If you’re serious about tying flies or getting more into tying flies, then you may be at the point where you’re wondering what tools are necessary for upping your game. There is no doubt about it, a good tying vise is crucial to producing your own flies that you can be proud of. After all, the last thing you want is your hook shank sliding out of a low-quality tying vise and hitting you in the eye or finding it later in the bottom of your foot.
How To Select The Best Fly Tying Vise For You
A question I get asked often regarding tying flies is what is and what are the best fly tying vises? It’s a difficult question to answer for many reasons, but mostly because it depends on you, your fly tying style, and what you’re trying to achieve with your tying and fly fishing.
For example, if you tie a lot of tiny tailwater flies, a vise with an option for midge jaws is going to be critical. On the other hand, maybe you tie giant streamers on 2/0 hooks for the White River, and something with a lot of gripping power is what you need. As you can see, there are a lot of factors to consider, but at the end of the day, you need the right vise for YOU.
What Type Of Fly Tier Are You & What Type of Fly Tying Vises Fit Your Style?
I think the best way to purchase your next vise is to first consider what type of fly tier you are. Are you a beginner or a seasoned pro? Or maybe somewhere between? Do you like to tie streamers or small midges? These are all questions you will need to first answer if you want to make your next vise purchase a successful one.
Features to Consider When Purchasing Your Vise.
Here are some features you will want to consider when making your next vise purchase:
Choosing Your Fly Tying Vise Jaw & Vise Head
Depending on what type of flies you like to tie, different vise heads & jaws may or may not accommodate the different hook sizes you like to work with. Choosing a vise with a midge jaw option will be critical if you like to tie tailwater bugs. The same goes with large streamers and jaws with a lot of hook holding power. As mentioned above, holding hooks securely is not only a quality concern for your flies but a safety concern for you!
Rotary Fly Tying Vise
A lot of the newer vises on the market have a rotary function. A rotary tying vise is great for many reasons, but especially when you’re trying to get a good look at your fly from all angles. If you don’t think this is something you would use, it’s probably not worth spending the extra money on. Quite honestly, when tieing smaller bugs, I generally don’t use the rotary on my vises a lot. However, when tying streamers and reverse tying a lot of materials like craft fur and bucktail, I use it quite often.
Vise Hook Holding Power
How well does the vise grip the hook while you’re tying? Is it built for the hooks you most frequently use? The last thing you want is hooks being shot across the room like BBs because your vise can’t hold onto that tiny #24 dry fly hook.
Fly Tying Vise Prices
Of course, price is always a factor when making any purchase, especially with fly tying vises. A good vise can run you as little as $200 and up to $1,000. Like anything, you get what you pay for. That’s not to say you can’t tie banging flies on a $175 Peak Rotary Vise.
Fly Tying Vise Portability
Are you someone who ties flies on the go? If so, then you’ll want to consider a vise that is easily portable and doesn’t weigh a ton.
Fly Tying Vise Durability
Is the vise made from high-quality materials that will last a long time, even with heavy use? Does it include a lifetime warranty? Most quality American vises made these days do. You’ll want to get one of those.
C Clamp Fly Tying Vise vs. Pedestal Base Fly Tying Vise
Depending on what type of flies you tie, you may need to upgrade your fly tying vise base. There are different types of bases like pedestal bases and C-Clamps which are outlined below.
C Clamp Fly Tying Vises
C Clamp Fly Tying Vise Pros:
- Can be attached to any table or flat surface
- Takes up less space on your tying bench
- Easier to transport
- Can be more sturdy as it plays off the weight of whatever you attach it to
C Clamp Fly Tying Vise Cons
- Lack of mobility while tying
- At the mercy of the table or desk height
Pedestal Base Fly Tying Vises
Pedestal Base Fly Tying Vises Pros
- Can be elevated to your preferred tying height
- More mobile on bench
- Can store things on the pedestal, like beads and hooks
- Has more of a “cool” factor
Pedestal Base Fly Tying Vises Cons
- Heavier and bulkier to transport
- Takes up more space on your bench
- At the mercy of the ground or floor you’re working on being level.
