For all enthusiastic fishermen, there comes a point when you realize that you could save a lot of money by tying your own flies. Those little flies seem cheap at first, but they soon add up! If you’re thinking of buying some supplies online, this guide is perfect for you (or as a gift)!
You’ll find out everything from how to tie a fly to the equipment that you definitely need, and reviews on the different kits out there. These are the 5 best fly tying kits we recommend for beginners:
The Best Fly Tying Kit Reviews
Scientific Anglers Deluxe
The Scientific Anglers Deluxe Kit really does have everything you need to create some excellent flies that will have all the fish biting. From the tools to hooks and superior-quality materials, you’ll find it here. This kit includes a vise, a bobbin, threader, 32 hooks, scissors, hackle pliers, bodkin, wire, thread, feathers and more (a great gift!).
- Everything is kept neat and organized in the sturdy travel case – so you won’t be searching all over for where you put your scissors, or that exact feather you need.
- You can make dry flies, nymphs, streamers and more with this kit.
- No hidden expenses or top-up trips to the fishing supply store necessary!
- Affordable – this is the best materials kit for under $50.
- A great starter choice or for anyone on a budget.
- You can follow along with the DVD if you want to learn how to tie a fly.
- Eventually you may want to upgrade some of the individual items.
- Only black thread is included in this kit.
- There’s no whip finisher with this set.
Orvis Fly Tying Kit
Just the Orvis name carries weight in the world of fishermen, and this Orvis kit will not disappoint. You get a great vise, all the necessary tools plus plenty of materials. You’ll also find a brilliant DVD which walks you through all the steps to make 16 different patterns, from beginner to advanced styles. In out opinion the Orvis fly tying kit is the best fly tying kit for beginners.
- With just this one starter kit, you can make up to 160 flies – pretty impressive!
- You’ll find a clear instructional DVD which shows you how to make 16 different patterns.
- There are easier patterns for beginners, and more complex patterns to progress onto as you gain experience and confidence.
- One of the best kits to help you make that bridge from amateur to experienced. It just grows with you!
- This set definitely doesn’t fall into the cheap category.
The Wetfly kit is another of our recommendations for complete tying kits. It provides you with all the materials and tools you need, as well as a book and DVD with helpful, easy-to-follow instructions.
- A fantastic starter kit for anyone who wants to delve into tying.
- A great way to see if you like tying your own flies without spending a fortune.
- Useful case to keep everything together.
- There’s no whip finisher or bodkin in this material kits.
- For a complete beginner, the book and DVD could be a little clearer, with simple steps.
- You will want to upgrade some of the materials when you develop your skills and want to take your game to the next level.
Griffin Odyssey Spider Tying Vise
The Griffin Odyssey is ideal for beginners just looking to get started. It’s a great addition to your set and comes with a lifetime warranty. The vise rotates 360 degrees and has a c-clamp and bobbin cradle too. The jaws can handle anything from 28 – 4/0.
- Fairly affordable, coming in at around the $70 mark
- Built to last – the Griffin Odyssey is constructed from quality materials
- Thanks to the lifetime warranty, you can be reassured that you are making an excellent investment that will last you for years, if not decades!
- The vise grip is strong.
- If you leave the heavy base behind, the Griffin Odyssey vise is lightweight enough to take with you when you hit the road.
- You won’t find any grooves for different hook gauges on the jaws of the Griffin Odyssey vise.
- Some of the plastic nuts that tighten the vise can become loose whilst you work, which can be annoying.
Wolff Industries Apex Rotary Vise
If you opt not to go for a complete set and to invest in a few good tools yourself, we recommend the Peak Fishing Vise Rotary Vise.
This rotary fly tying vise with pedestal base and hardened steel jaws is one of the most perfect on the market. The jaws hold well and the whole model is sturdy and durable, so it will last you a good few years – you’ll get thousands of flies tied with this trusty vise.
- Great value for money – better quality than the entry-level models, without taking a huge chunk out of your savings like the high-end vises.
- Strong and hard-wearing with a flawless design
- Makes it easy to see your fly from all angles
- You can use this vise to make anything from tiny, delicate flies right up to bigger streamers
- The lever has an intuitive and smooth movement
- The only possible improvement would be to lengthen the stem of the vise, to make it easier to use.
Dr Slick Tools
This nifty little set truly has all the tools that any fly fisher, beginner or pro, could ever need to tie hundreds of top-quality flies. You won’t be disappointed, as this set was the result of dedicated work by avid fly fishermen, who used their experience and expertise to create the ideal tools to make tying your flies as easy as possible.
Not only are these tools a pleasure to use, but they’re extremely durable too, so it’s a safe investment.
- You’ll find everything you need in this fly tying tool set.
