Part Fifty-two

Look in the Mirror
By George E. Emanuel

Congratulations George for a great column! This one marks a YEAR of terrific tips for fly tiers. Our sincere thanks for the time and effort!


Most of us began our tying with very simple, sturdy, basic vises. Many are still in use today and are almost universally the vise of choice for beginners.

Rotary vises are great for any number of reasons, but they are not the subject of this article. More than a few tiers simply can not afford them. Additionally new tiers are faced with the outlay of rather significant sums of money just to get started with the necessary materials used in our art. (Actually this is a cost which seemingly is without end, thank goodness!)

There are actually many of us who use non-rotating vises simply because we like them. They are very rugged and hold the hook extremely well.

There are operations however which can be a bit difficult to perform on a non-rotating vise, such as locating eyes, or aligning wings on the near and offsides of a fly. Even ribbing can sometimes be difficult to control on the offside of the fly.

Rotary vises, or those that offer 360 degree rotation, make seeing the offside of the fly a snap. Just rotate the fly 180 degrees and viola! We immediately have access to an advantage that the stationary vise does not offer.

But what can we do to overcome this shortcoming of our non-rotating vise? You may have the solution for this difficulty right there in your house. Or, for the small sum of a couple of dollars and a quick trip to the 'dollar store' or your local drug store, you can purchase a simple mirror. The type with an integral stand, many have two mirrors, one standard and the second a magnifying type, is ideal for our use.

If you will place this on the bench behind the fly and aim it properly, you can now see both sides of the fly.

You will be able to perform operations on the offside of the fly with greater ease and accuracy than you have ever known.

The quality of your flies will improve. You will be a much happier tier, and you may well subject those with whom you share your home to far fewer colorful epitaphs as you tie.

Next time you are not satisfied with the offside of your flies, remember, the solution is as simple as looking in the mirror!

If you have any tips or techniques, send them along, most of this material has been stolen from somebody, might as well steal your ideas too!~ George E. Emanuel (Chat Room Host Muddler)

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