Fly Tying · fly tying 101 · Tips and Tricks

“Fly tying 101”-Loading/threading your Bobbin

They weren’t always around.

And before bobbins were used, tyers simply used their hands with a length of thread in between them. I myself have tied without a bobbin as well, but it was only because I had broken it and didn’t feel like leaving in the middle to buy a new one.

While it wasn’t the most efficient way to work; it had gotten the job done and in the same amount of time.

If you are new to fly tying this may be helpful and if you are new to our Project Healing Waters group you can rest easy knowing that when you come for your first session, we always take the time to go over all the basics with anyone who is new before they start tying.

These basics are how we all began, and no matter how we were taught it’s where you will start to build your skills from.

Two such things you will do on a repeated basis (until you become a little bit obsessed.. go out and buy a whole bunch of Bobbins so that you don’t ever really need to change your thread) 😂 are “loading” and “threading” them.

And how does that work?

Let us begin!

Here they are, thread and bobbin.

One thing to remember is that where you can see that hole in the middle of the spool end, well it isn’t always a hole so to speak. Sometimes when you buy new spools there will be a sticker over it; whether its a price tag or just a continuation of the outside label be sure to remove it so that the spool will spin freely.

First thing you will want to do is to take the bobbin in your non tying hand, and position it to where those round ends will be fitting into the spool holes

Now with your tying hand grab the spool and click the “bottom” one into place.. whichever end you’d consider bottom at this point
Now .. push it in so that the “top” clicks in

That’s it! You’re in!

Check and Make sure its secure

(Make sure it’s secure, something which I might add.. is that every so often it wont be) it happens..and yes.. it’ll get a little aggravating at first until you learn to control the tension and the side of your palm that tends to push on the spool. Even now ill be in the middle of tying and the spool might pop out and roll across the floor leaving a 15 foot trail of thread from my fly. What a mess! Just chase it down, reel in the excess and get back to work.

Thread loaded

Another quick tip when tying with a bobbin

If you find that you are having trouble getting the spool to spin freely, (especially when they are new) what you have to do is take off the thread and grab those two arms that hold the spool in place, then slightly pull them apart. Almost like you are separating a wishbone.

..almost.. like separating one.

So don’t pull too hard because its going to be more difficult to try and push it back together while keeping it aligned than it is to open it a little at a time. So you may have to go back and forth till the pressure it right.  You wont need to do this every time, just until you break them in.

On to the threading!

Now when it comes to threading a bobbin, there are a few different tools. But to save you the hassle of running down a list of the ones that dont work as well, ill skip right to the one that does.

And this is it.

Now for the life of me I cant remember where I bought this or who makes it so if any readers out there know, please comment so that I can link it for purchase. Its crazy that a google search is only giving me the ones with the wire end.

As you can see from the photo this threader is made out of one piece of metal, the other ones have a wire loop on the end that tend to get stuck in the bobbin. Now it doesn’t matter which you are partial to because the technique is the same.

Upon closer inspection you can see that the end of the threader has a hook on it which is the secret behind this little gadget.

Insert the hooked end into the end of the bobbin.
Drop it in and it will come out the other side
Now Pull a length of thread out of your spool about two inches longer than the length of your bobbin, and hold everything in one hand as seen below
You should be in this current situation now.

The photo above is where you should be at this point.

Bobbin with threader inserted and a length of thread being held all in one hand.”

Here is where the threading happens. However you want to hold it is up to you but I find that holding the bobbin and threader combo in one hand, while using the other hand to loop the thread over the hook is the best way.

Use one hand to hold bobbin/threader combo and one to loop over

One simpler way to do this is to hold the bobbin upright instead of sideways in either hand, and then to use the other hand to pull the length of thread over and hook it.
Once you have the bobbin and threader in one hand and the length of pulled thread in the other..

You will begin to pull the end of the threader back the way you put it in. This will take the hooked thread with it.
Keep pulling while keeping just a little tension on that loose thread with the other hand so it doesn’t slip.

Pull up and all the way through.

That’s it! You’re loaded and threaded and ready to tie.

Threaded Bobbin

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