The 7 Best Fly Tying Scissors 2021 (Fly Tying Tools Guide)


When creating a fly, it is how it is finished that makes the end result so much more worthwhile.

After going to all the effort to tie a killer fly, you don’t want your presentation ruined with a poor finish.

Neatness and straightness rely on one thing, the ability to trim your fly to your liking, and for that, you will need the best fly tying scissors that you can get your hands on.

I’ve got some suggestions for you and a quick rundown of what goes into a pair of fly-tying scissors.

Let’s cut to the chase.

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Top 7 Best Fly Tying Scissors for 2021

Loon Outdoors Ergo Hair Scissors

If you’ve read my full tying kit review, you’ll already know how highly I rate Loom. Their gear is durable, eye-catching, and really easy to use.

And there’s more here…

These scissors are razor-sharp. It is possible to cut through hackle and fiber without even closing them. I particularly love the pointed tips.

They are just perfect for getting deep into the action if you are trying to work on your fly’s finer, smaller sections.

At 4.5” long, they are ideal for giving you enough leverage to get a good cut but aren’t so long as to be unwieldy.

Pros

  • Great quality, as you’d expect from Loon.
  • Bright handles so they aren’t easily misplaced on your bench.

Cons

  • While advertised as ‘tough’, go easy. If you cut thick wire, you’ll damage the blades.

Takeaway

Loom makes quality products that are perfect for the task at hand. They are really good fly-tying scissors.

Dr. Slick Razor Hair Scissors

Dr. Slick is one of the premium brands when it comes to fly-tying scissors.

I really like these.

The blades are wide but narrow down quickly to a point, and they feel well balanced in hand. The finish also looks high quality. The scissors are a blend of steel and brass, giving excellent durability and cutting properties.

Let me tell you…

There is sharp, and then there is seriously sharp. These scissors are the latter and will make light work of pretty much any material in your vise.

One great feature is the ability to loosen and tighten the blades chopping action as you see fit. Just turn the brass screw to your liking.

Pros

  • Adjustable tension.
  • Crazy sharp.

Cons

  • The wide blades are great, but they make fine work a little tricky.

Takeaway

What can I say? These are great fly tying scissors! The adjustable tension means that they only cut when you want them to, so no mistakes!

Hareline Kopter Flies Fly Tying Scissors

Ok, you want premium quality, and you want the best?

It’s alright. I get it.

So take a look at these. They aren’t budget-friendly, but what they are is awesome. The scissors are of three-piece construction and absolutely bullet-proof.

The scissors are forged from AISI stainless steel, which means that they will be extremely slow to dull and will remain sharp for a long time. They offer precision when cutting your materials, aided by the taper to an extremely fine point.

The wide loops of the handles make them easy to pick up and put down. The pivot screw is placed quite a distance from the finger ring giving a little leverage when cutting thicker material.

Pros

  • Beautiful looking minimalist design.
  • Stainless steel stays sharper for longer.

Cons

  • They aren’t wallet-friendly.

Takeaway

Sometimes people just want the best, and if you aren’t concerned with budget, you won’t find a nicer pair of fly-tying scissors.

Rising Stellar Scissors

When fly tying, there are occasions when you are faced with materials that are a little thicker, and you don’t want to risk ruining your best scissors for fly tying.

Here’s what you need.

A budget option that has all of the good features of more premium brands. Rising Stellar has come up with the goods.

These scissors feature wide finger rings and, along with some of our more established brands, have an adjustable tension screw so you can optimize your cutting action.

The blades are ever so slightly serrated. This means you’ll always get a cut instead of a ‘slide’ as can happen with entirely smooth scissors (especially when they are going blunt).

Pros

  • Great for cutting thicker, denser material.
  • Adjustable tension.

Cons

  • I’m not keen on the black finish. They are easy to miss when I’ve put them down.

Takeaway

Cutting thicker materials is part of fly tying, and you’ll want a pair of scissors that are up to the task. These are great value and will do the job well.

Dr. Slick Finishing Scissors

I know, I know…

I’ve already mentioned Dr. Slick. But these are a little different.

These finishing scissors look more like shears. The key difference is that they are spring-loaded to remain open when not in use.

If you are cutting the tails on big streamers or want to trim a deer hair body down to size, you’ll need something a little bigger. These scissors are it.

The 410 Japanese stainless steel used in the blades is of the same type as is found in the best kitchen knives and will cut through a wire and thread. In fact, they’ll even cut through hooks if you aren’t careful. Fly tying hooks can be really fine, don’t believe me? See for yourself.

And the best bit?

These finishing scissors for fly tying can be picked up and used one-handed, making them ideal if you are holding materials in place on your fly with your left hand.

Pros

  • One-handed operation, perfect for fly tying.
  • High-quality blades.

Cons

  • The blades are spring-loaded open, which might not work if they get hair stuck in them.

Takeaway

Although slightly alternative, these could be just what you need if you have struggled with regular fly tying scissors.

Streamworks Tungsten Carbide Scissors

Let us get to the point… Literally.

