Best Fly Tying Kits For All Experience Levels – 2018 Review

When you’re a novice in the fly fishing world, it can be confusing trying to get your head around you fly tying needs. When you’re looking to purchase fly tying accessories, you should think about whether you need a whole kit or just the relevant tools, as this will influence the decision you make.

Ultimately, when it comes to tying flies, you should be thinking about the type of fly fisher you are, the fish you catch, and the places you fish. This enables you to understand the kind of flies that will work best for you and how to tie them. That way, you can make a choice between the best flying tying kits without getting in such a fuss.

Luckily, we’ve produced this handy guide to give you a tour around the current world of fly tying kits today. We’ve put together a pros and cons list of some of the best setups we could find, and we’ve given you a thorough walk-through on how to make a choice.

Best Fly Tying Kits Comparison Chart

Product

Our Rating

Price

​Scientific Anglers Deluxe Fly Tying Kit

Scientific Anglers Deluxe Fly Tying Kit

​Dr Slick Fly Tying Tools Gift Set with Fly Box Combo

Dr Slick Fly Tying Tools Gift Set with Fly Box Combo.

​WETFLY Deluxe Fly Tying Kit with Book and Dvd

WETFLY Deluxe Fly Tying Kit with Book and Dvd. This Is Our Most Popular Fly Tying Kit.

​Colorado Anglers Z797 Standard Tool Kit

Frigidaire FFRS1022R1 10000 BTU 115-volt Slider/Casement Room Air Conditioner with Full-Function Remote Control

​Creative Angler Wooden Fly Tying Station with Tools and Materials

Creative Angler Wooden Fly Tying Station with Tools and Materials

Why Buy a Fly Tying Kit? 

Before we even start, it is important to think about why we would tie our own flies. While, yes, you can purchase some pretty nifty fly fishing flies from fishing stores and online, you may find that you run into some advantages of making your own.

Firstly, tying your own flies saves you money. While flies are not particularly expensive, they come in at around $3. Over time, the out of pocket costs can really accumulate.

Fly Box (Source)

When you purchase a fly tying kit, your material costs come to around $0.20 . This means you’re overpaying by $2.80 every time you buy a store-made fly.

Secondly, you’ll find that the cheap flies in the store are made from low-quality materials. Not only do they easily break and get lost, they also pollute the water that you’re putting them in at a faster rate. Tying your own flies prevents them from getting lost quite so often as you can use quality materials for a lower price.

Lastly, tying your own flies allows you to have a range of colors and patterns that are unique to you. While this may not be important for everyone, those in fishing competitions and fishing for sport may find that the colors give you better branding and allow you to recognize your lines more easily.

What Goes Into a Great Fly Tying Kit?

Firstly, before we talk about any specific tool, the most important thing to go in your fly tying kit is quality. While cheaper kits may appear to be bargains, you’ll find the tools to be of shoddy quality and materials to break easily. This will lead to you having to replace your flies much faster. In this sense, look for high-quality kits with durable tools and high ratings.

Fishing Tackle (Source)

When it comes to tools, however, there are a few basic tools that are a must in your fly tying kit. No matter how many tools a kit is boasting, these are the most integral ones.

Vice

Hooks get very small and delicate and even experts end up with a few slipping into the wrong places. A vice will help you to hold everything in place, especially when it's wet. A good quality vice will be able to adjust to accommodate a range of hook sizes.

You may find some with levers and some with spring-loaded mechanisms. Interchangeable in quality, either mechanism is fine depending on preference. The vice should be durable and strong, and you should consider a C-clamp over a pedestal as it is more easily portable.

Scissors

You no doubt have a dozen pairs of scissors in your fishing tackle box already, however, a pair just for fly tying is super helpful as they don’t get all sticky from fish juice.

The scissors in your kit should be very sharp and should have super-fine points to allow for extremely close cutting. Some kits come with a range of scissors for various fly tying methods.

Bobbin Holder and Bobbin Wire Loop Tool

The fly tying process is a little fiddly, so a bobbin holder can help to prevent you from getting tangled. The bobbin holder gives you better tension during the tying process, while the bobbin wire loop tool makes the threading process much faster. The bobbin holder also serves to protect the bobbin which can be made from ceramic, brass, or plastic.

Fishing Tackle Box (Source)

Dubbing Twister

A dubbing twister is designed to create tension in the tying process. The tension prevents the feathers and fur from falling out of place. This allows you to twist the dubbing and to create a rope. By doing this, you create dubbing loops to make your flies.

Bodkin

Sometimes referred to as a dubbin needle, a bodkin is an essential tool due to its versatility. It is used to prepare the underfur by combing it, while it can also be used for applying the head cement and working with the dubbing materials. The bodkin is also often used for freeing fibers that have become trapped.

Hackle Pliers

The pliers work like the vice in that they allow grip to prevent the pieces from slipping away. The pliers are used to hold the hackle tightly. They are also used in the process of wrapping that hackle around the hook, creating a firm attachment, while protecting your fingers.

