Vise Problems, Again! [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Vise Problems, Again!

04-08-2003, 12:09 AM
I just got my new Thompson Pro Vise to replace the Cabela's vise that broke after only a few days of use. Now I am having problems with the Thompson. It certainly seems to be better made, but I can't get the hooks to stay secure in the jaws. It all starts out fine. I position the adjusting nut, place the hook in the jaws, and push down on the cam lever. At first the hook seems to be held nice and secure. I can push or pull on the hook firmly without moving it at all. However, the cam lever never seems to lock down into a sturdy, permanent position. Over time the cam lever works itself loose and drops the hook before I can complete the fly. It seems the slightest disturbance or bump of the cam lever re-opens the jaws and drops the hook.

I followed the directions from Thompson in detail, but just can't get the cam lever to stay in a locked position. Am I doing something wrong here or is this just a characteristic of Thompson vises? It may have been more difficult to finally secure the hook and it may have been poorly made, but once the hook was secured in my piece of junk Cabela's vise I could pound on the table and bang the cam lever without the cam lever or jaws so much as flinching a hair.

I was really getting into fly tying, but now things are getting down right discouraging!! Nothing seems to be going right!!

04-08-2003, 01:10 AM

The Thompson vise cam lever locks when it is in a vertical down position in line with the stand rod (part that goes from the table to the draw collet) of the vise. I.e. 90 degrees to the table top or vise collet and jaws. The Thompson cam lever is round except for the last 1/4 or so of the lever. That is why you must have the cam lever in the vertical down positionAlso, the Thompson jaws are designed to have you place the hook's bend in the jaw, not the whole hook.

It sounds like you are trying to have the cam lever horizontal to the table (in-line with the jaws). This is a common problem when people first start using the Thompson vises. Give the solution I placed in the first paragraph a try, it should fix the problem.

On a personal note, I have never had a problem with hook slippage or cam lever not staying locked with my Thompson 360 SLT vise.

04-09-2003, 10:30 AM
I use a Thompson Vision, and had a proII before that - the key is to get that collet adjusted to allow the last little "snap" of the arm motion to lock it tight. I also use a very small flatfile occasionally to give the jaws some additional grip. Not much, but a tiny bit of additional friction does wonders.

On the other hand, if you don't get the hang of it, one of the best vises out there to learn on and use for a long, long time (aside from my Vision, of course...) is a Danvise. Ugly as all getout, but bulldog grip and super easy to get hooks in and out. Had one in between the proII and the vision.


Visit Me (

04-09-2003, 12:44 PM

That Danvise is one of the ugliest vises I've ever seen. It does hold a hook though. the big problem I have with it is all the delrin (granted not the jaws) used on it. I suspect it would have durability problems over the long haul if a person is tying several thousand flies per year.

04-09-2003, 12:52 PM
Couldn't get over that myself. The delrin lasted well through a few hundred flies, though. My two Loop Graphite reels are delrin, and they've lasted well, too, although only as backups to my regular Traditionals...

Part of a vise's appeal to me is it's machine work & beauty, IMHO... one of the reasons I love my Vision, and dislike the ever popular traveler...

The (discontinued) Thompson Vision...
replaced by that Cobra thing...


04-09-2003, 01:18 PM

I prefer the 360 SLT to the Vision, even though the vision offers more room for tailing. The 360 SLT has a smoother operation when tying rotary because it has less mass, and the mass it has is all on the centerline, unlike the Vision.

The Cobra is actually a much nicer and easier to use vise than the Vision, it just looks odd in a sort of abstract art fashion. However, for a similar amount of money, one can get the Renzetti Traveler and have a much more versitile vise than the Thompson Cobra.

04-09-2003, 01:38 PM
Don't get me wrong - The Cobra has grown on me since they introduced it - I talked to them just last week about the possibility of a left handed or cam model. I'm first in line if they come out with one that I can use left handed, and I would trade my Vision for it, or sell it to pay for it. I'm attached, but not THAT attached. ;)

I agree about the centerline mass/ease of rotary on the vision, it is a drawback to some degree. I disagree about the Traveler, though. I think they're very poorly made for the price. I like the machining on their Master better, but then the price skyrockets, and you might as well get a Barracuda...


04-09-2003, 11:37 PM

Which is why I bought the Baracuda the first year it was available. Better hook gripping than the Master vise and $200.00 less in price. Not cheap by any means, but it has beautiful machine work and it is made of high quality steels. There is still no other vise with the versitility of the Traveler cam jaw vise at its price point.

04-10-2003, 09:59 AM
The 'cuda is nice... ;)

For the sake of the discussion, what can the Traveler do that the Danvise can't, aside from melt at higher temperature and reflect sunlight?


John Desjardins
04-10-2003, 11:03 AM
Originally posted by gstrand
The 'cuda is nice... ;)

For the sake of the discussion, what can the Traveler do that the Danvise can't, aside from melt at higher temperature and reflect sunlight?


