The passenger side window on my truck was smashed in, my fly-tying vise, tools, and materials stolen from the front seat. Think about that for a minute before I explain.
I parked my truck in front of my sister’s house in Pasadena, CA….the swankiest part of Pasadena on the San Marino border. If you are not familiar with this part of the world let’s just say my brother in law has done well. I didn’t think anything of parking there. Huck truck is 11 years old. It’s been broken into 3 separate times…by bears. But, never by humans. There really wasn’t anything in the truck of value….except for my fly tying stuff. Also realize that Los Angeles is not the fly tying hot bed of the world. My guess is that 1/10,000th of the entire population of LA would even know what fly tying materials and tools are.
I was to stay the long weekend at my sister’s house and have an awesome time with my nephews and niece. And I figured there’d be a lot of down time to tie flies on their kitchen table and to show my nephews how to tie flies. so, before I left our house I painstakingly cut up a bunch of foam strips to make huck hoppers, grabbed all the other materials needed, tools and vise and packed them into my brand-new Fishpond Road Trip Fly Tying Kit.
On Saturday morning I wandered out early to my truck to grab the fly tying stuff… and I immediately saw all the shattered glass. My first thought was what in the heck was in there that these bad guys wanted. Huck-truck doesn’t even have a nice stereo in it. the speakers are blown out (thanks to my son Mark). And it has a cassette deck. I’m not kidding. It has a cassette deck. I immediately determined the only thing these bad guys stole was my fly tying stuff….because short of my garmin gps, which these bad guys ignored, that was really the only thing in my truck of value. And then it hit me. They saw the trendy fishpond bag with a flashlight in the middle of the night and thought it was an ipad or computer. You can imagine the dumb asses faces when they opened it up and said, “What the F is this?!” as they threw it out their window or in the trash.
What’s interesting is that the Pasadena City Police Department sent a forensic unit to check out my truck. I had just washed it a few days before so the scenario was perfect for “lifting fingerprints” from my truck. The officer took my finger prints (to distinguish them from the bad guys). And then said, “See here. There are some really good prints from them. here’s how they broke your window.” I was kind of skeptical until he said, “Oh yea, we’ll catch these guys. It’s just a matter of time. Criminals like this just aren’t that smart. These prints will help tremendously. I bet we already have these prints on file.”
And this is the part of the story where I learned about car insurance. I thought to myself, “I have insurance. This is nothing more than a hassle.” how wrong I was. It is true that USAA (who I adore) fixed my truck’s window at my house the very next day (after driving the 100 miles back home on LA freeways with what is essentially the window down). But, with a $500 deductible, I learned when talking to USAA on the phone, I was basically out of $500 of fly tying stuff…including my vise.
Clearly, I couldn’t live without a vise. But, the cost was going to have to come out of pocket because the insurance basically only covered fixing my smashed window. It was hard enough this summer just keeping up with the fly orders coming in on my site. So, I started the internet research. Like everything else fly fishing in my life I start with the cheap stuff then upgrade through time. I started tying on a $20 vise many years ago. The vise I had been using was rotary, $125ish. Through internet research I narrowed the choices (on the basis of convincing myself I deserve it) to vises that carried retail price tags between $200 and $300. At that point I did what I always do: I wrote an email to my buddy Mark Boname who is the owner of the Platte River Fly shop in Casper Wyoming for guidance. Mark recommended the a Renzetti Traveler. “Ooohhh” I said to myself, “yea, I deserve a Renzetti.” But, I was confused by that name “traveler”. I didn’t need a travel vise; I needed an everyday like vise. With a little more research, I figured out that the Traveler line of Renzetti vises are not really travel vises at all. I wonder if I am the only one that got thrown by that? from the Renzetti web site I could see they just released the “Traveler 2304 Cam Vise 6×6 Pedestal Base Model” which seemed perfect. One email to Mark asking if he could sell me that one and boom! Order placed on www.wyomingflyfishing.com/ within 10 minutes.
This is where this article turns into a product review.
The Renzetti Traveler 2304 Cam Vise 6×6 Pedestal Base Model
If there is one thing I say a lot, quoting my dad it’s, “Timothy, in life you typically get what you pay for.” And that is so true about this vise. I don’t know how I have lived so long…tied for so long without a professional vice like this one.
Hooks don’t Slip
Firstly, the hook just simply doesn’t slip from the jaws….at all… you have no idea how awesome that is unless you have tied for 25 years plus with a vise that slips. And if you look at all the reviews out there about the Renzetti vises the not slipping thing comes up first almost in every one. Renzetti says this vise can accommodate hooks from as large as a 4/0 to as tiny as a 28. There is a little knob adjustment on the jaws that faces you that gives you the ability to adjust the jaws with precision from large hook sizes down to small ones. This vice makes tying so much faster. This feature alone, makes this vise worth it’s price tag.
Right and left-handed models
Wait, what? Yes, this vice comes in both right- and left-handed versions. This was so confusing to me I had to call Renzetti directly on the phone because I couldn’t find anywhere what the hell that meant. And, of course, I got awesome customer service just like you’d expect from a company with that Renzetti’s reputation. So, here’s the deal. If the jaws of your vice point to the right as you are facing it, you are tying right handed; it’s a righthanded vice. And conversely, if the jaws of the vice point left as you are tying it’s a left handed vice. The reason is that Renzetti puts the controls in front of you for easy access (like the precision jaws adjustment knob I mentioned earlier faces me so I don’t have to awkwardly reach behind the vice to adjust). So, I tie right handed; I purchased a right handed Renzetti vice. Clearly, Renzetti thinks these usability things through….although I wish they’d let me write the content for their website that explains this stuff….
The Bobbin Cradle
I have to admit when I purchased the vice from www.WyomingFlyFishing.com I said to myself, “I’m going to have to figure out what the hell that arm thing does.”. All my prior vices did not have a “bobbin cradle”. Shoot, it wasn’t until I read the little parts list that came with the Renzetti vice that I even figured out what it was called. So, armed with the search phrase “How to use a Bobbin Cradle Fly fishing” guess what came up as the first match? a video from Renzetti on YouTube with over 10,000 views on how to use a bobbin cradle:
So, I’m one of over ten thousand people that couldn’t figure out what the hell that arm thing was for also…. As the video suggests it takes a while to get used to and configured for your preferences, but now I’m convinced I can never live without it. Having the bobbin cradle has changed the way I tie flies and the speed at which I do it. I don’t know how I ever tied flies without a bobbin cradle. See the reoccurring theme here?
Well, I’m a good news / bad news guy and I just cannot find any negatives on the Renzetti Traveler 2304 vise short of it’s price tag which lists at $299. IMHO if you are tying more than 100 flies per year, then you’ll adore this vise.