Save yourself aggrevation down the road and look into either the Renzetti or Dyna King vises. They are the best rotary vises on the market, period. The Renzetti Saltwater Traveler vise is an excellent value for under $200.00.
I have gone through many vises in the 40 years I have been tying flies. Thompson (Models A and 360), , Herter's (Model 9), Xuron (went through a standard and a rotary of this one), Regal, Universal Vise (they used to make a very nice all aluminum rotary in the 60's, unfortunately, the cam levers never held up and when you had someone make a new one for you it was invariably steel and it ruined the jaws at the cam surface), and several Japanese and Indian copies of various vises (bought when I was in grades 7-12 because I thought they were a good buy).
I wore everyone of these Manufacturer's vises out. Jaws sprung on big hooks, jaws chipped (Regal), cam lever wore out or broke (Thompson, Herter's, Universal Vise), jaws grooved (Xuron), vise collets wore out and wouldn't let the jaws be tightened sufficiently (Thompson, Herter's), rotary feature developed too much play after a few years of use (Thompson 360), Jaws bent (Japanese and Indian copies, and cam lever broke (Xuron).
I use a Dyna King Baracuda (have been for the last 5 or 6 years). I rate the Renzetti and Dyna King vises as the best in the business, they are so well built and both do as advertised year after year. In retrospect, I should have bought a Renzetti back in the early to mid 70's when they were first produced. I could have bought a Renzetti 300 then for $69.00 (they are about $400.00 now) direct from the manufacturer (heck I could have driven to the manufacturer to pick it up because I only lived 1 1/2 hours away from where they were being made in Pennsylvania at the time) It would have saved my a lot of money, time, and aggrevation.
The EZ Vise is not made out of the same long lasting materials as the Renzetti and Dyna King. Buy a Renzetti or Dyna King and you will never need to buy a vise again in your lifetime, nor will you need to replace parts for it wither.
After having gone trough a lot of crappy vices trough the years Dick Talleur (we once worked together on the Kola) set me up with a Renzetti Traveller. Then my wonderful friends pooled up to buy me a Master for my 40th birthday in 1997.
The Master of course is absolutly wonderful and is great when "spinning" bodies on large tubeflies.
Still it is the little Traveller that I spend most time working on. It is so simple and yet fool proof. If I were to buy one vice, on my relatively limited budget, it would be the upgraded "Saltwater Traveller", as Flytyer suggests. I think one would be happy for decades after that purchase.
The EZ-Rotary Vice is a good little vise for tying the smaller trout flies for those who tie a few times a month. I may buy one for the damn small flies needed for Putah Creek (size 18 to 22).
The EZ-Rotary Vice will not hold up nor work well for the bigger flies.
My son has used the Baracuda for about several years to tie flies for Stripers in the Kali Delta and for his trips to Mexico. He is an engineer and demands products that are well built, perform well, can produce the same quality each time it is used and holds up well with hard use and minimal care. The Baracuda does that.
After he got his Baracuda he gave his Renzetti Traveller to me. At first I kept it in the back of my Bronco to tie a fly that I didn't have or ran out of while fishing. It has now replaced my Regal with chips all over its jaws from tying steelhead salmon flies. This Renzetti Traveller lasted my son for years and now me for years. It still is in great shape and makes tying flies a lot easier than the Regal.
There is a set of midge jaws available for the Baracuda that makes tying slies smaller than size 10 very enjoyable. In fact, they tie to as small as you would ever want to tie a fly with ease and no slippage. Lke your son, I demand superb engineering, manufacturing and finish in the tools I buy for tying. Anything less and they don't hold up, don't perform well, or don't do the job properly.
This is why I recommend Renzetti and Dyna King to anyone who asks. Do you need full rotary, no; however, if you need to turn a fly over, or run yarn, etc, up a body quickly with control, a rotary can't be beat. As you and Per said, the Renaetti Traveler will last the average tyer a lifetime.
The Master by Renzetti and the Baracuda by Dyna King are in my considered opinion the best vises available bar none.
I'm one of those fly tying guys who doesn't really love it all that much. I love it even less when we get to the smaller flies. So about twice a year, I force my self to tie the smaller flies. The full rotary vises make it easier for me with these tiny flies.
My home waters, Putah Creek has some wonderful big trout that will seldom strike something bigger than a size 18.
The Rotary Vises enable my old fingers to quickly wrap a size 20 to 22 nymph with copper wire and a little dubbing at a reasonable cost re the vise. This does not require the great Barracuda or the equivalent in the Renzettis.
My portable Renzentti is a great vice until I get to trying spin the stuff on these small flies.
A friend loaned me his expensive full rotary and it worked well with these small flies. But. I don't need the expensive rotary. So I will go for the lower priced full rotary.
My Renzettti will stay around as long as I stay around for the bigger flies and to match the hatch by a stream.
