Fly tying kits

#1
I'm looking to start tying my own flys. I've looked online a little bit and see there is a wide range of fly tying kits. Does anyone have any good recommendations on any good starter kits, or recommendations on what to get to start tying flies? Should I get something that is just the tools I need, a kit that includes some basic materials, or the tools individually?
 

Preston

Active Member
#2
If you use this site's search function you'll find a number of threads on fly tying kits. Most folks seem to feel that fly tying "kits" usually aren't worth the asking price, particularly those that offer a selection of tying materials as well. I would recommend going to a fly shop and asking for advice on tools (including a vise) then either taking a class or buying a basic fly tying book with instructions for tying a few simple flies.
 
#3
The classifieds here can be a great help too. Post a WTB thread for entry level vise and tools and you are likely to save a good deal of money.
 

GAT

Dumbfounded
#4
Kits come with a lot of materials you may never use. You're ahead to buy a patterns book and decide what you want to tie and then buy the materials required for those specific flies.

You can buy basic tools for next to nothing. All you need to start is a vise, thread and bobbins, good scissors, hackle pliers and a whip-finisher. You'll upgrade and add tools as you progress but in the beginning, you won't need much.

A beginning fly tying DVD is very helpful... when I started I had to rely on books but you can tell by watching the SBS videos from Hans that watching is much better than reading.

So, don't bother with a kit. Buy the basic tools and the materials to tie specific flies you want to tie. This will get you started and you won't end up with a lot of material you'll never use.
 

dfl

Active Member
#5
There are tool kits that work. The vice isn't great but functional. You may or may not want to upgrade later or you may not want to continue tying. Either way you don't have too much invested. A tool kit gives you one of each basic tool-but you may pick them up cheaper individually. I totally agree that materials kits are a waste if you are looking for quality materials. A cheaper way to try tying is (if you can find them) to buy pattern specific packages. You get everything you need to tie a specific number of prince nymphs for instance. In my experience the tool I buy the most of is bobbins. You can't own too many bobbins. But that's for later if you choose to continue.

Now for the down side.

In a beginning fly tying video Jack Dennis (one of the grand poobahs of our past time who make his living selling us fly fishing and tying stuff) looks directly into the camers and says, "You can buy them cheaper than you can tie them". See my post on the Tied My First Fly Tonight thread. Never delude yourself by thinking you'll be saving money.
 

GAT

Dumbfounded
#6
It's true. I even buy some of patterns because I don't like tying them (like a traditional Adams). However, some patterns I use I can't buy so tying them is required.

Plus, I enjoy tying most of the patterns I use that catch fish. Some folks tie flies more often than they use them... I'm started to become one of those guys...
 

Dipnet

The wanted posters say Tim Hartman
#7
Oh man, don't do it, libadisos! You'll find yourself on the road to ruin!!! :eek:

I just started tying a few months ago and I'm already going to my local shop for more material every other day!

My wife thinks I'm nuts and every time she sees me with more tying stuff she says "Oh, that means I can buy some more jewelry or shoes, right?"

It's an addiction and any day I expect to hear Pat O'Day on the radio advertising a Schick-Shadel program for fly-tiers!!! ;)

BTW, I'm a newb at tying but I too would recommend not buying one of those kits. Instead, go to a local fly shop and talk to the staff and see what they recommend. That's what I did and I'm glad I did!
 
#8
Plus, I enjoy tying most of the patterns I use that catch fish. Some folks tie flies more often than they use them... I'm started to become one of those guys...
I look forward to the day that I can lose as many flies as I tie. Unfortunately, I have more time to tie than to get on the water at this stage in my life. Once that day comes, however, I'll have a backlog of flies that will keep me fishing without tying for a long time!
D
 

GAT

Dumbfounded
#9
I look forward to the day that I can lose as many flies as I tie. Unfortunately, I have more time to tie than to get on the water at this stage in my life. Once that day comes, however, I'll have a backlog of flies that will keep me fishing without tying for a long time!
D
I'm with you Richard. For multitude a of reasons, my fishing buddies do not fish as much as they once did and my fishing spots seem to dwindle each year. Thus, I don't fish a fourth of what I once did.

Guess Virginia will need to figure out what to do with the hundreds and hundreds of flies when I kick the bucket.
 

Dipnet

The wanted posters say Tim Hartman
#10
Gene, tell Virginia she can send 'em to me! ;)

Obviously J/K, my friend. Here's wishing ya a lot more years of tossing bugs at fish!!
 
#12
Thanks for all of the helpful information. I like the idea of the challenge of tying your own fly and then catching a fish with it. I was definitely thinking of starting out small incase I decide fly tying isn't for me.
 
#13
i made the mistake of buying the material kit when i started trying on my own. Sadly i was not a member of this site and did not have any guidence when i started tying. But like stated above the material kits are filled with material that you will never use, i have had my material kit for over a year and did not use most of it. Plus the only fly that i had the complete material for was the wolly bugger. Everything else was missing something that i needed. The tool kit is worth it in my opinion if you can buy it cheap. once you upgrade you can always use it as your mobile tying kit for the camp site. Beware once you catch a fish on a fly that you tied it becomes addicting.
 

dogsnfish

Active Member
#14
Check with the shops in your area. They will often put together their own "kits" for their beginning fly tying classes. The class I had when starting out came with a Thompson vise, the basic tools, and materials for each of the patterns we learned in the class. No waste and you use everything in the kit. I couldn't figure out at the time why I needed 2 or 3 kinds of hooks for flies. Different sizes I could understand, but not the different kinds? As others have said it is addicting; now I have an entire wall of hooks!
 
#15
I couldn't figure out at the time why I needed 2 or 3 kinds of hooks for flies. Different sizes I could understand, but not the different kinds? As others have said it is addicting; now I have an entire wall of hooks!
Ain't that the truth! Unless you get into expensive feathers, hooks will be your biggest investment. I'm sure I have more invested in hooks than I do in my vice(s) and tools. If you get into tying for fresh and salt water, moving and still water, trout and anadromous fish, you will eventually have a huge assortment of hooks.

D