Fly Tying Tools
Okay, let’s get right into it. Let’s learn more about fly tying tools that you will need to tie flies. This is not a comprehensive list of all fly tying tools that you will ever need. This is a list that will help you get started, and allow you to tie most of the flies you will tie within your first few years. You don’t necessarily need the best fly tying equipment, but you do not want to be limited by what is available. You need something middle-of-the-road. You will quickly become frustrated if you purchase cheap tools that don’t work for you. Let’s get started…
You might consider buying the complete set of tools. Although this is not always the best thing, it’s definitely worthwhile if you buy from a trusted supplier like Orvis.
Bobbin Fly tying bobbins are thread holders that place tension on the thread spool. While you tie additional material, the thread is held in place by the weight of the bobbin that hangs from the hook.
Bobbin Threader A bobbin needle is a small device that allows you easily to thread your tying thread through the bobbin’s neck. It measures approximately 6 inches in length and has a 2-inch handle with a looped piece of wire attached. The pointed wire loop is then inserted into the neck of the Bobbin. The thread is then inserted through the loop of the wire. Finally, the threader is pulled apart and the thread is pulled along with it.
Bodkin A bodkin is also known as a dubbing or heavy needle. It has a handle that is comfortable and inset with a heavy needle. Bodkins can be used to apply cement, pick up bound-down fibers, and free-tie-down hackle fibers.
Hackle Gauge This is a simple gauge that measures the length of your hackle. To determine the size of the hook, wrap the hackle around the gauge.
Hackle Pliers Hackle pliers can be described as a small, handheld clamp that holds feathers and other materials while they are being wound around the hook.
Hair Stacker A stacker is a tool that aligns the tips and allows them to be tied onto flies. It is two sections of hollowed-out metal that are joined together. The funnel-shaped opening on one piece is hollow while the flat bottom of the other is smooth. The tube is then used to insert the hair and tap until all the tips are aligned. The other piece of the tube with hair inside is removed and attached to the fly.
Half-Hitch Tool Half-hitch tools, which are thin metal cylinders that have holes at the ends, allow you to tie a half-hitch to keep the thread in place while you tie a fly. First, match the size hole at the end of the tool to the size eye of the hook. Next, place the thread on top of it and twist it around once. Finally, slide the thread onto the hook to create the half-hitch. These can be purchased in three-piece packages so that the tire has six sizes of holes to choose from. However, it is easier to purchase a bodkin with an integrated half-hitch tool so that you don’t have to fuss with multiple tools. This is what I have shown.
Matarelli Whip Finisher A whip finisher allows the tiers to tie a fly using a self-sealing, or whip finish, knot. Although this tool is not easy to use, it is very simple once you are familiar with its basics.
Scissors This one may seem obvious, but there are some things you should know. Do not buy the cheapest pair. A good pair of starter pairs should be priced between $15 and $20. If you want to keep going, anything less than this will not hold up. Make sure you choose a pair that fits your fingers and is comfortable. They will be used a lot. You’ll need to ensure that the tips are extremely fine and you cut the material at the tip. To cut more difficult materials like wire, you might consider buying a second pair of scissors. This one is not for you to overthink. Let your gut decide.
Tweezers These doesn’t need much explanation. Tweezers are useful in flying tying for many reasons, but their primary purpose is to pull out fibers that have been mistakenly bound to the hook. They can also be used to pick up small hooks and other difficult-to-handle materials.
Vise Fly tying vises are simply clamps that hold a hook in place so that thread or materials can be applied. A vise should be able to hold a hook securely while also being easy to use.
I will make a recommendation. Renzetti has created a new travel vise for budget-minded flyers. It is lightweight, durable, and most importantly, it’s affordable.
Fly Tying Bench This one is a last-minute saver. Although it’s not necessary to get started in fly tying, it can be a great help. Fly tying benches allow you to store all your tools, supplies, and materials in one place so that there is no need to look for them. Because I made it, this one is very dear to me. This bench was created from many bench designs. It was very easy to make. Lowe’s had the wood in precut widths. All I had to do was to cut them to length and then assemble them. It took me a weekend to complete it. Although I didn’t keep track of the cost, I believe I purchased everything for less than $50. It’s worth the investment as a comparable bench can be purchased for around $150. Contact me if you have any questions about how to make this happen.