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Lateral view of a Female Hexagenia limbata (Ephemeridae) (Hex) Mayfly Dun from the Namekagon River in Wisconsin
Hex Mayflies
Hexagenia limbata

The famous nocturnal Hex hatch of the Midwest (and a few other lucky locations) stirs to the surface mythically large brown trout that only touch streamers for the rest of the year.

Lateral view of a Onocosmoecus (Limnephilidae) (Great Late-Summer Sedge) Caddisfly Larva from the Yakima River in Washington
This specimen keys pretty easily to Onocosmoecus, and it closely resembles a specimen from Alaska which caddis expert Dave Ruiter recognized as this genus. As with that specimen, the only species in the genus documented in this area is Onocosmoecus unicolor, but Dave suggested for that specimen that there might be multiple not-yet-distinguished species under the unicolor umbrella and it would be best to stick with the genus-level ID. I'm doing the same for this one.
27" brown trout, my largest ever. It was the sub-dominant fish in its pool. After this, I hooked the bigger one, but I couldn't land it.
Troutnut is a project started in 2003 by salmonid ecologist Jason "Troutnut" Neuswanger to help anglers and fly tyers unabashedly embrace the entomological side of the sport. Learn more about Troutnut or support the project for an enhanced experience here.

Kschaefer3
Kschaefer3's profile picture
St. Paul, MN

Posts: 376
Kschaefer3 on Oct 8, 2013October 8th, 2013, 7:32 am EDT
With trout season closed (for the most part) in my area, I will be hitting the vise more frequently. I have tied for the last year and a half on a really cheap vise from Cabela's. It has, and still does, serve it's purpose. I'm starting to get to the point where I would like a nicer, rotary style, vise though.

Does anyone have any suggestions?

I have been looking at a couple models of Dyna-King. I like that the jaw will hold size 8/0-22 hooks. I fish trout and musky, so that large of a range is very nice. Anything I should keep in mind when buying a vise? I am fine spending more money if it means I will have a vise that will last me the rest of my life.
Al514
Al514's profile picture
Central New York

Posts: 142
Al514 on Oct 8, 2013October 8th, 2013, 8:18 am EDT
I have a Peak Rotary Vise. Type it into Google or Cabela's - great value for the $. I think it is about $150, and does everything I want it to. 0 complaints, and there are a lot of accessories you can get.

Advice on a vise (heh)....I always try and get whatever I want to buy in my hands first before I actually make the purchase. See what you local shop has and maybe go from there?

Sayfu
Posts: 560
Sayfu on Oct 8, 2013October 8th, 2013, 9:02 am EDT
You lucky devil. You get my two bits worth!! I've tied for 40 yrs now, have made lots of bad decisions during that time, but not on a fly tying vice! I purchased a Regal Clamp vice, and also have a pedestal for it, but seldom use the pedestal....I always tie in my fly tying room. And I have never regretted it. The lever open, and shut jaws that are spring loaded have tied 1/0's to #22's on the standard head provided. No adjustments needed. I've taken my inaccurate survey over the years, viewed the mag pics of flies tied, and the vice used, and a high percentage of have been tied on Regal. One caution needs to be learned, and no problems. Make sure when you place the hook in the vice so that the vice is not closing on just a small portion of the hook steel, or it can spit the hook, and can chip the finish on the vice. The steel is of top quality made by an Engineering Co. And a Regal is half the price of many recommended vices that need to be adjusted for the various hook sizes.
TNEAL
GRAYLING. MICHIGAN

Posts: 278
TNEAL on Oct 8, 2013October 8th, 2013, 9:31 am EDT
Kudos to the Regal. I tied over 100,000 flies on one and sold it to a friend who needed a good vice. I'm now using a Regal. Simple, strong, and durable. A drop of oil every six months or so is about all the maintenance they need.


Tim
Oldredbarn
Oldredbarn's profile picture
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Oct 8, 2013October 8th, 2013, 8:26 pm EDT
I have a Dyna-King Pro and it works just fine.

I had a Thompson :) before that...The guy who taught me to tie used to be a professional tyer and sold flies to Cal Gates Sr at Gates' Au Sable Lodge and did it all on a Thompson A! He finally broke down a few years back and bought a HMH...Basically a fancy Thompson.

