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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm considering starting to tie my own and need advice on a starter kit. I want decent quality tools that I won't get frustrated with and replace in 6 months. I've looked at some from Orvis and Cabelas don't know if they are worth my time, they seem kind of spartan. Should I spend more for a good rotary vice?
Any recommendations greatly appreciated!
 

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I've only been tying for about a year, and I've only had one vice so I can't comment on the non-rotary kind. When I started, I knew practically nothing about tying, other than some youtube videos, so I went to a fly shop near me (Chagrin River Outfitters.) Talked to the guy, told him my situation, ended up going with a Regal Medallion vice, and enough tools/materials to tie one type of fly (olive wooly bugger). I noticed that was the vice he used to tie all the shop's flies, so I figured I'd make one vice purchase, instead of buying cheap and having to upgrade later!

Then steelhead season approached, and I caught one on a store-bought sucker spawn. So I ordered the materials to tie them, and some glo bugs, in a couple different colors and sizes, since they were pretty self-explanatory on youtube.

Right now, I can tie buggers, clousers, sucker spawn, glo bugs, among other variations. But with each new fly type I want to learn, I order the materials specifically for it-- I never bought one of those "kits".

So my advice would be to buy a quality vice right off the bat, if you're able. It's like anything else, if you buy cheaply at first, you end up buying twice; spending more than you would've on one quality vice! I'd try to find a fly shop close to you, so you can see them firsthand and talk to someone knowledgeable face-to-face! It really makes it a lot easier!
 

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El Fly Guy
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I agree. Buy a decent vice and the materials to tie one or two types of flies - like buggers and elk hair caddis. Both are easy to tie flies and are productive for multi species.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
sounds like good advice, good quality tools and only the materials I need to get started as opposed to cheaper tools and a bunch of materials I don't know what to do with...
 

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You may consider purchasing or renting a beginners tying video in addition to internet instructions. I found it very helpful to play the video on my TV and pause /rewind repeat to view as I practiced the particular technique and use of various tools.
 

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I'll give you a different perspective......Start out w/a cheap vice....one can be had for under $15.00......it will handle the mid-range size hooks you should be starting on with your basic flies....bucktails, clousers, wooly buggers, etc......The reason i suggest this is, if you get started and realize you don't enjoy it, your not out a lot of money....if you do enjoy it, with the basics down, you will have a better idea of what you want to look for in a better vice...go to a flyshop, try some different vices, then make the bigger purchase....for a decent vice, you are looking a minimum $85.00, probably considerably more.....save the cheap vice for the kids or as a loaner..... Just another perspective....

Mike
 

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NE Ohio Fly Fisherman
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All the beginner sets they offer online are a waiste of money and time....start out with a Griffin Vice...and no it does not rotate....leave the rotating vices to those who have been tying for years....I bought mine at the TMF sportshop in Ravenna....The older gentlemen that runs the shop will show you the tying vices...get the Griffin...it's about $60 and comes with a spare "O"ring which you need to replace every other year....I have used those so called cheap ones on line and at walmart and kmart and they only last so long....then make up your mind on which kind of fish you want to target and get only those materials needed for it...for example I started tying Wolly Buggers in Brown, Black and Olive in the beginning so I just got the Hooks, Beads in Silver and Gold to make a beadheaded wooly bugger plus the hooks in size 8 2x Long...those flies will catch about every thing from panfish, crappies, carp, pike, bass and trout....the internet is full of articles on what are the top 10 flies and how to fish them...plus YouTube is loaded with beginning tying flies video's....since those first days of tying Wooly Buggers I now tie Giant Streamers for Trout, Bass and Pike...and have had great success with the Zonker streamer fly in all white, black, olive, yellow, orange, and hot pink for Steelhead.....plan on spending about $150 to get set up with all the necessary supplies including hooks, beads, tying thread and tying material for a specific pattern....I also tie foam spiders in black and white with white and green legs and the Bluegill and Bass love em...I use these patterns to fly fish the lakes when the rivers are to high from passing storms which happen quite frequently this year....

Here is a link to watch some of the favorite flies being tied and they will tell you what to use...

http://midcurrent.com/videos/tying-a-woolly-bugger/
 

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Team NuCanoe
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Glad someone started this thread, I am thinking about the same thing especially something to do during the winter months.

I really want to thank everyone on here for taking the time to help us newbies out!
 

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I'll give you a different perspective......Start out w/a cheap vice....one can be had for under $15.00......it will handle the mid-range size hooks you should be starting on with your basic flies....bucktails, clousers, wooly buggers, etc......The reason i suggest this is, if you get started and realize you don't enjoy it, your not out a lot of money....if you do enjoy it, with the basics down, you will have a better idea of what you want to look for in a better vice...go to a flyshop, try some different vices, then make the bigger purchase....for a decent vice, you are looking a minimum $85.00, probably considerably more.....save the cheap vice for the kids or as a loaner..... Just another perspective....

Mike

I'll counter that by saying he'll know whether or not he likes it right away. If you buy from a reputable place, it will likely be wellllll within the return period!

Conversely, if you buy cheap and like it, you're just gonna end up buying what you should've bought in the first place!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well good used vises seem to sell for damn near retail on ebay, so if I don't like it or (more likely) don't have the time to make it worth it, I guess I have that option.
 

