While we’ve had fly tying kits in the vintage tackle contest, Ian Bews was the first to send in separate tying tools. These caught my eye because it’s fun to think about the bugs tied with this old vise and bobbin, what rivers they were fished on, and how many wintery nights these tools were hard at work as some angler dreamt of spring. Ian wrote:

I picked up a box of fly tying materials at a yard sale for twenty dollars. At first I thought there was just some feathers and hides but to my delight I found these items in bottom of the box.


Lucky for you, Ian, Dr. Todd Larson of the The Whitefish Press and “Fishing For History” blog is a fellow fly tyer who appreciates such classic tools. Dr. Todd says:

“I love fly tying and think you’ve found some very neat pieces that are both usable and collectable. The first is a classic Herter’s No. 11 vise. These were a popular and serviceable vise dating from the 1940s to the 1970s. They were also built like a tank, so it should still be good to go–and worth $20-$30. I wasn’t sure on the bobbin so I asked my friend Dean Smith, who’s web site Tackle Treasures deals exclusively with these kinds of tackle items. Dean refers to it as a “cross-over” item because it could be used for fly tying and sewing. He writes: “I have seen the bobbins sell for $25 to $35 when referred to specifically as “fly fishing bobbins”. They generally sell for less when sold as generic sewing bobbins. The romance of fly fishing always adds value!” Now go tie yourself some flies!”

Thanks for sending, Ian. You’ve got a Cabela’s 50th Anniversary Fly Box and Fly Assortment headed your way. And if you lose all those flies on the river, it seems you have the tools to tie up plenty more!

If you’ve already sent me photos of your vintage tackle, keep checking every Thursday to see if I chose it for an appraisal by Dr. Todd. If you haven’t and want to enter the contest, email photos of your old tackle to, along with your name, mailing address, and story of how you acquired the gear. If I use it in a Thursday post, you get a Cabela’s 50th Anniversary Fly Box and Fly Assortment (below, $50).