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Best Fly Tying Materials 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]Last Updated February 1, 2018
Best Fly Tying Materials of 2018
I browse the various fly tying materials available on the market and list three of the very best. If you’re reading this, it is very likely that you’re scouting for the best fly tying materials. However, after giving you the TOP list, I will also give you some of the benefits you stand to gains for using it. The rating is based on multiple factors: The 3 metrics ‐ Design, Materials, Performance, and other indicators such as: Popularity, Opinions, Brand, Reputation and more.
Test Results and Ratings
№1 – Think Fast Think Deep beads Aventik 50pc Tungsten Beads Slotted Fly Tying Materials 10 colors / 5 sizes Jig hooks Fly Fishing
Why did this fly tying materials win the first place?
The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack. I also liked the delivery service that was fast and quick to react. It was delivered on the third day. I am very happy with the purchase. It is definitely worth its money. The product is top-notch! I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing!
Why did this fly tying materials come in second place?
This is a pretty decent product that perfectly fitted the interior of our office. I recommend you to consider buying this model, it definitely worth its money. Seems that the material is good. It has a very beautiful color but I don’t really like the texture. I really liked it. It is amazing in every aspect. It did even exceed my expectations for a bit, considering the affordable price.
№3 – Aventik 50pc Brass Beads Tapered Hole Fly Tying Materials Lure Jig 10 colors / 5 sizes Fly Fishing
Why did this fly tying materials take third place?
A very convenient model. It is affordable and made of high-quality materials. It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time. It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment. I liked the design. We’ve been using it for 2 months and it still looks like brand new.
Fly Tying Materials Buyer’s Guide
Pair the right equipment with a steady hand
You’ll need some basic tools to get tying. Start with the holy trinity of vice, scissors and bobbin holder.
While it’s possible to tie a fly totally by hand, we wouldn’t recommend it to a beginner. Most fly tyers choose to use a vice, and so should you. There are many types available, so do your research before you buy. As the Fly Dressers’ Guild advises: “Choosing your first vice and tools is a bit like buying your first car: very exciting, potentially expensive, but easy to end up with something poorly made and not up to the task.”
Pick a vice that’s easy to use, has a good grip and will hold a variety of hook sizes.
Next on your shopping list is a pair of sharp, pointed scissors. Those rusty old scissors in your kitchen drawer literally won’t cut it. Get yourself a dedicated pair of fly-tying scissors.
If you’ve got a couple of hours to spare, Global Fly Fisher has the most comprehensive guide to fly-tying scissors you’ll ever read.
Master fly tyer Barry Ord Clarke recommends two pairs of scissors: “one with extremely fine points for the more intricate work and a pair with larger and serrated blades for deer hair and heavier work.”
Hackle pliers are useful for big fingers that can’t get a good grip on small feathers. But the Fly Dressers’ Guild warns: “Check that the edges of the jaws are not sharp or they will cut through your materials. A quick rub with emery paper or the addition of a small piece of silicone tubing will cure this problem.”
A dubbing needle performs a variety of roles. It will pick out dubbing (fur), apply varnish, undo knots and separate feather fibres. You don’t necessarily need to buy a dubbing needle if you can find something else that’s long and pointy to use instead – the Fly Dressers’ Guild recommends “Grandma’s hat pins”.
One of Hillend Dabbler’s al fresco creations
Depending on where your tying table is located you might need to shine some light on your handiwork. There are a number of fly tying lamps that give the magnification and shadow-free light you’ll need for the fiddly stuff.
The vice should be solid and of good build quality. Material used varies from cheaper cast or mild steel and composite plastics through to quality stainless steel and machine cut alloy. Stainless steel is best for the main body of the vice.
Off cuts of fur, feather, thread, wire and tinsel can quickly accumulate on your work top, or drop on the carpet where they’ll stubbornly remain despite your best efforts with a vacuum cleaner. Attach a trim bag to your vice stem and deposit all the rubbish into this before emptying into the bin at the end of the day.
