What Thread Do You Need for Saltwater Flies?

Fly tying threads are sold in many different sizes and colors to make a variety of fly patterns. They are essential for creating flies to trick and capture your target fish. Are you wondering if you need a special kind of thread to tie saltwater flies?

The best thread to use for making saltwater flies is nylon thread. Nylon has the best stretch when compared to other thread materials and hence, can grip all the materials better.

This article will cover all you need to know about using nylon thread for saltwater fly tying. You’ll learn how to choose the most suitable saltwater fly tying thread and the best ways to tie them. Keep reading!

Best Thread Material for Saltwater Flies

An ideal fly-tying thread must hold every material used tightly in place. Otherwise, it will disassemble easily when it is in use. Though adhesiveness is a major factor, all thread materials have different advantages when used to build flies.

While fly tying might be difficult, especially for a newbie, saltwater flies are an excellent way to start because they’re easy to make. You can tie your fly with any of the many kinds of thread materials available in stores.

To make this choice easier for you, here are the best ones to look out for:

  • Silk
  • Nylon
  • Kevlar
  • Polyester 

Of these four, the nylon thread is recommended as the best for producing saltwater flies. Here are the best features of the nylon thread that make it most suitable for making saltwater flies:

  • Strength
  • Aesthetics 
  • Grip
  • Elasticity

One of the most commonly used threads for saltwater fly tying is the UTC Ultra Thread 210 Denier. The UTC thread is a strong thread that will withstand tight wraps while tying. It is available in a variety of different textures and can be found online or at most local fly shops.

Nylon Thread is Very Strong

Strength is a very important feature of any fly thread, especially when you’re dealing with saltwater fish that tend to be stronger and tougher than freshwater fish. The strength of your thread will be tested while you’re fishing, and it must be able to hold the materials of the fly together.

Tensile strength is essential for fly thread because the strength determines how well it will hold up against the wear and tear of fly construction and fishing. Thread with poor tensile strength will snap easily, and you might end up without a fly because the thread snapped at a crucial juncture of the tying process.

However, there’s a caveat with the strength of nylon thread – it isn’t completely infallible. Contact with sharp things like the hook point can cut or wear a groove into the thread, creating a weak point. Over time, this might be the point at which the thread snaps due to regular wear and tear.  

Nylon Offers a Firm Grip for All Materials in Your Saltwater Fly

To ensure that all the materials used in creating your fly hold together tightly, your thread material must have a good grip. An essential feature that makes nylon material best for fly tying is the security it gives to all the materials attached to the hook. 

The firm grip of nylon thread is a joint result of the material’s high strength and elastic properties. Nylon threads are produced to be flat and have a better finishing than other materials. This helps it wrap tightly around your hook to produce a smooth body for the fly.

Some nylon thread products are also sold with extra binding straps for a tighter hold at the hook.

Nylon Threads Have Impressive Elasticity

Nylon has an incredible stretch feature that makes it very easy to use to create flies. The elasticity is better than in other thread materials like Polyester – a material often said to have the second best elastic strength.

This property of nylon prevents the thread from breaking. Your saltwater fly may be tested to extreme elastic limits while you’re fishing, but the nylon thread will give it the best chance of surviving the catch. Ideally, a fly will last through multiple catches instead of falling apart after each fish.

Nylon Thread Is Aesthetically Attractive to Saltwater Flies

Nylon thread is available in several bright colors, and nylon takes the color better than other thread types. The fluorescent colors on nylon thread are useful in ensuring that your flies stand out in the water, attracting the fish toward you.  

The aesthetic property of the nylon thread is made even better after you add patterns to your fly. Fly patterns refer to the size, color, and arrangement of all materials that make up your fly. Depending on your target saltwater fish species, there are different kinds of fly patterns to tie your flies. The best of them are:

  • The Deceiver
  • The Clouser Minnow
  • Crab Fly
  • The Gurgler
  • The Seducer

Knowing the proper fly patterns for your target fish and also knowing how to use the flies properly in water increases your success rate as an angler.

Things To Consider When Making Saltwater Flies

While you must be careful about the materials you use to build your fly, you should also ensure that it has all the features to lure fish in. The most important factors to note in your fly design are:

  • Attraction 
  • Imitation 
  • Movement 

Attracting the Fish

Saltwater fish are naturally aggressive. This is mainly because they live under harsher conditions than freshwater fish. In some situations, using bright and flashy colors to create your fly will help catch your target fish’s attention. Examples of these bright colors are orange and red used in the clouser fly pattern.

Imitating Bait

If you have a particular species you plan to target in saltwater, then you should create your fly to match its prey as best as possible. The fly needs to look like a bait fish or crustacean as best as it can. You’ll need to draw in your target using the fly, and so it should imitate the target’s best food source.

Moving Like Prey

Just as the fish in saltwater are, your fly’s movement must also be aggressive, so it looks like prey. Heavy tides of the saltwater can aid the fly’s movements. Poppers also create sound by trapping air bubbles on the water’s surface.

Make the best use of these features alongside your fly pattern, and they’ll draw in lots of fish from you.

Note: Keep in mind that not all saltwater species prefer an aggressively moving fly. Species who tend to be spooky, such as permit or bonefish, may require smaller movements to entice a bite.


The thread of your saltwater fly is just as important as the hook, so you should consider which type you’re using. The nylon thread is your best option to create a strong saltwater fly. This article describes everything you should note while creating the fly. Happy fishing!