5 Best Fly Tying Kits: A Buyer’s Guide to Fly Tying Supplies

A fly tying kit helps you save money, catch more fish, and start in on an awesome outdoors hobby. And winter is the perfect time to start.

Setting up your own fly shop with an easy-to-learn fly tying kit is a great way to polish your fly fishing skills and jump into the creative world of tying dry flies, streamers, poppers, and other great lures. There are lots of fly tying kits on the market, and many come with all the supplies you need to create the perfect fly box. Pick the best fly tying kit for you, and you’ll be able to set up a fly tying station at home, at a camp or cabin, from the bed of a pickup truck, and even right by the stream. And fly tying kits come in a wide range of prices, so there are budget kits available as well as pro sets that the finest fly makers in the world swear by. One thing is for sure: Once you hone in on your best fly tying kit, you’ll find a new world of options to help you land the fish of a lifetime on a fly that you tied yourself.

Best for Beginners: Colorado Anglers Z797 Wooden Fly Tying Standard Tool Kit

Best for Home Use: Creative Angler Wooden Fly Tying Station with Tools and Materials

Best Fly Tying Tool Kit: Dr. Slick Tyer Pack Tool Set

Best UV Fly Tying Kit: Loon Outdoors UV FLY TYING KIT (1/2 oz), 4 PCS

Best Fly Tying Vise for Travelers: Regal Medallion C-Clamp Fly Tying Vise

Features to Consider When Shopping for a Fly Tying Kit

Look for a fly tying kit with features and components that accommodate both your fishing needs and your fly tying skill level. If you’re just starting out in fly tying, get a set that includes a detailed how-to guide. If you’ll be tying flies at home and have the space, invest in a kit that has all the equipment you need to tie a variety of patterns—and a place to put it all. If you already have a few fly tying tools but are looking for a fly tying kit to round it out, get a quality set with gear that will help you tie beautifully detailed flies. Want to tie flies no matter where you are? Invest in a fly vise that adjusts to accommodate nearly any surface.

Are you totally new to fly tying?

If you’ve never tied ties before, get a kit with a comprehensive how-to guide. It’ll approach the process step by step, and you’ll have all the tools and components you need right at hand. You’ll make your first flies tie quicker than you ever imagined.

In the meantime, check out our guide to easy fly tying in five steps.

Best Fly Tying Kit for Beginners: Colorado Anglers Z797 Wooden Fly Tying Standard Tool Kit

This kit comes with every fly tying tool you need, with a how-to guide and a sweet wooden carrying case. Colorado Anglers

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One of the challenges of putting together a fly tying station is keeping everything organized. This Colorado Anglers fly-tying kit comes with eight tools and a pedestal-base fly tying vise that all fit into the handy briefcase-like box sturdy enough to toss into a boat bag or backpack.

Will you be tying flies primarily at home?

Some fly tying kits come with the basics, while others are outfitted with a variety of fly tying tools, fly tying materials, and a great vise—plus a way to keep it all organized and at hand. If you’ll be tying flies and home and you have children or pets, being able to store hooks separately is a huge safety bonus…not to mention having a place to put feathers and spools and tools and all the other small items that are part of a fly tying kit.

Best for Home Use: Creative Angler Wooden Fly Tying Station with Tools and Materials

This kit has it all—you literally don’t need another item to start tying flies. Creative Angler

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If you want a complete tool kit, including a great tying station with all the fly tying tools and fly tying materials to get started—plus a way to keep it all organized—the Creative Angler Wooden Fly Tying Station has you covered. This fly tying kit is great for people who’d like to dedicate a space in their home, cottage, or camp for fly tying. Everything is handy, held securely in its place and ready to be put to use at a moment’s notice. Plus, this handy kit includes fly tying materials and a great tying guide, and a very useful sliding drawer to keep all those hooks, bead eyes, and snips of feathers from spilling onto the floor.

Do you already own some tools?

While beginners can tie quality flies with the tools that come in a basic fly tying kit, some flies require specialty tools. And many beginners get totally hooked on how much fun they’re having, so they’ll soon want to step up to fly tying tools with a bit higher quality than you might find in a basic beginners’ fly tying kit.

A dedicated, high-quality fly tying tool kit is often the answer. It might contain tools that you already have, but as you progress as a fly tyer, you’ll find that having extra bobbins and whip-finishing tools makes the work go quicker. And high-quality tools are a pleasure to use. They’ll last longer, and help you with the detailed work required of many flies—something that you’ll probably want to do as your fly tying skill level increases.

