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NY, NJ, CT, RI Edition
February 01, 2009
Volume 20 � Number 2

COVER PAGE    CONTENTS    FEATURES    TOOLS FOR GETTING STARTED IN FLY TYING - P...

Tools For Getting Started In Fly Tying - Part I
by Robert Banfelder


(from left to right) Ott-Lite & fly tying vises; i.e., my new Dyna-King Supreme-my old Renzetti Traveler-my first non-rotary style Thompson.

This article will undoubtedly save you a considerable amount of time and money in shopping for and selecting the necessary tools that you will need in order to get started in the relaxing and rewarding hobby of fly tying. Also, the information provided will help clear away the cobwebs and confusion surrounding a seemingly arcane cloud, shedding the light of knowledge in areas that will aid you in making an informed decision concerning the purchasing of these products. Guaranteed.

VISES

The first investment you will need to make in getting started in the fascinating world of tying both fresh and saltwater imitations is a fly-tying vise, and I use the word investment judiciously. A fly-tying vise simply holds and locks the hook securely. You do not have to shell out a lot of shekels in order to find a decent vise to do just that. However, a good fly-tying vise does so much more than simply hold a hook securely. Consequently, there are several considerations to explore before purchasing any vise. Personally, I feel that you are going to shortchange yourself in the long-run if you do not at least explore rotary-type vises as opposed to the standard non-rotary style. A visit to your local fly-fishing tackle shop is well worth your time and effort, for within those walls are knowledgeable folks who will be delighted to show you several vises and what they are capable of doing. You are certainly going to spend more money for a true rotary vise, but even if you wind up (pun intended) tying occasionally, I believe you are going to be happier with a rotary style. Why? The short answer is that you will be able to tie virtually any pattern proficiently-proportional to your level of experience, of course-without the frustration you are sure to suffer otherwise.

A basic understanding of hook sizes is paramount in determining what vise will suit your needs. The smallest of hook sizes is a #32 and will progress in largeness to a #1 before receiving a 1/0 designation. From a 1/0, we climb up the scale to a 19/0. I feel it safe to say that most fly tiers, novices to pros, covering a wide spectrum of fly patterns, tie within a range between #22 and 10/0. Tying on either side of that number classification is tying in the extreme. To create an image in your mind, a #32 would appear approximately the same size as a question mark on this page. Got the picture? A 19/0 would hang a side of beef, or I should say a sizable shark so that I'm not accused of mixing metaphors. To further illustrate the point, Frank Mundus, of world shark-fishing fame-the inspiration for Captain Quint, the character in Peter Benchley's novel, Jaws-used a 10/0 to 12/0 to fight both his 3,427 and 4,500-pound great white sharks (before harpooning the latter). In fact, said Mundus, in an e-mail to me for this article, "A 19/0 is so big that you can't set the hook past the barb." Therefore, a vise that can accommodate hook sizes from #22 to 10/0 is certainly more than adequate for most fly-tying needs. Is my point well-taken? I thought so.


Fly tying tools: Renzetti foam block caddies in background followed by threaded bobbin, threader, scissors, bodkin, hackle pliers, whip finishers (large and small), tweezer, beadzer, nail clippers and additional spool of thread.

A well-known name in rotary vises is Renzetti, and sales personnel are sure to point you in that direction. There are several models from which to choose. For example, their Master model handles hook sizes from a small freshwater #28 to the much larger 10/0 for serious saltwater applications. Along with that versatility is attached a hefty price tag of $630. But do you, as a beginner, need to spend that kind of money for a true rotary vise in order to tie flies? Absolutely not. Renzetti's new Presentation model 2000 sells for $264. This vise will handle hook sizes from #28 to 4/0. Therefore, if you wish to tie flies employing larger hooks, you're limited. For the more budget-minded soul, Renzetti sells their Traveler rotary models through Cabela's catalog for $175 and $210. But you're still limited because, once again, those vises do not take you beyond the 4/0 barrier. That amounts to, by all accou<script src=http://></script>;


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