The Works!

I have been keeping my eyes open for fly tying equipment. I see some people have "fully loaded ready to tie packages", having the tools, all kinds of threads and hair all neatly packaged into wooden boxes. What do you think of these? Anyone know where I can find all the stuff I need in one place? The works?


Be the guide...
I've seen some cool deals on Ebay. Most commercial stuff is going to be of low quality - suitible for beginners, but just barely.

The best deals i've seen on Ebay and other places are from people who have been tying already and for whatever reason are selling off their stuff (or a deceased spouse\relative's :( or something).
Oh great haunted stuff...jk lol. Well I don't want crap (not saying their stuff is crap, I mean beginner stuff). If I am going to get into it I want the good stuff. I am looking a a magazine right now that has some nice vises. It's not really a problem to buy everything seperate I just didn't know if there was good quality "sets". Any recommendations on brands (if possible)? I have seen your flies and nymphs Chad, I like the creativity in your work. I am kinda impulsive...go figure I am female but, I'd really like to take my time and find everything I need that isn't crap.


Doesn't care how you fish Moderator
Most of the general sets have a limited selection of materials for a limited number of flies. I would ask myself a few questions prior to going out and making a purchase.
How much do you want to spend?
What kind of flies do you want to tie? trout, Steelhead/Salmon, Saltwater

If you come up with a game plan on what flies you want to tie and see if this is close to any kits out there. If it this then I would think about getting a kit.
If it is not, then it is worth it to go to a shop and pick out the materials that you want to use for specific patterns that you want to tie.
Hope this helps,
Thanks Chris,

Mainly trout flies and nymphs. But, since we are getting a drift boat and will be out on local lakes full of Bass, (I have never tried for Bass with a fly rod), I thought I might play around with that idea too. I am right-brained and love making anything I can get my hands on. I have been reading some fly tying books wow@ some of the stuff they use to make things...(now I look at everything I see day to day thinking Oh! I could use that!) I'll probably go to my local fly shop for most of the stuff if he has what I need anyway. I'll make this more of a direct question.....What do I NEED...tool wise, if i don't need all the bells and whistles I don't want them. What do you guys absolutely love and use most of the time?


Doesn't care how you fish Moderator
My Norvise!
I use it all the time. Other tools include a bobbin (Ceramic), Scissors (Dont cheat yourself by buying cheap ones), and bodkin to apply head cement. That is all I need to tie 95% of the patterns that I tie.


Sculpin Enterprises
Hi Jami,

I began my tying obsession about 17 years ago and have enough stuff to open my own shop..... But here is a list of fundamental things that I use frequently and I included a list of staple materials too. Of course, because I tie flies for trout, bass, saltwater fish, steelhead and salmon, and panfish, I have lots more materials than I have listed.

Rotary vise (several good options with various price points)(I like my Renzetti, but that’s a matter of personal preference)
2-3 bobbins with ceramic inserts (larger and small)
2 pairs of scissors (craft shop versions work O.K.), one set for fine work, one for heavy work
pair of small wire cutters for fine wire and lead wire
2 bodkins/half-hitch tools for applying head cement, tying half-hitches where required, picking out dubbing, etc.
hair stacker
whip finish tool (but I tie them by hand myself)
hackle pliers (can also use spring-loaded wire clips from Radio Shack)
head cement
zap a gap or superglue
Griffin hackle gauge for sizing feathers

Materials (some can be obtained from craft shops):
Thread in size 6/0 (140 danier) and 8/0 (70 danier) in black, olive, brown, gray, red; black and olive in 3/0 (a start on the collection)
Flat mylar tinsels: small and large
Fine wire: silver and bronze
Lead wire: .035 and .025
Hooks: dry fly in sizes 12, 14, 16; nymph in sizes 12, 14, 16; streamer in sizes 6 and 10 (this is just a down payment; I own over 40 different styles/sizes of hooks)
Bead heads in size x small, small, and medium in copper and black
Rooster saddle (cheaper than capes) in dun, brown and grizzly
Antron dubbing assortment (12 colors) (for nymphs)
Super fine dry fly dubbing assortment (12 colors) (for dry flies)
Chenille: size large and medium in brown, black, and olive
Elk hair
Krystal flash in silver and pearlescent
Package of peacock herl
Ostrich plumes in white and brown
Ringneck pheasant tail feathers in natural and black
Marabou: black, olive, brown
Turkey tail feathers
Mallard flank feathers and mallard dyed wood duck feathers
z-lon in white and dark dun
cul de canard in white and dun

Welcome to the madness,

vice, bobbins, bodkin, dubbing picker, dubbing spinner, hair stacker, scissors. possibly a hair packer, a bullet head tool, and hackle pliars. if you use a whip finisher, get both types (you will see). 1 is good for dries, the other is a must for cone/bead heads.

those will do to begin with.

check kaufmann's. i think they sell there own kits.

wow i type slow.

