10 Christmas Ideas

~by: Lance Dean November 22, 2016

10 Gifts for a Fly Tyer

When Thanksgiving approaches, Christmas is not far behind. During this time of hustle, bustle and let’s face it, stress of shopping for that perfect gift for a loved one, you might be a bit confused as to what to buy that fly tyer in your life. If you’re not familiar with the art of tying flies you may be asking questions like the following:

  • What do fly tyers use regularly and what is okay to have multiples of?
  • What are good tying materials to buy for my fly tyer?
  • Does it have to be expensive? 
  • And perhaps the most frustrating one of all these…Can I buy my fly tyer a Christmas gift without my fly tyer knowing?
There are many things that a fly tyer uses regularly and yes, there are many things that we like multiples of.  Most tools are nice to have multiples of.  Having a couple spare scissors, lots of bobbins, an extra fly box or two are just a few things that come to mind. All of these items are ones fly tyers use regularly and it’s always nice to have some extra to use or hide away for use at a later time.

When it comes to buying materials for the special fly tier in your life, I have one word for you “DON’T”.  I know that is very direct and perhaps harsh but hear me out… Materials come in so many grades, sizes, and colors that it becomes overwhelming to sort through it all especially if you are not sure that you know what you are doing. One other thing that needs to be noted is that each tyer has his or her own personal tastes for different materials used on different flies and it would be difficult to find many materials that will fit the tying style for a specific fly tyer.  Even after talking to someone that works at your local fly shop, who knows materials inside and out, you’d be lucky to buy that one Hungarian Partridge skin that your fly tyer will be totally satisfied with.  I just bought a Hungarian Partridge skin myself and I can tell you that there where subtle differences in the skins I had to choose from and expecting someone to know what would satisfy me in quality or color would not be fair to them. There is a simple although maybe a bit less thoughtful solution to this problem as you will soon find out.

Most experienced fly tyers will tell you that tying flies can get expensive if one is not careful or does not understand what they are buying.  Now when I say expensive I don’t entirely mean cost, although that is part of it.  A good quality Hungarian Partridge is worth the 35 to 40 dollars and one might pay that, but a bad pelt is a rip off at that price.  So one thing to keep in mind as you are shopping for that special fly tying someone, is that it is better to leave most of the materials to the fly tyer himself to pick out.  He already knows what he is looking for and knows if it is worth the money.  Many fly tying items can range in the hundreds of dollars and others may cost a few bucks.  One has to be careful when tying on a budget or it can and will spiral out of control.

Here is a list of ten items you can get that special fly tyer in your life that will be useful and cost less than or just at thirty dollars excluding tax.

Tack Fly Box1. Fly Boxes

Fly boxes are an essential tool for fly tyers and fly fisherman.  Fly tyers need a place to store their flies when they are complete and a fly box is the most convenient way to do so.  Just as many things for fly tying, the cost of a fly box can vary tremendously depending on what brand the fly box is, what the fly box is made of or what other features a manufacturer claims the fly box does.
My personal favorite is the Tacky Fly Fishing fly boxes.  Currently, Tacky has four boxes available and a couple others that they teamed with Orvis to create. Here I will only mention the main four:  The Original Tack Fly Box, The Day Pack, The Big Bug Box and the just released Dry Fly Box.  With the exception of the Big Bug Box, which I have found for between $32.00 to $35.00, the Tacky Boxes go for anywhere between twenty to thirty dollars depending on which model you invest in. My personal favorite is the Original Tacky Fly Box, unless I am tying dry flies. Then the Dry Fly Box is the obvious choice.


Dr. Slick Razor Scissors2. Dr. Slick Razor Scissors

Every fly tyer uses some sort of scissors. They are essential for cutting materials, fur, feather, thread and various other materials.  Personally I have a pair and love them.  The other day I was sitting at my bench tying flies and thought it would be nice to have more than one pair.  One pair for primary use and another as a backup pair.  Dr. Slick scissors are what I use.  Dr. Slick scissors vary in price depending on where you get them and what type you get.  Razor scissors are the scissors of choice for me and they run right around thirty dollars.


Tiemco Ceramic Bobbin  3. Bobbins

Bobbins are another essential tool for fly tying and again they can range from too expensive to too, cheap. Most tyers have multiple bobbins and odds are they use all of them, because of this fly tyers are all too happy to receive a new quality bobbin.  I have personally grown to love the Tiemco Ceramic Bobbins.  Compared with the many bobbins I have used they are the smoothest simplest bobbins on the market and if taken care of will last a fly tyer a long, long time.  I have used many bobbins and the Tiemco bobbin is the perfect place between too expensive and beginner quality. Tiemco bobbins are easy to use, easy on thread and fall in the thirty dollar budget.


