When I was a young man, my grandmother had a strong desire to teach me how to sew. I wasn’t super excited about the idea of it, but looking back, many of the skills have transitioned well. Little did I know, these skills were going to come in handy when I started tying flies a few years later.

The first thing my grandmother taught me was how to use a bobbin. While these look a little different in the fly tying world, I quickly learned how important these tools were and how handy they are in something that requires such fine motor skills!

What is a Fly Tying Bobbin?

A fly tying bobbin is a tool that holds your spool of thread, accurately places the thread on a fly and keeps a consistent tension on it throughout the entire tying process.

There are multiple sizes of bobbins that anglers can choose from when purchasing.

Do I Have to Use a Bobbin to Tie Flies?

Many anglers compare the vice to the bobbin in terms of importance for fly tying. The vice will keep your hook tight so you can tie with peace of mind that your hook won’t move around in the midst of the tying process.

The bobbin allows you to have complete control over where and how the thread is placed on the hook. The thread is a vital part of the design and presentation of a fly. If it’s loose or spooled improperly, it’s going to fall apart after a few casts. As soon as a fly starts falling apart, it’s worthless.

Bobbins for Fly Tying
Bobbins for Fly Tying

The bead head along with the rest of the material will start sliding down towards the bend of the hook. The bobbin is a necessary tool that any fly tiers should be sure to use! There are areas of fly tying that don’t require tools, but make sure you don’t skimp when it comes to the bobbins.

How to use a Fly Tying Bobbin

Once you learn how to use a bobbin the first time, you’ll likely not forget! The two metal arms that hold the spool of thread in place are the most important aspect of the bobbin. Once the thread spool is placed within the two arms, find the end of the thread spool.

How to use a Bobbin for Fly Tying
How to use a Bobbin for Fly Tying

Once you have located the end of the thread, go ahead and run it through the tube/tunnel. On bobbins, this tube can be made of plastic, steel or ceramic. If possible, purchase a ceramic bobbin because it will prevent the thread from fraying as it rubs along the edges. They cost a bit more, but they’re well worth it in the long run. You don’t want your thread to weaken as you attach it to the hook.

When you’re threading it, you might need to use a threading tool. It’s usually a long loop of wire that you place through the tube. Once it’s through, place the thread through the small opening and pull the tool back up through the tube.

As you hold the bobbin, make sure your thumb rests right on the collar. The collar is where the legs and barrel come together. If you’re holding it this way, the thread will be cupped in your hand and you can have full control as you wrap and adjust your thread.

Video Using a Fly Tying Bobbin

Adjust Tension on a Fly Tying Bobbin

One thing many fly tiers forget to do is adjust the tension on the bobbin. To make sure it’s properly adjusted, the spool should be held tightly if the bobbin is released. However, you need to be able to pull out thread when you’re ready to tie.

To adjust the tension, you’ll either need to pull the arms a part to make it a bit looser or push the bobbin arms together near the collar to tighten it. This will allow for you to find the right amount of tension. Bobbins are rarely adjusted properly right out of the package. Make sure it feels right to you before you begin using it!

What Fly Tying Bobbin Do I Recommend?

There are numerous options for anglers to choose from when purchasing a bobbin. When it comes to buying fly tools, however, don’t over complicate things. There are several brands that have been around for years and have proven their worth.

The Rite Bobbin is by far the best Fly Tying Bobbin I’ve ever used. Buy it with confidence on AMAZON LINK Rite Bobbin.

The bobbin I would recommend purchasing would be the Rite Bobbin. It’s around $30 depending on the model you pick, but as long as you don’t lose it this tool will last you your entire life. You can pass it down on to your children if you have the desire! It has a ceramic tube so you’re not going to weaken your thread if you use it.

Again, don’t make your decision more complicated than it needs to be. The reviews and testimony for this product speak for themselves.


David Humphries at Guide Recommended

Hey David here the maker of Guide Recommended. I’m super passionate about everything fly fishing fishing; writing, teaching and even video.