Ask 5 tyers what is the best vise and you will get 5 different answers. People get more attached to certain brands of tools than they do they're wives. On this page, I am going to stick to what I use and not do a full consumer report on every tying gadget on the market. You generally get what you pay for but in my opinion, there is some high dollar stuff out there that is no better and sometimes inferior in practicality than the run of the mill tools.

Here are 2 vises I have used. A copy of the Thompson Model "A" is the vise I started with. This is a off brand cheap copy and the real Thompsons I have seen are better made and friends who have them love'em. When tying for myself, this did great. When I went fulltime commercial tying, I bought the Regal C-clamp model and I could not live without it. I prefer the fixed head, not the rotating and I hate pedestal vices. They slide all over the bench when you pull hard on the thread. I would buy a rotary vise if I did a lot of saltwater flies and had to wind many wraps of thread. To rotate or not to rotate is a matter of personal preference. I tied over 100,000 flies without one and have no regrets. I have tried several other of the expensive ($200+) vises and they are not any better than a Regal or a Thomson. If I was watching my pennies then go with the "A".

Why do I like the Regal? Fast hook changing and I can go from a #28 midge to a #5/0 deceiver with no adjustments. The jaws are spring loaded with a cam for opening and closing. You will bend the hook before you pull it out of the jaws. There is a grove cut in the jaws so that size 6 and larger hooks will not move.

There are tons of bobbins out there. I like the Matareli standard size for thread. The Griffin flared for lead wire and the Griffin ceramic tip for floss. Except for the ceramic, all bobbins at on point or another will need the tip polished or it will abrade the thread. Go to a hobby store and get a rubberized polishing attachment (Fine grit) that goes on a drill. You can polish the tips slick as glass with no effort.

Close up of tip styles. Flared, Standard and Ceramic.
Another view of same.
Look at the scissors on top. These are seamstress style scissors. You can tie all day and never put them down. Great for production tying but be careful. When wrapping thread or hackle, it is easy to poke yourself in the face with the points. I know, I cut the end of my nose once and scratched my glasses a few times. Stick to the normal scissors, just learn how to sharpen them. The better brands hold an edge longer.

There are many different types of hackle pliers and whip finishers. I like the English style (Veniard) and Herb Howard hackle pliers for hackles, also the Thompson rubber padded jaws for thicker materials like chenilles and tinsels. I hate the teardrop style(I don't know why). The one and only whip finisher to consider is the Matarelli. A small for trout flies and a large for bass and saltwater. I don't know who made the dubbing loop tool but that style works better for me than the ones with the hooks or large wooden appendages.

There are hair eveners and hair stackers. I use the eveners for stacking bucktail or other long hair fibers. I use a handmade (I am a machinist now) stacker for midsize hair bundles for muddles and small clousers. The best small hairstacker out there is the Renzeti. It has two sizes in one for anything from large stimulator wings to parachute wings for size 20 BWO.
Here are the hair stackers broken down to their respective parts.

See: Hair Stacking Page for info on using.

After we have slaved over a hot vise and risked life and limb handling dangerous machinery (my scissors), it is time to put a little drop of head cement on the fly head. I prefer laquer and dispense it out of an approved bottle.

Youu need to invest in a few good books.I have not kept up on the new ones but the ones listed here have served me well.

These books have helped me a lot:

A.K. Best "Production Fly Tying"
Jack Dennis "Western Trout Fly Tying Vol. 1&2" or any of Mr. Dennis's books and videos..
Stewart and Allen "Flies For Trout"
Orvis "Fly Tying Index, Vol. 1&2"

There are tons of other stuff out there to choose from. Ask every experienced tyer you know about what they like and if possible, try out expensive stuff before you buy. These are the tools and materials I use on an every day basis. Everyone has a favorite and it is a matter of personal preference more than anything. One thing that has impressed me over the years is you usually get what you pay for. Buy the best you can afford. I remember the quality long after I have forgotten the price. Find what works best for you and fits your tying style.

Light Cahill, Adams Dry,ElkHair Caddis, Wooly Bugger, Pheasant Tail
Hare's Ear,BWO Parachute, Prince, Red Quill, Royal Wullf, Irresistable