Product Reviews

Peak Vise
by Al Campbell


Sometimes I'm painfully slow when it comes to product reviews. I like to look hard at all the features and look for anything I might have missed before I put pen to paper with a recommendation or complaint. This is especially true when it concerns something as important to me as a fly vise. I know a few guys have been waiting for this review, so here is what I found in my test drive of the Peak fly tying vise.

Peak Vise

I tried all three sizes of jaws in my testing. Hooks were placed in the jaws and bent to either the breaking point or until they bent in a complete circle. As long as I stayed within or close to the appropriate hook size range for the jaws I was using, nothing slipped at all. I had to exceed the suggested hook range for the jaws I was using by several hook sizes before I could get a hook to slip. However, I'm picky about vise features. I would prefer to see the insides of the jaws scuffed a little so I wouldn't have to use as much pressure on the arm as I used for the larger, oversized hooks. I'm not saying I had to use a lot of pressure, certainly not enough to harm a hook, but I'm one of those guys who believes jaws hold hooks easier and better if the inside surfaces are scuffed or grooved rather than smooth. That said, none of the appropriately sized hooks slipped anyway, so maybe my desires and concerns are unfounded.

Vise Head

Midge Jaws

I tried the medium or regular jaws on hook sizes from 22 to 2. It held all those hooks without any slipping. Hooks started slipping at size 1/0 so I changed to the magnum or saltwater jaws. Those jaws held the biggest hook I have (4/0) without any slipping at all. The midge jaws held every hook I tried from size 28 to size 8. Not one hook slipped in the midge jaws until I tried a size 4. In other words, if you use the right sized jaws, you shouldn't experience any problems with hook holding grip.

Regular Jaws

This vise is one of the most precisely machined vises I have tried. There is no wobble or play at all in the rotary mechanism, and the rotation is smooth as a baby's backside. Jaws are easily changed by removing a c-clip and loosening an allen screw. There is an indent in the bottom of the jaws that the allen screw fits into to keep the jaws from rotating or wobbling inside their housing. With that indent, alignment is automatic. The precision machining of the jaws and their forcing cone keeps even tension on hooks at all times.

Saltwater Jaws

The pedestal base is wide, solid and has a tray machined into it to hold hooks and flies. At about seven pounds, it won't slide or tip over on your fly bench. Everything is either stainless steel or brass, so it should last a long time. The jaws are hardened to withstand years of repeated use and possible abuse.

The thing I like most about this vise is the price. At about $120 US, it's the best bargain I've found in a rotary vise with an all-metal design. I also like the heavy, large base that won't move or wiggle on the bench. The machining is precise and the cosmetics are very nice. Compared to several big-name vises in the under $200 price range, the Peak vise is the better-built vise.

Tray base

I mentioned the smooth jaws were a concern of mine. Scuffing the insides of the jaws before the hardening process might increase hook-holding capabilities with less jaw pressure, which in turn might increase the life of the vise. Since the vise held hooks of the appropriate sizes very well, my concerns may be unfounded. Another thing to watch is the delrin screw that keeps the vise head from turning. Eventually this screw will wear out and need to be replaced. I don't know if it will last one year or ten, but eventually it will wear out, so I would buy a second screw right away and keep it as a spare. The positive side of that delrin screw is that it can be tightened slightly to provide gentle pressure on the shaft but allow full rotation of the head without scarring the shaft. I prefer it that way.

Would I buy this vise? Yep. It's more comfortable to use than my Danvise; and at the price, a lot of vise for the money.

For contact:

Peak Fishing
599 W 71st St
Loveland, CO 80538
(970) 622-9601
E-mail: Kurt@peakfishing.com
Website: www.peakfishing.com

~ Al Campbell



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