Although you might enjoy hearing about classic flies being tied by hand, chances are you’ll appreciate a little help. One indispensable piece of state-of-the-art hardware available today is the fly tying vise. This vise can hold your work-in-progress in place as you create each masterpiece, whether a large saltwater pattern or a tiny scud.
Features of Fly Tying Vises
The fly tying vise is a clamp that holds the hook so you can apply all the material and thread that are part of your design. It seems like a simple enough piece of equipment. However, there are certain features you want to consider when shopping around for a vise:
- Able to hold a variety of hook sizes and shapes, not just small hooks or large; after all, you may want to expand your repertoire
- Jaws that are positioned at an angle that lets you work with the smallest of hooks; this means a secure hold, but with complete access to the entire length of the shank
- Not just adjustable, but easy to adjust, perhaps with a lever you can squeeze or a knob to turn
- Rotary head which is not essential and certainly not used by all fly tie experts, but is very convenient
- Heavy duty support system whether it is a clamp for your tying bench or a pedestal that is easier to move around and even take on the road; some models have both kinds of support features
You should test the action before making a purchase. If you are left handed, there are two common options: a left-handed only vise or one that is fully reversible for right- or left-handed fly tying.
Useful Accessories for Fly Tying Vise
Once you have decided on a fly tying vise, check out a few accessories that will help you do the job more efficiently and keep your workspace neat and tidy such as:
- Detachable backdrop plate which gives you a clean background on which to do your tying, reducing the glare and other visual distractions, thus lessening eye strain
- Small garbage container with rigid frame and detachable bag that can be fitted under the vise to keep you from littering the floor or losing bits and pieces of material
- Vise fly rack which is a foam disc with slots where flies can be held securely while the cement dries, allowing you to move on to the next tie job; usually designed to fit any vise stem
Making a Decision
Most decisions are based on a balance between cost and function. Although prices for a fly tying vise can range from $40 to $400, the most expensive will not necessarily give you better results. Identify what is important to you such as that rotary head or a pedestal base for portability.
Check out our fly tying vises in our online shop or stop over the shop and talk to the expert tyers.