This past weekend was the annual Fly Fishing Show event in Lancaster, Pa, and it was my second year tying at this show. For the the last couple months, I've had little to no time to tie flies at home, so with a couple days dedicated to tying flies and telling lies, I was pretty excited.
This year I made a slight change to my 'packing' - I picked out a couple of classic flies that I wanted to tie, as well as finish up some smaller stuff for a few swaps I'm participating in on various forums. All in all this made for a much lighter commute on the train from Philly on Saturday morning.
|Display flies in the box, materials in the bag.|
Got to the show on Saturday morning, pulled out my trusty Cottarelli vise and tried to clamp it to the table, but no dice! Some how the tables this year were slightly deeper and I couldnt stretch the clamp out any further than it alreadywas....bummer....
I took a walk around the floor and came across the Regal booth, manned by John Blackmer and Mr. Silverfish himself, Steve Silverio. It was the first time I'd met either of these folks (both great guys btw), despite regularly tying at the Fly Fishing Show and International Fly Tying Symposium for the last few years. I talked with John for a bit and asked if he had a clamp I could borrow that would fit the table. Luckily, for me, Regal had recently introduced a 'wider' clamp, so we brought it over to my table and tried it out. Sure, it fit the table, but the stem of my vise was too short and too narrow and didnt hold well at all....bummer again. John came to the rescue with a loaner vise for the clamp and I was all set to go tying my little nymphs and Green Butt Skunks for the swaps.
|Hare and Copper Variants tied by Eunan Hendron|
|Green Butt Skunk variants tied by Eunan Hendron|
Now, truth be told, I'd long been considering buying another vise, though not necessarily right now, or right there at the show either. But the more I used the Regal, the more I liked it. I tried the traditional jaws and the big game jaws for the size 4 steelhead hooks. I liked the traditional jaws better as both hooks fit snugly into the vise and it held both styles of hooks with a 'bulldog' grip!
Most of Saturday morning John would stop by and see how I was doing and asking what I thought, and I found it very difficult to come up with any faults with the vise, aside from liking the traditional jaws better for my tying needs at the show. He told me there was a good chance I could get a nice deal on a new vise if that was the route I wanted to go.
Over lunch and a beer I considered the vise an came to the conclusion that I needed this new vise. Back to the Regal booth I marched, told John what I wanted and he set me up with a nice deal we were both happy with! So I hit up the ATM, and picked up my new Regal vise (Traditional jaws, brass base) with a day and a half of the show to spare. The entire rest of the time I tied all my flies on the new Regal, even a hat pin on a 2/0 hook, in the traditional jaws with no hook slippage whatsoever.
|Tom Tickler Hat Pin tied by Eunan Hendron|
Needless to say, I'm pretty chuffed with the vise, and with the great deal I got from John, and I'm happy to be part of the Regal tyer community.
The new Regal traditional jaws will be perfect for those smaller winged wets, Rangeley Style streamers and other fishing flies I tie - those smaller hooks just weren't as comfortable or accessible to tie on in the bigger Cottarelli.
Aside from the vise, I met a ton of great folks who stopped by to talk flies at my table as well as some old and new friends at show. It's always been fun for me to go to these shows, and now that I've done this year's events, the tying spark has been reignited in me to get more flies tied up.
As show season winds down, I'm already looking forward to next season. Hopefully you'll catch me at the International Fly Tying Symposium, Fly Fishing Shows, as well as the Art of the Angler show later this year. I'm also going to be tying flies again at the Sporting Gentleman fly shop in Media, Pa towards the end of the summer, most likely rattling out some early season steelhead patterns in anticipation of the start of steelies in the Fall.