Buying a Fly Tying Vise can be scary yet simple

Buying a Fly Tying Vise can be scary yet simple

July 24, 2019

At some point in your fly-fishing journey you will eventually come to the point where you want to tie your own fly. You have been successful with the flies you purchased but there is an undeniable satisfaction to be had from creating your own fly and landing a fish with it.

Starting off at first can seem a bit daunting and given that a good quality vise is an investment you want to ensure that you take the time to do so correctly. Buying the right fly that suits your needs will be an investment that reaps dividends for years to come.


Take a Class

If you have never tied before taking a class should be your first step. This affords you the opportunity to test out your skills and your patience. What’s the point in becoming excited about tying your own ties to only discover that you don’t have the desire or patience for tying. Many shops and local groups often offer classes (some for free), this will be a great opportunity to learn and to also have some knowledge passed down from some experienced hands.

Simply sitting down and doing will be extremely beneficial and insightful.

A large selection of Vises

After establishing that you do want to tie your own flies the most daunting task is choosing a vise. With most vendors offering a wide selection of choices it can be slightly intimidating. However, some basic fact will guide you through this process and make it far easier to choose. There are two styles of vises.

Rotary: These vises can spin the fly 360 degrees while holding the fly. This affords ease of use and allowing you to wrap material the hook shank.

 Rotary Fly Vise

Conventional: The conventional style is not capable of a 360 degree spin it instead hold the hook at an angle. This design allows material to be wrapped around the hook shank.

Conventional Fly Vise


It comes down to personal preference when choosing whether to choose between rotary or conventional. Many experts will tell you their preference which is fine but as an individual it comes down to what you do and do not prefer.

The conventional vise does provide a stable platform to work on which is great for more intricate patterns.

With the rotary vise and in the hands of a skilled individual there is the advantage of speed to be obtained.

It may be that you purchase both types of vises, or settle on one but the choice is still yours.

Don’t go for low quality 

This ties into taking a class first before buying a vise. You do not want to spend your hard-earned dollars on something cheap. This will cost you in the end as if parts break and you are constantly having to buy and replace you will spend more. Also having a low-quality vise will mean that you will become discouraged from tying and lose out on creating your own unique designs.

Finally give it a spin

Once you found a model that works for you there is no loss of your time if you can get your hands on it before purchase. This means putting hooks into the jaws and seeing how it performs. Some models have jaws that can interchange so it makes the selection a bit easier, as this affords you the ability to tie a wide variety of hooks.

Also press down on the hook to see if it moves while in the jaws. Your hook should remain firmly in place and if you must re-tighten then this likely means there will be issues later.

This is by no means a complete and total guide but simply a starting off point.  

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