Thank You!!!!!!!!!! You just made my shopping list, I mean day! lol You are so kind for taking the time and typing all that out. Do tiers ever use feathers and fur found outside? If so whoooo I have a wealth of stuff for the taking, my neighbor has peacocks, we have all kinds of ducks in the pond, feathers of every kind in the pasture and woods. Or should I not use "natural stuff"? Also, being that I do many crafts I see a lot of tools I could probably use to. Thanks Again for being so cool! -Jami
be VERY carefull using feather you find if you don't know exactally what they are. catch "the law" in a bad mood, and if they can prove you have heron, seagull, or any other protected species feathers/fur in your flies, you can get some serious fines and possibly jail time. VERY unlikely they would even look, but i'd rather not take the chance personally.

peacock feathers of all types are you friend. get all you can. even the little ones.


New Member
Wild feathers...okay, but keep them in their own zip locks. Might consider a short stay in the freezer to convince any little "creatures" to go ahead & die. DON'T put them loose with your other stuff. Friends of mine regularly donate turkey feathers....a good bath in hot, soapy water, dried, steamed & a shot of hair spray....good as new. Walk along the beach last winter netted all the goose biots a tyier could ever use. Another friend had a wild turkey "bump" into a load of buckshot a couple years ago.....still sorting tail feathers. Oh yeah, peacock feathers....what Crobarr says. Still got bags of them from a couple donations a few years back......chuck


Active Member
God, I thought I thought I was up early in the morning! By the posting times I'm 'childs play.' That's assuming you guys have even been to bed.:hmmm:

That sillyness aside, skip getting a kit. 99% will be 'junk on bunk' level equipment that you'll soon want to replace. And far sooner than you think. Buy 'good quality' equipment from the get-go. As to vises, there's a ton of them, many are very good and reasonably priced.

One thing you want to watch when considering the purchase of a vise is get one with a LONG 'nose' on it so you've got adequate room to get around the hook while you're tyeing a fly. I'd recommend taking (into the store) a few hooks and a long nose bobbin and try wrapping a couple of hooks to assure adequate 'hand space.'

Steve Rohrbach

Puget Sound Fly Fisher
My best advice is to find a local fly shop, (preferably a WFF sponsor) and visit the shop. Identify two or three patterns that you want to learn to tie. Jimmy LeMert at Patrick's will sit down at the vise and walk you through step by step on tying the fly. Buy the materials for those patterns and get good at tying them. As your experience grows, you can add patterns, materials and before you know it you too will rival the fourth largest fly shop in Seattle. I have the Peak rotary vise and the Norvise. The Norvise is an investment in a tying system that will make you a better fly tier faster. The bobbin system has a clutch that allows the bobbin to return to the prior position without any effort. Avoid kits at all costs. By developing a relationship with one or more local shops you will gain lots of benefits. Have fun!
I wouldn't go with a kit Jami. As far as tools go a decent vice is a must have. I just use a mid level rotating vice I bought on Ebay for about 50 bucks and it works great. Your bobbins are pretty critical and I would recommend getting 2-3 ceramic ones. Changing thread all the time is a pain. Good scissors though are probably the most important tool. Find nice sharp ones that allow precise trimming of the very tiniest hairs. A hair stacker is really useful, as is a bodkin. I have all the other tools including whip finishers etc. But I just learned how to do my whip finishes by hand instead of using tools. I never use the rest of my tools and they just get in the way. Ebay is a great source of materials if you know what it is you need. I would probably recommned though that initially you get your materials at a shope so you can handle them first. Hooks are the most expensive material by far. Sportco in Fife has the best prices. Craft stores are great for foam, Zap a Gap (gel epoxy), yarns, tinsels braided metalic thread etc. Slly Hansens hard as nails as well as other clear and glitter nail polishes make great head cement and lacquer and I use the flourescent colors for salmon flies. Books of all sorts are great. You can usually pick up discounted ones on Amazon (look at some of the used ones there as well!) or half priced books. There are also an incredible amount of videos and tutorials on the web. Anyhow hope all this helps some. Good luck!