Tools of the Trade

In this segment of Tailwater Junkie’s tips for beginning fly tiers, we’re going to talk about which tools you might want to consider upgrading from the onset. There are certain tools that are worth upgrading, and there are others; that is doesn’t make a big difference.


Buying a vise is a lot like buying a car. There are many options to choose from which can be intimidating when you’re a beginner. Vises range in price from $50 to over $500 dollars and it can be tough to decide whether this is a tool you should splurge on when you’re just starting out. Hopefully, this advice and guidance will help you choose the right vise! A vise is obviously one of the most important, yet, costly tools when it comes to fly tying. As a beginner, I would recommend purchasing a vise in the $200.00 – $250.00 price range. This price point allows you to get a reliable vise from either Renzetti or Regal, which are among the best out there. A mediocre vise may lead to frustration and poorly tied flies, whereas, a mid-level vise provides hours of hassle-free enjoyment when tying bugs. Keep in mind; you can always upgrade to these manufactures upper-end models if you deem it necessary.

Tools of the Trade


As with vises, there are a lot of options for scissors on the market today. Every tier has his or her unique preference. First and foremost, make sure your scissors are sharp! Make sure that you choose a pair of scissors that fit in your hand comfortably as you’ll be spending a lot of time with them. Trust me—not all scissors are created equally! Try several pairs before you make your final decision! Personally, I like to have two pairs of scissors at my tying table – one pair that is fine pointed, and extremely sharp, ones I only use for precision cuts on smaller flies. I like to have another pair of scissors for cutting synthetics, trimming hair, and cutting wire.

Miscellaneous Items

You’ll need a few bobbins, a whip finish tool, threaders, hair stacker, bodkin, etc. to name only a few. Remember you get what you pay for. I strongly recommend ceramic bobbins rather than standard bobbins. Many of the other tools, like a bodkin, whip finishing tool, threader, etc.; it really doesn’t make sense to spend a lot of money on them. Don’t forget to stop by next week for the fourth installment on organization and material storage.

Leave a Comment