It makes no difference whether you’re a beginner or seasoned fly fisher, the importance of your fly tying tools is paramount. The debate about whether to buy a ready kit or build one yourself is where it gets interesting. While building your own kit from scratch can be a creative endeavor, it requires a somewhat advanced knowledge of what tools you need.
If you’re a beginner, choosing a ready-made kit is logical because it allows you to get a sense of basic necessities, as well as receive some simple instructions. There’s value in a prepared kit for fly-fishing veterans, as well, in terms of saving time and money. In this article, we will help you consider the tools necessary for a smooth experience, so you can find the best fly tying kit for you.
Best Fly Tying Tools: What You Need in Your Kit
When trying to find the right fly tying kit, you need to think about the individual tools included. Whether you are just starting the process of building your fly tying kit, or you want to replace your basic supplies, there are eight important tools that are considered standard necessities in any kit.
Your fly tying kit must include these eight tools:
- Vice: unless you’re a true expert, you may need some help when it comes to tying your flies, as hooks can get pretty small these days. A good quality vice will be simple to use, making sure your hook is securely held, with the flexibility to adjust to a range of hook sizes. You will come across both lever and spring loaded vices, but lever action is normally sufficient. Choose a kit with a vice made from durable material. Notice the difference between vices with pedestals and C clamps, both are effective, but C clamp vices are more portable.
- Bobbin Holder and Bobbin Wire Loop Tool: a bobbin holder will add ease to the fly tying process. While you can simply cut some thread and tie your flies with free hands, using a bobbin holder means less waste and more tension while you’re tying, to avoid losing furs and feathers. Most bobbins come with brass, plastic, or ceramic tubes. A bobbin wire loop tool is not necessary, but makes the threading process faster. Many fishers simply suck the thread through the tube, however.
- Scissors: you’ll most likely find that you want to add various pairs of scissors to your kit, as time goes on, to have a collection to choose from for specific needs. However, the most important things to look for in the scissors included in fly tying kits are extreme sharpness and a super-fine point for close cutting.
- Hackle Pliers: this tool will simplify and streamline the process of wrapping the hackle around the hook, by grasping the hackle tightly and ensuring it doesn’t slip.
- Whip Finish Tools: you can certainly whip finish your ties with your fingers, but using this tool will make the process easier, faster, and more accurate.
- Dubbin Needle or Bodkin: this tool serves a few important purposes including combing underfur, applying head cement, teasing dubbed materials, dividing wing tips, and freeing trapped hackle fibres.
- Dubbing Twister: this tool creates tension, holding fur in place so that you can twist dubbing and thread into a rope to make dubbing loops.
- Threader: if you have less than perfect eyesight, or find it difficult to do intricate movements with your fingers, a threader will save you time and struggle.
You should move on from any kit which does not include these eight base elements. You will not be fully set to fish unless you’ve got them all. Another useful tool you can keep an eye out for in the best fly tying kit is:
- Hair Stackers: will help you align many different fibres, evenly, so that you are ready for tying.
With these tools as your baseline, finding kits which include tweezers, small pliers, and come in a ready-organizer is an added bonus.
Choosing the Best Fly Tying Tool Set
Don’t get caught investing in a fly tying kit that ends up being a waste of money or not up to par. Before making your final decision on a kit, spend a bit of time thinking about the following factors and features that should come into play:
- Quality: this is a given, but just as a reminder, there’s no point in choosing a fly tying kit where the tools are obviously crafted from substandard material. That will just end in you needing to replace your tools much too soon.
- Basic Tools: we talked about the baseline you need to reach in your kit, so as you explore different options, it may be handy to reference our checklist.
- Organizer: this isn’t essential, as you can easily get an organizer for your tools, but if you see a kit with a well-structured organizer, it could add extra convenience to your overall experience.
- Instructions: some kits provide detailed instructions in the form of a manual or DVD. If you’re a beginner, this is almost a must. If you have experience, then a reference for the specific tools in the kit may still come in handy.
