I started tying flies about 20 years ago on a very basic (yet, wonderful) vise that my dad gave me. I spent time exclusively tying for trout. Fast forward 15 or so years and I found the desire to start chasing species besides the trout that my dad and I would regularly fish for. I needed to tie, to imitate, to create, and to improvise the new species I was targeting. I got my fly tying vise out and I started trying to tie carp flies. Man, as many of my close circle of fly fishing buddies will attest, some of those flies had some decent concepts but the majority of them were hideous, disproportionate, and relatively worthless flies. Over the last several years, I have grown in skill, understanding, and creativity. Over time I felt like I needed to get a vise that was rotary, had better jaws, and a smoother release. I browsed around and saw a lot of awesome vises. After a lot of thought and consideration, I decided to get the Griffin Montana Mongoose. After tying on it for the last several months I’ve found this vise to be an awesome tool!
For many years of my fly fishing life I was fishing exclusively for trout with small nymphs, dries, and maybe the occasional small streamer. That time of my life was filled with size 8-22 flies. After expanding my desires I find myself using the occasion 2/0 hook all the way down to (in my opinion) the really small size 24 nymphs hooks. The Griffin Mongoose has easily held, and held tight, all my hooks in those size ranges. IF/When I need expand my hook selection even further the vise is said to go from as big as 4/0 down to as small as a 28.
The 360-degree rotary feature is an awesome addition to have. Many of the popular vises on the market have this feature. I can tell you from personal experience that having the full rotation ability does help make fly tying easier – particularly when trying to view a fly to make sure that the far side of the hook looks just as good as the near side. Using it to quickly and evenly wrap materials under tension is a nice benefit as well.
The Griffin website invites users to contact them directly regarding their warranty. I took the liberty of calling them up and chatting with them over the phone for a few minutes. I was greated by a very pleasant sounding person who gave me all the information I could want. If something wears out or breaks just call them, let them know what is happening, they’ll inform you of the steps to send back the part and they will ship you out a new part. I look forward to using my vise way more than a sane human should, wearing something down, and getting my replacement parts.
I had a difficult time following the instructions to set up the vise. Maybe this is user-error? Maybe the instructions weren’t very clear? I want to think that I am decently skilled with my hands and capable of following instructions. After reviewing and examining the instructions, the parts and thinking things through a bit on my own I was able to fully assemble this vise. It wasn’t terrible to put together. In other words it wasn’t as bad as some of my kids Christmas presents this last year, but was more difficult that I was expecting.
This is my first vise with multiple ways to adjust the vise beyond hook size selection, so this complaint may be due to this being my first, but I found that this vise took some effort to fine tune and get setup the way that I wanted. At first the rotary feature was SO loose that even tightly wrapping thread would cause the the hook to rotate a little. Then, after adjusting I would almost lift the vise up before the the system would rotate. It took some time to dial in. It wasn’t until I reviewed everything that I could figure out how to adjust the jaw height to get the hook in line so that it would be a smooth 360-degree rotation. Could be first time user error – could be that things weren’t super clear. Now that I know what I want and how to adjust those specifics it is smooth sailing.
Simply put this vise is a well priced, well built, and user friendly. If you are starting tying flies for the first time and looking for your first vise or if you are a experienced and looking for a quality vise the Griffin Montana Mongoose vise should be a quality fit! It’s been a great tool in my life and I look forward to my years tying with the Mongoose!