Vise Advice [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Vise Advice

08-14-2010, 06:57 PM
I think I'm ready to start tying some flies for fun, satisfaction and thriftiness.

While I do fly fish for trout in Vermont often I don't destroy my flies as I do on the beach or near coral heads. Therefore I primarily interested in trying salt water flies. If that makes any difference when it comes to tying please let me know.

What features should I key in on? My preference is to always but the best so I don't have regrets later on.

My primary targets are bones and stripers.



08-14-2010, 08:04 PM
I bought an HMH with the midge and standard jaws about 30 years ago. I've no idea how many flies I've tied on it (tiny dries, streamers, bass bugs and striper flies up to 4/0) but it has to be thousands. Sometimes I look at friends' more modern vises - it would be nice to have true rotary function - but then I think that I can do just about everything with the old HMH.

It's never required any repair and it still holds hooks securely, even when I'm reaming down on a bunch of deerhair.

Now, if someone was to give me a shiny new rotary........


08-14-2010, 08:50 PM
You have some homework to do, first of all figure out if you want a true centered rotary or not, I think that dollar for dollar you'll get more staying with the old fashioned style which has been adequate for most tiers for a very long time. The centered rotaries rotate horizontally on the axis of the shank of the hook so you can crank thread or material onto the hook rather than having to wind it on with a bobbin or your fingers and they'll definitely give you some extra speed and convenience. Other than that you need a vice that will get a good grip on your saltwater hooks, there are lots that simply won't. I have two vices that hold hooks, an old HMH Spartan that will not hold large hooks, and a Regal with a rotary head which will hold anything but is kind of clunky for trout flies. I have no idea what I would buy today, but the Regal would definitely be in the running. BTW you won't save any money but you will be able to interpret your observations and create solutions to particular problems that you encounter on the water that you fish, that is the reward. Have fun, you'll become a much more complete fisherman.

08-15-2010, 07:28 AM
I've been tying on a Regal since shortly after they came on the market in the 1970s. I tie very few flies on hooks smaller than a #16, but when I do I use a different vise as the Regal does not work as well as some others for small hooks, as previously noted. If you're tying mostly saltwater flies you really can't go wrong with a Regal, and it's less expensive than many of the top vises. The newer Regals have several features that mine lacks, including some additional adjustments and a rotating head. I seem to get along just fine without them, though.

08-15-2010, 08:21 AM
I have two Regals, the no rotary one and the rotary one. They can tie from about 16 through 3/0+ (I don't tie bigger then 3/0). The simplicity of the grab squeeze the handle and put the hook in is great. I can tie a size 12 soft hackle then a 2/0 flatwing without having to adjust the vice.

Shadfreak aka Larry

08-15-2010, 10:19 AM
My favorite has been a Dyna King Barracuda Jr. Holds the hook extremely well. Rotary feature great for tying Clousers and curing 5 minute expoxy. I used a Regal for years and still have it. Phil

08-15-2010, 11:57 AM
It all depends on your budget. I have a two Regals but use my Dyna King Jr Barracuda as it's rotary vise with great jaws for saltwater flies.
It's also well machined. The HMG is also a well machined vise. FishHawk

08-15-2010, 03:21 PM
I've been using a Regal for quite a few years, and have two different jaws - the standard and midge jaws. With the latter I routinely tie down to size 26, and have done a few 28's and 30's.
I find the standard jaws a bit too small for the larger hooks I have - say size 2 and larger, for which I use an old vise. I can force open the jaws on the Regal, but it feels like quite a strain on it.
The Regal I have has some rotary motion, but it is not a true horizontal rotary vise, which I have no experience with. I think the vise is a decent value. You have to be careful when inserting hooks to make sure they are fully engaged, otherwise the lip of the jaw may chip.
I find tying enjoyable, but with the cost of materials and hooks, you have to tie a good number of flies to justify it economically. But that doesn't count the pleasure of catching a fish on your own creation.

08-15-2010, 03:59 PM
It seems that the Regal is getting a lot of recommendations, one thought I've had is that I would probably choose the big game jaws were I to go buy one now.

08-15-2010, 08:22 PM
My SW renzetti w/ cam jaws have been great. Adjustable and free rotation which can even be used for hackling and tying in the round. I know the Regals are tough enough to break a hook but I usually don't do that :) and prefer the smooth and single finger rotary. I tie striper, bonefish and steelhead / salmon flies primarily but it's fine for trout flies as well.

08-16-2010, 09:43 AM

08-16-2010, 01:44 PM
ditto on the SW Renzetti. whole lotta use for not a whole lotta $$

08-16-2010, 03:13 PM
I remember my friend and inventor of the Regal vise Jerry Doiron bending saltwater hooks in a Regal vise to demonstrate the holding power at an outdoor show back in the mid 1980's. I use the midge head for anything from #12 to #26 and the standard head for larger flies. I have tied plenty of size #18 through #22 with the standard size before the midge came available and it worked well.

One word of advise - make sure that salt water hooks are placed IN THE SLOT!!!


08-17-2010, 05:07 PM
Thanks everyone for your feedback. It's given me some great starting points.

Can't wait to tie up some bonefish flies in all sorts of sizes, colors and weights for my trip to Eleuthera in November. Might even try to tie some crabs similar to the ones I saw on Savanah Sound.


08-17-2010, 06:39 PM
Yup...the Regal is pretty much bomb proof. I tie at least 12doz saltwater flies annually without a hiccup with the vise. I also have the midge head that ties all my trout flies down to 24s. I have lost track of time, but think it has been 20 plus years for the vise without a worry. If you are left-handed, they will rotate the lever to seat the hook without charge. At least that was the case with me a long time ago. While it is not a true rotary, it is pretty close. I have the bronze base and have traveled with it around the world to tie flies indigenous to the area.

08-18-2010, 04:27 AM
A word about the Regal magnum jaws. It has trouble holding hooks like the Gami SC15 correctly in my opinion. Not that it can't hold them but the position of the hook in the jaws. The normal jaws do a better job of holding this type of hook in position. I spoke to Regal about this and they told me that the Magnum was designed so that the tying thread doesn't become tangled by the hook point.
If you decided on the Minimum try one of these hooks in the jaw vs. the normal jaw and you'll see what I'm referring to. FishHawk

Dble Haul
08-18-2010, 10:49 AM
I will summarize my advice in one statement:

You can have my Dynaking Barracuda when you pry it from my cold dead hands.

:tongue: :devil: