There are a staggering number of different fly tying threads available these days. Like anything, each has its advantages, disadvantages, and is subject to a great deal of personal preference.
However, when it comes to tying threads, we’ve long been fans of UTC’s Ultra Thread for its versatility and massive color selection – something we find really helpful when tying in remote locations far, far away from any fly shops.
During a recent, and admittedly nerdy, conversation with professional fly designer, Stuart Foxall, we were surprised to learn that Stu also prefers to string his bobbins up with Ultra Thread. We asked him to share his thoughts on why he ties with Ultra Thread the majority of the time, and today we share his words with you.
The Versatility of Ultra Thread
I’ve been using UTC’s Ultra Thread for more years than I care to mention.. I guess that I’m so used to it now, I just can’t imagine using any other thread for my flies. As a “flat” thread, I just love the way it lays nice and smooth without creating bulky tie-in points which create ugly, uneven, bumps on your flies. Also, because it’s not as “nylon based” as some other threads, I find it nowhere near as slippy as others.
Another huge benefit of Ultra Thread over many others is that it takes wax very easily, as well as soaks up superglue or varnish which I find makes for a more durable fly.
For the large majority of my flies I use two different sizes of Ultra Thread, 140 denier and 70 denier, for two specific jobs:
- 140 Denier. 140 denier thread (the yellow cap) is the thicker, stronger, thread of the two. I use this thread for tying on dumbbell eyes on shanks, and also when attaching the wire stinger loops for my intruders. I can pull really hard to hold these items in place without worrying about the thread snapping. Some metal shanks (or even the ends of the loop wires), can have very sharp edges that cut or weaken finer threads, but the 140 definitely stops this from happening so often. I also prefer 140 to join my tube liner into the outer tube for my tube flies. Once again, I can really pull hard to hold them in place with a little help from some superglue.
- 70 Denier. 70 denier (the red cap) is the thread I prefer for most of my actual tying. For tying in materials that need to be held in place a little stronger than normal, I love the versatility of being able to spin my bobbin, twisting the flat thread into a tighter, stronger, circular thread “rope.” As the thread is now round in cross section, I find I can pull quite hard to hold some of those slippy materials in place. I find this most helpful on synthetic materials (which are usually slipperier than most natural materials). Natural materials tend to collapse easier under tension which holds them in place without the need to twist the thread – usually three or four tight wraps will do!