Hey all, I recently graduated college and am going nuts with all my free time. I am looking into purchasing a fly tying kit and am not sure what or who has a good brand for a fly tying beginner. I am looking to spend about 100.00. Any insight is much appreciated. Thanks in advance.
While I have no wxpwerience with fly tying kits-- the general consensus is that the 'cheap' ones are just that-- cheap... (the materials contained leave a lot to be desired.... Which sounds weird-- a feather is a feather, right? Not really...)
Welcome to the board and congrats on your graduation.
As Raindogt mentioned if tying is something you think you're going to get into and stick with, it would probably be better to bit the bullet and spring for a decent vise, a few basic tools, and just enough materials to tie one or two patterns. From there it would be just a question of adding materials as you move on to new patterns.
Kits typically come with cheap Asian import vises worth (about 10 bucks) with soft metal jaws and poorly machined parts and a smattering of assorted materials. And for some types of flies (saltwater stuff) there are so many different types of flies that a lot of the stuff you get in a kit may not apply to the type of fish you'd be chasing and the ability of a cheap vise to hold large SW hooks rock solid will be a problem.
Still, kits can be a good alternative if you want to limit your initial investment to 60.00 - 80.00 or so all in and just try it.
There are a bunch of threads on the tying forum that can give you an idea of the basic tools you'll need and a list of vises that range from decent with lifetime guarantees (40-80 bucks) to high quality vises that will last a lifetime (120 and up). If you have a local fly shop near you it would be great to pop in to check out some different vises to start to get our head around all the options.
If you wanted to keep it all under 100, then personally I'd look for a used black c-clamp "Thompson Model A" on ebay or Craigs list. This was THE vise back in the day (think Woodstock) and there are thousands of them still out there. They're a no frills rock solid vise and should go for around 25-30. Newer Thompsons go for considerably more, and are not the same vise.
Add another 30 worth of tools, and another 30 in hooks/materials for a couple patterns and you're on your way.
Keep asking questions, and hopefully we can get you pointed in the right direction.
Hey thanks you guys. Yeah from what I've been gathering, the starter kits are nice and all, but I think I might just piece my collection together. Obviously Craigslist is a good place to start, but being from MN there's not many fly fisherman out here. I have been reading up on the "basic" tools needed, but wouldn't mind hearing it from some of you, what tools did you all start with, and where in fact did you go to purchase those tools.
To raindogt yeah I have a 98 VW gti VR6, and lovin it!
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This goes out to anyone, but peregrines mentioned the Thompson Model A clamp. I think I found one on ebay, but I'm such a noob that I don't know if this is indeed the one he was speaking of. here's a link. Thanks for all your patience and insight! Link to ebay:
Yes, that is the Thompson Model "A" vise. It doesn't sound like it is a knock off. That vise will serve you well until you want to move up to a rotary vise. I have one that I bought in 1974 and it is as good as new.
If you have a fly shop in your area that is the best place to pick up some materials. Tell them what fly you want to tie and then can set you up with just the materials for that fly.
Yup that's the one. The old ones were made in Elgin Illinois. New Thompsons are still being made but a different design and more expensive-- and there are other vises that might be worth considering at the same price points as the new ones. But if you can snag an old Thompson for around 25-30 bucks then I say go for it. It probably won't be the last vise you buy, but it would make an excellent starter vise, and you could pass it along to your grand kids one day. This is the vise (as well as the old Thompson B and Thompson Pro Models) that many of us grew up on, and they're built like a tank. Solid and no frills.
As for tools, here are some specific recommendations prices are approximate, and of course there are lots of more expensive options listed.
Bobbin to hold thread spool. Avoid cheap Asian imports going for 3.00, spring for a Griffin with metal tube ( 7.00) or better, a Griffin with a ceramic tube (13.00). Ceramic bobbins have less of a tendency to cut thread, since they're not as likely to get burrs or rough edges as metal tubes. You'll want a few bobbins down the road, so if you start with metal tubes, you can always upgrade to ceramic tubes as you buy additional ones and rotate the most used colors and thinner threads to ceramic. There are many more expensive choices for bobbins as well.
Scissors- a pair with a narrow point and about 3 1/2 to 4" long, These can be no name "needle point" scissors (5.00) or better is a pair of Dr Slicks or Anvil for around 12.00 available in fly shops. If you get a good pair of scissors form Dr Slick or Anvil, it would be a good idea to get a cheap crappy pair for cutting rough stuff (bucktail, wire, etc). Again you can upgrade a cheap pair with a better pair down the road and save the better pair for fine work.
Bobbin- a needle on a shaft, you'll use this for freeing trapped fibers, applying head cement etc. Get one with a hex shaped handle so it doesn't roll off the table. Any import (2.00) is fine.
Those are the essentials. To this consider adding optional stuff:
Whip finisher- To tie the finishing knot. There are 2 basic types, Matarelli and Thompson. I would recommend the Matarelli, either a "Matarelli style" import ( 6.00) or the real thing, a Matarelli (17.00). There are Youtube clips out there to show you how to use it. You can whip finish by hand with out a tool, and you should learn how to do so, but the tool makes it easier for many people (once you learn how to use it).
Bobbin threader- any brand, import OK 2.00
If you plan on tying stuff for trout:
Hackle Pliers for grasping hackle to wind it around the shank. Get the English style, any brand, import OK (2.00)
Hair for evening up tips of hair for wings on dry flies. Get a metal double ended one with a small size and a medium size, any brand, import OK (7.00)
Griffin Hackle Gauge for measuring the length of barbs on feathers to get the correct proportions for different sized hooks on dry flies and wet flies. After a while you'll be able to size them by eye, but starting out it will help. (5.00). It also has a gauge for measuring different size hooks which is handy for sorting if they get mixed up.
As for brands of fly tying tools, Griffin makes good decent tools for a modest price. Dr Slick Matarelli, Tiemco, Wasatch, are higher priced quality names. Dr Slick makes a very good toolkit for 50.00 that includes all of the above except the hackle gauge, but you could put together your own set for 25-30 or so if you're on a tight budget.
For scissors go to your local craft store and pick up a pair of fine point Fiskars...They're decent scissors for the price and are great for cutting yarn, fur, deer hair, etc...They hold a fairly decent edge to...
I still have my first vise the venerable Thompson Model A, bought it in 1976.