As fly tying scissors go, they don’t come much finer than this. These scissors are absolutely perfect for close cropping and making minute adjustments to wings, heads, and fly legs.

The points are precision engineered to be perfectly married. What that means for you is that they cut all the way to the tips perfectly!

The blades are made from hardened tungsten carbide. As a result, there are few materials on your bench that these won’t make light work of.

The jury is still out on the black finish. I really like to see my tools at a glance, and in low light, these can be a little difficult to see.

Pros

  • Great quality carbide blades, perfect for precision cutting.
  • Great value and low cost.

Cons

  • Don’t drop these into your lap. Seriously, the point is needle-sharp.

Takeaway

As fine fly tying scissors go, these are the best around. The points are so fine. These are definitely some of my favorites.

Orvis Premium Scissors

Ah, good old Orvis, is there anything in fly fishing that they don’t make?

These scissors look and feel beautiful. One feature that I really like is the small ‘button’ between the finger rings. It stops you from pushing the scissors too close together, giving you a ‘pinch’ instead of a cut.

Orvis has been kind enough to include a tension knob on the pivot point. Twinned with this, they have created blades that are micro-serrated, giving a superb cutting action.

The gold handles are really easy to see on your workbench too.

Pros

  • Amazing looks.
  • Great cutting action.

Cons

  • The blades are a little wide and aren’t great for close-in, delicate work.

Takeaway

For the money, these are great scissors. They’ll do the job well, and if you look closely, they aren’t too dissimilar from the Dr. Slick scissors higher up my list. Your choice!

Fly Tying Scissors Buying Guide

So scissors are scissors, right?

Wrong.

You will find a marked difference in performance depending on which you choose. But how do you choose?

I’m going to show you what I look for in a pair of fly tying scissors:

Blade Material

Softer metals aren’t necessarily bad in blades. They can normally be sharpened to a finer edge.

But, and it’s a big but…

Softer metals go blunt quicker, and they are more prone to chips and notches. So my advice to you is this. Pick a pair that will stay sharper for longer.

You can ensure this by choosing harder blade materials. Alloys such as stainless steel and hardened carbide will hold an edge almost indefinitely, provided that you don’t cut anything ridiculous like thick wire.

If you do find your scissors are losing their edge, all is not lost. Here’s a great video on how to sharpen your scissors. Mind your fingers!

Smooth vs Serrated

Are you going to ask me to pick?

Ok, then, my answer is serrated!

And here’s why… Smooth blades are great when they are new and sharp, but over time, as they get dull, they tend to cause the material to ‘slide’ along the cutting surface before they cut. As a result, you may find you get less than perfect edges on your flies.

I don’t like less than perfect edges on my flies.

Serrated blades trap fibers on contact and ensure an even cut.

Blade Length

Again this is personal, but I like to get my hand close to the work that I’m doing. It makes things much neater and more accurate. Go too short, and you’ll lose cutting power.

So here’s what I suggest…

Work in the region of scissors that are around the 3-5” mark. These offer a great compromise and will be really easy to use.

fly tying vise and fly fishing tying tools

Looks

Why would you need to focus on looks with scissors? Aren’t they all the same?

Well, no.

First, you want the blades’ tips to be nice and visible, then you can see where you are cutting. Second, and you’ll have seen me mention it in my product list. When you are tying a lot of flies, you will want to save time. Part of that process is being able to easily locate your tools.

If you pick a dull pair of scissors, it can sometimes be hard to spot them on your work surface. I really like brightly colored scissors, so I can put my hand to them without too much searching.

Tension

You’ll have noticed in my above suggestions that several sets of fly tying scissors have a tension adjustment. This is great as it allows you to vary the finger and thumb pressure needed to make a cut.

Why is this a good thing?

Well, you don’t want to accidentally ‘activate’ the cutting motion of the scissors in the wrong place, so by adding a little resistance, you can perfectly optimize how hard you need to squeeze when you are ready.

fly tying scissors knife vise bobbins and other tools

Blade Width

Blade width is a little bit of a personal choice.

Me? I like to go as thin and as fine as possible.

If you are working on bigger flies, like streamers, then a wide blade is better for cutting through piles of feathers like maribou. I prefer tying smaller midge-like patterns and find a wide blade often crushes the feathers around the area that I am trying to cut.

If you pick fine blades, you can cut both small and big flies. If you go wide, you are limiting your options. None of the above suggestions are overly wide, but I wouldn’t choose any that were much wider.

Summary

More to scissors than you first thought? Bearing in mind how much you’ll be using them, it pays to get the best fly tying scissors you can afford…

If you are new to fly tying, I’ve got plenty of know-how and want to share. Why not check out my fly tying guide for beginners here. I’ve got lots of recommendations for other tools like the best bobbins and some super cool vises.

What’s your best fly, and how do you tie it? I’m always looking for a guaranteed fish catcher. Why not let me know in the comments below?

Bob Hoffmann

The author of this post is Bob Hoffmann. Bob has spend most of his childhood fishing with his father and now share all his knowledge with other anglers. Feel free to leave a comment below.

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