Fly tying materials a short review on what to buy at the beginning…
At the very beginning we’re always facing a dilemma of buying proper fly tying materials. One can be easily discouraged and lost among the vast range of different products; especially when lacking experience. I often get messages from people who simply don’t know which materials should they choose.
We should start from choosing appropriate hooks. As most of you already know, there are divided into two types: barbed and barbless.
If we are going to fish on fisheries, fishing districts or take part in competitions where barbless hooks are required then I suggest to buy them. When you get familiar with towing fish not too loosely there is almost no difference in the number of loosing fish off the hook. Such hooks have one very important virtue – both for me and the fish – namely, getting the fish off the hook is quick and it doesn’t damage the fish as in the case of the barbed hooks. When we have a small fish hooked, we simply loose the fishing set and this is often enough for the fish to get off the hook by itself. This way is even more pleasant for the fish, since we don’t have to take it from water; it’s as simple as grabbing the hook and turning it without even touching the fish. if you have a bigger budget, it is good to buy 8/0 olive, grey and white (or at least equally bright colour) for dry flies and extremely small flies (not only dry) UNI Trico 17/0 and the
Definitely most of the fly-tiers use two types of feathers to tie hackles; these are: for dry flies – cock capes and for wet flies, nymphs and streamers – hen capes. However there are also many feathers from different bird parts that many people omit.
The differences are significant. Cock/rooster feathers are stiffer and not lined with down what makes them resistant to soaking and allows them to stay on surface for longer. Of course they also imitate legs of the fly.
Here I recommend using neck capes (wider variety of feather sizes – including even the smallest ones used for tying midge dry flies) and saddle capes (lesser variety of sizes but very efficient). Such feathers are much longer and consist of more regular barbs than their cheap Indian equivalents.
A grizzly colour cock from Howard Hackle genetic bird farm – the photo provided by John Howard
As a comparison; we can tie only one hackle from one Indian cape (to make the hackle along the whole body – a so-called palmer – we often have to use more than one feather), however using a feather from genetic cock’s saddle we can make even ten hackles/palmers (the length of such a feather is at least 20 cm or even more).
Obviously the caps’ and feathers’ quality depends on the price.
We simply buy dubbing – when needed – and in time it may change into a collection. Each time I’m buying dubbing I choose something new, since there are differences between particular kinds of dubbing. As the variety of products is huge I suggest buying:* rabbit, hare dubbing (it’s good to buy hare in it’s natural colours: grey, olive, brown, etc.) and squirrel * several colours of some glossy synthetic, for example Hareline Ice Dub or other synthetic to tie colourful accents near the head of a nymph (thorax). * It’s also good to have a few dubbing colours for tying scuds. Obviously you can tie these imitations using most kinds of dubbings, however from my own experience I can recommend the dubbings, which are specially mixed since they guarantee the best results. are used for various fly patterns, in particular for nymphs. In principle, they are divided into three types: made of brass filled with lead, made of tungsten (almost twice heavier and more expensive – often, however, indispensable) and light, made of plastic used for under surface imitations.
Eyes can be divided into two types: the ones which can be tied and the ones which can be sticked.
The first type is used mainly for tying small sized streamers or for larger nymphs larvae, for example stoneflies. Here, we can distinguish these which are moulded, for example Twin Eyes (heavy) and eyes in the form of an empty, metal chain – Bead Chain Eyes (light), which need to be cut down in pairs using clippers/pliers and then tied. Personally, since many years, I have preferred the light ones and I’ve used them for most of the streamer patterns. It doesn’t mean however that I don’t use the heavy ones at all. They cause the fly to sink faster while fishing on the vast waters in spring.
The second type of eyes look very realistic and may be used for tying all types of streamers – for fresh and salt waters. These eyes are sold in small sheets and even though they have glue attached to their inner side, it is very weak and they need to be sticked with additional amount of quick-drying glue, epoxy or transparent varnish in order to strengthen them up.
