This is a list of the essential tools for tying flies. You can get many more gadgets. I recommend a couple of items as you proceed through the course.
Video Review of the Basic Tools
Fly Tying Vise
The vise holds the hook allowing you to tie all kinds of fun stuff on it. Less expensive vises usually clamp directly onto a table. The key feature is being able to quickly secure a hook.
If you’re looking for a great value packed vise consider the Peak Rotary. I’ve got a video review below.
A bobbin holds and dispenses the thread for tying. Setting the thread tension is usually done by bending the arms in or out. The tension should be strong enough to allow you to hang the bobbin freely below the hook.
I’ve got a complete article about fly tying scissors if you want to learn more. Link 👉 Fly Tying Scissors
Fly tying scissors have a fine point for reaching into snip thread and feathers. Good scissors have a fine serrated blade to grip the material while cutting. Your scissors are going to dull pretty fast so don’t fight them when they get dull. If possible, get some “regular” scissors for cutting hard stuff like wire and lead.
Hackle pliers clamp onto feathers and thread providing a method of grabbing tiny items. The large loop opposite the jaws is great for sticking your finger into and twirling around the hook.
Stackers are cylinder shapes used to align hair tips. Remember to remove the “under-hair” or fluff when stacking.
Get the FREE download PDF 👉 Fly Tying Tools
Dubbing Needle (Bodkin)
A long fine pin is used to apply head cement and pick hair and feathers out to make flies look “buggy”. Also used to pull out feathers accidentally tied down.
I would suggest three types of head cement.
- Water-Based like Loon Water Base
- Sally Hansen Hard as Nails, nail polish is cheap and works great.
- UV Cure material is great for building up a shiny coat.
A good light with a flexible shaft is great to help see what you’re doing. Get a bulb that is full-spectrum and 5500K
A Recommended Fly Tying Tool Kit
Dr. Slick has a fantastic tying kit that comes in a fly box. I highly recommend it, I’ve bought two of these kits (one was a kit). Check out more about the kit in the video below.
If you just want to get the kit, check out the prices and reviews on Amazon with this shortcut link 👉 Dr. Slick Fly Tying Tool Kit