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Best Automatic Fly Tying Bobbin: Our Top 5 You Should Buy

Our editors at Finn’s Fishing Tips independently research, test, and recommend the best products to help you make purchase decisions. You can learn more about our review process here. We sometimes get a commission through purchases made via our links.

An automatic fly tying bobbin is one that provides incredible convenience when it comes to maneuvering the thread.

With an automatic bobbin, one does not need to worry about how much tension to keep in the thread or how much to release. The automatic bobbin will be intuitive enough to recoil the thread when required. 

But how does one find the best automatic fly tying bobbin?

In a Hurry? Here’s Our Top Picks…

Best Automatic Fly Tying Bobbin Reviewed

Looking for an automatic fly tying bobbin can, at times be challenging. You want a bobbin that is durable, reliable, as well as intuitive.

The following section contains reviews of some of the best automatic fly tying bobbins in the market. These products have been picked out based on their efficiency, intuitiveness, and their durability, among other things.

The reviews are followed by a brief buying for how to choose an automatic fly tying bobbin:

Rite Bobbin Ceramic Magnum

The Rite Bobbin Ceramic Magnum is a strong and resilient bobbin. The stainless steel that the bobbin uses is of surgical quality! It can withstand high pressures and heavy weights without a problem, as the metal is strong and durable.

This automatic fly tying bobbin is the ideal choice for spinning deer hair. The bobbin also offers incredible tension control. If you want to use it for large flies, the barrel also offers good reach.

The bobbin is built with a high-quality ceramic tube that accommodates heavier thread. The ceramic and magnesium elements also ensure that you get a lot of use out of the bobbin.

What We Like

  • The bobbin is extremely durable and strong, allowing you to use it even in heavier applications.
  • The bobbin offers heavy-duty thread tension of 2-16 ounces.
  • If you need to use it to tie larger flies, such as those that have longer shanks, this bobbin will provide you with the additional length for such circumstances.
  • The bobbin uses surgical-quality stainless steel, with a zirconia ceramic insert.
  • The high-quality ceramic tube insert ensures that the thread does not get damaged from prolonged wear and tear.

What We Don’t Like

  • The main shaft can be a little flimsy at times and may require extra care.

Norvise Fly Tying Bobbin Kit

The Norvise Fly Tying Bobbin Kit is an excellent starter package. It contains not only the bobbin with a ceramic tube but also three aluminum spools.

You can even head to the Norvise website to get detailed video instructions on how to use the bobbin. It also has an easy-to-use recoil feature that makes the bobbin a lot more convenient to use.

This is a great bobbin for fly fishing or when you are on the go on an action-packed fishing expedition. It will not fail you during crucial moments!

Besides, there are three spare spools that are always available should you need them. There is also a convenient spooling arbor for loading your thread onto the aluminum spool.

What We Like

  • This is an extremely versatile bobbin and is a great kit, not only for someone who is just starting out with fly fishing but even a seasoned professional.
  • There are four spools in total that come with the bobbin, so you always have spares.
  • The rewind feature is one of the most useful features in this bobbin. The bobbin will recoil itself, without needing you to maneuver the thread.
  • The ceramic tube in the bobbin ensures that the thread does not fray from wear and tear. It also makes the bobbin itself more durable.

What We Don’t Like

  • The bobbin is quite strong, but it could use greater reinforcement with better-quality stainless steel.

Norvise Automatic Bobbin with Ceramic Tip & Automatic Retraction

The Norvise Automatic Bobbin has a ceramic tip and also boasts of automatic retraction. The automatic rewind option makes it extremely easy to manage the thread.

You do not have to worry about the thread unraveling beyond your control. The bobbin knows just how much it needs to release, so you do not have to worry about managing the thread.

Even if you are using a thread and spool of a different make, the Norvis bobbin will adapt to different designs and improve the speed of your fly tying in no time! The ceramic tip also provides great grip so the automatic retraction motion can become a lot easier.