If Tim Neal says that the Regal is his vice of choice it is worth considering...He and his pal JR have been responsible for 70% of the flies the trout of the Au Sable & Manistee have seen for more decades than the three of us would like to admit. :)

I have sat with Tim's buddy JR at tying shows...He has a "bobbin" that just looks like the round spring on those old hand squeeze things folks would squeeze to strengthen their hands...No tube...Basically ties with thread going through thumb and forefinger...You would just have to see it. He wears an old style denim shop apron that has a Spike's Bar ad on the front and by the end of the day is so covered in deer hair you can no longer read whats on it. I think he ties in his sleep! He can tell you stories, looking you in the eyes as he does so, and crank out a dozen or two without looking down at the vice...:) He is an old barber and has some system where he can remove the hair from the hide and it is so straight he doesn't have to use a stacker...He is a treat and a Michigan treasure!

How's that Tim? :)

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
TNEAL
GRAYLING. MICHIGAN

Posts: 278
TNEAL on Oct 9, 2013October 9th, 2013, 4:57 am EDT
Sounds like someone I know..... I started out with a Thompson A as well... did a fair amount of commercial tying with it.. found the Regal and that was that.


Tim
Crepuscular
Crepuscular's profile picture
Boiling Springs, PA

Posts: 920
Crepuscular on Oct 9, 2013October 9th, 2013, 5:54 am EDT
Well it looks like I may be going against the grain here, but I have tied on a Renzetti traveler for pretty much all of the last 20 years. It has been a really dependable vice. You do have to replace the O-ring every couple years but that's about it. Also there are a couple different things about the renzetti pedestal vices that I really like first is the ability to replace the standard stem with either an extention or longer stem to aid in comfort. The vice I use is obviously an older one and it has held up extremely well and I have tied flies fom #30 to 9/0. So that kind of speakes to it's versitility. I am considering upgrading to the master here shortly...not for any good reason other than I want one. So Kyle, if you are going to be tying big stuff, you may want to consider the Renzetti, a couple of the saltwater tyers that I know (Clouser, Popovics, oh and this guy named Kreh) all use Renzetti. And since I grew up about 10 minutes from Clousers shop that's what I saw those guys tying on so that's the direction I went. So I can't say anything about other vises.

That being said, I have never heard anyone who owns a regal to do anything but sing it's praises. I know several pro tiers and they either have a Regal or a Renzetti. You don't have to be a pro tier to appreciate the dependabilty and long-lasting quality of a good vice.
Sayfu
Posts: 560
Sayfu on Oct 9, 2013October 9th, 2013, 6:28 am EDT
Here's one for ya. I tied flies commercially on a Thompson "F" vice.....the lever open, and shut big, ugly jawed vice. And sold over 100,000 units tying on that vice. Steelhead leader tied yarn flies size #1's - # 2/0 hooks)...Nothin faster for tying on those big hooks, and I still have the vice, and use it today. And a word of caution on using pedestal vices, and heavy handed big size thread, and hooks. A big hook in the vice can be pulled into your lap rather easily, and I've been there, done that.
Crepuscular
Crepuscular's profile picture
Boiling Springs, PA

Posts: 920
Crepuscular on Oct 9, 2013October 9th, 2013, 7:01 am EDT
And a word of caution on using pedestal vices, and heavy handed big size thread, and hooks. A big hook in the vice can be pulled into your lap rather easily, and I've been there, done that.


Not saying it can't happen but after tying thousands of saltwater patterns on my Renzetti, I have never had that happen. But I dont use "heavy" thread. Most of my saltwater stuff is tied with clear mono thread. Also even though I'm not very good at it, I have spun more than a few deerhair and wool flies and never had that happen when I've cranked down on the thread. The thread has always broken or the hook bent first. I suppose the biggest I have used is 3/0 Uni.
Kschaefer3
Kschaefer3's profile picture
St. Paul, MN

Posts: 376
Kschaefer3 on Oct 9, 2013October 9th, 2013, 7:48 am EDT
Thank you all for the advice. I have much to think about. Regal had not been on my radar, but certainly is now. From what I can gather here, and by asking others, Regal are a top choice among professionals. My only concern is with the range of hooks on the Regal. I currently use hooks between size 10 and 6/0. I see myself learning to tie dries next, eventually learning some very small patterns. I would rather get a vise now, that will cover all my tying endeavors in the future. I do like the fact that they are a clamp vise though. It seems a very simple and effective way to hold a hook.

