The Vice (or, The Vise, if you live anywhere to the west of Ireland)

by Dr. Andrew N. Herd via A FlyFishing History

“Amazing though it may seem, the first mention of the vice was by Taylor in 1800. Prior to that it is simply not mentioned. This may seem strange, but there are good reasons why it should be so – very early tyers whipped their hooks directly onto the end of their line, which would have made it difficult for them to use a vice even if it had been invented in those days.”


“Adopting the vice meant learning an entirely different way of tying flies, and while patterns were relatively simple, there wasn’t much reason to go to all the trouble of learning new tricks. Besides, a hand tyer could sit down and make flies anywhere, provided there is a patch of sun and a glass of beer to hand, while the vice shackled him to the bench. The ability to tie a new pattern by the waterside is one of the great advantages that we have sacrificed in the name of progress.”

quite interesting  how the tying vise came to be as the direct result of the invention and common use of eyed hooks. amusing as well is how little the basic design of what has become the most basic fly tying tool has changed over time.
as for the Vice vs Vise part i’ve done some sterile research but i’ve passed on the question to some historically-linguistically-minded friends and will update later if they ever make up their minds. my guess is it’s yet another savage North American deviation of the English language… :P

click the pic for lots more Vice-Vise history. enjoy !

One comment on “The Vice (or, The Vise, if you live anywhere to the west of Ireland)

  1. [...] are staples on every fly tier’s desk now. However, that has not always been the case, as Marc Fauvet points out, with history further explained by Dr. Andrew N. [...]

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