What We Like

  • The bobbin position can be adjusted very easily in accordance with the thread length. In that sense, this is a very accommodating bobbin.
  • The ceramic tip makes it extremely easy for the bobbin to grab the thread when it needs to be retracted.
  • The bobbin offers incredible features like automatic retraction, but it is still not priced too exorbitantly.
  • The set comes along with a DVD that provides detailed instructions on how the bobbin needs to be managed.

What We Don’t Like

  • One needs to twist the thread in one of the bobbin’s legs, so it does not fold down.
  • There can be a bit of a learning curve with the automatic retraction system.

Norvise Automatic Bobbin Spooling Arbor

Another great product from Norvise, this automatic bobbin spooling arbor works excellent with any sewing machine spooler and even with an electric drill! This is an innovative and efficient device that can be used to transfer your tying threads from any bulk or plastic spools, only the aluminum spools used on a Norvise bobbin.

This single device is all that you will require to fill several spools. You do not need to travel heavy on your fly fishing trips. This spooling arbor can take care of several operations at once. 

What We Like

  • This is an extremely versatile tool that provides great ease of operation. You can easily transfer the tying thread from a bulk or plastic spool onto your aluminum spool.
  • The spooling arbor works very fast and you will be able to transfer the thread without any downtime.
  • The spooling arbor can also be used with an electric drill as well as a sewing machine spooler, so it is a multi-purpose device.
  • This is an automatic bobbin spooling arbor, so a lot of what the device will do is simply intuitive. 

What We Don’t Like

  • It is, after all, only a spooler. If you are looking for a bobbin, it needs to be purchased separately.

Xfishman Fly Tying Tool Kit 

The Xfishman Fly Tying Tool Kit is an excellent set that will take care of all your spooling and threading needs. If you are a beginner or at the intermediate stage, this tool kit is an excellent option.

If you are going on a fly fishing trip, you only need to pack this tool kit and you should be set! It even comes with its own bag so you can organize all the items easily, without worrying about how to pack them.

There are four different kinds of bobbins that are suitable for various types of tying threads. So you never have to worry about whether the bobbin you have purchased will work with a heavier or a lighter thread.

There are a total of 12 tools in each bag, for all your fly fishing needs. Essentially, this is the all-in-one fly fishing kit that will ensure you never have to look elsewhere.

What We Like

  • This is a tool kit that is useful for both beginners and intermediates.
  • There are 12 basic tools available in this kit that will take care of all your fly fishing needs.
  • There are 4 bobbins in the tool that allow you to work with tying threads of various sizes and weights. 
  • It comes with a retro tool bag so you know each tool has been accounted for when you pack for your fly fishing trip.
  • It also makes for an excellent gift for any fly fishing enthusiast.

What We Don’t Like

  • The retro tool bag can at times be a bit snug, so you may need to look for different storage options so the tools do not get spoiled.

How to Choose the Best Automatic Fly Tying Bobbin

Materials and tools for tying lures

Choosing the best automatic fly tying bobbin can present unique challenges at times. You need a bobbin that has an automatic instinct, but one which is not overactive. You do not want the bobbin to recoil the thread when it is not required.

The following are some of the factors you may want to keep in mind while choosing an automatic fly tying bobbin.

Materials and Durability

One of the first few factors to consider is how durable the bobbin is. This in turn will be decided by how good and durable the materials used in the bobbin are.

For example, many of the bobbins reviewed above have a ceramic tube that lends them with greater durability. The ceramic tube also ensures that the thread does not get damaged with regular wear and tear.

The use of magnets, alloys, stainless steel, etc. is something that you should look for in a fly tying bobbin, as those are all indications of its durability.

Automatic Retraction

Since you are looking at an automatic fly tying bobbin, then the automatic retraction feature is naturally one of the most important factors for you to consider.

The automatic recoil feature is certainly one that makes the process of threading a lot more convenient. However, you do not want the automated aspect of the bobbin to be too sensitive. It is counter-productive if the bobbin ends up snagging the thread when you least expect it.

To avoid any rude surprises or the bobbin grabbing the thread and pulling it back when you don’t want it to, you should test the bobbin out if possible.

