I take my tying tools for granted, so long as they perform well, but occasionally I’ll reflect on what has and has not worked well and share my thoughts. The simple assortment of tools above includes a few that I have only discovered in the last six months, and they have become favorites, and all of these merit your consideration, and my brief discussion may also serve to stimulate your own reflection on the performance of your fly tying tools.
Dr Slick 4″ Razor Scissors. Been using these for close to a decade, and they remain my favorite, although I have tried many other scissors from time to time. These are adjustable with the thumb nut, the points are fine and sharp clear to the tip, and they can be sharpened. the 5″ model are too long for my tastes but might fit other tiers.
HMH Tube fly Adaptor. I use this baby to hold some of my tube mandrels but more often use it to secure my OPST Intruder Shanks, because it holds the shank just like it holds a tube mandrel.
C & F Rotary Hackle Pliers: Spendy compared to many hackle pliers but these are the BEST I have ever used. EVER. I’m generally ambivalent about hackle pliers and have used dozens of models over the year. These are amazing and I’ve used them for small soft hackles and fat Marabou quill stems with infallible success.
Nor Vise Automatic Bobbin: Been tying flies for more than fifty years now, and used this spring loaded clutch bobbin for over a decade. My friend Lou V. talked me into trying one, and after a week of practice, iILOVE these bobbins. Norm uses these even on his size #24 flies, but I prefer to stick in the #16 and larger hook size range with these bobbins. So I keep my standard bobbins around for occasional use, but seriously, these bobbins are so good that you are missing out if you fail to give one an honest try.
Petitjean Long Loop Trim Scissors: Perfection. Specialization. If you spin fox or possum in dubbing loops you deserve to have these scissors, and they are better than any other scissor i have tried for trimming any dubbing that is loosely clamped into a loop before spinning. Not for general purpose use, but when you want to make straight cuts with precision and absolute perfection, these scissors are unbeatable. Every time I use mine I appreciate how sharp and well designed they are – just one more example of “Sir Petitjean’s” ingenuity and expertise.
Stonfo Elite Rotodubbing Twister. Another case of discovering a new version of a tool I’ve used for years without thinking but all of a sudden – POW – here comes a new to me tool that performs so well that I’m like – whoa dude, this is amazing! In short, I love this dubbing tool. The way it works, by holding the handle tight and then spinning the rotational “thingy” with your other hand gives one better control, or at least it seems so to me. And when the dubbing is spun nice and tight, you can tilt the head of the Twister to an angle so that winding around the shank or tube can be accomplished more precisely. I was neutral when I picked up this tool and began using it. Now it my number one dubbing twister tool.
Pro Sportfisher (large) Flexineedle. This is so simple that I take it for granted too often. The Flexineedle is easily secured in most vise heads, and sometimes i even insert it into my HMH Tube fly Adaptor. The Flexineedle holds the Pro Sportfisher 40/40 tube, the Nanotube, and Microtube. The Flexineedle also holds the HMH small Poly Tubes.
Dr Slick Stainless Steel Whip Finisher. This is a surprise to me, because I tie my whip finisher by hand instead of using a tool Here’s the deal – I use this as a dubbing pick. Saw Scott Howell doing it not long ago and decided to try it. the fine curved point of this tool and the way it nests in my hand have combined to make this my favorite dubbing picker tool. You may have your other bodkins and picks at hand like I do, but I find myself reaching for this tool to fuzz up my dubbing every time. Give this a chance and see what you think.
That’s it for now, hope these ideas stimulate your own quest for the best tools that suit your individual tying style.
Jay Nicholas, March 2015