By way of disclaimer, I want to say, at the onset, that I am a “necessity” fly tier and not an innovator or a passionate hobbyist behind the vise. I tie about a dozen basic patterns—classic dry flies, parachute dry flies, glo-bugs, San Juan worms, prince nymphs, pheasant tail nymphs, woolly buggers, zebra midges, caddis nymphs, elk hair caddis (and stimmies), and stonefly nymphs—and anything more complicated than that I leave in the hands of the good people in Sri Lanka, Thailand, or elswhere, and would just as soon buy.
And living in Colorado, I don’t have a need or interest to tie a lot of saltwater patterns.
But those bugs I do tie, I crank out a lot. As such, I have never felt the need to spend many hundreds of dollars for a specialty tying vise. For me, it’s all about functionality and simplicity… but also dependability.
So while I have tied on a number of different models, 99 percent of my flies have been spun on a Renzetti Traveler. Now, another disclaimer here: “Traveler” to me, means moving the base of operations from my downstairs desk to the kitchen table, to a folding tray by my favorite chair in front of the television during bowl games. I rarely pack my vise for trips, though I suppose this one would be easy to haul.
At just under $200 retail, the Renzetti Traveler has never failed. But perhaps the best endorsement comes from my 11-year-old son, for whom I just bought a second Traveler (yes, there is a motive, and those little fingers work faster and better than mine already). It took him all of 10 minutes to figure out the basics, using the cam jaw lever to fasten hooks, and the bobbin cradle to hold his threads. He turns up, spins down, applies head cement, and all that. What’s best is, I’m seeing his vise popping up by the cereal bowl in the morning, and ending the day on the nightstand by his bed.
Sometimes, we over-complicate, and that’s just fine. But other times, the basics rule. And as far as a fully functional, fairly affordable fly tying vise that offers versatility and solid performance, the Renzetti name has always been a standard, and the Traveler series is hard to beat.