The Best Fly Tying Vices, In My Opinion
Now that we’ve covered what you need to be looking for in a vise that will suit your tying style, let’s dive into some of the best vises on the market. I will only highlight vises I have personally owned and tied on. The three brands I will touch on are Renzetti, Peak, and Regal. These are just a few of the major players in the vise game. There are certainly other great brands like Norvise and HMH, among others. Just do your research and consider the above factors when making your purchase.
Best Fly Tying Vises For The Money
If you’re like most tiers, you don’t want to spend a ton of money on a vise. You’d rather save money and put it towards more materials and hooks, more power to ya. That being said, there are still some great options in the under $250 price range.
This is an excellent all-around vise that will accommodate hooks from size 24 all the way up to streamer hooks. It’s very lightweight and portable, making it perfect for those who like to tie on the go or don’t have a lot of room on their tying bench. The jaws are made from stainless steel and can be swapped out depending on what type of flies you tie. Like all Renzetti products, it’s high quality and will last forever, pending a few jaw changes along the way.
Peak Rotary Fly Tying Vise
The Peak Rotary is in my current lineup, and for a good reason. It’s a great all-around vise that will accommodate hooks from size 24 up to 4/0 streamer hooks. The jaws are made from stainless steel, and there are midge jaws available as well. Ironically enough, I actually use the Peak midge jaws to tie all my flies that use a shank platform like Gamechangers, among others.
The Best of The Best
Regal Revolution Fly Tying Vise: My Current Go-To
Now, if you want the best of the best and are willing to spend a little extra money, I would highly recommend the Regal Revolution. This vise is built like a tank and will accommodate hooks from size 24 up to 12/0 streamer hooks, depending on which vise heads you have. Currently, I use this vise for pretty much all applications utilizing the stainless steel head and the big game head. With that said, the rotary function is buttery smooth, and it has a ton of biting power for those who like to really crank down on their materials like myself. Not to mention, it’s absolutely beautiful to look at.
Renzetti Master Fly Tying Vise
I’ve never owned a Renzetti Master, but I recently tied on good friends. There is no denying it is one of the best fly tying vises on the market because of its superior design and construction. The vise is made from cast aluminum and stainless steel for durability and has a smooth rotary that allows for easy access to all parts of the fly. If you’re looking for a vise that’s both functional and good-looking, the Renzetti Master definitely fits the bill. So if you’re in the market for a new fly tying vise and willing to spend the coin, be sure to check out the Renzetti Master. You won’t be disappointed.
So there ya have it. These are just a few of the better vise options on the market. Be sure to do your research and cnsider what features are important to you and your style of tying before making a purchase. Nothing is worse than dumping a wad of cash on a new vise to find out you like your old one better.
Must-Have Fly Tying Vise Accessories
While no “accessories” are technically necessary, there are a few fly tying accessories that will definitely up your fly tying game!
A good fly tying lamp is a must-have for any tyer. Not only will it help you see your materials better, but it will also prevent eye strain and help you achieve more accuracy with whatever you’re tying. I’ve tried a few different lamps over the years, and my current favorite is the JKSWT LED Lamp I found on Amazon. I was searching for a while but settled on this one because it has five different light levels and five different color modes, making it great for any environment. The head and neck also swivel to allow you to hit your bugs with light from whatever angle necessary. Overall, It’s super bright, has a flexible neck, and doesn’t generate a ton of heat like some other lamps on the market.
Fly Tying Bench or Fly Tying Desk
If you don’t have a lot of space or just like to tie on the go, then a portable fly tying bench is definitely worth considering. However, if you’re like me, you have a whole space dedicated to fly tying in your home and have some more flexibility when it comes to choosing a tying station. I personally found an old refurbished executive desk on Facebook Marketplace for $150 and it ended up being better than ever imagined. It even has slide our trays that work great for material prep. Regardless of what you go with, some thing to consider with your tying station are as follows:
Fly Tying Bobbin Cradle
A fly tying bobbin cradle is one of those fly tying accessories that you didn’t know you needed until you had one. I use mine all the time when dubbing bodies or working with hackles. It’s just a small holder that allows your bobbin to sit upright while you’re tying. This keeps your thread from getting tangled and makes it much easier to work with. You can find them online or at most fly shops for around $15-$20.
So there ya have it! A few fly-tying must-have accessories that will help take your game to the next level.