There is a lot of fly tying equipment and materials on the market. Each year there seems to be a new gadgety tool that everyone is talking about. Some of these are great, don’t get me wrong, but most fly tyers that I know are usually pretty happy with the gear they have and would rather learn to use that gear well. I’ll keep it short and only talk about the fly tying equipment and materials that I think worthy of discussion:
When I first started tying I had about as cheap of vice as you can find; it came as part of an introductory fly tying package. It wasn’t until I got a bit more serious about fly tying that I finally bought my first Regal fly tying vise. I guess technically I didn’t buy it; I bid on it at the local Trout fishing banquet and in good spirits I paid much more for it than what it was actually worth.
After a few months with my new toy, I realized just how much of a difference a quality vise, like the Regal Medallion vise, makes. This is one piece of equipment I would strongly encourage all beginning fly tyers to invest some money in. You probably won’t ever need to buy another.
Fly tying vises
With literally hundreds of different brands/types/models of fly tying vises to choose from, it can be a daunting task to figure out which fly tying vise is best and suits your needs well. Start by going into your local fly shop to get some advice. Better yet, buy a vise from your local fly shop. If there’s no fly shop near you, you can a great vises online.
Here are my favorite fly tying vises, ranging from least expensive (~$50 USD) to most expensive (~$400 USD):
- Colorado Anglers EZ Rotary Vise (amazon link)
- Regal Medallion Vise (amazon link)
- Griffith Montana Mongoose Vise (amazon link)
- Renzetti Presentation Vise (amazon link)
Pre-packaged fly tying kits
If you’re a beginner tyer with no gear, consider buying a pre-made fly tying kit. These usually contain the basic tools that you need to get you started. You can always add more as you go (trust me, you will!) Here’s a couple of options for pre-assembled tool kits:
- Cabela’s Super Deluxe Fly Tying Kit (Cabela’s link) *tools and materials
- Gunnison River Deluxe Fly Tying Tool Kit (amazon link) *tools and materials
- Dr. Slick Fly Tying Tool Kit (Cabela’s link) *tools only
- Loon Core Fly Tying Tools Kit (Amazon link) *tools only
One of the only tools you use on every single fly is scissors. Given the variety of different materials that need to be cut, it makes sense to have different scissors for each scenario. Here are my picks:
Tungsten Carbide Scissors
- Dr. Slick Tungsten Carbide Scissors (amazon link)
- Tiemco Umpqua Fly Tying Razor Scissors (amazon link)
Fly tying bobbins
I grew up tying with cheap, actually really cheap bobbins. As a beginning tier, I actually didn’t realize that it was abnormal for the bobbin to cut the thread as I was tying. I like to think it ended up making me a better tyer because I became unnecessarily skilled using the crappy bobbins that I had. I now own a number of high-quality bobbins and they do make a difference, but it’s not where I would invest the bulk of my money when it comes to fly tying tools. Still, much easier to learn when you start with quality tools.