Fly Tying 8 min read

The Best Fly Tying Bobbin – Top 5 Models Ranked

Ken Sperry

Posted by Ken Sperry

January 4, 2022

The Best Fly Tying Bobbin

Many things can go wrong on any given fishing expedition. While factors such as weather and sudden rough waters are out of your control, others shouldn’t be that much of a problem.

Something like your home-tied fly unraveling mid-cast shouldn’t be a problem you deal with frequently. Of course, the solution to this problem lies with your fly tying skills and, to a great degree, the kind of tools you use. Buying the best fly-tying bobbin is a great start.

What is a Fly Tying Bobbin?

A fly tying bobbin is a tool that holds your spool of thread in place and makes it easier for you to accurately place that thread onto your fly. The bobbin helps keep consistent tension on the thread throughout the fly tying process.

As you can see, this is something that you are going to use a lot, especially if you are keen on tying your own flies. As such, it’s a tool that needs to be chosen carefully. While there are many excellent options available on the market today, not all of them are suitable for all types of anglers. You need to find one or several that work best with your specific fly tying skills.

Here are our top five picks reviewed.

Fly Tying Bobbin Reviews

1. XFishman Fly Tying Bobbin Holder

XFishman Fly Tying Bobbin Holder

One of the biggest selling points of this XFishman Fly Tying Bobbin Holder is the fact that it has a super smooth ceramic hole that prevents your thread from fraying when you are tying your flies.

Designed to be long-lasting, this tool is sturdy. Made out of stainless steel with a ceramic barrel, it’s capable of offering you excellently effective performance for a long time. It features an ultra-fitting design geared towards fitting your fingers perfectly to give you an excellent grip. This goes a long way toward reducing the level of fatigue when you are tying your flies.

The manufacturer made sure to use high-quality materials to give the clients a highly effective, durable, and easy-to-use tool. Finally, this XFishman holder has an adjustable bobbin that works well to fit most standard thread spools, making it ideal for anglers who like to try out threads from different manufacturers.


  • Ceramic hole offers smooth thread operations
  • Easy to use
  • Features an ultra-fitting design
  • Minimizes chances of fatigue
  • Adjustable bobbin that fits standard thread spools


  • Isn’t as durable as other name brands

2. Rite Bobbin Ceramic Magnum

Rite Bobbin Ceramic Magnum

Made using surgical quality stainless steel, this Rite Bobbin Ceramic Magnum features excellent workmanship and delivers a stellar performance for your fly rod. One of the best features of this bobbin is that it follows a rather basic and simple design that works well for most anglers.

It has a high-pressure click drag system that ensures thread tension is constant and just the way you want it. That thread tension is nothing short of heavy-duty with 2-16 ounces of thread tension.

The bobbin is strong and durable. It works well when it comes to spinning deer hair. Finally, it features a zirconia ceramic insert that doesn’t fray your thread.


  • Features a simple yet effective design
  • Made of high-quality stainless steel
  • Offers heavy-duty thread tension
  • Works well with deer hair


  • Relatively expensive

3. Loon Outdoors Ergo Bobbin

Loon Outdoors Ergo Bobbin

Loon is one of the most reliable brands in the industry today. This manufacturer is dedicated to making fishing tools that suit anglers who are just getting started as well as intermediaries, meaning that their tools are quite easy to use. This Loon Outdoors Ergo Bobbin is a good example of this dedication to simplicity.

Not only is it quite easy to use, but it’s also easy to hold, which means that your fingers and hands won’t suffer from fatigue as quickly as they typically would when dealing with most other bobbins. It has a yellow powder-coated handle designed to sit well between your fingers and thumb. It even works well for people who have large hands.

Although the Loon Outdoors Ergo Bobbin offers manual tension adjustment, it’s quite easy to use. All you have to do is give the feet just a little bend, and you can adjust the pressure to your liking.

One of the biggest differences here is that the tube isn’t ceramic but tungsten. While tungsten offers you the same smooth thread operation through the hole, it’s more durable than ceramic holes. This means that this bobbin is not likely to break if you accidentally drop it. Finally, the yellow finish makes this bobbin much easier to find on your fly tying bench.


  • Features a tungsten tube that is more durable than ceramic
  • Has a yellow finish, making it easy to find
  • Comfortable even for people with large hands
  • Manufactured by a reliable brand


  • Only works with stand-sized thread spools

4. Rite Bobbin Merco – Best Bobbin for Larger Threads

Rite Bobbin Merco

Rite Bobbin is another reliable brand and is well known for producing a wide range of fly tying tools and bobbins that work well for fly fishing anglers of all levels. This Rite Bobbin Merco is designed for anglers with dexterity or grip issues. The tube has a multi-layered grip surrounding it, which minimizes the chances of the bobbin slipping whenever you are using it.

The bobbin has manual tension adjustment using a brass drag disc, which is easy to use. This disc allows you to apply up to 9 ounces of pressure, which works well with larger threads and ensures that you have tight and compact patterns throughout the fly tying process.


