Rotary vs. Stationary: Tips for Choosing a Fly-Tying Vise

As many fly-tyers know, when choosing your equipment, there are multiple viable options from which to choose. For instance, when buying a vise, considering the difference between rotary and stationary options is important. If you’re new to the subject, don’t worry; we’ll detail exactly how each of these options function. Our rotary vs. stationary tips for choosing a fly-tying vise will help you determine the best tool for meeting your personal preference.

As the name suggests, a rotary vise’s jaws rotate 360 degrees. In fact, certain rotary devices ensure your hook’s axis of rotation aligns with the vise. So, if you hear the term “true rotary,” then you’re dealing with a vise that can deliver that consistent axis alignment. Not only does the rotation offer you ample viewpoints of the hook, but it also provides more accuracy when preparing and applying materials such as hackle or ribbing. Because of the impressive rotation abilities of rotary vises, they are vise of choice for most advanced tyers and those who tie regularly.

Once again, the name isn’t deceptive; stationary vises earn that moniker because they don’t have the same vise head mobility of their rotary counterpart. Although that might sound like a small difference, it makes a big difference in your tying experience. For instance, because the device doesn’t rotate, more labor goes into physically wrapping the materials onto your fly. And, there is less accuracy in the placement of materials like hackle and chenille. Whether you’re willing to take on that labor is a key deciding factor for your purchase.

Making Your Choice
As you can see, when it comes to choosing rotary vs. stationary options, one of the top tips for choosing a fly-tying vise is seeking one that suits your personal preference. Of course, not every fly-fisher takes the same approach, but those who want impeccable accuracy, and are willing to pay the price, should look toward rotary options.
For this reason, rotary vises are typically the preferred choice among fly-tying enthusiasts and experts. However, if you prefer putting in a bit more extra work into fly-tying with a stationary model, that’s absolutely a viable route to take. That said, always be sure you’re buying from reputable brands and vendors. For instance, at JS Fly Fishing, we carry fly-fishing vise options from top brands such as Peak Fishing, Regal, and more.
Once you settle on a vise type and find a reliable brand that provides them, you can begin seeing its performance in action. Remember, at the end of the day, if one vise type doesn’t offer the performance you were looking for, trying another option can open your eyes to surprisingly different techniques. MANY of our customers own multiple vises for different fly types!

Rotary Fly Tying – Featuring the Norvise

Guest Blogger: J. Stockard Pro and Owner of Norvise: Tim O’Neill, Hockessin, DE

As we travel the country on the fly fishing show circuit I am always amazed by something I observe when I look at the “ring of tyers” at each location, whether we are up in Marlborough, Massachusetts, Atlanta, Georgia or Pleasanton, California one thing seems to repeat itself over and over.

Rotary fly tying is nothing new; vises that you can slowly rotate 360 degrees have been around for a long time. The thing that I find odd as I watch tyers from all around the country is that very seldom do I see people using the rotary function of the vise as part of tying the fly. People will invest a lot of money for these tricked out rotary vises, and I am not saying they are overpriced, I am saying it is an investment, and they only use the rotary function of the vise to turn the hook to look at the other side of the fly. This always seemed strange to me.

Continue reading → Rotary Fly Tying – Featuring the Norvise