Fly tying is an art form that requires precision, technical knowledge, and skill. While most people will leave the fly tying to professionals, you may be curious to expand your fly fishing knowledge and learn to tie your own. But to successfully tie a fly, you will need the best fly tying vise to hold your hook.
A top rated fly vise should be easy to use and have the stability to become your all-in-one workstation. But not all fly vises are made the same and differences in design means that you’ll need to spend more time to find a quality fly tying vise for beginners.
We want to help you in your search and provide you with all the information you need to find the best fly vise. Our list of the eight best fly tying vises and the detailed buying guide will help you get a head start on your search and answer any questions you may have so that you can focus on learning how to successfully tie your flies.
How To Choose A Fly Tying Vise – Buying Guide
Rotary vs. Non-Rotary Vises
A top rated fly vise may have a few different designs with rotary and non-rotary being the top two choices. The difference between a rotary and non-rotary vise is how the jaws move or don’t move. A rotary device means that the jaws do move, which can reposition your hook as you work, and a non-rotary device would not move at all.
But it’s important to consider your skill level too. If you’re just starting out learning how to tie hooks, then having a rotary feature may not be necessary because you won’t be tying an elaborate design with wire or ribbing. More skilled fishermen will use a rotary fly tying vise because they greatly benefit from the variety of angles that the 360 degrees of motion provides them. Most experts, for that reason, will only use a rotary design and will not invest in a non-rotary device.
Price may be another concern of yours and it’s an important consideration if you are trying to stay on budget. A cheap fly tying vise will be non-rotary because it requires less parts and construction to move. Many beginners may be hesitant to make a large investment, which makes a non-rotary design a better option.
But if you find that you love tying your flies for trout, you may want to make a bigger investment and enjoy the benefit of a rotary fly tying vise. While you can easily find a non-rotary fly tying vise under 100 dollars, you’ll be more likely to spend more with a rotary design. But there some brands that have a fly tying vise for under 200 dollars.
C-Clamp vs. Pedestal Vise
Another choice in design that you’ll have to make is the base design of the vise. The best fly vise will always be stable, but some vises have a C-clamp and others a pedestal base. The C-clamp design is better if you have a permanent workstation or table that you like to tie your flies. This is because the clamp will easily attach to any sturdy or solid surface and can be kept in place.
But if you like to tie your flies on the go or travel with your top rated fly vise, then having a pedestal base would be better. The pedestal will provide you with a mini workstation anywhere you go, which means that you could easily tie in the best fly fishing destinations in the world. For some fishermen, the ability to always have a workstation is a better choice.
While both designs are portable, most people would consider the pedestal base to be more portable because it provides you a workspace too. You don’t have to always rely on having a table at the ready. But you may also find a design that has a pedestal base and provides you with a C-clamp too. These hybrid designs are another great option if you want the security of a C-clamp to really lock your vise in place, while also being able to have a built-in workstation area.
The best fly tying vises will always be made with quality materials that are durable, strong, and resilient. Most fly tying vises will be made out of a heavy metal like stainless steel. Stainless steel is a great material option because it has the strength to be long lasting and resistant to damage, while also being corrosion free. For a saltwater fly tying vise, you should only look at stainless steel or a corrosion free metal because if you ever tie on location, your vise will be less likely to be damaged by salt water.
But your decision on material may also be affected by your budget. Metal will be more expensive with stainless steel being the most expensive. You won’t really see a top rated fly vise made of plastic because you need the finesse and weight of metal, but you may be able to find a more affordable option by looking at the type of metal used.
As we said, stainless steel is expensive. But aluminum is much more affordable. Sometimes you’ll be able to find a fly tying vise under 100 dollars that is a combination of aluminum and stainless steel. The materials used should be listed in the product specifications. If you have any worries about the quality of materials or how they hold up after being used, fly tying vise reviews are a great resource to answer those questions.
The best fly tying vises will have durable jaws that expertly and precisely hold your hook in position as you work. But there are fixed and interchangeable jaws. Fixed jaws will only be able to hold a certain sized hook, which limits what types of hooks you tie based on the species of fish your hunting for and the location where you are fishing. A saltwater fly tying vise with fixed jaws would be able to only hold larger hooks compared to a vise designed for freshwater fishing.
