because it might not be the right fit for your fly tying needs.

To get the best grip, you might have to spend just a little more for you to get a coated grip. It will be an ideal way of improving the grip to allow you to have gain greater control of your pliers and what you are doing.

Ease of opening

You are probably already struggling to hackle your thread or feathers, which means the last thing you need is to fumble while opening your pliers.

Fly tying needs your full concentration. Therefore, if your hackle plier is not giving you the peace of mind you need to focus, it may be time for you to look for a better option.

Smooth edges

To reduce chances of injury or the sharp edges cutting your thread, you have to make sure that your pliers come with smooth edges. If you realise that the edges are getting rough or sharp, the best way to deal with it is to file it down or return it and order a smoother one from a fly shop.

Weight

Like mentioned earlier, you have to make sure you buy a perfectly balanced set of pliers. It shouldn’t be too heavy or too light because it will be detrimental on how perfect your hackles will turn out to be.

Therefore, it should just be the right amount of heavy, which makes sure that it holds down your threads or feather but at the same time light enough to make sure that you don’t have a challenging time using your set of hackling pliers. You would like working with the one of these tools.

See also our post on Making Fly Tying Affordable to see the best options for your fly tying materials.

FAQs

What are some of the common traits of a good set of hackle pliers?

In a nutshell, these are some of the most popular traits you should look for:

  • These pliers are easy to open.
  • They don’t allow your fly tying material to slip or shift.
  • They are easy to handle when you want to open or wrap.
  • The jaws don’t have any sharp edges to reduce chances of cutting your thread or causing injury.
  • They may not be heavy, but they will be heavy enough to hold down your fly tying materials.

Which is the best kind of hackle pliers to use?

Although there are many types of pliers in the market, the preferable option would be Dr. Slick Hackle Pliers .

Conclusion

Inasmuch as a beginner may easily get overwhelmed with the world of hackling, continued practice will enable you get better. That is if you involve using the best tying materials like pliers. From out roundup, our overall winner is Dr. Slick Hackle Pliers because of the great stainless steel construction, assortment of sizes and non-slip jaw.

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