"...change your tying for the better."

The last week has seen me tying with an automatic bobbin from Faruk Ekich's Flytying Enhancements. Bobbins are a necessity of tying - we start out with one and slowly accumulate more over time, constantly adjusting them with a bend in or out to try to get the thread tension right. We eventually find a workable balance that usually involves different bobbins for different spool types, and think nothing more of it. Not so Faruk - a lifetime of tying has taught him that thread control is paramount. A background in mechanical engineering combined with his passion for tool making led to the development of the constant force spring, the heart of his Ekich Automatic Bobbin.
     The constant force spring is contained within the housing on the long arm of the bobbin. For the technically minded this is designed to supply 60 cm (24") of thread at a constant force of 33 grams (1.1 oz) - the weight of the bobbin and a standard spool of thread - allowing the spring to support the bobbin at any distance from your fly and rewind the thread to any position you chose while retaining an even tension.
     To protect fine tying threads the force of the spring is set just below the spooling tension of the finest threads, such as UNI 17/0 Trico, alleviating the risk of breakages. The housing also contains the rotary table and shaft that holds all standard size thread spools. A rubber O-ring on the shaft holds the spools securely while the locking pin on the rotary table fits into one of the recesses in the spool, engaging the spring. With CNC machined components, hand polished surgical steel tube and moulded polymer frame this is a major step up from your average wire frame bobbin.
     So what's it like to tie with? For a bulkier bobbin it sits naturally in your hand - the long arm and housing rests in your palm while the shorter arm supports your first two fingers leaving the others free for fine adjustments to the thread tension during tying. The automatic aspect takes a while to get used to - any tying experience under your belt seems to hard-wire your brain to keep tension on the thread. You need to relearn that you're able to move your hand closer at any time and still retain thread tension.
     As with all new toys you test its limits, and trying to get slack into the thread is nearly impossible, requiring flicking the bobbin towards the vice at almost throwing speed. Certainly not something you get close to in routine tying, and for those times when you require a slack loop for tying in deer hair and so on it's a simple matter to rest one of your free fingers on the spool to stop it turning.
     The spring is not infinite. If you're tying a particularly large fly and use more than 60 cm of thread, or have completed your fly, it's a simple matter of re-setting the spring by lifting the spool away from the housing slightly to disengage the pin. This can be done one handed while reaching for scissors to trim the thread. The asymmetrical bobbin design does create an elliptical spin path when removing twist or doing any sort of split thread work - keeping the spin a little slower and a controlling finger resting on the thread keeps everything manageable.
     The bobbin comes standard with a one inch tube length; custom tube lengths are available on request, and all bobbins are supplied with nylon threaders.
     Ekich S-Series Bobbins are currently US$70 - for this you get a brilliant piece of engineering designed to enhance your tying. The ability to move your bobbin around provides a better flow and freedom that will change your tying for the better.






"...fall in love with the S-Series."

Faruk Ekich has spent most of his life designing and redesigning fly-tying tools. At ten years old in his native Bosnia, Ekich couldn't find hackle pliers, so he made his own. He took small pieces of steel and held them on train tracks as locomotives roared past, flattening the ends. Of course, the pliers didn't work well and he still spends sleepless nights thinking how to make better hackle pliers. But he sleeps just fine when he thinks about bobbins - he has solved that riddle with his new S-Series Bobbin.
      The new S-Series is redesign of his first automatic bobbin, A-Series. Both automatically rewind thread by using a constant-force spring-and-clutch mechanism to remove slack in the thread and give fly tiers an unprecedented level of thread control. But, the S-Series is $30 cheaper-because it is built on a nylon copolymer chassis, which reduces the number of parts - it is nearly unbreakable and it is ergonomically designed to balance naturally in your hand.
      The bobbin's tension is set at 1.1 ounces to handle light 17/0 Trico thread. Some persnickety fly tiers may lament that the bobbin's tension cannot be adjusted, but you can gain additional tension with friction from your palm. The bobbin's open sided construction was designed for palm-braking by left-or right-handed tiers and accept most standard thread spools.
      The S-Series has a 1-inch polished, stainless-steel tube and Ekich says that the stainless steel protects thread better then ceramic tubes because it dissipates heat better and does not develop thread-breaking burrs common with cheap steel tubes. It took only one tying session for me to slightly adjust my tying movements and fall in love with the S-Series. I've abandoned some other tying inventions because they took me too long to use comfortably, but that is not case here.
      Within one hour I was a happier, more comfortable tier because the Ekich bobbin makes tying perfect flies just a little faster and a little easier.
      While some frugal tiers may scoff at the $70 price, most will appreciate the level of thoughtfulness and craftsmanship that Ekich has put into his elegant tool. After all, what value is your top-dollar rod and reel without the perfect fly?




