Sunday, 05 June 2011 14:49



What will strike you first about this new bobbin from Jay is that it is just as well engineered as his famous vices and all the accessories that go with them. It is a beautifully machined tool, solid to the feel, but possibly a bit heavy and bulky I thought for dry flies tied on light wire hooks at around size 16 and smaller. So I put it to the test.


But before going into my findings let me say up front that this is a totally unsolicited and objective review. I ordered three J Bobbins and paid for all of them – one for myself, one for my pal Steve Boshoff who has an ongoing love affair with perfection and one for Italian fly tyer, Agostino Roncallo, just to show him when it comes to fly tying tools South Africans need not stand back for anyone.

Each bobbin is individually numbered. Mine is No 41, Roncallo will get No 42 and Steve No 36!


My own J Bobbin clealry marked No 41

Loading the tool involves slackening the screw on the bobbin arm until the spool fits, then tightening it until you get the perfect thread tension. I used a spool of Danville’s 6/0 and fitted it in seconds. But clearly this model bobbin won’t hold any of those really small spools, like the one’s Jan Siman supplies his Hyperfine thread on.

Loading the thread arm is a walk in the park because Jay supplies each bobbin with an ingenious piece of looped blue nylon that you simply pass the thread through then pull the standing end of nylon up the arm.


The ingenious blue nylon threader

I tied a few nymphs down to size 16 and the bobbin was perfect. It sits comfortably in your hand and adjusting thread tension is absolutely unnecessary as you have set that already – and it stays set. That was a first for me and a wonderful advantage. I also tried the bobbin tying a size 16 dry fly on a light wire hook and found it worked well enough, though I didn’t seem to have quite the sensitivity I am used to tying micro-patterns. It certainly never bent the hook, even hanging from the eye. In fact, the additional weight of this bobbin is a huge advantage on all other flies and saltwater tiers especially will welcome it. With the added weight it sits right where you position it on the hook shank even when the thread is holding down a whole bunch of fibres.

Final rating? A nine out of ten score for an heirloom that your son will leave to his grandson. It lost a point for weight, but only in tying really small dry flies. Jay might port future models to lighten them. But for bigger flies the weight was a real advantage. on second thoughts, make that a ten out of ten.

Tom Sutcliffe

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