Comparing Fly Tying Thread

by J. Stockard Fly Fishing

Thread is one of the most fundamental of fly tying materials, and today there are dozens of fly tying threads available in a wide variety of materials, sizes and strengths. J. Stockard Fly Fishing carries an extensive selection of fly tying threads and they know that choosing the right one can be difficult with so many to choose from. That’s why J. Stockard has created a handy Fly Tying Thread Comparison Chart to help you choose the thread that’s right for you! Read on to understand more about the different characteristics of various fly tying threads and how to know which is right for you.

Fly Tying Thread Material

The most commonly used materials for fly tying thread are nylon, polyester, and GSP (gel-spun polyethylene). Nylon was created in the 1930s as a synthetic alternative to silk. It is produced through a continuous extrusion process, resulting in a strong thread that has some stretch and takes dye well, producing bright and vibrant colors. Polyester, similar to nylon, can be made as a continuous extrusion fiber or short fiber filaments. However, polyester does not stretch, and it can break without warning under stress, although it is still quite strong. The colors of polyester thread are slightly less bright compared to nylon. GSP, made from continuous extrusion fibers, is an extremely strong thread with a slippery yet flexible texture. Less popular options for thread material include natural threads like cotton, wool, and silk, as well as man-made materials like Kevlar and rayon.

Fly Tying Thread Brands

Some of the top fly tying thread manufacturers, such as UNI, use both nylon and polyester threads. Danville primarily uses nylon, while VEEVUS offers polyester and GSP threads. Wapsi provides both nylon and GSP products. Au Ver á Soie also offers real silk, catering to the preferences of fly tying traditionalists.

Thread Size Measurement

Thread can be sized using denier or aught (0) size. Denier is a measurement used in the textile industry, representing the weight, in grams, of 9,000 meters of thread. Therefore, a lower denier indicates a lighter thread, and vice versa. Aught (0) size is an older, less precise measurement system, with a greater number of zeros indicating a finer thread. For example, an 8/0 thread is finer than a 3/0 thread.

Breaking Strength

Another important factor in thread is its breaking strength, particularly for fly tyers who require tightly wrapped thread around the hook without the risk of breaking. Advances in thread production have led to lightweight threads with high breaking strengths. GSP threads have the highest breaking strengths for their weight, and the VEEVUS brand from Denmark also offers threads with very high breaking strengths for their size.

J. Stockard Fly Fishing’s Fly Tying Thread Collection

Within each brand, J. Stockard offers a wide selection of materials and sizes. To provide a comprehensive guide to the specifications (size, weight, breaking strength) of the thread they stock, J. Stockard created a convenient chart comparing popular fly tying thread. Make sure to keep a copy of J. Stockard’s Thread Comparison Chart by your fly tying bench for easy reference!

About J. Stockard Fly Fishing

J. Stockard Fly Fishing is the leading destination for top-quality fly tying equipment, materials, and supplies. With a vast collection of over 10,000 materials, hooks, tools, and more, they have everything you need, conveniently organized for easy browsing. Their extensive range of fly tying materials includes a comprehensive selection of hooks, hair and fur, feathers, synthetic materials, dubbing, thread, and any other essentials you require for your tying bench. J. Stockard Fly Fishing proudly offers fly tying equipment, materials, and supplies from renowned brands like Hareline, Wapsi, Mustad, Daiichi, TMC, Semperfli, Whiting Farms, Metz, and many more. Explore their exceptional range today!

Image Credit: Shane Schuster, dirty_rig_fly_co on IG.