Fly Tying Tools

My Two Most Important Fly Tying Tools

Neither of them is a rotary vise from Griffith, Dyna-King or Renzetti.  While a rotary vise is a nice addition to your tying tools, you can tie flies with an old Thompson stationary vise from the 1970’s.

My most important tools are a great pair of scissors and a good tying bobbin.

What makes for a great pair of fly tying scissors?

  1. Large enough finger holes for your fingers to comfortably fit.
  2. Sharp blades that stay sharp.  Sharp enough to cut wire used in tying wire bodies. Small points that can reach in and thin out individual barbules of feather legs.I have had my current scissors for about ten years now.  They are stainless steel with vinyl wrapped finger holes.  This vinyl wrapping makes the scissors comfortable to hold.  One blade is serrated and one is a straight edge.  This particular construction makes cutting wire simple.  With the extra fine points, I can reach in and thin out individual feather barbules if I over wrap my legs.

Picture of 3 types of fly tying scissors

fly tying scissors

Three types of fly tying scissors

Both scissors on the top of the picture have small fine points and are sharp.  But the finger holes in both cases are too small for my fingers.  The tying scissors on the bottom are the ones mentioned above.


Tying Bobbins

Spring Arm Fly Tying Bobbin

Spring Arm Fly Tying Bobbin

What are the characteristics of a quality tying bobbin?

  1. The tension on the spool holder tips should be strong enough to prevent the thread from slipping.  Too little tension and the thread will become a long strand.  This requires you to rewind the thread spool to take up the excess thread.  Too much tension and you can break thread.I prefer bobbins with two brass retainers on the body where the thread tube is soldered.  Two retainers seem to provide a sturdier construction than just one retainer.  I have had one retainer bobbins weaken along the solder joint which required a solder repair along the thread tube.
  2. The thread tube should have a ceramic or plastic insert inside the tube top. An insert in the bottom is preferable too. These inserts minimize wear on the thread as you wind it on the hook.  If there is no insert in the tube bottom, it should be bell shaped to minimize thread wear.

I hope this information has been useful to you.

Tight Lines and Good Fishing,

Marshall, Editor
This article is copyright 2005 by Marshall Estes.