JAN 2015



Constant Tension Ekich S-Series Bobbin holder
      The second Ekich bobbin holder I've handled. The common feature of Ekich bobbin holders is the rather clever Constant Force Spring mechanism. Fit a spool of thread, no need to check tension and bend legs, wind thread around a hook and the tension on my thread is constant, move the holder towards the hook and the spring takes thread back onto the spool, let the holder hang and it hangs, slip it closer to the hook and again holder hangs-no fiddling about rewinding thread- lovely!
      The original A-Series has the spring mechanism attached to wire frame and stainless steel tube, several components all linked by a brass block. The new S-Series has a one-piece body/frame with a stainless steel tube at one end and the same spring tensioning mechanism at the other. Designed with the help from 3D printer, the new S-Series body is moulded glass filled nylon. Slightly bulkier then the original and a fair bit more rigid. This fits into my hand rather well, thumb and forefinger sit on the chevrons at the base of the tube with the tensioning mechanism in my palm.
      I found it easy to adapt to the original Ekich bobbin holder, and this one is practically (i.e. the way it handles and works), the same. Working with this holder my only reservation, like the A-Series Ekich holder, is asymmetric, so if I spin the holder it wobbles: in practice, all that means is if I flatten or tighten thread I have to do it a bit slower.
      I really like the constant tension on my thread, I love that I can place my hanging holder at any height instantly. Some of my fly-tying means I have a camera between me and the vice, an Ekich holder makes that process quite a bit easier. An excellent fly tying tool.
      Faruk Ekich lives in Canada. His tools are sold through his website where you can see a video-clip of these holders in action.
      Prices are in US dollars





Paul Marriner is a publisher, author, the 1991 Gregory Clark Award winner, and a 17-time member of the Canadian Fly Fishing Team as well as its Captain from 1994-96 and again in 2000.

Full bio


"...a bobbin suitable...preeminently with true rotaries"

Sales of true rotary fly-tying vises are strong, but if my observations are accurate, the number of tiers using their purchase's full capabilities is very small. One reason is the paucity of automatic bobbins, i.e., a bobbin with an integral spring that will rewind the thread after it has been pulled out. Until now, the only one I knew of required the thread be rewound on a special spool. Significantly, the patented Ekich Bobbin from Flytying Enhancements needs no such preparation. Standard plastic or Styrofoam spools slip on and off the bobbin's spindle with ease and the bobbin feels very comfortable in the hand. Critical to successful operation is a precisely calibrated spring tension that will support the bobbin wherever placed without putting undue strain on even the finest threads. The designer, Canadian Faruk Ekich, calls this a Constant Force Spring concept. Faruk has succeeded in producing a bobbin suitable for use with all vises, but preeminently with true rotaries.

Paul is the author of How to Choose & Use Fly-tying Thread, a book I consider indespensible - Faruk Ekich





Preston Singletary has fly fished for over 40 years and, for the past 10 years, has been an associate editor of Flyfishing & Tying Journal

Preston ties the reversed spider


" bobbin of choice while tying."

This bobbin automatically retracts to keep your working thread at a useable length; no more awkward efforts to manually wind excess thread back onto the spool while trying to maintain tension. The key to this bobbin's performance is a spring designed to provide a constant force of 33 g (1.1 ounces), enough to hold the weight of the bobbin and any standard spool of tying thread. Simply lifting the bobbin allows the spring to rewind the thread onto the spool to any predetermined position. One of the advantages offered by this automatic bobbin is that it accepts any standard spool of tying thread and can be used with any weight of thread down to UNI's 17/0 Trico. The spool of thread is simply pressed onto the spindle, threaded through the tube and it's ready to go. The bobbin's weight, heavier than conventional bobbins, maintains more tension on the thread, making it easier to keep materials in place while tying. And its ergonomic design allows it to be comfortably used in either the right or left hand.
      The bobbin is available in two models: the Trout, with a 3/4-inch tube, or the Salmon with a 1-inch tube. Either model can be had with a choice of stainless-steel tube or ceramic insert. I've been impressed with its smoothness of operation and, while it took me a short while to become completely familiar with it, it has performed flawlessly and has become my bobbin of choice while tying.