4. Loon Gator Grip Dubbing Spinner

The Loon Gator Grip Dubbing Spinner is a tool I put on this list simply for the fact that it looks like an interesting tool especially the way the inventors (Fly Fish Food in combination with Loon) use it. It kind of combines two tools into one, a dubbing twister and a complex twist tool.  It looks like it is a durable and fairly easy to use tool.  The Gator Grip Dubbing Spinner is a relatively new style tool that allows you to do some tying techniques that would be a bit more complicated without it. Fly Fish Food has a few flies that use a technique they call the “Complex Twist” that creates a very nice looking fly after using it. And what fly tyer doesn’t like to test new tools and techniques?


5. The Tool Stadium is a tool that I personally do not own but would be useful to many fly tyers. I use something similar that I built so I don’t have a need for the Tool Stadium, but if I didn’t build my own tool caddy I would definitely look into this one.  Tool organization is a must to effectively tie flies on a regular basis.  There is nothing like being frustrated about a missing pair of scissors or a missing bobbin while tying flies and this tool or one similar will relieve that moment of insanity.  Feathercraft.com has one that costs 29.95.  Too, me that is a good deal for tool organization. Renzetti has another but it is made with foam and there is just something classy with wooden fly tying furniture.


Tool Pouch 6. The Cabela’s Tool Pouch is another organization accessory that would make a great gift for a fly tyer.  I have one and have found it to be very useful for tool organization and protection while traveling.  It is small, compact and fits great in my travel fly tying bag.  It can be found on cabelas.com for $9.99.


7. Fly tyers are always looking for thing to keep their materials organized especially when it comes to hooks and beads.  While shopping at Walmart a couple years ago I found some compartmentalized storage bins designed for craft beads. Each box has 36 compartments. The bottom of each individual compartment is rounded making it super easy access to beads and hooks. They can be found on Walmart.com for $5.58. So get a couple because they are life savers.

8. Gift Cards

Remember when I said I had a “simple although maybe a bit less thoughtful solution” to the buying materials as a gift for your fly tyer issue? Gift Cards are the solution to this problem. Because your fly tyer received a gift card, they’ll be able to search through the furs, skins and other various materials to find that one Hungarian Partridge pelt or elk fur  that has just the right amount brown in it to tie what he feels is that perfect soft hackle fly or Elk Hair Caddis .  Gift Cards are available at all the fly shops I have visited or bought from so that shouldn’t be an issue.  Just make sure that whatever fly shop you purchase from has a good variety of tying materials, tools, and accessories to choose from.

9. Fly Tying DVDs

I enjoy watching a master tie flies and Charlie Craven is a master at the vise.  He has a set of DVDs that he did through Fly Fisherman Magazine where he ties some awesome patterns.  And although I don’t own any of these DVDs they are on my Christmas list. Charlie Craven has completed six of these DVDs, four are Foundation 40 another is on saltwater patterns and the last is warm water tying.  Depending on what your fly tyer ties will dictate which DVD you get.  All six of these DVDs can be found at: https://store.intermediaoutdoors.com/brands.php?brand=FLYFISHERMAN and cost $24.95. These look like great DVDs and would be awesome in any Fly Tyer’s collection.

10. If the special fly tyer in your life is anything like me, he likes his fly tying books, articles and magazines. So why not subscribe him to his favorite fly tying magazine.  I am a fan of Fly Tyer it is a magazine directed at you guessed it the art of fly tying. In it I find new flies to tie and lots of new ideas to try at the vise.  Amazon has a subscription to Fly Tyer Magazine that runs at $21.95.


Now you have an idea of a possible special Christmas Gift for that special fly tyer in your life.  You have learned that there are things a fly tyer uses that it’s okay to have multiples of some things in the fly tying world.  In other words the worry of buying something for your fly tyer that he or she already has, has been eliminated. We’ve decided that tying materials probably aren’t the best idea to give your fly tyer and although it may be a bit less thoughtful you are hopefully considering a gift card for him to pick his or her own materials or other fly tying needs. Hopefully you have also learned that giving a fly tying gift for one that you love or appreciate doesn’t have to break the bank because you now have a list of ten items that will run you less than thirty dollars each to pick from.  As far as the question of whether or not you can buy these things without your fly tyer knowing is up to you.  You have the tools, the list and a bit of knowledge to be able to go purchase something for your fly tyer without having to ask him too many questions.

On a side note here are three more things that would make great stocking stuffers for the fly tyer you care about and best of all they are under $5.00.

1.    The Vise fly rack is a nice little tool that a fly tyer simply places on the shaft of his vise and can hook flies to when they are complete.


2. Spool Tamers make a cool gift because tyers are always trying to keep their wire and tinsels under control and these do exactly that.

3.    A hook and Bead dish is always nice when tying lots of flies at once. They allow dump many hooks or beads into this small tray for easy access as they complete one fly to star another.


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