Be handed down to a grandchild, 40 or 50 years from now.

04-10-2003, 02:41 PM
Okay, you got me, I guess... but that's really just another reason to get one like the Barracuda! :)

Doug Wright
04-13-2003, 02:01 AM
How do you find the hook holding power to be on the Thompson Vision? And what size range of hooks can it hold, from your experience? I've seen that the vise can take two other jaws, the Midge and Super Jaws...┐
Looks like an attractive vise to the eye. Also has a pivoting joint that is somewhat similar to the Ranzetti Master kind of...┐ Thanks,

04-13-2003, 02:05 AM
They can't have my barracuda until I'm dead and gone. Hell, may want them to cremate me with it still in my hands. LOL.

But damned you flytyer. He had to sell me on that barracuda. Tried one out, next thing I knew I had one coming in the mail. Have not complained once on the price. Well worth every cent I spent on it. Has made my flytying so much easier. Learning curve is setting the hooks, but only took a second and have been free wheeling ever since.

04-14-2003, 03:02 AM

Sounds like you found the Baracuda is everything I said it is. And from your post, it sounds like a match made in heaven what with the "cremate me with it in my hands" comment. I won't trade my Baracuda for any other vise.

Doug Wright,

The Thompson Visions uses exactly the same cam and jaws of the Thompson Model A, Pro, and 360 SLT. This means that the stnadard jaw that comes with the vision is fine for hooks from #6 to #16, anything larger and the jaw doesn't have enough bearing surface, anything smaller and the jaw is not fine enough and it gets in your way. You really do need to have all three of the Thompson jaws (Midge, Standard, and Magnum) for tying the full range of hooks sizes. The Magnum is for hook sizes #6/0 to #6, and the Midge is for hook sizes #14 to 24.

Provided you use the proper jaw for the hook size you are tying and have it adjusted correctly, hook holding is not a problem. The Vision does wobble terribly though and it does not have ball bearings supporting the vise arm. For similar money, the Renzetti Traveller is a much better value. And if you want to keep your cash outlay under $100.00, the Griffin Odessey is very tough to beat in a true rotary vise.

Doug Wright
04-14-2003, 09:01 AM
Thanks Flytyer,
I already have a Renzetti Traveller and I was thinking of up-grading. I tie a lot of flies and am really looking into a new vice, the Barracuda especially. Thanks!

04-14-2003, 09:06 AM
Right-o on the wobble factor. And the Jaws. Seems I'm picking apart my own favorite vise here...

What do you think of the Cobra? What makes the traveler more versatile? I've been thinking lately of getting one due to the mechanical design art factor, but is it really that much better than the vision?

The design factor is what originally attracted me to Loop reels, now I won't use anything else. Minimalist mechanics...


04-14-2003, 12:13 PM
I was immediately attracted to the Barracuda. I know of no other vice that is as easy to adjust the hook to the centerline of rotation. The standard jaws will hold hooks from (guessing here) size 22 to 4/0. If you really want midge jaws, I think they are available. The vise is very well designed, workmanship is very good and it is of stainless steel construction. If you want to save a few bucks, look at the Barracuda Jr. Either one would adapt rather well for a lefty. It will be the last vise you will ever buy!:cool:

04-14-2003, 05:15 PM

The Traveller has a better jaw in the cam operated version, that is why it is more versitile than the Cobra. The Cobra uses a screw closure making it slower and a bit more of a bother to adjust since you have to adjust it for each fly, even if it is the same size. The Cobra is a very nice piece though with nice machine work.

My favorite vise is still the Baracuda, with the Baracuda Jr. running a close second. Yes, the Baracuda runs around $325.00 and the Jr. runs around $280.00. However, they are so well made and like all of the Dyna King vises, they have a superior jaw and cam locking mechanism. The Baracuda also has beautiful machine work and is one of the easiest vises to adjust to different hook sizes I ever seen.

Granted the Baracuda is not for everyone; but if you want one of the greatest vises ever made, you will not be disappointed with it. See Steelheader69's post on the Baracuda that he picked up a few months ago for his perspective.

05-31-2003, 12:57 PM
I have been sitting here reading your messages back and fourth reg. Baracuda VS vision vise. Does any one have a picture of the vises, so that i can se what you are talking about. We dont have these brands in sweden i think....

05-31-2003, 03:53 PM
The Barracuda is made by Dyna King. Try doing a search on the web and you should be able to find them.

05-31-2003, 11:27 PM

06-01-2003, 03:41 AM
Now i know what you are talking about.

06-01-2003, 11:42 AM
web site. The "King" is/was Grant King who owned two fly shops in Sonoma County, CA. One was in Santa Rosa, the other in Guernville on the Russian River.

If you tied fly's .... Grant was your one and only outlet for feathers, hooks, etc., for many years. Beyond that, he was a true character to put it mildly.