Want to start tying for saltwater, SRC

Looking for some input on what all is needed to start tying for the saltwater, sea run cutt's mainly. There is a older Orvis rotary vise for sale that I'm looking at 50.00, pics posted below. Wandering if this would get the job done or should I be looking at something else or a kit maybe? Looking at tying tube flies, clousers ,poppers maybe. Thank you for you thoughts
Hey Robeau,

I say get it and start tying! If your like me you'll need plenty of practice before things start looking like flies! Use the search function on this site and start looking for salt flies, SRC (sea run cutthroat) flies and such and you'll have plenty to start with. Get tying and go get em!
I'm sure that vise will be just fine. However if you're unsure there are plenty of options out there for not a lot of money. I have had a Danvise for a couple months and can't say enough good about it. 75 bucks brand new. Hell of a deal.

As for getting started, do a search for Dryflylarry's Popsicle Stick. Very effective and a relatively easy tie to get you going.


Ed Call

Well-Known Member
Jump in with two feet, search the saltwater forum and scour the gallery for pattern ideas. Until you have all the "right" materials just tie on impression and instinct. Imitate what you don't have yet and then get those flies wet.
Go to the library and get some books or check out a local shop. If I see a fly I like, I buy one and then try to mimic it. Sometimes I'm successful, sometimes not, and once in a while, the fly I bought mutates into a better version or leads me to an entirely new idea. I stick with baitfish flies, for the most part. They are relatively easy to tie and don't require a lot of materials.

Chad Lewis

NEVER wonder what to do with your free time
I like to do what Steve does too; a lot of my tying is copying patterns that I want to fish with. Get yourself a book or two on SRC's (Les Johnson's is highly recommended, and may be the definitive work on the subject). As for the tying itself, take some lessons. That shortens the learning curve so much it's ridiculous. By taking lessons, you also get to tie on a vise and see if you like it and try your hand at tying different flies. The rest, as they say, is practice-practice-practice.

I've also found that if you poke around enough on the internet you'll find recipes for most all the flies you want to tie, if not videos. Just do google searches. On YouTube, I've found Davie McPhail's videos a fantastic source of learning, not to mention learning to tie some great flies!
By the way, don't buy a kit. Most of what you get is second quality and of no use for most of what you will want to tie. Get a specific pattern in mind and buy just what you need for that fliy or maybe two or three patterns. Then you don't waste money and you have exactly what you need. That's how I built my collection of stuff that has grown out of hand lately. But, I rarely have to go looking for something unless it's really special stuff.
These guys are right on Robeau.
In addition, look up previous posts from Les and Roger Stephens. ( Look below in the "Similiar Threads" box)
These gents have tremendous knowledge of our local waters and what they post is always entertaining to read...
Good luck and welcome to the forum!



east coast transplant
I think this is all great advice. I just tied my first SRC flies... I went to a fly shop, saw a pattern I liked, bought the materials, and went home and tied 15 (for the fly swap). I haven't fished them yet, but I think they came out nicely... plus I now have materials for some other saltwater flies I want to tie. My fly was essentially a clouser minnow with a popper head rather than metal eyes, which was pretty darn simple... plus I can tie the traditional clouser and fish below the surface as well. Good luck!



$2 coyote steak
That vise will do the job, but I would save your money and get a better quality setup. The real question is, do you want to spend a lot of time tying (versus 1-2 times a month/year)? Do you really want to learn to tie tube flies? If yes, you are going to need something else. Tons of options, but for tubes specifically I would ask your local fly shop for recommendations on brands to look at or hit the websites of a few name brand vises to see if they offer a tube conversion kit/jaw.

The extra money you spend will get you a vise that has a lot more fine adjsutments, a pedestal (unless you really want a C-Clamp), and a WAY better jaw. I started out with a vise similar to the one in your picture and I regret it...total piece of junk, and the jaws were scarred/dented after about a year of tying. On top of that, the hook fell out all the time because the locking mechanism was garbage.

For SRC flies, I would start out basic - think clouser minnows, even if you are doing tubes. Chartruese/white, pink/white, also do some brown/yellow or brown/olive. Also not a bad idea to tie in a grizzly hackle down each side to mimic the lateral line (like really thin dry fly hackle). 1-1.5 inch patterns, keep them pretty sparse. The baitfish you see will be about this size.
Thanks everyone for your advice. I think I will wait and get a better vise capable of tube flies also. I went to see Roger's presentation at Orvis in Bellevue a couple weeks ago and the tube flies definitely interests me, I even won one of Roger's Sand Lance flies in the raffle! Now if I did not have to buy a new laundry set last weekend... how nice of a vise could I have right now?