When you start tying flies, you use whatever you have, usually someone else’s old rickety, hand-me-down vice or something cheap from a novice kit. However, if you get the fly-tying itch as we did, you’ll want to improve your vise quickly. It is the most crucial step in the process; it’s the tool you’ll use for every fly you make for the next decade, if not a lifetime.
Here are five tips on choosing the right fly-tying vise.
The tying vice’s first and most important purpose is to keep the hook securely in place. The vise should also be able to hold the hook without using a lot of force on the jaw clamping mechanism.
Look for a vise that offers replacement jaws. As you get knowledge, you may want to try tying large deer hair poppers on size 1/0 hooks. This huge hook will not fit in most standard tying vises.
A reputable manufacturer will publish it. A tying vise can usually accommodate hooks from size #20 to 2/0. Proceed with caution if the hook size isn’t specified. While this isn’t a manufacturing requirement, all fly-tying vises should have a 3/8-inch stem diameter.
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The vise’s primary function is to maintain a rock-solid grasp on a hook period. If a vise can’t hold its grip on a hook, all the other bells and whistles are useless. Large hooks, heavy threads, and tying techniques used in saltwater fly tying will put the vise’s jaw assembly and clamping force to the test. Nothing is more aggravating than a nearly-complete fly slipping or popping loose from the jaws of a sluggish vise. It isn’t very encouraging.
Tube flies have been increasingly popular in recent years, particularly among swing fishers targeting steelhead, Atlantic salmon, and sea trout worldwide. Leaders are passed into the tube and can slide loosely within it, and then a piece of “junction tubing” – a soft rubber portion of hose just more significant than the tube’s diameter – is put onto the leader. The end of the leader is then secured with a small shank naked hook. Finally, you reassemble everything by sliding the hook eye into one end of the junction tubing, and the tube flies into the other, resulting in a single unit.
If you’re looking for the cheapest deal, you might want to avoid fly fishing. Tying flies can lead to a downward spiral into a rabid feather fixation that can cost thousands of dollars.
A good fly-tying vise — the kind we recommend – will set you back $150 to USD 200. We’d search for a vise made in the United States by a company that knows fly fishing.
Brass and polished stainless-steel feel better when the edges are smooth. Ball bearings spin the jaw. Each item takes a little time to build, but the result is high quality. For example, if you spill head cement on the vise (which happens), you’ll never be able to get it off of the plastic. Ball Bearings are a hallmark of quality because they reduce wear between two metal pieces. If your vise has bearings, there’s a good chance you’ll never need to buy another vise in your life.
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