Fly Tying

Fly Tying

Fly tying your own flies is highly satisfactory, especially when you start catching fish with them. It gives you self-confidence and pride in your craftsmanship and makes you want to go fly fishing even more.

Fly tying, however, requires patience, attention to detail, and a steady hand. Once you practice your fly tying, you can expand your dexterity to more elaborate fly tying techniques.

Here at Fly Fishing Outfitters, we offer fly tying kits that include the tools and materials you need to start. Such kits will offer a good introduction to fly tying and guide you into developing your own skills.

What Does Fly Tying Mean?

When you learn fly tying, you learn how to make your own artificial flies that you will use when you go fly fishing. The point is to create flies that match as perfectly as possible the real world. Your flies should imitate the progress of an insect’s life cycle and adjust to the riparian and aquatic life that exists through the seasons.

How Many Different Kinds of Flies Are There?

Understanding the life cycle of aquatic insects is the basis for tying flies. There are thousands of flies you can make. The insects and bugs that exist on the surface of the water and around vary with the river, season, and even time of day. You will find different bugs on a sunny summer morning and different ones in the late afternoon.

Generally speaking, fly fishing flies are categorized according to the lifecycle of a bug. That means you get:

  • Nymphs, which represent the larva stage of a bug
  • Emergers, which depict the in-between moment between aquatic stage and terrestrial life
  • Dry flies, which are adult flies that float on the surface of the water
  • Wet flies and streamers, which sink in the water

In short, there are as many kinds of flies you can make as there are bugs and insects that live around rivers and streams. Which is to say, countless.

Think of midges, Caddisflies, Stoneflies, mayflies, aquatic worms, grasshoppers, leeches, and beetles are just a few of the things that fish eat. There are even smaller fish that are great delicacies for larger fish.

Each insect has various stages in its life cycle. This means you can create several different flies based on a single insect during its aquatic, terrestrial, and in-between stages. You have literally thousands of options and opportunities.

Do I Need to Know about Entomology to Make Good Flies?

Entomology will certainly help your fly tying endeavors.

It is a good idea to simply sit by a creek or river and observe the life around it. Study what sorts of bugs emerge throughout the day and how fish respond to them. This will give you plenty of clues about the types of flies that will better mimic aquatic life and fool fish into biting.

However good your fly tying skills and no matter how believable your fly is, fish will not respond to it if they don’t expect this specific bug at that particular time of the day. You must place your flies within a specific aquatic habitat and blend in as best as possible.

To master the art of fly tying, you need more than fly tying fishing gear: you need to study nature. This will help you greatly during fly fishing as well because you will be better aware of your surroundings. You will also understand much better how to cast in a way that mimics an insect landing on the water and how to move your streamers in a manner that resembles real-life creatures like leeches.

What Sort of Tools Do I Need for Fly Tying?

Making a fly sounds simple enough: you hold a hook and gently place around it feathers, beads, wires, tinsel, and other materials. To properly attach all these without leaving loose wires or anything else that might spook a fish, however, you need the right fly fishing knot tying tools for the job.

Perhaps surprisingly, the most important fly tying tool is a simple vise, which is securely clamped on the table and holds firmly the hook. Once the hook is placed, you can start building your fly by winding around it wires, tinsel, feathers, and whatever other materials you wish.

You also need scissors and a whip finisher to help you make a knot and finish your fly. A bobbin will help you wind the wires more easily and steadily. You may also need pliers and head cement to secure the end of the loose wire on the fly.

How Should I Start Fly Tying?

We suggest you start with attending a couple of classes at your local fly shop. Getting hands on teaching will start you off on the right footing. A good teacher will be able to show you techniques that make tying your own flies that much more fun and productive.

Start with tying larger flies, they are easier to make and don’t require the dexterity that smaller and more intricate flies demand. If you start with something too complicated, you risk getting frustrated and discouraged.Once you have tackled simple fly tying techniques and you are pleased with the results, you can move on to more complex fly fishing ties.

Keep in mind that your first fly tying attempts will probably be less than perfect. Given time and patience, you will develop your skills. When you look back at your first attempts, you will likely notice the mistakes you made. Instead of throwing your first flies in the bin, cut through the wires with a razor and keep the hook to use in your future ties.

One last tip is to start with fly fishing ties that require the same size of hooks and wire diameter. This way, you won’t need to buy several different hooks and various wire diameters. Keep things simple at the beginning. Once you have honed your skills, you can invest in more sophisticated fly ties.

Fly Fishing Outfitters Fly Tying

Here at Fly Fishing Outfitters, we have everything you need to get you started on fly tying, including a fly fishing tying kit. Arm yourself with patience and determination and you will soon get hooked on fly tying and making your own flies!

Fly tying used to be a winter hobby for fishermen with ample time in their hands. They would prepare their flies and have them ready for spring fishing. Why not take a leaf out of their book? Whenever you miss fly fishing, sit at your table and start making flies. After all, fly fishing season is never far away!

Showing 1–15 of 27 results

  • Dr. Slick All Purpose Scissor


    The name says it all! Medium length with blades designed for small, medium and large flies. The one to have in your traveling kit. Excellent for natural materials and can handle most synthetics.


  • Dr. Slick Arrow Scissor 3 1/2 Inch


  • DR. SLICK Arrow Scissors



    Dr Slick has been a industry leader when it comes to Flyting tools, founded by a surgeon in 1989. Short fine-bladed scissor designed for small flies and detail work. The notch at the base of the blades is designed for cutting wire and lead. Excellent for natural materials and can handle most synthetics. Great scissor for in-hand tyers.  Each DR. SLICK instrument we produce undergoes a 6-step inspection process to ensure the highest quality possible, and each instrument carries our logo on it to guarantee that it is the best we have to offer.

