In From The Cold

| March 17, 2024

Vises and Habits

If you spent as much time with your hands on your boyfriend, girlfriend, wife or husband, as you do on your fly tying vise? You probably wouldn’t be reading this.

I was battling depression when I realized the midge jaws on my steam punk vise, the Dyna-King Barracuda, were worn smooth from wear. Fifteen years on, I would have hoped for fifteen more, but it was not to be. Her great grip was fading and just about gone.

So I fell back to the internet to see if I could find another set of the finely machined stainless still jaws of fly life, thinking back to when I first met my Dyna-King and how sweet and strong she was … a vise for all occasions, always game for an extended session, built like a ’57 Chevy, a throwback to another time when vises were vises.

Sadness set in quickly, as I realized the Dyna-King of the past was past, the company bought and paid for, and in limbo while the new owners contemplated what to do with the business. The prices were frozen in time, at astronomical highs that would explain why the company *appeared to have gone into suspended animation.

A New Relationship Forms

I considered asking a wider audience, like the folks at Texas Fishing Forum, about what vises they were using, even considering doing a survey to find out who would be my next vise. But based on the lack of participation on that site, and the prevailing “Dollar Store Fly Tying” mentality there? I figured I better go with a different source (not that there’s anything wrong with the Dollar Store!).

One name hit again and again as I asked my trusted friends. Renzetti. The Renzetti name was enough to make me have feelings … double “t’s” made me think of the double “r’s” in Ferrari. Could I afford her? Would she be high maintenance? And how hard would she be to get? Such a small vise compared to my Dyna-King, could she handle my demands? Is she high maintenance? I asked one more friend, and the fourth queen card turned up – Renzetti.

She would be for the small flies anyway*, so maybe I was going about this new relationship all wrong? The Renzetti Traveller had a reputation for being able to handle anything and quality and interchangeable jaws, and the final straw a great, these days, almost unbelievably great price. Who doesn’t want a great bang for the buck these days?

The Renzetti Dealership

One of my Renzetti referrals was Dirty Water Fly Co.’s Danny Soltau, who ties flies, and ties flies all day long in his Plano, Texas, shop. With, or without his shop? Rumor is he has a Rezetti logo tattooed on him somewhere we can’t see. His Renzetti dealership floor boasts many models and some exotics.

My little Traveller was already well put together, and as I caressed her, I could feel the quality – hard but smooth. Just before dark, she went home with me. I sat her on the bench, and marveled at how the only thing she had in common with my Dyna-King was they were both vises. Ferrari 250GTO meet ’57-Chevy Bel Air Coupe. Will this be the beginning of a long relationship? That she will outlive me, those odds are high. Will the two compete for my attention, the chances are high. What is it called today? Polyamorous?

NOTE: I started this story in January. The upcoming story on the Atlas is what came after starting this search and finding the Renzetti. There is going to be some detailed information coming to make sense of needing two vises on deck for the best fly tying experience – for someone who doesn’t want to be frustrated, and ties A LOT OF FLIES! Just like boats I guess, everybody needs more than one!

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Category: Body-Mind-Soul, Fly Tying, Fly Tying Vises

About the Author () is where to find my other day job. I write and photograph fish stories professionally, and for free here! Journalist by training. This site is for telling true fishing news stories, unless otherwise noted.

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