Jump to content
Fly Tying
Sign in to follow this  

Tools of the trade !

Recommended Posts

First id like to start off by saying that I am new to flyting, pretty new to fly fishing, and lastly brand new to flytyingforum.

id also like to apologize in advance if something along the line of this thread has been posted before !


I have absolutely no idea about anything in the realm of fly tying except the fact that there expensive to buy in a store and easily lost on the rivers and streams in my area. I would like to help myself as well as fishing buddies by tying my own ! but not only that I feel like fly tying is an art and one that I would enjoy.


now to get to the question, what tools and materials do I need in order to start I would appreciate it if it could be in order from most necessary to least so that when I start out I don't have to make unnecessary purchases. lastly if there is any cheapskates like me that would know how to make these tools at home that would be very much appreciated aswell






Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

It's good to focus on a few things first.

1. What species of fish.

2. What flys do you like/want to fish. Example dry, nymph or streamer.

3. How much do you have to spend.


Tip: The simpler you keep your fly wish list the cheaper this project will be.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey there! I have only been tying for a year, so I still consider myself a beginner! I started with a kit from Orvis that supplies tools and materials.




The kit is great because it has a DVD where you learn the basics, provides all the tools, and also the materials. The flies in this kit are ones you can use almost anywhere. After I completed the kit, I was confident enough in my skills to tie patterns from YouTube. I like channels like "In The Riffle" and "Tightline."


It can be a little expensive to get started, but over time saves a lot money.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome Anthony! First off the tools needed are few and they are inexpensive if you want them to be. The tools do not get stressed and outside of the vise, swiss watch precision and engineering brings nothing to the table. A 25 dollar bobbin brings nothing to the table over a 10 dollar bobbin and both will last a life time. The vise is up to you. I would spend less on the other tools so you can spend more on the vice. Materials totally dependant on what your fishing for and you did not provide any info on test. Here's a list of tools to get you started:


1) vise fitted to you budget. A wiz banger is not necessary. It only needs to hold a hook.

2) scissors. A 5 dollar fine detail fiskers from Walmart are fine

3) ceramic insert bobbin. I buy Terra bobbins at 6 bucks. I like having multiple bobbins over one expensive one. I have about 14 or so but I started with one. I like to keep different colors of thread loaded in a bobbin all the time.

4) head cement. Any will do

5) bodkin. A couple bucks or you can use a nail, needle, or bamboo skewer

6) whip finishing tool. Again, Terra whip finishers are around 6 or 7 bucks. There's nothing to a whip finisher. This will last a lifetime.

7) hackle pliers. Many different kinds. 10 bucks will get you one that works.


That's about all you need to get started. Outside of thread. 6/0 uni in black, white, tan, red, and green will fill most needs. Or just get white and color with a sharpie.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Poopdeck gives you a great starting list.

I would only add that the price for a good vise to start and beyond is around the $100 mark.


Decide what you intend to tie for and go from there for materials.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Poopdeck nailed it.

I have added some video's that will also help with tools and how to use them.

Check out scflytying's other videos for some good beginner flies (part 3 thru 12).

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm new myself, I started with e cheap eBay vise/tools. Poopdeck named off everything I started with, and its been working for me.


If your trying to save money flytying may not be the best way. Materials can get expensive and the better you get at it, the nicer flies you want to tie, the nicer materials you need.


One way you can save is pick the patterns you want to make and buy only those materials.


Don't get me wrong I'm sure some people save money in the long run but it hasn't been my case.



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

thank you guys for the quick response's they pretty much all answered my questions and im supprised you can get started for so cheap I was assuming it would be in the hundreds ! for those that were wondering my target species would be rainbow trout and different species of salmon !

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

... So cheap... Ha! You fool... :D


Let's use thread as an example.

You will end up with a bunch of colors: white, black, red, olive, tan, brown... In different sizes: 70, 140 and 210 D...

One bobbin may be a couple of bucks, but, next thing you know, you have $50 in thread.

That's how they get you... :D

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I should add, I would not buy a Terra vise. Saving money or not is one of those questions where the answer is different for each tier. I save lots of money because I tie as part of fly fishing. If I don't need a fly I'm not sitting down and tying flies to toss into a big box. I also don't tie exotic flies or any fly that don't work for me. Others really enjoy tying flies and they tie and tie and tie and tie. They enjoy tying so much they start buying anything and everything that has a feather or fur on it.


So it's cheap if you want it to be. If you really enjoy tying flies, fill endless boxes with flies that will never be fished and buy up every piece of material you can find, it's still one of the cheapest hobbies out there.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

take fly tying lessons



This list of beginner tying materials is simply a list based on my 35+ years experience in fly tying. The list provided below is for a new tyer who wants to tie trout flies but can spill over to different genres of fly tying. This is a BASIC list. Could other items have appeared on the list? Of course they could but that's somebody elses list. Other tyers will add or subtract materials to their liking. So be it. Remember this a BASIC list of materials. It contains materials the can tie hundreds or even thousands of fly patterns.