Best Fly Tying Kit with Quality Tools: Dr. Slick Tyer Pack Tool Set

Dr. Slick Tyer Pack Tool Set
A quality set of fly tying tools will help you keep pace with your growing skills, and make more complicated flies a snap to tie. Dr. Slick

Made of professional-grade materials, the tools in the Dr. Slick Tyer Pack Tool Set will last a lifetime. That’s important, because poorly made tools are hard to work with, especially by a beginner. The super-sharp scissors and easy-revolving bobbin in this kit will help beginners advance to the next level with ease.

Are you planning on making hard-bodied epoxy flies?

A basic fly tying kit will get you started, and keep you casting your own flies on the water as your tying skills advance. But soon you’ll be dreaming of flies tied with more advanced fly tying materials and techniques, and you’ll be ready for a different kind of fly for your fly box. Hard-bodied epoxy flies are actually easier to make than they look. In the past, using two-part five-minute epoxies required fussing over each individual fly, turning it over and over so the epoxy wouldn’t run. But with a kit that uses epoxies cured quickly with UV light, flies such as saltwater minnow and hard-headed streamers are a snap.

Best UV Fly Tying Kit: Loon Outdoors UV FLY TYING KIT

Loon Outdoors Fly Tying Kit
Using ultraviolet light, a UV Fly Tying Kit lets you make super-realistic hard-bodied flies in no time at all. Loon Outdoors

What’s great about the Loon Outdoors UV Fly Tying Kit is that it has three different finish formulations—thick, thin, and super-thin flow—and multiple needle tips for precision application. Those make it easier to use on different types of hooks and for various patterns. And the stuff cures in either direct sunlight or the included UV light.

Will you be tying flies away from home?

Fly tying is a super-fun activity, and you may find yourself tying for hours on end or just sitting down just to knock out a few patterns after lunch. Some folks like a dedicated fly tying station, with all the tools and supplies at the ready so they can take a seat and start turning out Woolly Buggers or Clouser Minnows or whatever they want without a hitch. If that’s you, you’ll want a fly tying vise that comes with a heavy pedestal base. They’re a great choice for folks that like to set aside a specific fly tying station. You can use it wherever there’s a flat surface such as a desk, picnic table top, or car hood.

But many anglers prefer a fly tying vase with a versatile C-clamp instead of a base. With the C-clamp, it’s easy to take the vise with you. You can stow it in a bin or box with the other fly tying materials, and break it out in a hotel room or a friend’s house or in a truck camper. That means you’ll be able to create flies that perfectly imitate whatever fish are feeding on where you’re fishing. The C-clamp will clamp down to most flat surfaces. And even if you decide you want a pedestal base later, most C-clamp fly tying vises can be used with optional bases.

Best Fly Tying Vise for Travelers: Regal Medallion C-Clamp Fly Tying Vise

This fly tying vise comes with a head that revolves 360 degrees for fast, easy tying. Regal Medallion

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The Regal Medallion vise has a C-clamp base that’s just as handy at a home fly tying station as it is when you take it on the road. It revolves around a 360-degree axis and articulates 220 degrees up and down, so it will accommodate nearly any place you want to tie. And the Medallion packs down small enough to transport with all the fly tying materials and fly tying tools you need for any fish that swims.

FAQ: More Fly Fishing Tips

What is in a basic fly tying kit?

Look carefully at the contents of a basic fly tying kit. It should contain a handful of tools, such as scissors, a bobbin, and a whip-finishing tool. Some may not include a vice. If not, you’ll need to purchase one. And the most basic kits will come with just a handful of fly tying materials, so you’ll have to buy more supplies to make the flies you want.

What is in a complete fly tying kit?

If your fly tying kit includes tools, fly tying materials, a fly tying vise, and a handy way to keep it all in place, you’re in luck. You won’t need another thing other than time and the inspiration of a fish on the line to get started.

Are expensive fly tying kits worth it?

Most people who take up fly tying love the fun and relaxation–not to mention the cost savings over buying individual flies. If you think you’ll tie flies more than a few times a year, don’t make the mistake of going too cheap: a more expensive fly tying kit could save you money in the long run. While you’re at it, here’s some more expert advice on fly fishing mistakes to avoid.

A Final Word on Shopping for the Best Fly Tying Kit

You might start tying your own flies with a fly tying kit to save a bit of money. But it’s likely you’ll turn this into a favorite hobby because there are so many cool fly tying materials out there, and high quality fly tying tools make it easy to go from beginner to proud angler in just a session or two. Don’t skimp on quality or on supplies, because good equipment makes learning to tie faster and easier, and you won’t have to replace equipment as your fly tying skill level increases.