- Built to last, you won’t need to replace your fly tying tools for a good few years if you choose to invest in the Dr Spick kit.
- The case offers great protection to your tools, saving them from being bashed about and damaged, no matter what conditions you’re out in
- Coming in at around $60, these tools aren’t a budget option.
- A few anglers report that the bobbin doesn’t stand up to the quality of the other items in the set, and is unfortunately prone to breaking at the tip.
- If you chip the ceramic insert on the bobbin, you might find that it repeatedly – and annoyingly! – cuts your thread.
What Goes Into a Great Set-Up?
For beginners (or gift givers) it can seem daunting at first! But of course, there are products out there that make it really easy. You’ll find loads of equipment and complete tool kits online. These include everything you need to get started. Here is everything it should contain :
A vise will be the most essential component of your tieing equipment. Your vise will hold your hook still and steady, allowing you to tie on it. Some higher-end vises have jaws that rotate, giving you easy access to the fly from all angles.
A Whip Finish Tool
This tool, while not entirely necessary, is really handy to have in your tool kit. You can use a whip finisher to tie that final knot in your fly neatly – and on the first attempt!
You’ll need a small pair of sharp scissors to precisely cut your thread, materials and occasionally even wire. It’s good to have a pair just for making flies, so you always know where they are and they don’t become dull from other use.
A Bobbin Holder and Bobbin Wire Loop Tool
Your bobbin holder will hold your thread while you tie, allowing you to control the tension and keep your thread taut at all times. The ideal bobbin holder is adjustable and will never cut your thread right in the middle of tying a fly.
Some Hackle Pliers
Another optional extra, but many anglers rave about how useful and versatile hackle pliers are. Hackle pliers are used to grip onto a feather, allowing you to wrap it around the body of your fake insect and get it in exactly the right position. You can also use them to manipulate other materials and it saves you fumbling between fingers and thumbs.
How to Choose The Right Tools
When comparing supplies online, you’ll find a big difference in the prices. If you’re just starting out (or looking for a perfect gift), you might not want to invest too much, so opt for a cheaper, entry-level kit. However, if your concern is more about value for money in the longterm, you might want to spend a little more right now to save money replacing cheaper items a few months or years down the line.
The best tool sets are built to last. If a set looks like it’s made from cheap plastic, give it a miss. You want something sturdy and durable that will last you a good few years – enough time to make hundreds of flies!
You’ll want to keep all your tying materials neat, tidy and easy to find. For this reason, it’s important that the material kits you choose has an organizer which keeps everything in its proper place.
Double check that all the vital tools are included in a kit before you spend your money. How annoying would it be if you discover that your chosen kit doesn’t contain a whip finisher or hackle pliers when you need it to make your flies.
When you’re first getting the hang of it, the instructions included in each kit could be the tie-breaker. Some sets from reputable makers include detailed booklets, or better yet, a DVD to guide you on your journey to becoming an expert tyer.
Build Your Own Tying Kit:
Once you become an avid fisherman or woman, you’ll soon notice that the components of the ready-to-go kits that are sold in Walmart or even in shops aren’t always the best quality tools. If you take fishing pretty seriously, you might be tempted to build up your own.
Sure, it’s handy to grab a ready-made kit when you’re a complete beginner. And it can be helpful to try out tying with these cheaper materials if you’re not sure whether you’ll even like tying your own flies. But the difference between a cheap vise and a durable, specialized one is significant.
You might end up spending a bit more when you buy all the tools separately, but you also have the freedom to choose exactly which items to get from the various models available. You can select the model that suits your budget and personalize your kit to your exact needs.
When you’re building up your own kit, you’ll need to buy:
- A vise
- Small sharp scissors
- A whip finisher
- Any materials you’ll need to tie your flies
A good place to start is by thinking about the flies you intend on tying, and build up your supplies to create your very own personalized set up. You can make flies with just about anything, there have been a lot of innovations in materials over the past few years, so remember to be creative too . Not everything has to cost a ton of money!
So there you have your complete guide to fly tying kits. We’ve found the nicest materials out there so that you can save time and get the most for your money.
You can relax, knowing that all our recommended products offer value for money and great quality, while providing you with all the basic tools and instructions you need to get started or to make the perfect gift.
Now, all you need to do is watch a video or two on how to tie a fly, and you’ll be good to go! As always, feel free to leave me a comment or any questions and I’ll do my best to get back to you.
Hey, I’m Ben, a fly fisherman for over 20 years and also an aspiring blogger. I’ve been into fly fishing since my graduation from spin fishing when I was 12 years old. I started flyfisherpro.com to help introduce as many people into this amazing sport. Tight lines everyone!
You can read more on our about page here.
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