A few years ago these were mainly
Body Stretches and different home-made materials. Recently we may choose various shiny foils (including pearl foils) – which I advice not to omit – braided materials of shining properties and many more. Every nymph-tier should have them in his or her arsenal, since nymphs tied from these materials are very efficient.
In the beginning, I recommend buying the traditional Body Stretch in a few basic colours and the pearl foil, which can be cut down to any size; next, I encourage to try with some other materials since these are also effective.
We can use these materials to tie whole wings, tails and also their additives. It mainly applies to tying streamers, however flashes are also used to tie ribs in smaller flies: dry, wet and nymphs.
In the beginning I recommend buying Krystal Flash and Flashabou, pearl colour for first.
Artificial tails for dry flies – in my opinion these are excellent materials in comparison to traditionally tied tails consisting of feather barbs.
Flies tied with floating foams are very popular in America, however if you’d like to have a few imitations of beetles, grasshoppers, ants and other similar bugs (excellent lures for chubs, ides, trouts). I recommend buying several sheets in a few basic colours, beginning with black, green, yellow.
Tinsels and wires
Tinsels are another basic and interesting fly tying material, which in many patterns can make the difference. Components or even whole elements – such as bodies – significantly increase effectiveness of the tied flies.
Particularly in the last several years, many interesting tinsels has appeared varying in colours (pearl and mylar are especially worth-checking – UNI Mylar is also available in two-colour version so when buying one we actually have two) and sizes so that they can be used for bigger streamers and small wet flies or nymphs.
Of course, gold and silver are the standard tinsel colours and I recommend buying them in the first place.
Wires belong to the next group of materials, which – in my opinion – is even more important than tinsels. If we’re going to tie nymphs, we should use a lead wire as the base for most of the patterns – we begin by winding it around the hook. The lead wire makes our fly heavier and in order to achieve the proper weight we need tho have several types of wires in our inventory – each of different thickness. From 0,4mm to 0,8mm; of course there are also thicker types, however this range should be enough to deal with most of the cases.
Except of lead wires we also have traditional wires in different colours and diameters. They are used to strengthen and segment the bodies of different kinds of flies, attaching fur stripes to zonkers’ back or even whole bodies of nymphs and wet flies. The three basic colours are: gold, silver and copper – it’s good to have them in the beginning. In time there will be infinite room to manoeuvre with additional colours.
Hackle and Feathers
For wooly buggers, they require a slightly different long hackle. Luckily, Whiting makes a wooly bugger hackle pack. I’d recommend black to start, and grizzly olive to start. Along with these, get yourself some black or olive marabou feathers which make up the bushy and fluffy tail of the fly (they are used to make those feather boa’s).
Hungarian partridge feathers are a useful and cheap feather to use for everything. Make collars on nymphs and emergers, to use for tails and wings on dries. Once you master using them, you can do quite a lot.
Chenille remind me of the garland you put on a Christmas tree. They are a very useful material to make bodies and eggs with and beef up a fly. Buy a set in black and olive color for your wooly’s and expand from there. If you plan to fish for salmon or steelies, buy a red, orange, or peach color to tie eggs (very easy pattern).
As mentioned above with this kit it does not matter if you are a professional or a beginner. Inside the kit you will find an instructional DVD that will teach you the basics or fly tying. At the end of this DVD you will have the knowledge the build several different styles of lures right in the field.
Rotary handle fits the shaft a little bit too loosely
The second contender from the formidable Wolff Industries also comes with a warranty that is free from defects in both its labor and materials — something that I find highly indispensable when I was still choosing my fly tying vise.
Its tool steel jaws are boosted by its body’s stainless steel construction and the flexible 6/0 to 3hook range. The flexibility continues with the product’s in-line rotary left and right along with the much-needed hand-tying adjustment.
