Catcher in the Hookeye

A while back I was musing about the great fly tying problem of `waste stuff’. Every time I tie a deer hair emerger a great plume of trimmed deer hair finds its way down onto my bedroom floor. This is not exactly a universe-ending disaster. However, with my new-fangled portable fly tying system, I know I’m going to be doing a lot more tying on the road. That means my tying bench will be B&Bs, campsites and my car steering wheel. With all that waste, I could end up causing a kind of world war with the neighbors, and that’s definitely not cricket. What was needed was a catcher. A Catcher in the Hookeye, in fact.


Take one coat hanger, one old teeshirt, a little inventiveness and a friend with a sewing machine. Boil together in a large pan with garam masala, tomatoes and a Saturday afternoon. Add a chunk of metal, sprinkle with a little Disney magic and out pops this wee gem.


The Catcher in the Hookeye is my version of the waste material bin. It fits snuggly onto most vice shafts with that wee chunk of metal I mentioned, which I found lying around my lab at work. I’m not sure what it’s called, but I call it `the wee chunk of metal’. The frame is made of a bent coat hanger. Of course, coat hangers are normally bent when you buy them, so the idea of bending one is almost ironic. Bending the bent. It’s like asking a duck to quack with a Swedish accent. It’s a bent idea that.

The catching bit is the back of one of my oldest teeshirts. My mother tried for about five years to get me to chuck it, but my line was always “Ma, there will be some use for it eventually, I’m just not sure what it is yet.” Well Ma, here it is. The catcher of the Catcher in the Hookeye.


I like the fact that all my waste gets trapped now. I’ve always found that waste fly tying material is a bit like a dream: if you don’t grab it whilst it’s fresh, it’s lost forever. And that, my friends, is a little sad. Now there’s a right and proper place for waste, and it’s in the Catcher. Every now and then I’ll delve into the bowls of this humble servant, and it’s amazing the bits and bobs of old material that can be used for other flies. As I am an ethnic mix of Yorkshire, Lancashire and Scotland, I’m about as tight as they come. So don’t blame me, it’s genetic.


The Catcher falls nicely in line with my increasingly obsessive policy of home-made fly tying paraphernalia. It functions perfectly well, and cost -£2.50 (that’s the money I saved by not wasting time and petrol on taking my old teeshirt and coat hanger to the recycling joint). I tried for about three months to find something similarly decent in the fishing tackle shops, and the cheapest thing I found was almost a tenner. Ridiculous. Get yourselves a flaming coat hanger and a good old fashioned chunk of metal. Take half an hour on a Saturday afternoon (other days are less reliable) and churn one out for yourself. Then get down to the local newsagent and spend your saved cash on 250 penny sweets. Glorious.


  1. KBarton’s avatar

    Excellent use of an aging garment. A word of caution however, empty it frequently, otherwise you’ll be fetching odd bits and pieces out of the debris for use in the next fly. Soon, you’ll be unable to empty it as it contains too much valuable material.

    I struggled through the same issue.

  2. Phil’s avatar

    May I be boring and note that I think the “wee chunk of metal” is a jubilee clip, aka “worm drive hose clip”?



  3. mike’s avatar

    Phil, I applaud your observance. You are of course correct. I use them in the lab quite a lot (even if I forget their name).

    But I like the word `chunk’. It’s got feel.

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