Hank’s Fly Clip


When considering all of the parameters included in the introduction to “Favorites,” I’d have to single out the “Hank’s Fly Clip” as a preeminent gadget. It’s metal, it’s tiny, it’s cute, it’s ingenious and it’s far too complicated. What more could I ask for?

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Hank's Fly Clip

Hank’s Fly Clip

 Hank’s Fly Clip is the brainchild of Andrew Johnson, of Butte, Montana. Johnson’s patent application for his “fishhook holder” was filed on October 5, 1936 and he was granted patent number 2,081,817 on May 25, 1937.

Measuring just 2.75″ long and .75″ wide, Hank’s Fly Clip is a petite gadget. Constructed primarily of brass, the clip has a safety pin on the back so that it can be pinned to a convenient spot on your jacket (this gadget predates the fishing vest). The top edge of the front is rolled into a cylinder which has ten small slots in it and is about the diameter of a drinking straw. Visible through each of the slots in the hollow cylinder is an oblong bearing. At one end of the cylinder there is a minuscule chamber that houses a spring which holds all of the bearings tight against each other.

The clip works by pushing the bend of a hook into one of the slots, which in turn makes the bearing give way in the direction of the spring until the hook is pushed beyond the bearing …then the spring pushes the bearing back and closes the gap. Flies are easily inserted or removed without disturbing the others already in the clip as all other slots remain closed.

Over the years I’ve seen a bunch of these fly clips …all of which were the same design, but none like the patent drawing, which clearly depicts two cylinders. I wonder if after field testing his invention Mr. Johnson concluded that one row would suffice, or was easier to use. Or, perhaps the marketing department at Hank’s Mfg. Co (Chicago, IL) decided that folks would buy twice as many clips if they held half as many flies.

Today, elegant gizmos like Hank’s Fly Clip have been replaced by the ever popular patch-of-fuzz to hold flies. How boring.

“Hank’s Fly Clip” As Shown In The 1940 Edition Of The Fisherman’s Bible
The Patent Drawing

A Nickle Plated Hank's Fly Clip


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