Saturday, July 13, 2019

Beginner Fly Tying Tool & Materials

Tying Tools

This list of beginners tying tools is simply a list based on my 39+ years’ experience in fly tying. It is a BASIC list.

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

Any brands mentioned are purely for examples, not an endorsement.

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

Buy what you want when you need it!

In addition, buy the items that are affordable to you. There is no need to spend $$$$$ on tying tools when $$ are available and just as good to get you started.

Essential

*Tying Vise – Stationary, rotating or full rotating vises are all available to the beginner.
Which vise you purchase is your decision. A good idea is to try them out at your local fly shop to see which vise will work for you.

EXAMPLES

Stationary – Does not rotate the hook
Thompson Model A. Great to learn on and the least expensive.

Rotating – Rotates the hook but not around the hook axis
Regal, HMH, Anvil etc. C-clamp or pedestal versions.

Full Rotating – Rotates the hook directly in line with the hook axis
Renzetti, Peak, J-Vise etc. C-clamp or pedestal versions.

*Bobbin Holder – Purchase a bobbin holder that has a ceramic tube or a ceramic insert in the tip of the tube. You can purchase stainless steel tube bobbin holders for use with ribbing wire, lead/non-lead wire and other tying materials.
                                  
*Scissors – An inexpensive pair of Fiskar 4-inch dressmakers’ scissor is an excellent start and will cut just about any material out there. Yes you can cut wire with your scissors, just cut close to the pivot point

There are too many scissor manufacturers to list here. See this recent article on scissors:



Less essential but useful later on in your tying adventure

Whip finisher – There is the “Matterelli” style and the “Thompson” style whip finishers. Learning to whip finish with your fingers will save you a few bucks. Fingers are free!
              
Bodkin - The bodkin is mainly used to put on head cement but has other uses such as picking out dubbing to make fuzzy bodies, picking out trapped hackle fiber from under ribbing wire, clearing out head cement from the hook eye etc. A bodkin is a simple DIY project. Just stick a needle into a small diameter dowel and voila! Bodkin.

Half Hitch Knot Tool – This tool is for tyers who can’t or won’t use a whip finisher. Used to make half hitches at the hook eye to finish the head. Each tool has a different diameter hole drilled in each end to support different diameter hook eye sizes.

Hackle Plier – Used to grasp the tip of a hackle to wrap around the hook shank. Fingers still work great for holding and winding hackles.

Hair Stacker – After cutting hairs off of the skin, insert the hair tip end down into the hair stacker to even the tips of various types of hair such as buck tail, deer, elk, moose etc. Some experienced tyers still prefer to finger/hand stack hairs to prevent the paint brush look of stacked hairs produced from a stacker.

Hair Packer – This tool is more suited for the tyer who wants to tie deer hair style bass and pike/musky fly patterns.

Tweezers – This tool has many uses around the tying bench. Can be used to pick out fibers of errant materials, picking up hooks, holding beads etc.

Dubbing Teaser – This is another DIY project. Glue a strip of Velcro to a popsicle stick or coffee stirrer and use it to scruff up dubbing for a fuzzy body

Dubbing Twister – Use this tool in conjunction with a dubbing loop of thread and spiky dubbing to help create dubbed bodies, small dubbing brushes right on the hook shank etc. There are many styles of dubbing twisters. Search on-line and make a choice of which one you want.

Comb – Ideal for removing underfur from hairs or furs. Especially useful for coming out the underfur on deer hair and buck tails for spinning hair and making streamers. A simple moustache comb is a good choice or combs made of antler.

Bobbin holder threader – Insert the flexible wire loop into the bobbin holder thread tube, insert the thread into the loop and pull the tool to thread the bobbin holder. Totally not needed as you can insert the thread into the tube, put the tube in your mouth and draw/suck the thread through the tube. Dental floss threaders are an option.

* A vise, bobbin holder and scissors are three basic tools that will get a beginner into tying flies.

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


Fly Tying Kits (Controversial but there are good kits if you really want one)





Fly Tying Tool Sets









Tying Materials

This list of beginner tying materials is simply a list based on my 39+ 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. It is a BASIC list. It contains materials that 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 wilL 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 black, 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, biot bodies, tails etc.)
16. Head cement & tying wax (not immediately needed but nice to have on hand)
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/Uni-stretch (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)
23. Rubber legs


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.

A popular and frequently mentioned 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.

Fly Tying Material Kits


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