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At a Glance: Tools & Tool Kits

High-quality fly tying tools make a big difference when making flies (and your subsequent fly fishing), and we offer a large selection from Griffin, Loon, Umpqua, Wapsi, and more for your fly tying tool kit. Our product mix includes scissors, bobbins, hackle pliers, hair stackers, dubbing tools, whip finishers, tool kits, lamps, and many other items useful for your tools set.

The Essentials: Scissors, Bobbin, Threader, and Bodkin/Half Hitch

Good fine-point scissors are a must for cutting fly tying material. The sharper, the better. They range in size from three to four inches long, with straight and curved blades. Straight shanks are the most commonly used, although curved blades are handy when shaping spun deer or elk hair. The finger loops matter! Most tying scissors come with oversized finger loops, which help during long tying sessions. As tough as it is if you have recently started tying, try to learn to tie without putting down your scissors each time you cut material. Keep them in your hand!

Until the mid-20th century, people tied flies without a bobbin (some still do). Most tiers today use a bobbin, and a good one is essential to holding correct tension on the thread and accurately placing thread wraps. The bobbin tube is usually stainless steel, and some come with ceramic or ruby tips to decrease the chances of threads fraying as the steel tube wears over time. The spring steel or the "legs" secure the bobbin of thread and allow it to rotate without twisting the thread. While spools exchange easily, many tiers have a few bobbins with various colors of threads spooled up, ready to use. A bobbin threader is helpful, making threading the bobbin much quicker.

The bodkin/half hitch tool ties off the finished fly with half hitches (a type of simple knot), and the bodkin is no more than a sharp needle on the other end, used to pick out dubbed bodies, errant hackle, and many other uses. Many tiers keep a whip finisher for their fly tying kit and prefer it to tie off the thread and build a neat head.

Hackle pliers hold the hackle while wrapping around the shank for a dry fly or a wet fly collar. They come in several styles, but all open up and then clamp the hackle tip between two small jaws. These pliers make it easier to apply the feather neatly and with good tension. Hair stackers even the ends of deer, elk, and other hairs easily, which are usually used for hair wings on dry flies or streamers. Dubbing twisters and spinners make dubbing loops and brushes for bodies, mainly on nymphs and streamers. By doubling the thread, hair, fur, or synthetic fibers are trapped between the strands and spun to create a roughly dubbed body or collar. A comb helps remove underfur on patches of deer or elk hair and furs. The tying lamp is excellent, as it focuses light on the vise, lessening eye strain and illuminating the fly and vise.