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Well good used vises seem to sell for damn near retail on ebay, so if I don't like it or (more likely) don't have the time to make it worth it, I guess I have that option.
I started with the super AA vise and used it for 5 years and the vise will rotate 180, I have upgraded to the peak vise and I love it. If you look into a quality vise I would look at the reviews on the Anvil vises along with the peak vises and they both have a lifetime warranty on them. As for tying flies, jigs, or other things my top 2 sites I order from are www.madriveroutfitters.com the guys there are great and there customer service are great and I like the free shipping if you order up to 25 dollars worth of materials and it doesn't take long to hit that mark when you try to build your collection ha. Another site I like îs www.crazyanglertackle.com he is in Texas he does not have free shipping but his thread prices and chenille and his 1/100 oz jig head on a #12 sickle hook are great along with his powder paint selection. He is geared towards crappie fishing but there is alot of materials he has can be used for fly fishing. I tie crappie jigs also along with bluegill jigs and flies. Hope this can help you a little.
 

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I have a Renzzetti traveler vise and I love it. It's a true rotary vise and will hold hooks from 4/0 to #28. Get some good sissors that have the sharpest smallest tip you can find. I have an old pair of folding sissors that I use for tough materials like wire. Get a bodkin (one's that have the half hitch tool on the end are handy), a whip finisher, bobbins for threads, hackle pliers both the rubber and the steel jawed, a hair stacker if you do hair wings, and a fine tooth comb. If you are going to tie dries a hackle gauge is handy for a beginner. Buy good quality threads like Danville, so worth the extra pennies to not break at the most critical time. You will need monocord if you plan on spinning deer hair. Don't forget to get some good head cement. If you tie anything smaller than a #20, get some spiderwire for thread.
 

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Nothing but Fly Gear
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dont buy a junk vise......they dont last very long and they dont hold very well either....being your new to this get a respectable vise and elimenate that frustration...right off...same with your tools....get good scissors and a good ceramic lined bobbin.....Start off with tying flies you will currently use ...buggers clousers ...etc....and progress over time.....
 

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I believe ohio fly fishing website has a pretty comprehensive review of vises at different price points.

http://www.flyfishohio.com/Vise Review 1/Fly_Tying_Vise_Shoot-Out.htm
Excellent advise. I started with a Danvise & loved it. I would still be using it except I fell into a virtually new Renzetti Traveler for $75.00 and, being a typical gear junkie, couldn't pass it up.
A mistake I made initially was that I bought damn near every feather & hair known to man with NO knowledge of how to tie with them. Since then, I have given most of it away. What fish are you targeting? If 'gills & bass, buy some foam & rubber or silicone leg material for beetles, spiders & hoppers. If trout (or anything that swims for that matter), you can't go wrong with woolly buggers. One of the simplest patterns to tie is also VERY effective for ALL species...the San Juan worm. There is at least one company that sells a kit that includes all you need (hook, materials, etc) for a specific pattern & I think that's a great start for a beginning tyer.
One other thing is that you don't HAVE to buy a rotary vise. One of the top commercial tyers in the country, Charlie Craven, prefers a NON rotary vise. I highly recommend his book, "Charlie Craven's Basic Fly Tying". He gets into tools & everything.
I know others have said it, but stay away from those starter kits. Just my opinion.
Mike
 

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El Fly Guy
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Also, another way to get materials, is to go into Mad River Outfitters on Bethel Road and tell them what fly you wish to tie. They will get the exact materials you need. Go home, tie up a dozen or two of that fly, same size, and when you master it, to back and get materials to try a different fly. The guy at MRO are always very helpful, and they have the best selection in town of tying materials. I think my favorite fly to tie is still the elk hair caddis, which was the first fly I learned to tie. Another very useful fly to tie is a bead head pheasant tail nymph - although the pheasant tail wrap body can give me fits from time to time.... And remember, if a trout will eat it, so will a bass or 'gill or crappie...
 

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I agree with the rest, buy a small set of tools and a vise, then only the materials you need for a specific few easy flies to get you started. As far as tools go, my advice that will save you a lot of frustration is to get a lined or ceramic thread bobbin. The cheap ones with the straight metal tube will fray and cut fine tying thread. I have an old one that used to do this to me all the time, I now use it for wire spooled products only. It's not worth fighting, learning how to do this is hard enough without having to fight your tools. My scissors all came from WalMart's craft section, too, FYI. Start small, and if you decide it's not for you, you're not out much. If you do get into it, prepare to have a full-blown addiction on your hands. I was in your position several years ago...now I have a room in the house almost entirely devoted to tying and those bins are mostly jam-packed with materials. (One on the left is new and not full yet...yet.)

 

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There are plenty of fly shops to get just what you need without junk that is regularly encountered in kits. Soon or later you will find that out to be the reality. You are in nearby with MRO. They have classes and have a knowledgable staff to help you out.

Goodluck and have tying!
 

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I wonder if starting a sticky on this subject would help some of the beginners out, with info on vises, tools, materials, even info on a decent fly rod and reel to help the learning curve.
 

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A lot of good advice for you to consider! I knew not many people would share my opinion.....I've been tying for 40 years and have seen a lot of guys/gals sink a lot of money into equipment early on only to realize they either didn't like it or not have the time for it....you definitely won't save money tying your own! You are fortunate to have a good fly shop near you in MRO.....I'm sure they would let you try out some of their vices.....good luck!
Mike
 
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