"...the Cadillac of fly-tying bobbins."

Flytying Enhancements is offering the Ekich Automatic Bobbin ($80). This new tool is a tad pricey-as far as bobbins go-but boasts a long list of features. The Ekich Automatic Bobbin allows you to change thread spools quicker, is ergonomically designed to be more comfortable, allows for precise and continuous thread tension, and automatically rewinds the thread when you lift the bobbin. The Ekich Automatic Bobbin is machined out of aluminum, brass, and stainless steel, and just might be the Cadillac of fly-tying bobbins. For more information, go to







"...take a serious look at the Ekich Bobbin."

Ask any veteran fly tyer what is the one most important thing about tying good flies and you likely will hear, "thread control."
      Ask the beginning fly tyer what his major problem learning to tie is and you will likely hear, "thread control."
      The Ekich Automatic Bobbin solves both problems - and is perfect for tying on true rotary vises as well.
      Rotary Vises present problems of their own. Quoting a Gear and Gadgets Review by Paul Marriner in the Canadian Fly Fisher, " Sales of true rotary fly tying vises are strong, but if my observations are accurate the number of tyers using their purchase's full capabilities is very small.
      The reason? According to Paul, "...the paucity of automatic bobbins ie., a bobbin with an intergral spring that will rewind the thread after it has been pulled out. Until now, the only one I knew required the thread be rewound on a special spool. Significantly, the patented Ekich Bobbin from Flytying Enhancements needs no such preparation. Standard plastic or Styrofoam spools slip on and off the bobbins spindel with ease..."
      The Constant Force Spring concept precisely calibrates the spring tension which will not only support the bobbin wherever it is placed, but it delivers desired thread properties such as uniform tension, flatness with even the finest threads such as UNI's 17/0 Trico.
      If you are serious about your fly tying - or perhaps wish to get more out of your rotary vise, you need to take a serious look at the Ekich Bobbin. There are several options available, including your choice of ceramic insert or full stainless steel tubes in standard or custom tube lengths.






"Faruk Ekich ... the "Thread Geek"..."

The Ekich Automatic Bobbin ($90) is a spring-loaded bobbin that retracts or rewinds the thread as you move the tube closer to the hook. Other bobbins do this, but require you to load the thread onto a special spool. The Ekich bobbin fits all standard thread manufacturers' spools. Faruk Ekich--who's been called the "Thread Geek" on Internet forums--says the thread is the most important component of any fly and only a factory-wound spool can preserve qualities such as uniform tension and flatness.
      The bobbin has a constant-force spring that maintains tension on the thread whether the bobbin hangs 1 inch or 8 inches from the hook. As you move the bobbin tube toward the hook, it retracts the thread, maintaining tension and preventing slack. Increase tension by palming the spool as you would with a normal bobbin. The Ekich bobbin has only one hanger arm, leaving the opposite side of the spool open for easy palming.
      The spindle's easy-on, easy-off design allows you to slightly disengage the spool from the bobbin prior to cutting the thread--so the thread will not retract into the tube when you cut it.
      There are two models: the Salmon model has a 11/4" tube; the Trout model has a 3/4" tube. Both are available with a full stainless steel tube or with a ceramic insert. Ekich says ceramic is harder than steel, but does not conduct heat well, and the heat from friction can melt and fray fine nylon threads. He recommends a hardened stainless steel tube--that disperses heat quickly--for fine nylon thread and the ceramic insert only for heavier, more abrasive threads. For more information, visit






"...a tool that saves time at the bench."

