How to Use Fly Tying Tools | Step by Step Guide

Fly tying is the process of creating an artificial fly to be used for fly fishing. Creating and tying flies are meant to be used as a “bait” or a “lure” that is meant to attract fish.

If you have never tied a fly before, it can be a long process before the most timid of fly fishers get the hang of it. After you tie a fly on your own and manage to catch your first fish with it, it is a gratifying and exciting experience. You’ll not wait to catch your second, and eventually, you will become a veteran fly fisher.

Fly tying is an activity that fishers can do in their spare time when they aren’t trying to catch a fish. Fly tying is popular in the winter months among fisherman, which can help a person become a better angler.

Fly tying during this time will make sure that you are stocked up on flies and that you are well prepared for the next time you plan on fishing.

What is the appeal in tying your own flies opposed to buying pre-made flies? You can save money, you can create your own unique flies, and you can enjoy the art of crafting a fly at any time of year.

Here Are Many Different Tools That You Can Use to Tie a Fly for Fly Fishing


A fly tying bobbin is the most important tool of a fly fisher when it comes to putting a fly together. The bobbin’s role is to hold your spool of thread and give it consistent tension necessary to make flies that are durable and look real in the eyes of an underwater fish.

There are a handful of different types of bobbins you can purchase, but the most popular among fishers is the spring bobbin. By squeezing together the arms of the bobbin, you create tension to the thread.



Along with a bobbin, a pair of scissors is one of the most reliable tools for tie flying. There are a variety of different scissors that fishermen can use for fly tying, with several different sizes and blade types (straight, curved, serrated, etc.).

Fishermen will typically own two pairs of fly tying scissors: One to cut fly materials, like stalks, and the other to trim hair or fur, in order to give a fly its appealing shape.

Some scissors are even made to remain around your ring finger, so that you do not have to put them down when working on your fly. If you do not want to spend a fortune on a decent pair of scissors to cut for fly fishing, a pair of sewing scissors will manage to cut anything you need for a fly pattern.


A vise is an instrument to help fishers tie their flies. While not something you need to create a fly, it is one that expert fishers find essential. There are many different vises you can buy that come with an assortment of features.

For a vise to be reliable and serviceable, it needs to hold hooks in different shapes and sizes without any problems. While you might be fine with using a preferred shape and sized hook every time, you will want a vise that can hold many more. If a vise can only hold small hooks, you don’t want it.

Each vise contains a pair of jaws that should be able to be set at an angle for you to tie flies regardless of how large they are. You might happen to find a vise with jaws that are too big to use on certain hooks, while others might not be adjustable for use on small hooks. You will want a vise that has properly sized jaws that can be positioned to an angle that works for you.

When looking for a best fly tying vise, also consider whether or not you want a c-clamp or pedestal. Some vises are hybrids, while others only have one feature or the other. C-clamps allow you to work at the very edge of the table, while pedestals allow you to move the vise freely.

One feature is not considered better than the other, and it all comes down to which the fisher would be most comfortable with using.

Hackle Gauge

A hackle gauge is an inexpensive tool to help you determine for long are the fibers on your hackle. A fisher wraps his hackle around a small nib on the gauge, and will measure the hackle to make sure to not use too large a hackle for the fly that they are tying.

Hackle Pliers

Hackle pliers are another tool that is great to have when tying flies. They are designed to give you more grip and control on very fine and thin materials. Pliers are used for hackle, threads, and other small parts to wrap around the hook that would be hard to grip with your fingers.


There are numerous different types and sizes of hooks to consider. The most recommended type of hook to use for fly fishing is the “j-hook”. The “j-hook”, obviously, resembles the letter “J”, and will hook itself inside the fish’s mouth so that it is harder for the fish to get away.

The hook will also be used to give your fly its proportion. Depending on the type of fly you decide to make, you aren’t restricted to a select brand or size of j-hook.


Flies are made to look like small fish or other insects. Such materials like feathers and hair help give form to artificial flies, while beads are used to add weight to the fly to help it sink.

There are many different types of flies you can craft, that have different properties and attract different kinds of fish. Not just any fly you make will work in catching the fish you desire. Making flies for each of these fly types requires different techniques for each.

There are many different species of artificial flies that you can tie, so check out numerous online videos and books for specific instructions on how to make such flies as the Adams Dry Fly and the Pheasant Tail Nymph.

There are Three Types of Flies That We Will go into Further Detail

1. Dry Flies

Dry flies are flies that float above water. These flies will tend to resemble insects that float on the water’s surface to lay some eggs. This is usually the best fly to make for beginners, since you get to see the fish grab the bait, and know to reel it in.

The caveat to using dry flies is that catching a fish is not as likely as with other types of flies. Depending on the body of water you are fishing at as well as the behavior of the fish water will depend on the likelihood of a fish taking a fly at surface level. There are also some fish that are more cautious than others when it comes to flies on the surface of the water.

2. Nymphs

Nymphs are flies that sink in the water. It is one of the most producing flies to use as bait, as 80% of fish that are caught take bait that is underwater. This is especially true for trout. The nymph resembles a stage in the life of insects such as the mayfly, which evolve past various stages until they get to the conclusion of their life cycle. Nymphs are insects that live below the water’s surface, whether in a lake or in a river. Because of this, they are prone to becoming food to fish.

Since this fly is cast underwater, a fisher will not be able to see the fly as a fish takes it. This is why fishers use a float to lay on the water’s surface as the fly is underwater. When a fish takes the bait, the float will move in a certain direction, giving you the cue to reel in the fish.

3. Steamers

Streamers are flies that imitate minnows, leeches, or other underwater fish food. With a streamer, a fisher is supposed to cast his line as far as possible into a body of water.

Then, he or she must pull the fly in, in short or a long movement, to make the streamer looks like it’s swimming away. This is a type of bait that is hard to resist for fish, but at the same time, if a fish goes after a streamer, you are sure to feel a lot of aggression on the other end of the line.

Thank you for reading. Whether you are a first time fisher, or wants a refresher on how what you need to tie flies, we hope that this post provided you with enough insight into the basic tools kit and flies of fly fishing.

Tying your own flies does not have to be a hassle; it can be insightful, creative and fun. You can either pick up on how to tie a specific fly, or come up with your very own creation and see how it fares when you fish with it. If you have any thoughts to share, leave them in the comments down below.

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James Williams

I love to write for readers with a genuine interest in enjoying the fishing. Hence, I started this blog to provide you guides so that you can have a better and more pleasant fishing experience.

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