Getting started in fly tying has never been easier. Long gone are the days of black and white pamphlets with step by step instructions. Modern fly tyers can reference online videos for free while learning through detailed video instruction. The power of video really helps to accelerate the learning curve. If you have always wanted to catch fish on your own flies, it’s a great time to pick up basic tools and supplies to get you started.
The Fly Tying Vise
You can go basic or jump right into the advanced rotary vise. For beginners, a simple pedestal style vise works well. If you have a dedicated table space and don’t plan on moving around, a clamp style vise is also great. You can find kits that contain the vise along with basic tools for good prices. This is a great way to get started but eventually, you will want a high quality vise to increase efficiency while holding hooks more securely.
Assemble Your Tools
A basic tool set includes scissors, whip finish tool, bobbin, bodkin, dubbing twister and a hair stacker. There are plenty of other specialty tools around but you can do just about anything with these options. High quality scissors are important for trimming and cutting with precision. It helps to keep a secondary, less quality pair to handle wire and other materials that will otherwise damage the blade on your good scissors.
A few simple materials are used in tons of patterns and no fly tying kit is complete without them. Thread is the first and 6/0 spools in black and white will get you started. Eventually, your thread collection will include a plethora of colors and sizes. Grab a spool of small silver or gold wire as well for ribbing nymphs. Add a pack of peacock herl for prince nymphs, pheasant tail thorax and various uses across hundreds of common patterns. Lastly, build a collection of chenille for buggers, rubber leg nymphs, san juan worms etc.
The number and styles of dubbing on the market are overwhelming. Start with some basics like hare’s ear dub in a variety of colors and a range of synthetics. Mix it up with natural colors and things like rainbow scud pink to keep some variety at your desk.
Fur and Feathers
Lastly, a small collection of fur and feathers is an absolute necessity. Grab some white and black bucktail, marabou and saddle hackles for buggers, deer hair for spinning and wings on dry flies, wood duck or mallard flank for tails and some pheasant tail. There will be plenty more to add as you learn and grow as a tier but these materials will go a long way.
If you’re ready to get started, head over to the Frontier Angler’s store and browse our extensive selection of fly tying materials and supplies.