If you’re new to the world of fly tying, then you may be confused as to what would make the best fly tying bobbin. Or, you may even be thinking, what in the world is a bobbin anyway?

Well, I’m here to answer both of those questions for you. Even if you don’t know what a bobbin is, you’ll still learn about some of the best tying bobbins on the market and which one is the best bobbin for fly tying.

Compare The Best Fly Tying Bobbins

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If you’re looking to get into fly fishing, you’ll quickly notice that fly fishing gear can be quite expensive. By tying your own flies, you’ll be able to save a bit of money when you’re kitting yourself out with gear. Plus, it’s a lot of fun.

Aside from a good fly tying vise, the next thing you need to get started is a decent bobbin and some thread. Then, once you have the basic fly tying materials, you’re pretty much ready to go.

Fly Tying Bobbins

Below are five different bobbins that I’ll go over. After that, I’ll cover exactly what a bobbin is and how they can help you become a more proficient fly tier.

Quick Look: Best Fly Tying Bobbin

#1 Best Bobbin Overall: Stonfo Elite Disc-Drag

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Best Fly Tying Bobbins

Here’s a quick list of the best fly tying bobbins. You really don’t need to shop around too long for a great bobbin. Basically, you want it to be comfortable in your hand, have good tension, and be easy to switch threads with quickly.

I think overall the best bobbin you can get right now is the Stonfo Elite Disc-Drag, but each of these bobbins is good for different reasons.

1. Rite Ceramic Standard Bobbin

  • Pros: Has a ceramic insert and total thread tension control
  • Cons: Not very convenient. Can be a pain to change out the thread

The Right Ceramic Standard Bobbin is a very strong and sturdy bobbin. It’s well made, very smooth, and can be adjusted to very precise thread tension. It’s ideal for making a fly that uses the same thread.

This bobbin threader for fly tying is not the greatest for changing out the thread. So, if you plan on tying a multi-colored fly, then you’d be better off selecting a different bobbin or having another one set up with the secondary color.

Since it’s made out of ceramic, it won’t cut or cause any abrasion on the thread, meaning you can wrap your threads perfectly without fear that your favorite olive green thread will snap halfway through.

The tension control is near perfect on this bobbin. Experienced fly tiers will be able to fully enjoy all the different tension settings, while a novice can use it to ensure that they’re not constantly breaking thread.

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2. Loon Outdoors Ergo Bobbin

  • Pros: Very comfortable in your hand and a good bobbin for fly tying streamers
  • Cons: It’s not ideal for tight threads. The spool holder is not very flexible.

The Loon Outdoors Ergo Bobbin has a great shape that’s neither too big nor too small. It’s the perfect size for just about any fly tier’s hands. If you enjoy sitting down for hours on end at your fly tying battle station, then this is perfect for you. No more numb hands or fingers!

This is a great bobbin for tying some larger flies, such as streamers. It can be a bit of a nuisance when you have to wrap the thread tightly or when you’re tying smaller flies like the Parachute Adams, Wooly Bugger or Pheasant Tail Nymphs. The spool can oftentimes fall out of the bobbin.

Because of how great it is for tying larger flies, it’s ideal for tying some of the larger saltwater flies as well. So, saltwater and big fly throwers should rejoice over this bobbin.

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3. Stonfo Elite 2 Saltwater Streamer Disc Drag Bobbin

  • Pros: Very strong, and the disc drag system is quick adjusting.
  • Cons: Easy to knock it with your hand, which can slacken the drag

The Stonfo Elite 2 Saltwater Streamer Disc Drag Bobbin is a strong and durable stainless steel bobbin that will hold up to hours and hours of tying flies. It comes equipped with a quick-adjust disc drag that allows you to select the exact tension you want on the thread of your choice.

The tube of the bobbin has strong coated ends. These will help prevent the fraying of your thread and will result in fewer breaks. This bobbin is rated to work with a larger sized spool.

This saltwater streamer model has a wider tube and is made to be used with heavy thread. So, you can tie your favorite heavy-duty saltwater flies, including streamers and anything else you enjoy tying.

It can sometimes get in your way when you’re tying, which may result in your hand bumping it, loosening the tension, and causing you to potentially restart. Once you’re used to the bobbin, this shouldn’t be an issue.

