My bench isn’t normally this tidy. Don’t feel bad.
I’m almost embarrassed to admit just how long I used my old vise. About ten years ago I purchased one of those Umpqua Feather Merchants introduction to fly tying kits with everything you need to get started including a vise. It served its purpose but after a couple years it was clear that tying was something that was going to stick and I needed something better. Still, I resisted.
Over the next half decade, the jaws wore and hooks slipped with greater and greater frequency. Still I resisted, rationalizing that ghillies tied beautiful full dress flies without a vise at all-so my situation couldn’t be that bad. This line of thinking is a direct variation of my ‘mono was good enough for my grandfather, it’s good enough for me’ excuse for not spending a few extra dollars on a spool of flourocarbon.
Finally, the situtation with the old vise became intolerable even for a tightwad with a thin wallet and I poneyed up for a Dyna-King Trekker, the introductory rotary vice from Dyna-King. I can now honestly say my situation was that bad. Tying is so much easier on a hook that isn’t contantly slipping. In fact, it never slips.
According to Dyna-King, the Trekker is a lighter weight vise designed to accommodate the angling trekker. The vise, not including the base, weighs less than 1/2 pound. The jaws will hold hooks from size 8/0 to 22. Ball bearings in the housing provide smooth rotation. The features listed on Dyna-King’s website are: Full Rotary, Smooth Roation, Tool Steel Jaws, Hardened Cam, Rotational Lock, Rotational Drag Adjustment, Hardened Cam and Forcing Cone Adjusts Tension. Interestingly, these are the exact same features listed for the more expensive Barrauda (though the Barracuda will hold 10/0 to 28).
I’ve been using this vise for several months and find it a pleasure to tie with. I’ve never have had a hook slip. The jaws are designed wtih two slots that will accomodate the larger sizes of hook, smaller hooks are secured by the serrated tips of the jaws. The forcing cone is solid and easy to use and the notched cam lever is a nice touch and makes locking easy. I’m not much of a rotary tyer but the rotary feature is easy to use and the hook seems to stay on axis nicely.
Despite being designed to accommodate the traveling angler, the pedastel base and vise itself are solid and sturdy. If you purchase this vise (I think there is one left at the Caddis Fly at the time of this writing) , it is the only vise you will need, whether for home use or traveling.
The bottom line is this is a very good vise with at an attractive price ($239) and these days, who doesn’t appreciate value?–KM