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Top 5 Must Have Fly Tying Tools.

Top 5 Must Have Fly Tying Tools.

In this edition Ben Worley provides some advice on the key features to look for when selecting fly tying tools and those which will provide significant benefits. Often we find ourselves buying cheap or unsuitable items which will need to be inevitably replaced. Get ahead of this by down selecting to the most suitable solutions and buying the best options available. 

Serrated Scissors

A good quality pair of scissors will go a long way, look after them and they will look after you. Sharpness is obviously a key factor when choosing a pair of scissors but an often overlooked requirement is for a micro serrated edge. The serration allows you to easily and cleanly cut through braids, fine materials and GSP style threads, avoiding fraying and inconsistent finish.

There are many options on the market but we highly recommend the Kopter Flies range here.

Ceramic Thread Bobbin Holder

Now then, this is without doubt the most frustrating issue related to wrapping threads, when they snap mid tie! Often this problem isn’t caused by the thread, or even the user. The thread bobbin holder is the most used item in your armoury so this is arguably where you should focus on buying quality, and most importantly select a model with a ceramic or similar insert. The smooth finish and rounded edge dramatically reduces the chance of fraying and snapping your thread.

Thread bobbin holders are available in a variety of shapes, sizes with some adjustable tension models too. A range of ceramic lined bobbin holders can be found here, our favourite is the absolutely bomb proof Smhaen Classic featured above.

Brushes & Combs

I have always believed that scruffy flies catch fish, so the ability to apply a brush to your flies and materials is a must have option. Not only will this help your dry flies float better, but can also help mimic shucks, slimes and cases associated with emerging nymphs. In addition, a comb can also prove useful removing unwanted fibres from Deer hair and other fibrous materials where you want them to neatly align.

Examples of common brushes and comb combos can be found here.

Gunville Foam Cutters

No list would be complete without our Gunville Foam Cutters. This versatile set of cutters can be used to cut cylindrical foam tubes from 2.8mm to 9mm diameter. Not only can you yield 100s of tubes from a single block of foam but the colour/size combinations mean that you are provided a broad range of options. These can be used to create booby eyes (tutorial video here), detached bodies, thoraxes, parachute posts, emerger posts, popper heads – need I go on?

Hook, Hackle and Fly Gauges.

Proportions are one of the most important factors when tying flies, particularly hackles and wings. If the proportions are correct then the fly will fish better and look more realistic. Hackle gauges are designed to allow the user to measure the varying widths of hackle material to ensure they select the correct gauge to fit the size of fly they plan to create. Hook and fly sizes can also be useful to conform to competition rules, the most common of which are IFFA and FIPS-Mouche. These competition gauges consider bead size, fly length, depth and hook size for example.

We provide a range of gauges here, some of which are multi-functional for your convenience. The new Hareline hackle, hook and bead gauge is our favourite.

Hopefully we have provided a few useful pointers, please feel free to ask any questions in the comments or drop us an email. Don't forget to subscribe as a Bubble Fish below for more blog updates.

Tight Lines,


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