The Apex Rotary Fly Tying Vise is also detailed with an easy-to-follow instruction right from its vise head position, its jaws, down to its lock handle and black wing nut. Every inch of the detail is supplied to get you not only started but arm you with ways to make your flies masterfully-put together.
Additionally, there are a lot of gift sets out there, but they are kind of pricey.
It took me a lot of trial and error to figure out what size and what colors of thread to buy. In my opinion, the basic colors to buy are black, grey, white, brown, and olive green.
Fine Rib Wire
Buy a spool of gold, silver, and copper wire. Danville makes a Fine wire, but I generally like the look of the slightly thicker gauge UNI Ultra Wire Medium size. To me, it stands out more when tying nymphs or using it as ribbing on wooly buggers. If you plan to tie brassies, well, then buy the UNI Ultra Wire Brassie size.
Basic Non-Feather Materials
For Nymph Patterns: Daiichi 1550 Standard Wet Fly Hook, and Daiichi 116Klinkhammer Hook (for scuds)
For Streamer and Wooly Bugger Patterns: Mustad Signature R74-9674x Long shank, 2x strong wire hooks. They make a coated variation for salt water flies here: Signature S74DT-3401Hook
Soft hackle are feathers that come from upland birds and are used in a variety of flies. Unfortunately, there are so many different types of soft hackle out there and its very hard to figure out which you need. Luckily, Nate over at Stone River Outfitters (my local fly shop), introduced me to Hungarian partridge feathers. These feathers are really cheap and come in just about every color. What makes them so versatile is that they have parts to them. The bottom of the feather is a soft, wispy downy feather, which can be used in nymphs like a soft hackle Ray charles. The middle portion is webby and can be used for collars for wet flies. The tip is soft enough to be used as the wing on an Adams Dry. Three different pattern families out of one cheap little feather. Ya dig?
The worlds of fly tying and fly fishing can be difficult for those new to each. Through this page, I want to offer some general advice and recommendations first, then highlight some of my videos that are perfect for those new to tying.
Initial Purchase – If new to fly tying, I believe that there are some “absolutes” that are needed, including a quality vise, bobbin, scissors, and a whip finish tool. I discuss the vise further below, and recommend talking to your local fly shop when purchasing the other components.
Fly Tying Kits for Beginners – I typically do not recommend purchasing these, mainly because the kits include few quality materials, and a vise that has weak holding power.
Tying Materials – Versus going out and buying random materials, instead I suggest selecting five to ten patterns that you will use on a regular basis fly fishing. Next, purchase materials to tie those patterns specifically, thus ensuring that you have the correct materials (which can be later used on new fly patterns as needed). When selecting the patterns, talk to your local fly shop so they can recommend effective flies that a beginner or intermediate tyer can handle; from there, start tying!
First Fly – No matter what, keep the first fly you tie! Label the fly with the date, and put it away…it’s a lot of fun to look back on that pattern in the future, comparing the progress you’ve made.
Resources – In today’s world, you have lots of ways to learn about fly tying and fly fishing. If you can take a class for either, that is where I would recommend starting, as the direct contact makes an impact when learning. On my resource page, you can find more specific recommendations for books, videos, online resources, etc.
Recommended Videos: The following videos are perfect for beginners, giving practical advice in terms of buying the correct materials, selecting easy-to-tie flies (that are effective to fish), and making that transition to the water with some tips. New content is added to this page regularly, though if there are other videos that you would find helpful, please reach out to me via the “Contact” page. Good luck in this sport; it’s a lot of fun once you get past the “overwhelming” stage!
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your Fly Tying Materials wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of Fly Tying Materials
- №1 — Think Fast Think Deep beads Aventik 50pc Tungsten Beads Slotted Fly Tying Materials 10 colors / 5 sizes Jig hooks Fly Fishing
- №2 — BWO Tungsten Beads for Fly Tying – 100 Pack
- №3 — Aventik 50pc Brass Beads Tapered Hole Fly Tying Materials Lure Jig 10 colors / 5 sizes Fly Fishing