- Price: choosing to buy a ready-made kit should work out cheaper than building one from scratch. Be mindful of that and don’t overpay.
- Bonuses: while you will mainly be searching for kits that provide the necessary tools, you are likely to come across kits which offer added bonuses, as well, such as ties and thread.
Our Picks for the Top 5 Fly Tying Kits – Reviewed
Take a breath, absorb the information you’ve just read, and move on to examining the following top 5 flying kits:
1. Dr Slick Fly Tying Tools Gift Set with Fly Box Combo.
The Dr Slick Fly Tying Tools Gift Set is a suitable choice for both beginners and intermediates. It includes seven of the basic tools you will need for your fishing trips. You get straight scissors, a ceramic bobbin, a brass bodkin, a brass bobbin threader, a medium brass hair stacker, a brass whip finisher, and a brass hackle plier. An added bonus is that it comes in a large fly box for organization.
This Dr Slick kit provides durable tools with a sleek and polished look, making it an excellent starter option or gift. The price is reasonable, considering the quality can provide you with years of service, with proper care.
The tools in this kit may break, if not handled carefully. If you’re looking for a simple, yet effective and reliable fly tying kit to get you started or replace older tools, this kit is worth your consideration.
2. Scientific Anglers Deluxe Fly Tying Kit
For a beginner looking to get started with a bang, the Scientific Anglers Deluxe Fly Tying Kit includes virtually everything you need, with a vice, bobbin and threader, bodkin, hackle pliers, and scissors. The kit also includes hooks, thread, tinsel, wire, dubbing, hackle feathers, and marabou. Everything is packaged in a sturdy travel organizer for high convenience. The beginner will get the most out of this kit with its introduction DVD.
This kit is ideal for learning fly tying. It provides just enough tools and materials to get started, which you can add to over time. The price is reasonable and users report that the quality is sufficient.
3. Orvis Fly-tying Kit
The Orvis Fly-tying kit is an excellent option for everyone, ranging from beginners to experts. With the inclusion of materials for a total of 160 flies, you will be ready to set out right away. This kit includes a high-quality vice, ceramic lined bobbin, scissors, bodkin, half-hitch tool, hackle pliers, hairstacker, and whip finish tool. The sturdy organizer is a useful bonus, as is the instructional DVD made by Tim Flagler of Tightline Productions, one of the best fly-fishing videographers there is.
While it may be a sizeable investment, this starter kit leaves you ready to get out on the water the minute it’s opened. The instructional DVD will help beginners and more experienced fishers hone their skills.
For a totally inclusive kit, the Orvis Fly-tying kit is one of the best out there.
4. WETFLY Deluxe Fly Tying Kit with Book and Dvd.
The WETFLY Deluxe Fly Tying kit is another stellar option for the beginner or intermediate fly-fisher. The kit sets you up with the essential tools you need to tie flies, including a vice, scissors, and hackle pliers. This kit also includes high-quality materials for building ties such as dubbing, hackle, and chenille. The instructional DVD and book can help you to craft your skills in no time.
This affordable kit is a solid starter choice for people learning to fly fish, or those looking to replace older tools. The tools and materials in the kit are of mid-level quality, so you will want to add to your collection over time.
If you’re looking for a beginner’s set for yourself or to give as a gift, we consider the WETFLY Deluxe kit to be a good option.
5. Colorado Anglers Z797 Standard Tool Kit
If you’re a person who values an elegant aesthetic when it comes to storing your tools, you will appreciate the Colorado Anglers Z797 Standard Tool Kit. Situated in a strong, wooden carrying case, the kit includes the basic tools you will need to start tying flies.
We believe that this kit makes a great choice for beginners, or if you want to keep a separate set of tools for traveling. The quality of the tools is reportedly satisfactory, but they are not among the higher quality tools you can find.
Super portable, this kit can serve you well as a starter or backup set.
Your flying tool kit can make or break your experience on the water. It’s better to be prepared than sorry, so be sure to take your time searching for the best fly tying kit. which will give you all you need and set you up to fish!