Fly tyers of all skill levels can appreciate a tool that saves time at the bench. The Ekich Automatic Bobbin was designed to provide enhanced thread control and to eliminate the need to manually rewind excess thread by using an internal spring. The construction of the bobbin incorporates a Constant Force Spring that balances the weight of the bobbin (33gr 1.1oz) with the tension of the spring resulting in the ability of the bobbin to suspend at any point the tyer chooses. While the spring force is controlling tension (without hand palming) the thread is dispersed with a uniform tension that does not create slack.
      The force is designed for use with most fly tying needs in mind and is even suitable for delicate threads like the 17/0 UNI-Trico. The bobbin dispenses and automatically rewinds threads from standard plastic and foam thread spools. This allows the material to be drawn directly from the spool, retaining the original thread properties, as well as accommodating quick changes of thread spools.
      The bobbin sits comfortably in the tyer's hand and dispenses thread effortlessly. The design allows the tyer to easily clamp down with their palm on the spool when extra pressure is needed for securing materials. 24 inches ( 0.6m) of thread may be dispersed before the bobbin spring needs to be reset. Resetting the bobbin can be performed using one hand by simply moving the spool 3mm away from the rotating table, disengaging the tension on the spring, and replacing the spool on the rotating table. The Ekich Automatic Bobbin is produced in Canada and comes in 2 sizes, a 20mm tube Trout version and a 35mm tube Salmon version. Both are available with either a full stainless steel tube or a stainless steel tube with a ceramic tip insert. For more information, visit Flytying Enhancements on the web





FREEDOM OF 60 cm (and more)
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"a time machine for fly tiers."

Not many people can readily answer this question --- "What is a fly?" One possible answer may be like: "An artificial made of feather, yarn, or plastic to imitate bugs and baitfish." Maybe, but what about the injection-molded nymph imitation that we used to see in tackle shops about a decade ago? Of course it is not a fly, and you would agree. It should involve some handwork. A small Hula Popper is not a fly (although it is castable with a fly rod), while gummy minnow is widely regarded as a fly pattern simply because it involve the element of some rotation of tying thread by hand. Then, what essentially constitute a fly are a hook and some thread. The minimalistic midge pupa using only thread material is, at least for me, the ultimate "fly."
      Thread Maniac, Faruk Ekich in Canada is often called so. Born in Bosnia, he immigrated to Canada in 1966, choosing Smithers as his first home. The steelheaders' dream destination, you know. Then later he moved to Toronto, where Atlantic salmon is the quarry. He worked as an engineer in Canada till he retired in 2004. Incidentally he visited Japan quite a few times, and can use some basic Japanese.
      Faruk now manufactures the world's most expensive fly tying bobbin. He charges about $100 apiece, while his competition is about $35. His is an automatic bobbin, meaning that it has a built-in retractor finely calibrated to balance with the weight of bobbin itself. It works like magic: when you pull certain length of thread and let go of your holding hand, the bobbin stays there. If you move the bobbin closer to the hook, it will take up all the slack smoothly. If you use up the 60cm of thread, which is the length of the spring, you can reset it using a very simple operation, and you can keep on tying with no interruption. Very clever.
      This bobbin really shines when you tie with rotary vise, and when a single turn of thread is critically important. For example, for a classic salmon fly. You can always control the thread length, and it is no hassle unwinding the thread to do it better. As Faruk believes, thread control is everything in fly tying. I would call this bobbin "a time machine for fly tiers." You can smoothly go back in time and to the previous tying step even if you screw up, and try once again. And it involves no stress at all. You will even start enjoying the mistake-unwind-retry process like I do. It is so addictive, and I don't know of any other tools that give this much pleasure in fly tying, besides the ones made by the very legendary Frank Matarelli. We are lucky in that we can easily purchase and use ingenious tools hand-made by these two masters, designed on their sheer love of this great pastime of fly tying.





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" go-to bobbin holder."

Label anything as 'ultimate' and someone will take potshots. I have a couple of minor quibbles with the Ekich bobbin holder, but on the whole it is rather good.
      Faruk Ekich is a retired Canadian engineer now living in Ottawa. Faruk also ties flies, fishes, and makes the most exotic fly-tying vices I've seen. Handling the Ekich Bobbin, I get a sense of a well crafted tool. All the bends are exact, the wire fits to the block precisely. I like longer holders so this is a salmon model with a 32mm stainless steel tube, my options were 20mm tube and ceramic inserts. Stainless steel is very hard stuff, this stainless tube is cut and polished with care so thread is not damaged when it runs over it. I can see where the tip of this tube was polished.
      While the frame and orientation of the brass block are distinctive the key feature of the Ekich Bobbin is in that black housing. This is built around a special spring. Used as designed, the tension in my thread can remain more or less the same when the bobbin hangs from the hook and when I am wrapping thread. To the best of my knowledge, no other bobbin holder is designed to do that.