How Do You Thread A Fly Tying Bobbin?

A bobbin is one of the quintessential tools that you need for fly-fishing. The tool is mainly for holding the thread in place as you make your casts. It also adds to the total weight of your gear and plays part in realizing the tension for a successful cast. 

However, in the theoretical realm, you may think that bobbins are easy to thread. Practically, this is not a trivial task.

Without a good knowledge and experience of passing your thread through its tunnel, you may end up losing much of your time and energy. Here are three basic ways to efficiently thread you fly-tying bobbin. 

  1. Poking

Poking is one of the most efficient, timely and widely used techniques among anglers. For starters, it can be the most difficult task to partake of. However, once you get the hang of this technique, you will always consider it as the first option over others. So, how do you poke your thread?

First,  poking refers to the art of freely passing your thread through your bobbin’s tunnel from one end to another.

Efficient poking demands that the thread remains straight enough and unfrayed to prevent it from touching the walls. 

To poke your thread, hold it from one edge and freely insert some inches in. Go ahead and push additional lengths evenly until the edge of your thread appears on the opposite end. Once you see the edge of the thread on the opposite end, insert two fingers inside and pull your thread slowly until it reaches a required level. 

Poking can either be a daunting task or easy one depending on the size and model of bobbin you are using. Some bobbins feature ceramic inserts that come with inner edges.

As a result, your thread automatically hit the edges and cease to go through the rest of your bobbin’s tunnel. If this happens, you can try waxing your thread and retry the procedure. However, if the case is not solved, poking is not for you. 

Secondly, some bobbins feature thin walls. As a result, your thread will meet a frictional force that renders it frayed. As a result, you may not be able to pass it through successfully through the tunnel.

Lastly, the type of thread you use matters a lot. For poking, you need a stiff thread that looks pretty much as guitar wires. A thin thread is an added advantage. Therefore, if your system comes handy with soft and thick threads, then this procedure may not be for you. Otherwise, poking works for several anglers. 

  1. Sucking 

Sucking is the next technique to think of when poking does not bear any fruit. Here are the absolute procedures for sucking a bobbin.

  • Slightly bend the arms your bobbin

Place your thumb on the bend on one arm of your bobbin and use your first and middle finger to slightly press the two parts in the opposite direction. Gently bend the two parts until it achieves enough tension to hold your spool.  Be cautious not to break it.

  • Cut the thread

Once you have reduced the tension on both arms, cut one end of your thread. Moist it using saliva, and place it inside one end of the tube. 

  • Suck

This is the most significant part of this technique. Insert the other end of your bobbin in both. Inhale enough breath and apply an intense suction force until you feel the thread at the tips of either your lips or tongue. Using your thumb and first finger, hold the thread and pull it out. 

Just like in the first technique, you need to maintain apex cleanliness inside the bobbin’s tunnel for this process to turn out successful. Any dirt or wax acts as a barrier hence impairing your efforts of successfully sucking one end of the thread out. 

  1. Use a bobbin threader

The last in the list is using a special tool made specifically for this task—a bobbin threader. This tool is used to efficiently and timely coax a thread through any bobbin using the negligible energy ever. 

Just like any other threading tool, bobbin threaders come in different shapes and designs for a wide range of uses. Depending on the thickness and shape of your bobbin, you will automatically find a threader that suits your needs.  For steel and ceramic insert bobbins, make sure that the threader chosen is not only tough but also thin.

However, even with these tools, you must keep the inside of your tube properly cleaned. Custom threaders come with additional tools called ramrods that can also be separately purchased. The rods are used to remove dirt from the tube.

So how do you use a bobbin threader? To be precise, you don’t need any skillsets to coax a thread using a bobbin threader. These tools have loops that hold onto the thread and allows for easy pulling through the tube.

Shove in the thread inside your tube and insert enough length of the thread inside the loop. Then, pull the threader in the opposite direction till the edge of the thread comes out.

Generally, there are two types of threaders that you can use. So, when your first attempt hit the hard wall, you can go ahead and use the second type of tool. 

  1. Dental floss threaders

Dental floss is a perfect threader. You can acquire one from chemist or popular platforms online at less than a pound for a pack of five. Typical floss comes with additional bobbin holders for safety. 

To use a floss threader, simply feed the threading part through your bobbin’s tunnel. Insert the thread through the tunnel and pull it back in even liquid motion. 

  1. Copper loop

Copper loops work pretty much the same as threaders, though they may not be categorized as official bobbin threaders. Many anglers prefer using copper loops due to their ease of manipulation.

An ideal copper loop can be inserted inside the tube of a bobbin and bent at the edge to capture your thread before pulling it through. 


Whether you will easily thread your bobbin or not depends on how clean you keep it. An undamaged bobbin with no wax, wee, and unnecessary fluffs threads faster and effortlessly. Therefore, make sure that everything is clean before embarking on this glitzy journey.