I have 3 vices: 1904's Hardy, indian copy of Regal and Renzetti Travel. Renzetti is really amazing when I tie trout flies of small size, or small size hairwinged salmon flies. But this year I fish for salmon with fully dressed classic flies. I wonder that the best vice for such flies is my own hands! It's really easy to set up a complex built wing holdig a hook in fingers. There are two disadvantages: first, when you use a hook smaller than size 6 and when you need to make a body with dubbing...
That was a pretty fly you displayed! Is it of your make? If so I lift my hat up towards the Northern Light!! Very neat, isn't it an Yellow Eagle?
Knowing how tricky it is for our guides (almost all of which, as you know, live in the Murmansk area) to find good tying material I must you say you are well connected getting all the bustard etc.
As for using your hands as a vice this is something my acquaintance Sven-Olof Hård swears by. His nickname in my circles is "Mr. Hardy", and this is well deserved at that. Sven-Olof used to run in and out, like a son, in the House of Hardy's old fly tying work shop and has picked the trade up from some of the old masters - he started in the -70's with fully dressed flies. (Eventually he bought a good deal of their material stock). Nowadays he ties almost exclusively for collectors and gets very good prices (several 100$) for his master pieces.
He uses nothing but his bare hands and feels that this gives him a much better control over both material and tension of the thread. I have studied him closely, and the trick of the trade appears to be closely linked to liberal amounts of cobbler's wax!!
I think he hosted a trip or two to the Pana (a Varzuga tributary) this past summer. Do you know of him? Otherwise I will e-mail you his web page if you want to look further.
You must have a full winter by know?
All the best,
PS. I still swim a large (2/0 - 6/0) fully dressed Mar Lodge on occasions, nothing looks sexier in the water on an early and cold river...DS
PPS. Regarding the Umba news you mentioned: I now have it 100% confirmed that LOOP move shop from there to the middle Ponoi, starting from 2003.DS
Beautiful fly. Do you fish them as I do? I have found that a Purple Emperor, Kate, Black Dog, Blue Baron, Chatterer, and Bluebell are terrific winter steellhead flies. The only things I don't like about tying in the hand is you must double hackle before tying it in, dubbing is a pain (but doable), and you lose the ability to use your thumb and at least one finger of your left hand.
Yes, this season I've fished only with featherwinged flies. Its a greater pleasure to tie the classics then to fish for me. I don't buy the flies and I don't sell it. Russian salmon fishermen couldn't believe that the fly like this can lure a fish at all!
This pattern called Floodtide, I've slightly modify it to suite a fishing conditions on Varzuga this spring. But a real hit be a Green Highlander on small sizes (2 to 8) slightly simplified.
You're right - it's a headache to obtain a proper materials - no matter what country you live. I get a most rare feathers such as bustard in Denmark, some from England, some from US. But I know some hunters who give me a lot of teal, pintail and mallard (full skins) of highest quality. Unfortunately, it's a bad idea to replace such materials as bustard, florican, indian crow, macaw and eagle when you tie a fly for fishing, not for framing: fly don't work properly. A little example - a real chinnamon turkey feathers are much softer then the other turkey feathers of the same size (I don't really know but I think it's a different species).
Tying flies without additional instruments helps to feel the material and thread - I saw many scandinavian and british videos where flytyers use fingers to hold a thread tying a hairwinged flies.
When I tie plenty of similar flies for fishing, I combine "no vice" and "vice" technique - for example, I put a hook in a vice to create a dubbed body. In this case, I prefer to use a Regal vice - it's much easier and faster to put a hook in or take out of.
I'm very interesting of any information about a classics in the web - it's not so easy (and very expensive) to buy some books on this theme (a books on tying materials costs about $1000).
Per, I hope one day we met on Kola Peninsula! It's a big honour for me. And may be next summer I go to fish to Norway.
I send one more photo of a fly, this time a Golden ranger, I've cathed 3 salmon on it this spring, and the fly loose its topping ...
I have found the Foodtide to be a very good winter steelhead fly in large sizes. And materials are a pain to find. You are right about the cinamon turkey being softer than than white or brown turkey.
I also like to fish the Silver Blue, Blue Charm, Alder, Kelson Sun Fly (red), March Brown, Jeanie, Jocko, and Night Hawk low water featherwings during summer/fall low water conditions for summer steelhead.
I also have friends who look at me suspiciously when I tie a featherwing on a sintip during the winter.
March Brown is a really allround fly! I've catched some browns, graylings, perches and even a ve-e-e-e-e-e-ry little northern pike (about 1/4 lb) . But I've never fished for salmon in such conditions requires a sober coloured flies. Unfortunately we have no steelhead in Russia, except the Far East (I Live in Moscow, approximately 5000 miles from there), but the price for such fishing trip comares with one on Alaska or Argentina, i. e. several kilobucks. So, I "replace" steelhead with atlantic salmon...
