The Best Fly Tying Kits: A Complete Guide and List of Components
Fly tying doesn’t have to be a cheap way to buy pre-tied fly flies. It’s an art form in its own right.
It can be difficult to make the transition from purchasing beautifully crafted nymphs to making your own.
We are here to help. If you’re interested in trying your own fly flies, then we have the information you need. You’ll find a detailed discussion on how to start, as well as answers to your questions about individual components vs. kits.
There will also be no-nonsense reviews about some of the top starter kits available, along with explanations of key components as well as recommendations for the best products to buy.
Here are some quick reviews of the top fly tying tools:
- Creative Angler Wooden Tying Station
- Orvis Fly-Tying kit– The Best Overall Fly-Tying Tool
- Scientific Anglers Deluxe Fly Tying Kit
- Hareline Fly Tying Material Set with Premium Tools and Vise– The Best Premium Fly-Tying Equipment
The Best Fly Tying Equipment Reviews
Creative Angler Wooden Tying Station
Creative Anglers Wooden Tying Station has all the aesthetics that fly anglers want, but can it provide the fly-tying utility they require?
I would answer the question with a qualified “yes”.
The kit includes an EZ rotary vice that attaches directly to the tying station. This vise is not expensive and a good place to begin. This is the best vise for the money. It comes with a C-clamp to attach to a table, which eliminates the often sketchy quality of the wooden platform.
The kit includes several bobbins and a bobbin threader as well as tweezers, a few bobbins, two tying tools, and a hair stacker. Several basic materials can be used to tie flies.
An instructional book is also included. It covers basic fly tying techniques and provides how-to guides for popular flies.
While the tool quality and included materials are acceptable, don’t expect top-of-the-line products.
Most often, the wooden base is the problem component. It’s too fragile to withstand heavy use. Some bases arrived damaged and had to be returned or repaired before they could be used again.
Do yourself a favor by strengthening the base with finishing nails and wood glue from the beginning. Or, skip the box altogether and clamp the vise onto a table.
This kit includes everything you need to get started. It also comes with a superior vise.
- The good vise comes with a C-clamp
- OK tools
- There are many materials available to tie flies
- The wooden tying box/station is often poorly constructed.
Orvis Fly-Tying kit Best overall fly-tying kit
It’s hard to find a fly-angler who doesn’t know Orvis. And it’s a name that is legendary on every stream in America.
Although it is more expensive than other options, the fly tying kit is still a great option for beginners. It includes everything you need to start tying and offers quality that many other kits don’t.
The kit includes a whip finishing tool, whip, whip, vise, whip, whip, scissors, bodkin, and hair stacker. It also contains the wire, thread, and hooks you need to make 160 fly patterns. The kit also comes with an instructional DVD. This is a great addition that will help novice fly-tyers get started.
It’s quite good in terms of vise and tool quality, and although it doesn’t compare to Dr. Slick and Peak, you get a lot for your buck.
This kit is a good deal considering it will cost you less than a Peak Rotary Vise.
This would be my choice if I was buying a fly-tying set. It offers the best price/quality ratio.
- Good vise
- Good tools
- Fly-tying is possible with a variety of materials
- Instructional DVD
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Scientific Anglers Deluxe Fly Tying Kit
Scientific Anglers Deluxe fly-tying kit is a bargain, but fishing, as with all things, is not about getting what you pay for.
The kit includes a vise and scissors. The kit also includes cement, hooks and thread, wire, as well as the various materials needed for fly tying.
The problem is that the kit’s quality will be poor for the amount they ask for. You should really be asking questions!
Even for small flies, the vise is not strong enough to hold them. They are also very difficult to use, so while you can tie flies using them, it will be much more difficult than necessary.
This is not a good idea for beginners. You don’t have to use name-brand tools to learn how to tie. However, it’s not a good idea to fight your incompetence and poor quality of the tools at all.
This is a great option for fly anglers with a limited budget. However, I recommend waiting until you have the funds to purchase the Orvis kit.
- It’s affordable
- Instructional DVD
- Poor quality vises and tools
- Poor component quality
Hareline Fly Tying Material Set with Premium Tools and Vise– The Best Premium Fly-Tying Equipment
Hareline is another name in fly fishing. I would consider Hareline as my only choice.
Be aware that Amazon sells the “premium” kits, but the actual “economy” version is available for purchase. As you can see, the vises in each kit are quite stark.
The “economy” vision
The premium vise and tools
The premium vise is our favorite, along with the scissors, bobbin holders, bodkin, and hair stacker.
Hareline is a fly dressing material manufacturer, so feather, dubbing, and wire as well as other items are of the highest quality.
Hareline is a great option if your budget allows for a 30% increase in Orvis kits.
This kit is in a way the opposite of Scientific Anglers’ option. In this case, you get what you pay for and it’s quite a lot!
- Good vise
- Good tools
- There are many top-quality materials available for fly-tying
- It’s expensive!
Do You Choose to Buy a Kit Or Assemble Yourself?
It’s tempting for novice fly-tiers to purchase a pre-assembled set.
