Fly tying tools? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Fly tying tools?

03-13-2003, 10:05 PM
I am just getting into fly tying and have a vise, bobbin, scissors, hackle pliers, and whip finisher. Are these all the tools I need to get started? Are tools like a bodkin, hair stacker, bobbin threader, and dubbing twister also needed?

The flies I hope to tie most often are Adams, Royal Wulff, Royal Coachman, Muddler Minnow, and Hares Ear Nymph. What tools would serve me best?

03-14-2003, 06:06 AM
You can make a bodkin from a needle and an old wine cork. For a bobbin threader, put a piece of thin mono in the tip, reverse it from the bottom of the tip, making a loop, and put the thread in and pull it through. For a whip finish tool, again use a thin piece of mono, double it over, and lay it on the head of the fly. Make several wraps over it, then cut the thread, pull through the overwraps, and trim neatly. But you will need these and the other tools as you go along. Not at first, but like all tiers, you will expand your interests, and as you do, you will need these. All of these tools can be bought fairly inexpensively - if you want to tie hair-wing flies or Wulff flies, you will DEFINITELY need a hair-stacker now. Also invest in a good ceramic bobbin if you don't have one, it will pay dividends and last forever (and you will have a spare!).
Use cheap nail polish for head cement - it works very well for our needs, AND CLEANS UP EASILY with nail polish remover.
If a specific material is called for, not to worry! Use your eye to come up with the closest substitute you can find in your flybox.
That's starting on a shoestring, but I still fall back on these methods in case of emergency.

Hope this helps!


03-14-2003, 08:14 AM
I agree with Bob on the homemade tools. Ceramic bobbin is definitely a good investment. Take the money you saved on tools and invest in quality materials like a good saddle. You can make dubbing loops with your fingers or make a homeade tiwster from a coathanger.

John Desjardins
03-14-2003, 10:26 AM
From experience with sewing needles used as bodkins - dull the tip slightly with #600 sand paper before using. It works better for applying head cement aka nail polish. Using the brush in the bottle will put far more than needed on the fly.

03-14-2003, 11:02 AM
You'll need a bit of dubbing wax, but you don't really need a dubbing twister. Learn how to twist it with your fingers.

You'll need a hair stacker to tie the muddler.

Start with the muddler and hares ear first, as they'll be the most cost-effective flies. Dry fly hackle can be very expensive, and they're difficult to tie, so you'll end up ruining a bunch.


03-16-2003, 09:10 PM

The hackle pliers make a very good dubbing twister because after you make the dubbing loop, you simply put the hackle pliers on the end of the loop and twist. Also, you can split your tying thread with your bodkin/needle and place the dubbing between the resulting two strands of thread and then simply spin your bobbin in a counter-clockwise direction to make a dubbing loop. This method is actually much easier than forming a loop with thread and then twisting it.

A hair stacker can be made from a spent rifle or pistol cartridge if you cut off the shoulder (neck) of the cartridge and then debur and smooth the cut end. Use something like a .38 or 9mm handgun cartridge for shorter hair and something like a .30/30 for the longer hair. Cheap and very good hair stackers.