Fly Tying Tools

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ForumGhillie
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Fly Tying Tools

Post by ForumGhillie » Wed May 08, 2019 6:36 am

When did they start to use a fly tying vise and bobbin?

Anyone have a photo of the oldest known fly tying vise?

John
wsbailey
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Re: Fly Tying Tools

Post by wsbailey » Wed May 08, 2019 8:44 am

I don't know if there is a definite answer but there is this:

https://books.google.com/books?id=BvxIA ... ce&f=false

The jeweler's or clock maker's hand vise has been around a lot longer. I imagine some creative types added a table clamp at some point.
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Re: Fly Tying Tools

Post by Greenwell » Fri May 10, 2019 8:39 pm

I believe that Ogden was the first to illustrate a fly vise but the very fact that he called it "improved" leads one to the conclusion that the vise had been in use for at least a while and needed "improving."
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Re: Fly Tying Tools

Post by ForumGhillie » Sat May 11, 2019 6:18 am

Greenwell wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 8:39 pm
I believe that Ogden was the first to illustrate a fly vise but the very fact that he called it "improved" leads one to the conclusion that the vise had been in use for at least a while and needed "improving."
About what time period was that?

I have often wondered when fly tying vises and bobbins replaced tying by hand. Who invented the first fly tying vise? In the older books I have read, fly pattern dressings are described but never do I read about any fly tying equipment to aide in the tying process.

I have seen a few pictures of vises used Darbee, Dette and others from that time period. My own first fly tying vise, which came from Fireside Angler, was very primitive. That was in the early 1960s.

I have one book that demonstrates how they made their own hooks and fly line using horse hair.

John
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Re: Fly Tying Tools

Post by Greenwell » Sun May 12, 2019 9:34 pm

John,

I believe that the vise had a rather gradual acceptance into fly dressing, finally becoming common in the late 19th century. The illustration in Ogden on Fly Making appeared in 1879 and is considered to be the first. Frederic Halford used an early Thompson "Model A" vise and wrote about it in his Modern Development of the Dry Fly, 1910.

There are many early illustrations of other fly dressing tools, primarily scissors, hackle pliers, and dubbing needles, which along with the vise constitute the four most important pieces of hardware in the fly tyer's kit.
Alfred Ronalds shows a pair of hackle pliers, which he calls "forceps" in his 1836 Fly Fisher's Entomology, that are identical to the style I use and have used for 50 years.

As to illustrated instructions of fly dressing, Blacker's Art of Fly Making, Wade's Rod Fishing in Clear Waters, and "Ephemera"s Handbook of Angling, 1847, to name a few, all show the basic steps of fly dressing, some being better than others. The most helpful illustrated directions in the earlier books, at least to me, are in G.P.R. Pullman's Vade-Mecum of Fly-Fishing for Trout, 1851, and John Jackson's The Practical Fly-Fisher, 1853. Jackson's simple text vignettes show very clearly the method I use for dressing Spiders and Pullman goes into more length on dressing a variety of flies.

I have always been sorry that there are no fly tying instructions in Aldam's Quaint Treatise, the flies in this beautiful specimen book are some of the finest I have ever seen and I would love to have knowledge of the techniques used.

For the very best "modern" instructions for dressing flies in the hand, see T.R. Henn's Practical Fly , 1950 in which the author not only makes the case for learning to dress flies without a vise, but goes on to both describe and illustrate the method(s) very clearly.
Of course Darrell Martin has written extensively on past methods and his The Fly-Fisher's Craft, 2006 & 2016, is a must have for for anyone interested in forgotten fly fishing lore.
Last edited by Greenwell on Tue May 14, 2019 5:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Fly Tying Tools

Post by letumgo » Sun May 12, 2019 10:00 pm

I love these sort of posts. Fascinating reading.

Thanks John.
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Re: Fly Tying Tools

Post by ForumGhillie » Mon May 13, 2019 6:53 am

John,

Thank you for your informative post.

I see Ronalds' book "The Fly Fishers Entomology" was reprinted in 1990 and is fairly inexpensive to buy.. https://www.amazon.com/Fly-Fishers-Ento ... 1555215335
I have always been sorry that there are no fly tying instructions in Aldam's Quaint Treatise, the flies in this beautiful specimen book are some of the finest I have ever seen and I would love to have knowledge of the techniques used.
If you have the time, would it be possible for you to post on a new thread topic flies from Aldam's book?

John
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Re: Fly Tying Tools

Post by Ron Eagle Elk » Mon May 13, 2019 8:15 am

Thanks, John. I always appreciate your historical input.

I had the opportunity to meet Darrell Martin at the Eastern Washington Fly Expo. I was doing a demo (of flymphs and wingless wets, of course). I looked across the room and saw a man with a loop rod. I excused myself and went up to him, asking if it was, indeed, a loop rod. He said it was, as he took it apart carefully. Turns out it was Darrell Martin. He was a little dismayed that he was supposed to give a lecture on the history of fly fishing and no one showed up for it. I let him know that I would have been there if I wasn't already committed to tie at that time.

At the banquet that evening my wife and I were having dinner with Mark Romero and his lovely wife when Darrel walked up. He said he asked around and he'd heard we had something in common. I said that if he meant I'd like to catch a trout on a loop rod with a horse hair line, then yes. We exchanged info and parted company.

A couple weeks later I get a phone call and an invite to his house for lunch and a chat. He had a library that I would love to have, brass reels that he had crafted, and a ton of fly fishing history. We had a nice lunch, made snoods of horse hair by hand and using a machine he had, and talked for quite a while. When we left I was given a couple bundles of horse hair (white, from a lusty stallion) to help me on my way.

Some time ago I passed some of that horse hair on to a member or two on the forum.

Not staying in touch with him was a missed opportunity, but life got in the way.
"A man may smile and bid you hale yet curse you to the devil, but when a good dog wags his tail he is always on the level"
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Re: Fly Tying Tools

Post by wsbailey » Mon May 13, 2019 10:43 am

I recently bought some Tenkara hooks. The shape reminded me of the English bait hook which Gary Borger used for his Fur Caddis Larva fly. It occurred to me that Tenkara rods are similar to the loop rod. I wonder if the Japanese were influenced by British fishermen.
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Re: Fly Tying Tools

Post by Mike62 » Mon May 13, 2019 4:03 pm

This is wonderful stuff, gentlemen. Thanks for posting it.
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