It is tempting for a novice fly tyer to simply buy a complete set of tools. If this is the route you decide, make sure you deal with a reputable company. You don’t need to buy the most expensive tools for good quality but you do want them to be strong and well designed. Otherwise, fly tying might become an onerous task and you will become unnecessarily discouraged all because the tools were not good.
Even if you are going to buy a tool set, take the time now to review the basic fly tying tools and the features you want to consider:
A bobbin is a small ceramic or stainless steel tube used in fly tying to hold the thread tight as it drops down from the hook so it’s easier for you to tie the other material. There are various shapes from straight tubes or flared to ones that are kinked for an easier grip. The size should correspond with the size of fly you are making, from large patterns to small midges.
- Bobbin Threader
This is a simple device usually about six inches long with a looped wire attached. You push the loop through the bobbin tube, catch the thread through it and pull back up through the bobbin.
The multi-purpose bodkin is a heavy needle inserted into a large, easy-to-hold handle. Some have fine points; others are broader. Whatever the design, the bodkin can be used to apply head cement, clean cement out of hook eyes and free stray fibers.
- Hackle Pliers
These small pliers apply a constant tension in order to wrap hackle feathers or other material around the hook. If you are going to buy only one pair, choose the small midge ones as they can handle the larger flies, but the large ones cannot work on your smaller, more delicate creations.
- Hair Stackers
A hair stacker helps you line up the tips of deer, elk or other animal hair in order to attach to the fly. Hair is inserted into a small tube, tapped until the ends are all aligned, then extracted as a neat bundle. It makes a difficult task almost easy.
Scissors need to have a fine point and cut sharply. Because you will be using them often, it is important that the handles and overall design are comfortable for your hand. If you are left-handed, make sure you buy a left-handed pair so you have maximum control over the cut. This is an expensive item so buy another cheap pair for cutting wire or other coarse material.
- Whip Finisher
This tool lets you make a self-tied knot called a whip finish. It is worth the time it takes to learn how to use the finisher properly.
There are many other miscellaneous tools available such as tweezers, hackle gauge and half hitch tool. However, the list above will kick start your fly tying adventure.
Check out our fly tying tools in our online shop or stop over the shop and talk to the expert tyers.