This will take out the guesswork from component selections and help you get started quicker, allowing you to leap to tie your own fly flies.
Kits are of low quality, according to most tying experts.
This is not a problem with some tools. In my experience, one dubbing needle or bodkin is almost identical to another. You’ll be amazed at the difference in quality when you tie a fly with a bobbin holder or vise.
I cannot tell you what is right for you, and I won’t try.
Instead, I will discuss the pros and cons of each option.
Be aware, however, of the fact that high-end kits such as those from Hareline or Orvis offer top-quality tools, but you will have to pay for them!
Although pre-assembled kits tend to be the cheapest option, this is not always true. You can rest assured that they will provide everything you need, even for beginners.
It’s a good thing. These kits require very little thought, so they are ideal for those who don’t know how to start or for gifting to someone special.
Pre-assembled kits have the disadvantage of being expensive and lacking high-quality parts. Although the kit includes beads, wire, wire, and other materials, the vises that come with the kits are often flimsy and don’t work well enough. While the bobbin holders, scissors, and other tools may be acceptable, you will need to replace them if you plan to tie your own long-term flies.
- Tie faster
- You can help choose the right tools and materials to make basic flies
- It can be affordable
- Vise quality is usually poor
- The quality of the tools is only okay
These quality issues are not always common. We recommend the Hareline and Orvis Hareline Kits because they have high-quality tools.
Assembling your own kit
Another option is to research, read reviews such as this one and then decide what you need. Then you can choose the items that suit your needs and budget, and then you can purchase them individually.
This option allows you to get the best quality for the price you are willing to pay. You can be sure that the vises, tools, and materials you need are exactly what they are. It can be time-consuming to research every component of your custom kit and can lead to high costs.
- A vise is one of the top-quality tools you can purchase
- You won’t usually need to upgrade later. If you do, it will be an additional tool.
- This process may be slow.
- It can quickly become expensive!
The Basic Components of Tieing Flies
Fly tying vises hold your small hooks. You can wrap wire and thread, attach feathers and feathers and make your knots to keep everything together. Vice is the most important piece in fly tying equipment. A good vice will make tying much easier.
The Peak is one of the most sought-after products on the market.
The Peak is a great choice for both beginners and experts.
Sharp, small scissors are essential for fly tying. It takes precision to cut the tiny components that you will wrap around a fly with.
Dr. Slick has you covered. If you need a pair to help you get started or complete your project, Dr. Slick can help.
The Dr. Slick Hair Scissors may be the best choice.
There are many types of bobbin holders, but all have the same purpose: to hold a bobbin filled with thread and feed it as you wrap your fly.
Ceramic is the best material to hold the “eye” of the holder. It allows for smooth flow and no chance of breaking the thin thread.
My favorite: The Rite Ceramic Standard Bobbin Holder. You won’t be disappointed.
Bodkin is basically a long needle used for applying cement in precise drops.
Bodkin by Dr. Slick is a top-rated choice.
There are many hair stackers available in different sizes and materials, but all have one purpose: to give you a consistent, clean look that is lifelike.
Dr. Slick is the name you can trust for fly-tying products. I love their Hair, Stacker.
Use the Whip Finish Tool
This odd-looking device lets you tie tiny knots that keep a fly together. Without one, it’s best to not even start tying a flew!
My personal favorite is Dr. Slick’s Whip Finisher, but it will quickly become yours.
Head cement is fly glue. A few drops of it keep your knots in place and helps to keep everything on your fly together.
Loon’s Non-Toxic Hard Head Head Cement is the industry standard. It’s also the most widely used brand.
You may need to use a little dubbing wax if you live in a dry area to make your fly look great. Loon’s Outdoors Swax High Tack Dubbing wax is the best choice.
Today’s filmmakers use a bead to add weight and shine. These tiny beads by Angler Dream are very effective.
To wrap a fly in metallic wire, create the illusion of sections and add a little flash.
UTC Ultra Wire is a great product! It comes in a variety of colors to match hatches in local streams, wherever you live.
Pheasant tail is the best material for making fly wings. The hairline is the name to trust.
Hareline Ringneck Ringneck Pheasant Tail Feathers have been a trusted choice for fly anglers. They are available in a variety of colors to help you choose the right fly for your area.
Hareline is the best at dubbing to create the body of your fly.
Hareline Superfine Dry Fly Dubbing is a favorite of mine, and I think you’ll enjoy it, too.
Strong thread and a staple fly tie thread are essential. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to wrap a fly with a thread that breaks continuously.
Danville’s Flymaster Plus 140 denier thread will not allow that to happen. It is extremely strong and comes in a wide range of colors.
Experienced fly tyers understand the importance of peacock herl, from the appearance and feelers of a fly to the fine details that fool a trout,
Dr. Fish’s Peacock Herl ranks among the top and has been a trusted choice for many years.
The chenille is colorful and fluffy, making worms and wingless larvae.
Greatfishing’s Chenille can be used to trick trout. It is cost-effective and easy to use.
Whatever choice you make, we hope this article clarifies your options and gets you started on the path to making flies at home.
If it hasn’t, we would love to hear about it. Please leave a comment below.