Added Extras

You may find that your kits include a few other accessories. Hair stackers are great tools as they allow you to line all your fibers up in a nice row before tying them. This allows you to arrange your fly more effectively, without getting in a muddle.

You may also find that your kit comes with a threader. For those with poor eyesight, the threader helps to thread the needle for the dubbing process.

Quick Take - The Best Fly Tying Kits

Review of the Best Fly Tying Kits

If you’re interested in giving fly tying a go, you’re probably looking to purchase a fly tying kit. This is a handy guide to our top five fly tying kits. We’ve given you a breakdown of the pros and cons of each kit, and provided a summary to explain who each kit best suits and what it should be used for.

1. Scientific Anglers Deluxe Fly Tying Kit 

Scientific Anglers Deluxe Fly Tying Kit

This kit comes in a handy carry case and contains everything you need to make dry and wet flies, streamers, and nymphs.

The kit includes an instructional DVD, a starter vice, fixed angle head and C-clamp base, a bodkin, hackle pliers, scissors, dubbing, wire, tinsel, hackle feathers, marabou, and a threader.

Pros

  • Has All the Basic Tools Needed to Make Flies
  • Vice is of Good Quality and Holds the Hooks Solidly, as Do the Pliers
  • Instructional Video is Very Good and Shows a Variety of Ways to Make Different Flies
  • Comment Check
    Teaches Beginners to Make More than One Type of Fly, Making This Versatile for Various Types of Fly Fishing
  • Comment Check
    Carry Case is Durable and Made of Good Quality Materials, Keeping All the Pieces Together, While Protecting Them From Damage

Cons

  • The Components are Smaller Than Expected
  • Clamp Doesn’t Open Particularly Wide Making it Hard to Fit onto Standard Tables
  • Does Not Include a Half-Hitch Tool, Yet the Instructional Video Uses One on Every Fly Design

Bottom Line

This is a great beginner’s kit for basic use. It is a little smaller than expected, so you may need to clamp it to a slightly slimmer surface than a standard table. Despite this, it comes with most basic tools, aside from the half-hitch tool, which is completely necessary. The DVD is very educational and the carry case makes this easy to transport.

2. Dr. Slick Fly Tying Tools Gift Set with Fly Box Combo

Dr Slick Fly Tying Tools Gift Set with Fly Box Combo.

This beautiful, compact gift set is a great choice for making your own flies. The kit comes in a smart carry case which protects all the tools. The instruments have been put through a six-step quality assurance testing process to ensure that each kit is of the highest durability.

The materials and threads must be purchased separately and there is no room for them in the box. However, the kit is very compact and fits neatly in a tackle box.

Pros

  • Very Smart Looking and Makes a Great Gift for Fishers of All Capabilities
  • Compact Kit is Surprisingly Diverse and the Clamp Adjusts to Serve a Range of Hooks
  • The Dense Foam Lining Protects Tools From Moving Around and Getting Broken in Transport
  • Comment Check
    Tools are Checked for Quality Every Time, Leading to Longer Lifespans and More Durable, Reliable Operation

Cons

  • Bobbin is a Little Wobbly
  • Doesn’t Come With Any Thread, Dubbing, Feathers, or Furs
  • Ceramic Inserts Chip Too Easily Which Can Result in Them Cutting the Fabrics and Thread

Bottom Line

This lightweight kit is a great addition for any fisher looking to make their own flies. The kit includes all the basic tools needed, along with a secure carry case to protect the tools. While they’re designed for lightweight use, they are surprisingly versatile in what they can create.

3. WETFLY Deluxe Fly Tying Kit with Book and DVD 

WETFLY Deluxe Fly Tying Kit with Book and Dvd. This Is Our Most Popular Fly Tying Kit.

The deluxe set is jam-packed with fly tying goodies. Featuring an instructional DVD and guidebook to teach you how to tie your own flies, this set comes with all the basic tools needed to get started.

The versatile kit is a great gift idea and comes complete with all the dubbing, hackle, and chenille materials needed to get going instantly.

Pros

  • Instructional Material is Very Easy to Follow and You Can Learn Quite Quickly
  • Contains Quite a Lot of Fly Making Materials, Making it a Great Value for Money
  • Materials are of Surprisingly Good Quality and Hold Up in a Variety of Conditions
  • Comment Check
    Including everything from the tools to the materials, a guidebook to the dubbing, this set is a great gift for beginners to learn how to tie their own flies.

Cons

  • Doesn’t Come With Head Cement so You Need to Buy Extra
  • Has no Whip Finisher. While not an Integral Tool, Helps to Smarten Everything Up
  • Bobbin Isn’t Completely Smooth Inside, Which Means the Thread Sometimes Gets a Little Stuck

Bottom Line

This is a great starter kit with a range of accessories and materials to get you going. The instructional video and book are a great way to learn how to tie your own flies, but you will need to purchase a separate whip finisher and head cement. It is important to note that while this is relatively low in cost, you’ll be surprised by the high quality of the materials in the kit.

4. Colorado Anglers Z797 Standard Tool Kit 

Frigidaire FFRS1022R1 10000 BTU 115-volt Slider/Casement Room Air Conditioner with Full-Function Remote Control

This beautiful, traditional looking set comes in a velvet-lined wooden box. It includes seven tools encompassing all the basic needs of a fly tyer.