Crepuscular - I am very interested in the Renzetti, especially with that kind of versatility. Are you tying on the same jaws that the new Renzetti vises come with? They say they are rated for size 28 up to 4/0, but I could see that being stretched a little bigger if need be. I have big clumsy hands, so I doubt I'll ever go smaller than 28.
Crepuscular
Crepuscular's profile picture
Boiling Springs, PA

Posts: 920
Crepuscular on Oct 9, 2013October 9th, 2013, 8:40 am EDT

Crepuscular - I am very interested in the Renzetti, especially with that kind of versatility. Are you tying on the same jaws that the new Renzetti vises come with? They say they are rated for size 28 up to 4/0, but I could see that being stretched a little bigger if need be. I have big clumsy hands, so I doubt I'll ever go smaller than 28.



I'm pretty sure the one that I have has the same jaws as the current Traveler 2200 and 2000 series.
Entoman
Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Oct 9, 2013October 9th, 2013, 1:40 pm EDT
Renzetti, Dyna-King, HMH and a few others are all great vises. Design wise, none of them beat the Regal, IMO. No adjustments necessary, super quick (though it takes a little hand strength when tying on large hooks), ergonomically superior (at least for me), will work with any size hook and its black mat finish is easy on the eyes. It will also tie rotary after a fashion, though that's a feature I seldom use on any vise other than to look at a fly from different angles. Growing up with the old Thompsons, I prefer a long sloped barrel to hang onto with my left hand, which may also explain my love of the Regal. The handle doubles as a material catch as well.

Now for "the rest of the story." I own two of them that were retired a few years ago. I've tied thousands and thousands of flies with them without complaint until that time. Then I got lazy and started to use them for knocking out tiny flies. I was so used to the vise that I found I was tying them faster with less hassle than on the Dyna-King I'd always used for the tiny buggers. Result? I broke the vise.:( Thinking it a fluke, I broke out the second one and after awhile the same result occurred.:(:( I wish they were tempered better and/or made from tool steel instead of cast? Bottom line? If you intend on tying a lot of flies smaller than size 18...

Vise #1
< />

Vise #2
< />
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
Gutcutter
Gutcutter's profile picture
Pennsylvania

Posts: 470
Gutcutter on Oct 9, 2013October 9th, 2013, 2:47 pm EDT
for what it's worth...
And no judgement please. Remember, I didn't get married until I was forty, and I've been tying longer than most of you, but not nearly as long as some of you.
I own a Renzetti Traveller and I love it.
I own a Dyna-King Barracuda Jr (with the standard jaw and a midge jaw) and I love it.
I own 2 Regals (a long story) - one with a standard head, and one with the stainless steel head. And I love them both.
I own a Danvise and never use it anymore (it was my first rotary vise).
And I own 2 Thompson that I learned to tie with, and they now gather dust.

Just so you think I may be embellishing:


So, I know a thing or two about the pros and cons of various vises.

Does anyone have any suggestions?


Kyle - my suggestion - you want a Dyna-King. And, buy the midge jaw, too.

None of the other vises will hold saltwater hooks larger than 2/0 as well. And although the Regal and Renzetti are better vises for trout flies, the Dyna-King (with the midge jaw) does a more than adequate job. I have not experienced the same steel fracturing that Kurt describes and depicted, but then again, I don't use it for small trout flies anymore.
The Thompson, although still a great vise, is not as good as the other three for either saltwater or trout flies.
The Danvise is nothing compared to any of the rest.
I tie all of my trout flies on the Regal with the stainless jaw.
I tie tarpon and muskie flies on the Dyna-King.
I tie smaller streamers and crab flies on the Regal standard jaw.

I'm keeping the Thompsons so I can to teach my boys to tie the way I learned.
All men who fish may in turn be divided into two parts: those who fish for trout and those who don't. Trout fishermen are a race apart: they are a dedicated crew- indolent, improvident, and quietly mad.