This list is in no order of preference. This list is provided for your convenience and in no way requires you to buy all tying materials all at once or any materials for that matter. It is also a generic list of materials as I really don't have any preferences as to what brand of materials you buy.

Eventually you will need materials if you want to continue tying flies. The list may give you a head start as to what you might want to buy

Again, you do not have to buy the entire list all at once!

Buy what you want when you need it!

1. Hooks (in different styles and sizes)
2. Thread (6/0 to start in black & white)
3. Pheasant Tail (center feathers when possible for the longest fibers)
4. Peacock Herl (eye feathers and strung herl)
5. Marabou (blood quills are better)
6. Deer hair
7. Elk hair
8. Buck tail (in different colors like red, yellow, or white)
9. Lead or non-lead wire (in different sizes)
10. Ribbing wire (silver, copper & gold)
11. Rooster Hackle (grizzly, brown, white & dun) A good option is an introduction pack
12. Hen neck or saddle (grizzly, brown, dun etc) (great for soft hackle & wings)
13. Hungarian Partridge Skin (great for soft hackles)
14. Dubbing dispenser of hares ear (various colors) & superfine dubbing for dry flies
15. Gray duck or goose wing feathers (used for wing cases)
16. Head cement (a good whip finish knot doesnt need head cement
17. Tinsel and other flash materials (in assorted colors)
18. Calf tail (start with white, add colors when necessary)
19. Yarns & chenille (used for making bodies, both in assorted colors)
20. Floss (1 strand or 4 strand in assorted colors)
21. Strung hackle (practice wrapping hackle with this. cheap alternative to the pricey hackles)
22. Beads (not necessary to begin tying flies but if you really need them get them)

Poor quality materials are destined to discourage beginner tiers and cause greater expense when the time comes to replace them. Buy the best you can.

Another recommendation seen on most forums is to pick out 5-10 that you want to learn how to tie. buy the materials provided in the recipes of those flies. these materials are now the building blocks for tying different fly patterns in the future.

"The vice, bobbin, scissors and materials are fundamental."




a good vise can be found in stationary, rotary and true rotary models in different price points. a trip to your local fly shop can help you choose the right vise for you


a ceramic tube or tipped bobbin holder helps to keep the fraying of thread to a minimum


hackle plier - get an electrical test clip from radio shack or equivalent electrical supply house. ebay has them for as little as a $1 for 10 clips. dont forget to learn to wrap hackle with your fingers - theyre free


whip finish tool is not exactly needed as long as you learn to whip finish by hand


bodkin - make your own by sticking a sewing needle into the end of a wooden dowel


scissors - yes those 4 inch $5 fiskar scissors at walmart are perfect for flytying

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Am I the only person that thinks a hair stacker should be a part of a basic kit? I'd hate to tie a comparadun or any version of an elk/deer hair caddis type pattern without a hair stacker. Hair stackers come in different sizes and you can start with one but you will eventually end up with a small, medium and large.



DIY: http://streamofconsciousnessflyfishing.blogspot.com/2014/02/diy-hair-stacker.html





I think 2 scissors are needed. One with fine tips and then a second old pair for cutting wire and lead.


I haven't used head cement in years. I have not had a 5 turn whip finish come loose just like flytire says. If you need head cement for a shiny head as for streamers. use clear nail polish.


Bobbin threader - Use a dental floss threader




Dubbing brush for brushing out nymph bodies - make your own with a stick and the hook side of velcro.





However I use a nylon 22 caliber bore cleaning brush. About $3 lasts forever.




How to make your own tools:







If you must tie flies, read this tongue in cheek article:



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello and welcome Anthony! You've already gotten some great advice on tools and materials here, so I thought I'd respond to the part of your question about making tools at home. I have a copy of this book that I'd be happy to send you if you'd like to have it. https://www.amazon.com/Fly-Tying-Tools-You-Build/dp/194160000X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1505190197&sr=1-1&keywords=fly+tying+tools+you+can+build


Send me a PM (Private Message) with your mailing address and I'll mail it to you. (To send a PM, click on my screen name or avatar to be taken to my profile. Once there, click the "Send me a message" button.)




Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Cheapskates like you? I buy used and have a lot of homemade stuff. Fly tying can take over your life. I would start out cheap is right. You may like or not like it. I stared with someone's old vice a box of hooks, feathers and some thread off eBay, all for $30. You can always upgrade. I would suggest watching the fly tying for beginners on YouTube. At least watch part 1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DB6tss3hGZc.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Create New...