I try to keep equipment as simple as possible.
Shop around online to find the best deal on a vice (after seeing some in a shop for £200 I bought mine for £11 from http://www.fishingmegastore.com). A basic vice caters for the vast majority of tying scenarios and although there are some amazing products out there, fish tend to focus more on the flies than the vice they came from!
A good pair of scissors, some hackle pliers and a bobbin holder make the world of a difference. All of these can be found online or at your local tackle store for very reasonable prices. A whip finishing tool can be useful, however you may find it even more satisfying to learn how to whip finish by hand – I promise to show you how to do this on one of my posts.
A variety of decent tying silks and threads will help produce different patterns to suit your favourite flies. If you are resourceful there are endless options when it comes to sourcing feathers, furs, tinsels, wires, beads, foams and fibres. Whilst I respect traditions and the purist approach, we can also tap into a wealth of modern materials which can be used to make amazing, mouth watering and fish catching creations. Unleash your imagination and you’ll be surprised at how you start recognising opportunities – just stay away from your wife’s/mum’s/sister’s wardrobes!
Lastly – three handy items that most people wouldn’t mention:
I use a large wooden chopping board to clamp my vice onto. This protects my kitchen table and it provides a solid base to work from. It’s light colour is ideal as a softly lit backdrop helping me to focus on fine detail whilst I work on tiny patterns. The second thing is an old glass jam jar that acts as a mini waste bin – I developed the habit of dropping cuttings into it as I work rather than having to sweep them all up afterwards. Finally, the long thin needle with a plastic handle from my old dissecting kit is perfect for ending off whip finishes. You will often see it in use on my video links. You can make one using a large needle and a hardwood handle shaped to your own design.
Thanks for reading, please come back soon!