-Robert Traver, Trout Madness
Oldredbarn
Oldredbarn's profile picture
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Oct 9, 2013October 9th, 2013, 2:58 pm EDT
I have watched a lot of guys tie with the Renzetti. Rusty created a winder that looks like a pencil sharping crank that attached to his and in some applications they could really "crank" them out...I guess that pun was intended. I also like the ability to view the fly easily from any angle and the Rensetti sure does that...It may be a matter of just getting used to some tool and sticking with it...I was quite the pool player in my youth and joked that there wasn't anything quite as fun as bringing down some poser with a fancy cue...Using nothing more than a warped house stick! ;)

Moral of the story...If you can tie it probably doesn't matter much what you use.

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
Gutcutter
Gutcutter's profile picture
Pennsylvania

Posts: 470
Gutcutter on Oct 9, 2013October 9th, 2013, 3:35 pm EDT
Moral of the story...If you can tie it probably doesn't matter much what you use.

Yes, you're absolutely correct. I can field dress a whitetail with a kitchen knife, but I'd rather use my Schrade.
All men who fish may in turn be divided into two parts: those who fish for trout and those who don't. Trout fishermen are a race apart: they are a dedicated crew- indolent, improvident, and quietly mad.

-Robert Traver, Trout Madness
Oldredbarn
Oldredbarn's profile picture
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Oldredbarn on Oct 9, 2013October 9th, 2013, 7:10 pm EDT
Hey Eric...You and I and Bruce know about some of Tony's "vices", but we didn't know he was hoarding the damn things!!! Wow! :)

I got married once too young and then again in my late 30's...We all have our vices, but finding someone that will put up with them, even when you have 5 or 6 lying around, now that's priceless. ;)

Now Eric you be good to that woman of yours...She not only puts up with you, but Tony and I as well when we come roaring down out of the mountains in the middle of the night looking for beers and fish rising to Grannoms! :)

Spence

Tony...You are right sir...Good tools and the right materials makes for ease in tying. Sorry about your Pirates.
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
Entoman
Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Oct 9, 2013October 9th, 2013, 9:04 pm EDT
Tony -

You're a man after my own heart... My next one is a LAW Bench Vise.

Kyle - The big problem with most true rotary vices is comfort (the straight line configuration is awkward for most tying) and lack of working room behind the hook - especially those with short jaw assemblies. IMO, if the bulk of the flies you tie are trout flies, forget about 'em - unless you tie Woolly Buggers or Saltwater flies by the gross...
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
TNEAL
GRAYLING. MICHIGAN

Posts: 278
TNEAL on Oct 10, 2013October 10th, 2013, 3:40 am EDT
I think you're right , Spence... it may just boil down to the best fit per person.... by the way, I used to do the pool thing with a mop handle.. never lost...


Tim
Crepuscular
Crepuscular's profile picture
Boiling Springs, PA

Posts: 920
Crepuscular on Oct 10, 2013October 10th, 2013, 4:16 am EDT


Now Eric you be good to that woman of yours...She not only puts up with you, but Tony and I as well when we come roaring down out of the mountains in the middle of the night looking for beers and fish rising to Grannoms! :)

Spence


Yeah I know Spence, that's why I deleted my posts. Sometimes I forget that not everyone knows that I'm one sarcastic a-hole. And that I would lay down my life for my family. She tolerates a lot of my nonsense, especially of the fishing kind! Not to mention the constant source of aggravation two bird dogs who aren't happy unless they've run 15 miles cause her... :)
Kschaefer3
Kschaefer3's profile picture
St. Paul, MN

Posts: 376
Kschaefer3 on Oct 10, 2013October 10th, 2013, 5:48 am EDT
Kurt - The only trout flies I can/do tie are streamers. I palmer lots of marabou and schlappen, so the rotary function would be nice.

Tony - Holy hell man, that's a lot of vises. Maybe I shouldn't be as concerned with getting one single vise to have the rest of my life. Maybe I'll end up with a whole slew of them. I'm not married and don't foresee that happening soon, so at least there is a chance.

What about the Renzetti and the Regal make them better for trout flies in your opinion?

Moral of the story...If you can tie it probably doesn't matter much what you use.
Depends on what you definition of "can" is. I can produce a hook with material wrapped around it that will catch the occasional fish. By no means am I good, or fast, or confident in my tying, but I also don't see myself stopping ever. I don't get the same enjoyment out of fishing flies I didn't tie.

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