I have been trying to leave my vise at home. I can’t. On the last couple of trips I really wanted to spend my time out of the water causing a ruckus with my bros or even better – sleeping…..but I like to tie, actually I love to tie. So no matter where I am, if a stream is nearby you will also find my DanVise (vise snobs can comment below). I find tying to be a relaxing way to occupy my frantic mind between sessions on a stream. When on a trip I often feel like I can tie to specific conditions, situations or hatches. This has almost always proven to be well worth my while. One trip to Maine I tied some crazy looking golden stonefly nymphs (see the fly below*) in the car during a lunch break and proceeded to slam fish with them the rest of the trip.
On a recent trip to the Great Lakes Region we jumped streams mid-day. During a quick stop at a local fly shop I noticed an incredible selection of colors for a certain material we use a lot (take a guess – it’s in my mouth in the photo above). This was stuff I didn’t have, stuff I needed. Of course the only place to tie was the hood of my car and we needed these options for the rest of the day. Some people have asked me why I would even bother to rip out a couple of different color variations in the freezing cold.
The bottom line is this: CREATIVE FLY TYING GIVES YOU AN ADVANTAGE.
Most tiers talk about creativity only as it pertains to the use of materials or the artistic quality of a fly. That’s great but being creative with a vise goes way beyond using pretty feathers or garbage bags for scud back.
Here are 10 creative tips to make your vise a part of your fishing arsenal on your next trip.
1. Stay compact. No one wants you to bring a 4′ by 4′ container of feathers on a 4 hour trip. Save the room for a cooler or something everyone can enjoy. Think small backpack or toolbox. Take a little of everything, you can restock at local fly shops if you need to.
2. Own a clamp base and a pedestal base. Arguing over which one performs better is for guys who tie in their studies. Those who have tied on car hoods or clamped to a dashboard handle would agree you need both.
3. Tie for you. Everyone will want them. It’s your stream or rest time being sacrificed so make all of the vise time yours as well.
4. A headlamp should always travel with your vise.
5. Work on your speed at home so when you are in situations similar to the ones mentioned above you aren’t fumbling around.
6. Learn how to spot the good stuff in a fly shop. Look for stuff that isn’t available everywhere. Local shops stock material geared toward local hatches and flies. If you look you will find colors and materials that aren’t easily found elsewhere.
7. Have a good selection of permanent markers with you at all times. The magic marker can be your magic tying friend.
8. Don’t worry about head cement. Just tie off your thread well.
9. The fly needs to look like something a fish will eat. Bugs look buggy. Bugs don’t look like something you want to put in a teeny weeny clamp, a glass box, and set on your desk for everyone to look at. I love artistic flies and try to tie nice, crisp and neat flies…but not when i am working the vise near a stream.
10. Learn how to find materials in random places.
*The “Lunchbreak StoneFly” We can make them to order – send your request to firstname.lastname@example.org