Interchangeable jaws have much more versatility because they can hold hooks of various sizes. This means that you can use smaller hooks that you might take for river fishing or tie saltwater hooks that have more weight for heavier fish. As you may suspect, interchangeable jaws will be more expensive, so you’ll have to consider whether you need their benefits and if it’s worth the additional cost.
As we discussed above, there are two different base styles – C-clamp and pedestal. But there are a few more differences in terms of the base material and overall design. Three traditional types of bases are the bronze pocket, bronze traditional, and aluminum pocket base.
A bronze pocket base will be smaller in size but extremely tough. It is easier to carry around because of its slimmer design.
A bronze traditional base will be larger and thicker, which means less portability but more stability.
An aluminum pocket base will be small but lightweight, which makes it great for traveling. With a cheaper price, they are also more affordable and best used with smaller sized hooks.
While each base has its pros and cons, you should remember that the general rule is the larger the base size, the more stable your vise will be.
The Bobbin Cradle
The bobbin cradle is a feature that allows you to conveniently rest your bobbin while you tie. The best fly vise will have a bobbin cradle built into its design, but others may lack the feature. If your cheap fly tying vise does not have a bobbin cradle, you may be able to make a separate purchase and find an inexpensive one to add to your setup. Or you can try to make your own.
But it is important to have a bobbin cradle and most fishermen will tell you that it’s a necessary feature. So, if you’re trying to determine your budget, it’s always better to spend a little more and purchase a design with a bobbin cradle, if you can.
As you are searching for a top rated fly vise, you’ll find that there are a lot of different styles of vises. Some styles will be easier to use and other more difficult. You may find that one style suits your needs better than the other. While it can be hard to determine the style if you’re new to tying, you may want to read a few fly tying vise reviews to help decide on which style to choose. Ultimately, the style may not be as important as other feature considerations, but you still want to ensure that you are comfortable when using your vise.
Q: Why Do I Need A Fly Tying Vise?
A fly tying vise will help you be more comfortable, efficient, and precise when you are tying flies. If you try to imagine holding a hook in one hand while tying material around said hook with the other, it seems like a difficult task and that’s because it is.
The best fly vise will take away the stress and ensure that you have a mechanism to safely hold your hook while you tie. This means that you have two hands free to craft your masterpiece and aren’t struggling to manage or maneuver the hook while you tie.
Q: How To Use A Fly Tying Vise?
Adjustments. A big part of using a fly tying vise is finding the right adjustments for your comfort and for your fishing hook. You will firstly have to adjust your fly tying vise so that you can use it at a comfortable angle and height while sitting at your workstation. Next, you’ll have to use the screw piece on the jaws to loosen and tighten them around your hook. Once, the hook is in place, you can begin tying.
For a rotary fly tying vise, you’ll have the option to adjust while you work by changing the angle of your hook. This should also be easy to use and only takes a few seconds to loosen and tighten the mechanism that rotates the vise. If you are having trouble using your vise, you may want to check the user manual or consider reading fishing books for extra assistance.
Q: How Do You Thread A Fly Tying Bobbin?
The bobbin is what holds your tie and it may have a tube-like design that holds your thread into place as you tie. The tube can be difficult to thread, but a few tricks that may make the task easier is to use wax to stiffen your thread and ensure that the tube is clear of any obstructions before you begin to thread.
As you thread, you should also only try to push small sections of thread through at a time, which will help you keep better control and have a higher chance of successfully threading your bobbin.
Q: What Does CDC Stand For In Fly Tying?
CDC is “Cul de Cunard”, which is French and translates to “duck bottom”. The CDC. Is a specific type of feather that is indeed taken from a duck’s bottom or preen gland. The feathers are then tied to a hook to make the fly more attractive to fish. The feathers can be dyed in various colors and are preferred because of their excellent water resistance and buoyancy. The feathers are also great at trapping air, which allows them to effortlessly float on top of the water, which is essential for fly fishermen.
Globo Surf Overview
Whether you’re looking into learning how to tie or you’re experience and want a new setup, a top rated fly vise can help you make perfect flies. The best fly tying vise will be stable, functional, and durable to ensure that you have everything you need to begin tying. With a clean and organized workstation, you can ensure that you’ll always have high quality flies that help you catch all the prize winning fish.
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Do you own one of the fly tying vises that made it onto our list? Let us know which fly tying vise your favorite is in the comments section below.