    • Serrated 3 1/2 Blades
    • Gold Loops
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    Dr. Slick Brass Bodkin


    Used to apply head cement, tease materials on a fly, or execute a half hitch.

    Bodkin - Brass

  • Dr. Slick Ceramic Bobbin



    Bobbins are the critical tool in tying since they must keep smooth tension on the thread spool and have super smooth inserts to apply the thread to your fly. To this end, we have created three series of bobbins that handle these tasks with ease. All have delrin feet for smooth tension on the thread spool, and have either dual glass, ceramic or titanium oxide inserts for smooth application of thread to fly. These funnel shaped inserts allow for a smoother application of thread or other materials as the bobbin is rotated, and they cause less breakage than traditional pipe or straight edged inserts.

    Available in 3″  4″ and 4.75″

  • Dr. Slick Hair Stacker




    Dr. Slick Co. Has been building the highest quality tools for fly fishers and fly tiers since 1989.  The company was founded by a surgeon who understood that the essential tools of a angler, especially a fly tier of surgical quality.  Dr. Slick tools are designed by fishermen, for fishermen, you’ll find innovative and unique tools to suit your tying and angling needs.

    To this day, Dr. Slick continues to lead the industry in quality and innovation.  Each DR. SLICK instrument produced undergoes a 6-step inspection process to ensure the highest quality possible, and each instrument carries the Dr. Slick logo on it to guarantee that it is the best they have to offer. 

    If you want precision tools made to last, you’ll want DR. SLICK. 

  • Dr. Slick Micro Tip 3.5 scissor



    This series is based on the Big Three, but designed for small delicate detail work. Hypodermic tips on the scissors make short work of very small or lightly dressed flies. Excellent on natural and fine synthetic materials.

  • Dr. Slick Non-Rotary Hackle Pliers



    Non-rotary pliers are best for simple application of hackles to flies.


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    Dr. Slick Prism Scissors



    This Big-Three-based series has a Titanium Nitride coating on the entire scissor. The coating creates a harder blade surface and thus makes these scissors ideal for synthetic materials. The finish is a unique and fantastic swirl of red, green, blue and orange, and no two finishes are ever the same.

    • Prism Finish
    • Serrated Blade
    • Available in Straight Blade Only
  • Dr. Slick Razor Scissor



    Possibly the sharpest scissors ever created. Think razor blades with handles. These thin blades with a razor edge make short work of all materials. Adjustable tension allows for loosening or tightening as materials warrant. Cuts through natural and synthetic materials like butter. Made from 440 grade steel. These are the ultimate tying scissors.

    • Gold Loops
    • Serrated Blade
    • Available in Straight Blade Only
  • Dr. Slick Titanium Bobbin


    A high quality Bobbin is one of the most important tools for the fly tyer.  Having the smoothest tension and insert surface possible is crucial, especially when tying small fies with 10/0 or thinner threads.  That’s why all Dr. Slick Bobbins have  Delrin feet for smooth tension on the thread spool.

    Delrin® serves as an excellent alternative for metal due to its high wear resistance, high-tensile strength, low friction, and superior resistance to warping. It also offers overall durability and toughness, perfect for demanding use.

  • dr slick twisted loop scissors

    Dr. Slick Twisted Loop Scissors



    Combining the structures of the Big Three frames, Dr. Slick crafted a truly one-of-a-kind scissor! By offsetting one loop and creating an opening between them, they have constructed a tool with improved control and dexterity. It can effortlessly cut through natural and synthetic materials alike, making it perfect for tying—with your thumb in the standard loop, of course! With its design comes reduced finger fatigue as well.

    Since 1989, the DR. SLICK COMPANY has been producing groundbreaking tools to meet the needs of anglers and fly-tyers across the globe. Founded by a surgeon with an ambition to create the highest quality fishing and fly-tying instruments possible, every product crafted is designed specifically for fishermen.
    We are committed to providing only excellence when it comes to our products – every instrument we produce passes through a rigorous 6-step inspection process as part of our commitment to delivering top quality performance and reliability that cannot be matched. To make sure you receive only the best tools available, each item carries our logo so you know you’re getting something special.
    For precision tools made with longevity guaranteed, turn to DR. SLICK!

  • Dr. Slick Whip Finisher


    The quickest way to finish off your fly and give it a professional appearance. Use the 4-inch models for small to medium flies or the 6-inch model for larger flies. The Dr. Slick rotary whip finishers are  high quality tool that is an essential to all tryers.

  • Fishpond Tailwater Fly Tying Bag



    When it comes to fly tying, organization and accessibility are essential. The Tailwater Fly Tying Kit is the perfect solution for professional tyers and beginners alike. It features four large see-through pouches plus a padded storage compartment that provides plenty of room for materials such as delicate capes. Furthermore, its new tool station and thread spool tray keep every accessory secure, including pedestal bases. Additionally, the removable tying station with hook and bead compartments ensures you have a smooth surface to tie on at all times. No more cluttering up your dining room table – now you can take your fly tying show on the road!

  • Fly Tying Economy Kit w/Tools By Hareline


    Hareline Dubbin

    Hareline Dubbing is the largest supplier of Fly tying materials and tools in the country. The Hareline Fly Tying kit with economy tools and accessories is a perfect entry level kit . Complete with everything needed to start tying your own flies.