Spend any time around fly tiers and someone is bound to bring up the term bodkin or ask you if they can borrow yours. At that point, knowing what a bodkin is could be quite helpful.
What is a bodkin?
A bodkin is basically a needle in a holder for easy use. Bodkins can make many aspects of tying easier. Here are a few ways that we use our bodkins.
1) Applying head cement to a finished fly.
2) Picking out trapped fibers after wrapping or palmering a material.
3) Stabbing your next door neighbor at the fly tying table who has gotten too handsy or won't be quiet when the instructor is speaking (usually he knows how to tie the fly better than the instructor).
4) Separating hooks and beads.
5) Picking out dubbing to give a fly a "buggy" look.
6) Poking holes in materials, like foam.
7) Cleaning out the hook eye when you crowd the eye or glue it shut.
8) Tightening up a hand whip finish.
9) If the holder doubles as a half hitch tool, you can use it to tie a half hitch.
10) Use it to tie a nail knot.
11) Dig splinters out of your hand when you forget to sand your reclaimed barn board fly tying table.
12) And our personal favorite, gluing eyes on our flies!
There are a bunch of different bodkins on the market. Some of our favorites include Dr. Slick's bamboo bodkin, the Loon Outdoors Ergo Fly Bodkin, the Hairline Deluxe Bodkin and the Orvis Bodkin.