The vice comes with its own base for a more stable grip, while the tools are made from high-grade stainless steel to prevent against corrosion and provide reliable results.

Pros

  • Very Compact and Stows Away Easily
  • Tools Can be a Little Small for People With Big Hands
  • Wooden Box Has a Nostalgic Feel and Keeps Tools Protected
  • Comment Check
    Traditional Stainless Steel Tools Prevent Against Corrosion Assuring a Long Lifespan
  • Comment Check
    Special Base Keeps the Vice Sturdy and Means the Kit Can be Used Anywhere Without Having to Clip the Vice onto Something

Cons

  • Box is Not as Strong as it Appears in Pictures
  • No Protective Foam to Prevent the Tools From Moving Around
  • Bolt that Screws the Base to the Vice Sometimes Comes Stripped
  • Vice Doesn’t Rotate All the Way Around Making it a Little Trickier to Work With.

Bottom Line

Overall, this is a great kit for beginners and pros alike. A compact kit, this can be stored away easily and can be used anywhere thanks to the vice’s base. However, it is important to note that it shouldn’t be shaken around too much and nothing heavy should be placed on the box.

Despite this, it contains all the basic tools needed to make flies and lasts a long time due to its durability and high-grade components.

5. Creative Angler Wooden Fly Tying Station with Tools and Materials 

Creative Angler Wooden Fly Tying Station with Tools and Materials

This beautifully organized workstation is the ideal place to make fishing flies. This set encompasses all the tools needed to make a myriad of fishing flies, while also housing them in a super efficient manner to keep everything tidy.

Featuring an instructional booklet, as well as twelve different tools and all the materials you need, this set really is the complete comprehensive station for fly making.

Pros

  • Includes All the Materials Needed to Get Started
  • Booklet Teaches a Range of Different Ways to Make Flies
  • Comprehensive Kit is Surprisingly Lightweight for Transport
  • Comment Check
    Smart Wooden Finish and Purposely Dedicated Sections Makes it Ideal for the Organized Fly Tying Master
  • Comment Check
    Comes With 12 Tools Allowing You to Carry Out All the Basic Tying Techniques and a Few Advanced Methods

Cons

  • Includes Limited Materials
  • Significantly More Expensive Than Others on the Market
  • ConaDesigned for More Advanced Fly Makers. While the Instructional Booklet Does Mention Some Methods, it isn’t Aimed at Beginners 3

Bottom Line

A beautiful organizer, this desktop station is ideal for keen fly tyers. The kit packs away to neatly protect all tools, while the kit includes all the materials you need to get started.

Aimed at advanced fly makers, beginners may need to purchase additional learning materials. While a little expensive, this kit is well worth the money with twelve tools to work with and a beautiful aesthetic finish.

How to Use a Fly Tying Kit

The video below shows you how to get started with your new fly tying kit. Follow the steps in the video or take a look at our summary points below. Here are a few tips on how to get going with your kit.

  1. Clamp It - Start by clamping your hook in a vice to keep it stable and sturdy.
  2. Attach Thread to the Bobbin - Next you will need your bobbin and to add the thread to your bobbin. Usually, this clips into place easily.
  3. Suck the Thread - Threading the bobbin can seem a little difficult as you have to get the fine thread through the long tube in the bobbin. An old angler’s trick is to place the tail of the thread just inside the tube. Suck the other side of the tube quite hard a few times, and the thread will come through the bobbin. Some people use a threader tool to thread the bobbin, by looping the thread through the threader and pushing the threader through the tube.
  4. Loop the Hook Backward - When you loop the thread over the hook, you want to work backward down the hook, away from the sharply curved end. Keep the tail at the hook end and turn the thread four or five times backward and then back over itself, so it locks off the thread and tail. The bobbin will hang and dangle, keeping the thread in line.
  5. Spin Down the Hook Shaft - When you spin the thread down the hook shaft toward the hook, you want to make sure you have a long tail that you can overlap all the way down. This keeps it easily distributed and firmly secure.
  6. Create a Loop - Pull out some thread and double this over to create a loop at the hook end of the shaft. You want this to be a big loop, secured by winding the thread back over itself again. Use these loops to secure the dubbing and add any anchors or weights. You can do this by weaving it through the thread and then tying it on. The video below shows the specific ways in which you can do this.

This video will also demonstrate how to use all the tools involved in this process.

Conclusion

Tying your own flies for fly fishing enables you to save a little bit of money in the long run. Although it is not a great deal of money at the outset, when you make your own flies, you’ll find they are of higher quality and get lost less frequently.

You’ll also enjoy tailoring the colors to your own preferences and creating a little friendly sportsmanship. You may also find that you can use less polluting materials when making your own flies, which helps to protect our waterways. Always remember to consider where you’ll be storing your tools.

If they’re going to stay on your boat, you may want to think about storing them in an airtight case to prevent corrosion, whereas if storing them in a messy workshop, you may want to ensure you have a designated station to keep all the tools organized!

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