I resisted the rotary revolution in fly tying far longer than I should have. That opposition ended when I got my hands on the Wolff Indiana Atlas Fly Tying Vise, and increased the speed and ease with which I produced flies. This machined stainless steel wonder is capable of holding hooks from the absurdly teeny up to the obscenely large, at a price that won’t send you reeling.
The Atlas Fly Tying Vise is a full rotary design, which means you can utilize the latest 360-degree tying techniques to craft magazine-cover worthy bugs. Even if you don’t plan on tying exhibition quality dries, you will work faster and neater with the ability to see all sides of your fly easily. If you want to take full advantage of the rotary function, the extended finger pin makes spinning the jaws easy.
Cranking down on the friction knob allows you to easily adjust tension so you get the exact pressure you desire. The drag rivals that of a fine fly reel, with Delrin sleeve bearings and Teflon bushings keeping things smooth. A separate spindle lock holds everything in place if you really need to apply pressure, such as when spinning deer hair.
The jaws are one of the best features of the Atlas Fly Tying Vise, and may be one of the best on the market. With minor adjustments, the vise can securely hold everything from size 32 up to 7/0; I’ve even been able to cram some 10/0 circle hooks in there to whip a batch of shark flies before an offshore trip. Simply rotate the knurled collar and throw the lever to lock whatever hook you have in there.
My Atlas routinely gets a workout whipping up bucktail jigs for the days when the on-shore winds are so vicious that they require a few ounces to punch through. Even with the heavy lead head, the jaws never slip. Whether you chase native brookies in alpine steams or the largest saltwater predators, the Atlas has you covered.
The Atlas travels well; the included C-clamp is perfect for motel room desks or streamside picnic tables. The wide jaw will accommodate almost two inches so you’ll be hard pressed to find a surface it can’t bite onto. Toss the Atlas and a handful of materials into your fly fishing luggage and you’ll be able to tie something up to match the hatch, whatever it may be.
The vise also comes with a weighted pedestal base, perfect for your dedicated tying desk or coffee table. The pastel blue hue is easy on your eyes during extended tying sessions and helps see the details of your fly more clearly. The heft, combined with the non-skid rubber feet, mean it will stay put no what you’re tying.
After several years—and untold numbers of flies—my Atlas vise looks much the same as it did when I first got it. The rotary function is still silky smooth, and the jaws still hold everything tight. Get your hands on an Atlas Fly Tying Vise of your own HERE for as low as $160.61.
Words and photos by Joseph Albanese