Household Fly Tying Tools, By Scott Krashan

CreativeCommons-mouse pattern-Kasper Sorensen-Sage Fly Fish

In this post, Scott Krashan shares his favorite everyday, household items that he uses for fly tying. We found it different and actually pretty useful. Do you tyers out there have any other household implements you use? If so, tell us in the comments and maybe we’ll do a follow up story featuring your suggestions.

Over the years, I’ve stumbled upon some common household items that can substitute for more expensive fly-tying tools or fill gaps. I’m going to list some of my favorites. I hope these tips alleviate some of your frustration or inspire you to be more creative in the tying process.

#1: Gun Barrel Bore Brush/Dubbing Brush
I probably have more dubbing brushes in my toolbox than any other tool – scissors may rival. The Gun Barrel Bore Brush is one of my favorite “household” tools. It is great at gripping fibers to really bushy up bodies or dubbing balls. Go to your local gun shop and pick up a couple in different sizes. I guarantee you will be happy with the results.

Bore Brush - Fly Tying Household Tools - Sage Fly Fish

#2: Ponytail Clip/Material Clamp
It took me years to finally do something about the frustration of material getting in my way as I tied up the fly, e.g., long marabou, legs, deer hair, etc. It would always get in my way, as I would try to finish the fly. This is a problem when finishing heads or the forward part of segmented flies. I finally learned the lead wire trick, which works great on smaller flies. I recently discovered another great tool – hair clips. They are quicker and work perfectly on bigger flies. Grab a pack at the drug store and keep a couple lying around the bench.

Hair Clip - Fly Tying Household Tools - Sage Fly Fishing

#3: Chip or Binder Clip/Material Holder for Dubbing Loops
Why fumble with material all over the place trying to get it lined up perfectly in your dubbing loop? Let a binder or chip clip lend a helping hand. Line your materials up in the clip, clamp it, trim it and then line it up in the loop. Make sure you wax your loop to keep the materials in place once you remove the clip.

BInder Clip - Fly Tying Household Tools - Sage Fly Fishing

I want to thank Sage for letting me add some knowledge and promote my website, Rippin’ Lips Fly Tying, at the same time. A great fly is nothing without a great rod to get it where it needs to be, which is why it’s a privilege to be submit a post to the best rod company out there. ~Scott Krashan, Founder –

Photo credit for foam mouse fly: Kasper Sorensen

7 Responses to Household Fly Tying Tools, By Scott Krashan

  1. Shannon LeRoy says:

    Great Tips – May I add this to my beginning fly fishing clinic?

    • flyfishsage says:

      Hi Shannon,

      Sure thing. Please be sure to credit the author and source.


    • Helen says:

      Hi Darren,Thank you for your awesome reeviw. Much appreciated.Can you send me your mailing address. I want to send you a bunch of Fish-Skull’s and Frantic tails to play with.ThanksMartin

  2. Cosmo says:

    I use a Bic style pen with the ink part (ball point part) removed as a half hitch tool. The opening is a little big hooks smaller than say #10. For smaller hooks I use a Cross pencil that I retract the lead all the way in for the same purpose.

    For cleaning the under-fur from Deer/Elk hair, I use a flea comb. Get the “expensive” kind with metal tines. By expensive I mean $4 instead of the cheap $1 plastic ones.

    I also always have push-pins and thumb-tacks on hand. They seem to be sharper than sewing needles and are great for cleaning errant head cement from hook eyes. Your fine copper wire can be used for the same purpose while the cement it still wet. Pins can also be used to help untie knots — like when you finish the fly and have forgotten to add an ingredient like an the hair wing, or sight indicator yarn over the wing. Don’t laugh, I do that all the time.

    Colored Sharpies (I’ve even considered carying a couple colors of these with me while fishing). I use these when brown caddis are hatching and all I have are the ingredients for tan caddis. You can also turn use it on the river to quickly turn, say, a large PMD into a reasonable March Brown if all you have are PMDs.

  3. Frank Dalziel says:

    Two tips:
    1). The pins are a good idea for cleaning eyes but I use old Dacron backing as it easily soaks up all excess cement or super glue that accidentally ends up in the eye of the hook. Best used on larger hooks.

    2) To avoid problem 1, I now coat about 1.5″ of thread with super glue. Not sure who to credit but Phil Rowley showed me this in one of his fly tying seminars. Trick with this stuff – be fast finishing the whip finish or the glue will set leaving you with a loop of thread instead of a neat whip finish. This really speeds up tying and only puts cement where you want it!

  4. i’ve used the gun cleaning brush for twenty years, and your absolutly right ,it works great.i use it mostly on my scuds,all the way down to size 18.but that hair clip trick looks useful,think i’ll go try it right now,it looks like it would help on collar hackles,tying in the whip finish.

  5. graham mcgrath-smith says:

    cleaning head cement when still wet – use a the waste end of hackle feathers as a pull through, works well

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