A Guide To Tube Fly Vices & Attachments

Tube Fly Vices & Attachments
If you are a dedicated or commercial tyer of Salmon flies, there will come a time when you may want a vice explicitly designed for tying tube flies. The extra expense of buying such a vice will pay off and add enjoyment to your fly-tying in the long run. Specialist vices have added benefits such as full rotation, which can be especially useful when applying materials to a tube, and they are more efficient at holding tubes and pins (mandrels) firmly.

Dyna-King Tube Fly Vice
Dyna-King Tube Fly Vice is the "big daddy" of tube fly tying vices. It is chunky, with equal measures of brass and stainless steel. If you want a vice to travel, you’ll find much lighter ones, but if you want an heirloom that takes pride of place on your tying bench, look no further. There is nothing fiddly about this vice; each part is oversized, easily accessible and user-friendly. It also has a full rotation with drag adjustment (quicker or slower). Precision ball bearings ensure smooth rotation.

The base (clamp available) is heavy, with a tough, powder-coated finish and two moulded recesses for things that roll about. The stem, head and internal spindle are stainless steel, while everything else is brass, including the collet nut (chuck), all knurled adjustment screws and the large rear wheel used to rotate the spindle. The head of the vice has no angle adjustment.

Dyna-King Tube Fly Vice
Four stainless-steel pins (mandrels) of .031 inch, .041 inch, .062 inch and .125 inch are supplied. Each has a large brass stopper on one end. Three different-sized brass collets (jaws) are also supplied. These are used to accommodate the different pin diameters or to insert a tube directly. The collets and pins are both held securely by the collet nut (chuck).

A small pack of different-sized plastic and metal tubes and a length of silicone rubber complete the set.

Tube Fly Attachments

Those who don’t want to go to the expense of buying a specialist vice can buy attachments to fit into the jaws of a standard fly-tying vice. These attachments are much cheaper and useful if you tie only the odd tube-fly, or if you’re travelling abroad and can take only one vice. Most have pins of different diameters to fit various sizes of tube, while others comprise a simple tapered pin. Some vices have a design that can restrict the use of a sliding pin (the pin may project a reasonable distance out from the back of the tool body) and therefore a vice that has head-angle adjustment may be more suitable.

HMH Starter Tube Fly Tool

HMH Starter Tube Fly Tool
The Starter Tube Fly Tool by HMH (USA) has an anodised jaw plate. It comes with two stainless steel pins, .041 inch and .062 inch, both of which have a 90-degree bend at one end to act as a stopper. The pins are fixed by a small knurled nut, which is easily adjusted. This tool also allows level tube bodies (such as those from Slipstream) to be fixed into the top eye of the locking mechanism, instead of using the pins. It also comes with four lengths of clear tube body (2 mm and 3 mm) with compatible silicone hook sleeve.

Tube Fly Attachment
You can attach a metal slipstream tube directly on to this attachment by inserting it into the eye of the locking mechanism. This will stop the metal part of the tube rotating, which is often a problem when using a pin.

Stillwater Brass Tube Fly Tool

Stillwater Brass Tube Fly Attachment has a brass body and the same locking mechanism as the HMH version.  It comes with three stainless-steel pins, each with a brass stopper. The pins have sharp points at one end so care must be taken not to injure yourself. 

Veniard Tube Fly Adapter

Veniard Tube Fly Adaptor
Veniard Tube Fly Vice Adapter comes with three pins to accommodate both large- and small-bore tubes. Each has a brass stopper. The pins are threaded through a conical shaped metal body and fixed in position by a knurled screw. The tab, which fixes into the jaws of your vice, is small but no less effective.

Stonfo Tube Fly Tool

Stonfo Tube Fly Tool comes with stainless-steel pins of 1.1 mm and 1.5 mm. Each pin has a brass and hard rubber stopper on the end to help grip the tube in place and stop it from rotating on the pin when tying. The jaw mount is made of brass and the knurled locking nut to fix the pin at the desired length is easily accessible and locks effectively

Peak Rotary Vice/Tube-Fly Head

Peak Rotary Vice/Tube Fly Head
If you are looking for a vice that accommodates standard hooks and tubes, the Peak Tube Fly Vice Head from Peak (Colorado) will cover all your needs. However, you can only attach the rotary tube-fly shaft/head on Peak’s rotary vice with standard-hook jaws, so unless you already have the latter – which is a lovely piece of kit – the complete set will cost you more than £300. Bearing in mind, you are effectively getting two superb quality vices, this may not be an issue. With this build quality, they should last a lifetime.

Tying a Tube Fly
Peak has the advantage of having the best base. At half the size again of the others, there is no way this will move about when tying. The base is powder-coated in white, has three optional positions for the vice stem, and a useful moulded recess. The stainless-steel stem and rotary shaft assembly fit into a brass head. Changing the standard jaws for the tube-fly head is quick and easy (instructions and allen key supplied). The tube-fly jaw is set inside the chuck, which is rotated to adjust the aperture. Metal tubes up to 1∕8 inch wide can be placed directly into the jaws. Two pins of 1∕32 inch and 1∕16 inch are supplied (other sizes are available separately), which have tapered shoulders next to the stoppers that grip/secure the tubes – an excellent idea.

HMH Spinner Tube Fly Vice

HMH Spinner Vice
This simple, beautifully machined HMH Spinner Tube Vice not only has all the requirements of a tube-fly vice, but it also has a full rotary function. The "Spinner"comes with the option of a G-clamp or pedestal base. The stem, made of attractive "gunmetal" brushed stainless steel fits neatly into a collar and is secured with a set screw (allen key supplied). The head of the vice is fixed, though new models are available with angle adjustment. At the business end, there are three key features. The main body is engineered from stainless steel. At the front of this is a knurled stainless-steel binding nut for opening and closing the jaws. The body is slim, and although the binding nut is small, it is surprisingly easy to grip. The jaws hold slipstream-style tubes firmly.

Equally, it holds the pins very tightly. There are two supplied (.041 inches and .062 inches), and these are inserted into the main body via the jaws and secured with the binding nut. At the rear of the head is the stainless-steel rotary hub. This is spun by way of a lever (removable), and its tension can be adjusted by tightening a knurled, brass locking ring. This vice is simple, modern and superbly machined.

Stonfo Tube Fly Vice with Pedestal

Stonfo Tube Fly Vice with Pedestal
The Stonfo Tube Fly Vice is equal in build quality and has rotary movement. This includes a 90- and 180-degree lock to stop the fly rotating in the upright position and when upside-down (eg when tying throat hackles). Again, the rotary motion is adjustable. This vice comes with five pins in different diameters – three tapered and two consistent in diameter – to suit all styles of tube. Changing pins is easy and each has a corresponding collet, which screws into the head of the vice. The pin inserts into the collet and is fixed in place by tightening a knurled nut behind the collet. A C-clamp version is available.

So as highlighted, if you are starting out at tying your own tube flies, there are various options.  The inexpensive path is to purchase an attachment, however if you are more experienced, looking for a longer term solution and willing to spend a bit more money, a pedestal tube fly vice is recommended.

And if you are still unsure about what is the right tube fly vice to buy, don't forget we have a fantastic range of tube fly vices and attachments at fishingmegastore.  Alternatively, you can call us on 0141 212 8880 and our expert staff will be more than happy to help you.

This article was brought to you in association with Trout & Salmon.