  • Offers excellent grip
  • Works well with larger thread
  • Manufactured by a reliable brand


  • Relatively expensive

5. Greatfishing 4pc Fly Tying Tools Combo – Best Combo Option

Greatfishing 4pc Fly Tying Tools Combo - Best Combo Option

While the most experienced fly fishing anglers often prefer to buy each tool separately due to varying personal preferences, there’s hardly anything wrong with buying a toolset if it features high-quality design and manufacturing. This Greatfishing 4pc Fly Tying Tools Combo is a great option for anglers who are just getting started and still don’t know what they prefer in terms of fly tying tools, such as bobbins.

This combo from Greatfishing is ideal for beginners and veteran anglers alike. The tools feature excellent design and manufacturing. Made out of stainless steel, they are durable and easy to use.

This combo fly tying kit offers a brass and stainless steel whip finisher for durability, brass and stainless steel fly tying bodkin, and bobbin thread holder. Simply pass the wire into the center tube of the winder, then thread the wire on the handle through the wire. Then you can remove the bobbin threader so that the wire on the handle passes through the center tube and you are ready to start tying flies.

Everything in this Greatfishing 4pc Fly Tying Tools combo fly tying kit is made from fine polished stainless steel. Everything in this tool kit is smooth and will not damage the fly tying thread.


  • Made out of stainless steel
  • Easy to use
  • Combo of 4 pieces with almost everything you would need to start fly tying


  • Bobbin features a brass tube which isn’t exactly the best

The Best Fly Tying Bobbin Buyers Guide

So, what makes the best fly tying bobbin for tying your own flies? Is it the fly tying material, the design, or the brand? What about a factor such as price? Does this come into play when choosing a bobbin for fly tying? Here are some of the key factors you need to consider when buying the best fly tying bobbin for your needs.


The bobbin you choose should ideally be designed or sized to fit several standard thread spools. Unfortunately, not all thread manufacturers use the same size thread spools, so you will find that, in some cases, different thread spools are available from different companies.

In many cases, you will find that the common spool diameter falls around 7.9 mm (0.31″). The bobbin or bobbins you buy need to accommodate this size. While you can simply buy a bobbin that works well with your preferred thread spool size, having one that can take on different spool sizes is advantageous. This is true because it saves you money and because it makes it easier for you to experiment with different threads to see which works best.

You also need to remember that the bobbin you buy needs to be sized in such a way that the thread spool fits securely. If there’s too much wiggle room, the thread can easily tangle up and ruin your work.

Tension Control

Depending on the bobbin manufacturer you choose or on the actual bobbin, you might have the option of using automatic or manual tension for your thread. Many anglers prefer the basic manual tensioning bobbins because they like to handle the thread with their hands to gauge just how much tension there is and how much they want.

However, if you aren’t comfortable with this or frequently experience thread breakage, you might want to consider the automatic or advanced tensioning option offered by some bobbin brands.

Durability of the Arms

Since the bobbin’s arms will suffer the most abuse, you need to find a bobbin with durable arms. These are the arms that you will constantly be stretching and bending to accommodate the thread spool of the day.

If you find a bobbin with arms that can easily break, it means that you will need to buy a new bobbin soon after. It’s advisable to go for bobbins that feature metallic arms or arms made out of any other kind of durable material that can take the kind of abuse to which the arms will be constantly subjected.

Internal Tube Finish

Whenever you tie flies using a bobbin, you will exert different tension levels on the thread depending on the materials you are working with. The bobbin you have should be able to smoothly transition you through the different tension phases without fraying or breaking the thread. This comes down to the kind of finish applied inside the bobbin tube.

If the tube is not double flared, polished, or doesn’t feature ceramic tube inserts, it might end up fraying or even break the thread when you apply the different levels of tension.

Of course, there are other issues such as pricing and brand preference, but those fall under subjective factors. By keeping the three factors mentioned above in mind, you are more likely to wind up buying the best bobbin for your fly tying hobby.


Still have questions when it comes to finding the best fly tying bobbin? Read on for more valuable information.

Must I use a bobbin to tie flies?

While using a bobbin to tie flies isn’t a must, it’s a good way to get the job done smoothly and with fewer frustrations. You could, of course, do this with your free hand, but you’ll encounter a lot of thread breakage and bunching up along the way. These are some things that annoy and frustrate many fly tying anglers.

Which is better between fly-tying bobbins that use automatic tensioners and those that use the manual option?

There is no right or wrong answer here. It all comes down to your personal preferences. Some anglers prefer to feel the tension in the thread by hand, while others don’t. For those who have a knack for feeling the tension without breaking the thread, bobbins that have manual tensioners work best. The automatic option is more pragmatic for those who tend to misread this tension.

Do I need more than one bobbin?

If you intend to use thread spools for a host of manufacturers, then there’s a good chance that you might need more than one bobbin. This is mostly because not every bobbin manufacturer makes a bobbin that can accommodate every thread spool size manufactured. You need to match the two for the best results.

Which Fly Tying Bobbin Should I Buy?

The right kind of fly-tying bobbin is necessary if you want to enjoy fly tying at home. The options provided here are all excellent choices for different types of anglers.

If you are just starting out the XFishman Fly Tying Bobbin Holder is a great inexpensive option.  If you’ve been tying for awhile and are looking for a better quality bobbin you can’t go wrong with the Loon Outdoors Ergo Bobbin.

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