I like a Bluebell fly, I have it framed on the wall: it's first fully dressed fly that I've tied.
I think a featherwinged flies are very stable on a very turbulent current, on singles or doubles, unlike a hairwinged flies especially on doubles.
About Floodtide: Marvin Nolte says me to replace an eagle feather (that i couldn't obtain anyway) with marabou blood feathers. It's very good for fly's mobility in the water but it's a "fly for one take" - maybe, 3-4 herls rest after only one fish.
If you are interesting about a rare materials - I will send you a link to danish website where you can order some feathers.
I have always wanted a good vise. I had an old thompson for years. Then a top of line cabela's rotary (which wasn't much better then the thompson lol). I have always wanted a really nice vise. I do so much tying, that rotaries really help me out. I finally broke down and had enough incentive money built up on my work card that I was able to buy a Griffin Odyssey. It was definitely a step up for me, but nothing to what I was to find out about. Luckily, I didn't pay for it, UPS did through my sales lead incentive program. LOL
Well, I had a chance to buy a dynaking awhile back. Guy never did come through about selling it. Then I got word from Fly Tyer above about them. I've tried the Renzettis before, but I had heard so many good things about the barracuda I dove in when I had the extra cash. Luckily, I was able to get the proffesional/commercial fly tyer's discount which brought the price well down. After using the barracuda the last week, I can't believe how much my tying has eased up. I think now I'll have to go wrestle fly tyer down to have him show me how to tie up the intriquite feather wing salmon flies. LOL. One of these days I'll learn to tie them effectively. I'm getting there, but have found learning on one's own isn't as easy as a mentor. Now, have me tie a hairwing and I'm set. LOL
But I will agree, a good vise is hard to beat. For those who say "It only holds a hook, so why spend the money", well they never have used a good vise. I can't believe the holding power of the barracuda, and I just love the way it spins. So smooth and quick. I thought a rotary was a rotary. Well, my Griffin is pretty damned good for the money, but it's not a barracuda. I would have to say, if you have the money, buy the best you can afford.
I warned you about what happens when you get a top quality rotary vise. Next you'll have the start buying the cheaper things like blue eared pheasant skins, jungle cock, kingfisher (African Roller is much better for chaterrer), and jay wings. Then you get to look for the really cool (read expensive) stuff like bustard, argus secondary or tertiary wing, impeyan pheasant, etc.
Be forewarned, its addictive to have a really good vise.
Oh, almost forgot, the quality of the flies improves as well simply because of having a quality vise to hold the hook.
On a serious note, anyone considering buying a vise should buy the best vise s/he can afford, and the two best lines of vises now on the market are the Renzetti and Dyna King. I prefer the top of the line Dyna King Baracuda, or Renzetti 400 or Mastery vises. buy one, and you will never regret it.
It is a very well-made vise. However, it has limited hand/material clearance behing the jaws, the jaws are not adjustable to the centerline which causes the hook to wobble as it spins, it is difficult to get the jaws to stop and remain stopped at other than 180%, and it requires learning a new technique that is only conducive to putting the body on the fly. Also, the jaws don't hold up as well as Renzetti and Dyna King, and you must chnage jaws to tie size 6 flies or larger, and change again when you go to size 8 and smaller. Then it also doesn't do very well with hooks smaller than 16 either.
In short, it lacks the versatility of the Renzettis and Dyna King Baracuda. And it costs just as much as them.
I've had the Nor-Vise for a good 6 years or so now and at time I love it and at times I hate it.
It does some things great but does most others so-so. And since I never bought the automatic bobbines I was never able to fully utilize the capabilities of the vise.
It has no problem tying larger flies but flytyer is correct...the vise has very little hand/finger and material clearance which can make tying smaller flies a pain in the ass and working near the butt end of a hook difficult as well.
Do not think I will ever sell the vise as it has alot of sentimental value but one of these days I will buy a Barracuda...
I just got a Barrcuda for my birthday, and it is nice. However I don't know yet if it is tht much better than my Renzetti Traveler that I have had for 5 or more years.
The jaws on the Traveler are so light that they can be balanced by making sure that the handle is set at 180 degrees to the jaws. The Barracude requires adjusting a screw. Although there is plenty of room to get your hands all over the fly on both machines, the Traveler is smaller and gives more room.
I bought the Barrcuda because my Traveler is just about worn out after tying literally more than a thousand flies a year. I did upgrade to the cam jaws, but all of the other settings are continuously changing. Most importantly I can't keep the vice from turning in the base.
I selected the Barracuda after talking to the people in both companies( Renzetti and Dyna King). The people at Dyna King were so much more pleasant and helpfull, I decided to go with their vice. Renzetti never answered my calls!
Now my Barracuda is going to stay at my tying station, and the Traveler is going to stay in my traveling kit
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