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4. Stonfo Elite Disc Drag Bobbin One Size

  • Pros: Rated to fit all sized spools. Good tension control
  • Cons: It’s easy to accidentally rotate the knob when tying. Drag nut can unscrew if you’re not paying attention

The Stonfo Elite Disc Drag Bobbin One Size is basically the same as the above bobbin, except it’s made to fit all spools inside of it. It’s perfect for the tier who enjoys tying nymphs, dries, streamers, and whatever else you can think of.

Its versatility, cost, tension, and comfort in the hand is why I listed it as the best bobbin for fly tying on this list.

It would also be great for someone who’s just beginning to tie flies. It’s easy to know you only have one bobbin and that it’s multi-faceted.

It’s very easy to thread, and it’s also very sturdy. You’ll also find that the drag is easy to adjust and it’s also quite easy to change the thread, making it great for multi-colored flies.

An easy-to-adjust drag makes tying a breeze, and the ceramic barrel is protected by the stainless steel barrel. This is one of the best adjustable bobbins that you can find.

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5. Dr. Stick Eco Flared Bobbin

  • Pros: Strong and great of the price. Good tension
  • Cons: Difficult to get the thread through the bobbin, and if it’s forced in with tweezers, you can cut the thread.

The Dr. Stick Eco Flared Bobbin is a deceptive bobbin. For the price, you might not expect much, but it could be argued that they’re the best on this list. They have glass ends that are very smooth and won’t cut or tear the thread.

The ends of this bobbin are small and nimble. Tying flies can be delicate work, so you need something that will allow you to do that. This bobbin is up to the task.

There is also plenty of tension, so you can tie most flies with ease. This lets you smoothly and easily feed the spool. It’s great for smaller spools, but it would be difficult to tie large flies with.

Putting the thread through the bobbin seems to be tricky, though. Be careful when threading it, as it can damage the bobbin and break off your thread.

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What Makes the Best Fly Tying Bobbin?

It really all depends on what you need out of this tool. If you prefer throwing tiny nymphs and dry flies, then a smaller bobbin that is more delicate will be the one for you.

Fly Tying Bobbins

The same goes if you plan on throwing larger flies. If you enjoy throwing large flies to bass or saltwater fish, then you’ll need something that’ll have great tension and is sturdy enough to handle tight and long wraps.

So, below I go over in more detail a little about all of the different features that you should be looking for when purchasing your own bobbin.

Tension

Having good tension with your bobbin might be the most important feature of this tool. Even if you’re wrapping a fly lightly, you’ll still need enough tension to keep the thread from completely unraveling or breaking while being tied.

Look for something that will let you tie exactly the kind of flies you want. The thread shouldn’t snap, break, or unravel on you. If this happens, it can make for a very long fly tying session.

Sized to Fit Spools

You’ll find that not all spools are sized the same shape or diameter. The most common diameter you can find for a spool is 7.9mm. So, ensure that the bobbin you choose will fit that size.

Best Fly Tying Bobbin hanging from vise

However, it’s always nice to know that your bobbin can fit other sizes as well. This will make it easier for you to pick out threads from other companies that make different sizes.

You should also ensure that the thread spools fit nice and snug on the bobbin. If they aren’t on there securely, then you’ll quickly see that tangles continuously pop up.

Internal Finish

When you tie flies, you’ll notice that you’ll be putting pressure on the thread that’s coming out of the tube in the bobbin. These tubes need to smooth, flared, and polished and have inserts that don’t break or cause damage to the line.

Cheaper and poorly crafted bobbins are known for doing this, which won’t make your fly tying any easier.  Sometimes a cheaper product will surprise you, but typically budget bobbins will burst your bubble.

Tension Control

There are two different types of bobbin: one that has automatic tension control and one that has manual. They both have their pros and cons, but basically it boils down to which you prefer when tying flies.

Top Bobbin For Fly Tying

Some people like to be able to use their hands to control tension. However, if you find yourself consistently breaking thread, then an automatic is the way to go.

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Conclusion

Now that I’ve gone over several different types of bobbins and their main features, you hopefully now have a better understanding than before.

Not all bobbins are created equal, and if you want to tie streamers, then you should get one that’s made for that. The same goes for tying smaller flies like dries and nymphs.

So, head to your local fly shop, outfitter, or online retailer to pick up your own bobbin. It’ll only help you with your fly tying experience.

Some images in this post are courtesy of Shutterstock.

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