I walked around the 2007 Fly Fishing Retailer in Denver for a full day. My feet were tired of the concrete floor and I thought I'd seen it all. I was ready to hit the town and kick back with industry types. As I was heading for the exit, I was stopped dead in my tracks, not by a new fly rod or a drift boat, but a fly tying vise.
The brochure was left on a table near the door that was littered with event information, schedules, and the like. When I first saw the advertisement for the Special Edition Master Vise from Renzetti, I wasn't entirely sure I was looking at a catalog aimed at fly tyers; the slick marketing brochure made the vise look more like a Porsche or a Bentley than a fly tying tool. I read the specifications and looked at the sleek lines, the matte black finish, the powerfully designed jaws. In a word, I was impressed.
After returning home, I thumbed through the pages of the brochure and just kept coming back to the Special Edition Master. Like many type-A saltwater fly tyers, I am a sucker for sexy design and solid engineering so naturally I had to get a Gamakatsu SC15 in the jaws of a Renzetti Special Edition Master Vise -- STAT.
The Renzetti Special Edition Master Fly Tying Vise
Retail Price: $729.95
- Design inspired by fly tying genius Bob Popovics
- SPECIAL EDITION non glare black finish
- Advanced rotary actuator (the independent positioning of the fly and crank arm affords total versatility in all rotary functions)
- Precision dual ball bearing rotary head
- True 360 degree rotation
- Adjustable rotary tension
- Adjustable, hide away material clip
- Helical cam operated jaw mechanism
- Solid brass bobbin cradle support
- Anti corrosion coated cam jaws
- Painted adjustable jaw hinge to accommodate the full spectrum of hooks
- Stainless steel stem
What’s the word . . .
Renzetti's Special Edition Master Fly Tying Vise is the king of saltwater fly tying vises. Period. This vise is smooth, versatile, tough, lightweight, and elegantly designed.
I set out to really put this vise to the test, so I sat down tied about 30 large saltwater streamers on 1/0 and 3/0 hooks. From start to finish of each fly, the vise responded brilliantly. The repeatability of its tension, hook after hook, wrap after wrap, was remarkable and its rotary action was silky smooth. There was plenty of room to work around the jaws and the adjustable arm and well-placed material clip were quite useful when I pulled out the really long yak hair to get some gnarly length with my baitfish creations.
After these saltwater offerings, I decided to tie up some Stimulators on #14 and #16 hooks. The vise was easy to adjust and held these smaller hooks with just as much solid power, giving me the confidence I needed to tie some killer bugs. I was impressed by the stability of the vise's base and overall construction -- it really did feel like driving a well-engineered sports car instead of a clunky truck or SUV.
Next up were the really small #20 midges. Again, the Special Edition Master performed flawlessly. I don't tie too many flies smaller than size 16 mostly because of the type of fishing I am usually pursuing, but I was pleasantly surprised by this vise's ability to securely hold a very small hook while leaving me room to actually produce a great fly!
From the first fly to the fiftieth, and in a range of hook sizes, the Renzetti Special Edition Master performed just as it should, and it looked great doing it!
Features . . .
Hard-nosed engineering and construction meet the functional elegance of great design in Renzetti’s Special Edition Deluxe Master Fly Tying Vise. This vise was inspired by the wildly popular fly tyer Bob Popovics and is quite simply the finest vise available today. The advanced rotary actuator of this vise allows for independent positioning of the fly and crank arm for maximum versatility at the bench, while its precision dual ball bearing rotary head is smooth fly after fly. Rotary tension is adjustable and the material clip can be positioned away from the working space near the jaws. The Special Edition Deluxe Master takes a full range of hook sizes and its anti corrosion coated cam jaws ensure durable performance. On top of it all, the black finish looks sweet and reduces glare, letting your focus on your fly, not unwanted reflected light.
Fit and Finish . . .
This vise flat out performs and has the sleek and bold design to back it up. The matte black finish on this vise not only gives it the pure aesthetic of serious machinery, but it also serves a function: it absorbs bright and reflective UV rays, the bane of saltwater fly tyers everywhere! The brushed gold accents smack luxury and the quality machining of all of the moving parts is remarkable.
Reliability and Durability . . .
This vise is bomb-proof, a fact that becomes evident as soon as you open the box and begin to assemble it at or workspace. The durability of the black finish is yet to be fully realized, but if Renzetti's prior products are any mark of the Special Edition Master Vise's long-range quality, fly tyers everywhere should be producing bugs by the billions on these fantastic vises for years to come.
With a solid lifetime warranty backed by Renzetti, the $729.95 sticker shock should soften a bit. Renzetti is a family operation and their customer service is quite good.
Overall Rating . . .
Renzetti's Special Edition Master Fly Tying Vise truly is the sexiest vise to ever hit the market. There are certainly vise options designed wholly for lasting durability and there are those constructed purely for aesthetic staisfaction, but the Special Edition Master is sexy because it marries these design approaches seamlessly and elegantly. The price tag may turn some tyers off, but for those who bite the bullet, the investment should be well worth it.
Renzetti Special Edition Master Fly Tying Vise
Pros: The smooth full-rotary action, solid construction, elegant design, and strong jaws do more than offset its hefty price tag.
Cons: Checking in at a stiff $729.95, the Special Edition Master Vise is an investment.
Bottom Line: If you tie lots of flies or are heavy on saltwater flies, this is the vise for you. In fact, spend the $729.95 today, and you'll probably never buy another vise again.
Evan LeBon is a regular contributor to beyondthebug.blogspot.com
photos in this post used by permission from flyfishingoutfitters.com and lelandflytying.com