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Fly Tying - Tools and Essentials

Fly Tying is full of gadgets and gizmos. Where to begin? From vises to hair stackers, there are fly tying tools to help you accomplish many tasks. While these tools are designed to make you more efficient and productive, you may not necessarily need as much stuff as you think. We've simplified things in this section with a rundown of some of the basic tools that we believe to be true "essentials" when starting in the world of fly tying. Take a look! 


Fly tying vises are usually designed with either a solid, flat base for use on any flat surface or a clamp that mounts to the edge of a table or counter. A vise holds your hook securely, which allows you to work with both hands free. Price ranges can vary from very affordable to very expensive, but a high-dollar vise isn't required to tie flies successfully. However, the better vises will have more refined construction, hold a hook very tightly, and offer a wide range of adjustments, making tying more efficient.


Along with the vise, the bobbin is another crucial piece of fly tying equipment. The bobbin holds the thread spool and allows you to easily manage the thread and its tension during the tying process. In addition, most good bobbins have a rounded edge around the tube opening, so your thread won't get severed while tying a fly.

Bobbin Threader

Trying to thread your bobbin without a bobbin threader can be an annoying experience! Since thread is soft and supple, it's difficult to put through the bobbin tube without some extra help. A bobbin threader allows you to pull your tying thread through the bobbin tube, so you can get to tying quickly!


Fly tying scissors are often small in size. Since they are far less bulky than household scissors, making the small, precise cuts that are so common in fly tying is a lot easier. That said, a second larger-size scissor can also help cut thicker or more challenging materials.

Whip Finisher

The whip finisher ties a special knot to finish off your fly. This tool can be a little confusing at first, but with some practice, using a whip finisher is quick, easy, and effective.


This simple, pointy tool has several convenient uses, such as cleaning hook eyes, picking out dubbing/hackle, and applying head cement. It's a must-have at the tying table!

Hackle Pliers

Hackle pliers allow you to grip the feather securely when wrapping it around a fly's body. While not an absolutely mandatory tool, hackle pliers can be handy when working with small feathers, chenille, or if you don't have particularly nimble fingers.


Using some type of glue, cement, or epoxy helps secure materials or finish off the heads of flies after completion for added durability.

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