Top Tip: An automatic fly tying bobbin is certainly a great buy, but you do not want a bobbin that goes so beyond the brief that it becomes inconvenient.


The automatic fly tying bobbin should also have a versatile operation. Whether you want to spin deer hair or any other kind of hair, this bobbin should be able to do that.

You should also be able to use the bobbin you pick out for fly fishing in saltwater as well as in freshwater.

Essentially, what kind of fly fishing you want to do, and the scale at which you do it, should not affect the functioning of the bobbin. You should be able to rely on the bobbin for various operations.

Ease of Use

Finally, it is important for the bobbin to be easy to use. Of course, at times an automatic fly tying bobbin may have a learning curve but it should not be so steep as to make it difficult for you to use the device.

Ideally, the bobbin should be good not only for intermediate or advanced users but also for beginners. It may not always be possible to cater to all three categories, but it would be useful to strike a healthy balance.

Fly tying is not necessarily the easiest skill for one to develop. It would be preferable, then, if the bobbin made your task easier rather than tougher.

Besides, nobody likes to struggle with a product that they paid a fair amount of money to purchase. It can be rewarding to learn new techniques on the bobbin. But on the whole, the device should be fairly simple to use.

Frequently Asked Questions

There are bound to be some questions and concerns about fly tying bobbins or about fly tying in general.

The following section will attempt to provide answers to some of these frequently asked questions:

Q. Why Does My Thread Keep Breaking Fly Tying?

Fly tying equipment

The thread, of course, is the backbone of fly tying. But if the thread itself keeps breaking, that can be extremely frustrating. One of the most common causes of thread breaking is a bobbin that has not been adjusted properly.

This may be the case, especially in a new bobbin. There may even be sharp edges that cause the thread to fray.

But if you find that the thread keeps breaking over and over, it is likely because of overt tension in the thread. The most obvious solution is to adjust the bobbin properly.

If it is a new bobbin, then that should be the first step anyway. You should also thread a few ties as a trial before you finally start with the actual fly tying process.

This will give you a clear idea of whether the bobbin has been adjusted correctly or not. Ideally, this problem should not arise with an automatic fly tying bobbin.

Q. What Is the Best Fly Tying Thread?

There are three main types of threads that one may consider while fly tying. These are polyester, kevlar and nylon. Of this, nylon and polyester are the best options for beginners as they are inexpensive, though they are strong and thin.

You will be able to use the thread for a long time without worrying about it breaking. Even if the thread breaks, it won’t hurt the bank as much as they do not cost a lot of money.

There are also silk or GSP (gel-spun polyethylene) options available in the market now which are worth considering.

Q. Can You Use Sewing Thread for Fly Tying?

It would not be the most unheard of thing to use regular sewing thread for fly tying. Before the advent of nylon, polyester and new kinds of gel silk, it would be expected that people resorted to using regular sewing threads for fly tying.

However, while they may work just fine, you will not be able to keep them around for prolonged use.

The thread will fray away much faster as they are not made to be as resilient and durable as threads made especially for fly tying.

So, you can use regular sewing thread for fly tying but preferably not as a long-term measure.

Q. What Is a Bodkin Used for in Fly Tying?

Bodkin is an extremely useful sewing tool that can come in handy for fly tying too. It is shaped like a tweezer and is often used to dislodge tied-down hackle fibers, as well as other bound fibers.

This is also a useful tool to have at hand to ensure precise cement placement on the flies that have been finished. Essentially, a bodkin can provide more precise maneuvering and can even work as a half hitch tool.

Wrapping Up

An automatic fly tying bobbin is one of the most convenient tools to have in your fly fishing kit. It will make your life a lot easier as you do not have to strain your wrist adding and releasing tension from the thread.

The bobbin will take care of it automatically. However, as has been described above, it can at times be quite a challenge to find an automatic fly tying bobbin that fits the bill.

The bobbins that have been reviewed above have all been selected keeping in mind that they are versatile, durable, and intuitive to the extent that it is helpful. Nobody likes an automated device that acts too smart for its own good!

Happy Hunting!


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