“…that sucker would latch on like a Tyrannosaurus Rex!…”
I remember like it was just yesterday, that very first time I sat down in front of a fly tying vice. I could not tell you what make or model it was; just that it had a simple lever design that applied pressure to the jaws and I remember it to be of a heavy duty construction. I imagine that it would have been of English decent as most of my Grandfathers gear was. Hardy split cane rods from the early 1940’s and aluminium fly boxes – overloaded with crudely tied flies (mostly nymphs).
As I sat there, I was given very brief instruction on how to go about things; and to cut a long story short, the very first fly I had ever brought to life was a small shrimp pattern – a blob of green, loosely dubbed seals fur covered with a piece of clear plastic (acting as the translucent shell) of which I had acquired from a bread bag in the kitchen. I did tie in a couple of thin monofilament eyes at the rear of the hook, teased out a few fibres from the underside and there she was; one of the ugliest fly’s I have ever concocted. But to young and inexperienced eyes, she was a thing of beauty! That very first fly caught a Brown trout on my very first cast with a fly rod – making for an awesome memory.
Over the years, my fly vices had followed suit of the same design of my Grandfathers and were not expensive by any means. In more recent times I had evolved a little toward the more expensive lever versions such as those from Griffin, but gave no further thought to the likes of Renzetti and other high end offerings, until recently. I have always had some sort of trouble with loosing purchase of the hook from the jaws. Enough was enough and I decided to look into getting a better quality vice.
I had actually come across a post on Jason Klass’ blog, Tenkara Talk; where he had acquired a work of art made by a company in the USA called Regal Vice. I was impressed with Jason’s thoughts and read some other reviews, settling on the Regal Medallion with pocket base – this thing is amazing! I ordered the vice with the traditional jaw which is all I will ever need for 90% of the flies I tie.
The power in this jaw design and its operation is simply sublime, yet super easy to operate. Let’s just say that you would not want to get your pecker caught in these jaws – that sucker would latch on like a Tyrannosaurus Rex! I was actually expecting that there would be more to it, but the boys at Regal have come up with a cracker design. It just works!
From what I can gather from the Regal Vice site; you can mix and match jaws to an existing post or base – making for a fully customizable system catering for all manner of fly tying. The rotary head works a treat and the post and locking dials run on a Teflon rod, allowing you to fine tune the tension and reduce any damage from over-tightening.
Regal offer a lot of different bases and I settled on their aluminium pocket base for two reasons.
- It was available locally and I am impatient,
- The black/bronze combination looks very classy!
I was surprised by the size of even the pocket base when it arrived, much larger than I expected – so can only assume that the standard size bases are huge! The pocket base will be plenty for tying my freshwater flies/Kebari and it does not display any intentions of moving or tipping during use.
In conclusion, if I were to give this vice a score out of 10 – it would have to be full marks! It simply is a work of art and I can honestly admit; I am now a Regal fan boy…