Reduce to the max
Are you a fly tyer or a fly buyer? I love tying my own flies and I recommend you should do the same for two good reason. I became a fly tier instead of a fly buyer already very early in my fly fishing life and I do not regret it. First you have the material for the fly under control. The choice of the hook is especially for saltwater fly fishing crucial, but also the rest what kind of material being used. Second, is the willingness to understand the prey. This is not given when you buy flies in a shop or even online. It makes you a more thoughtful fly fisher that understands why a fish is taking a specific pattern and denies others
I love the months before a fly fishing trip preparing all my flies and tackle. I’m always scared that I miss a pattern or don’t have enough flies with me from a pattern that works. It happened to me multiple times that I had a catchy pattern and I had to tie some more flies on the location after I run out of stock. You either can carry half a bag full of flies with you or you take a selected assortment of material with you and tie your flies wherever you are. If you choose the second option I do have a tool you will love like I do.
Many years back I saw a small box at my local fly fishing shop. And it turned out that in this small box a fly fishing vice fits in with all the needed tools for fly fishing. A fully complete fly tying set. I wanted it, it was a clear must have. But I didn’t bought it, because I was shocked by the price and I had already bought a Dynaking recently. A Dynaking is a very good vice and I carried my Dynaking two times on a trip and I hated it. It was too heavy and by all sympathy to its robustness it is not made for traveling. In fact none of the fly tying vices is made for it. Too heavy and always too big. In fact this small box with a vice in it is the only solution you can smuggle in you bag without your wife getting panic of having too much fly fishing junk on the plane. Believe me, I had this drama every trip :)
This small box is the C&F Marco Polo Fly Tying System CFT-1000
Despite its size and weight the C&F Marco Polo is also the most precise and high quality built fly tying vice I have seen so far. When I compare it to my Dynaking it is like a big old American muscle car versus a small and agile Mini Cooper John Cooper Works edition. You need to get it in your hands. Everything is so well machined and with a sense of usability. It is so much nicely built you might think it is coming from a German factory. But it is made in Japan and they really designed and built something cool. And it is not just a good looking tool but also a good working one. The two point locking jaws, btw fully rotary, are made out of high quality, corrosion resistant steel and holds the hook rock solid from sizes of 32 to 5/0. Even my 4x strong 4/0 GT Gamakatsu hooks can be looked rock solid.
What’s in? Basically everything a fly tier needs. There is nothing thats not in. Even up to tools you can normally improvise on the field like a hair stacker. The list of tools is pretty much impressive what fits into this grey coloured box.
1 CFT-900 “Marco Polo” Fly Tying System
2 CFT-60 Bobbin Holder (standard size)
3 CFT-65ST Spare Threader
4 CFT-60/T 3-in-1 Bobbin Kit
5 CFT-80/S 2-in-1 Hair Stacker
6 CFT-70 3-in-1 Dubbing Brush
7 CFT-90 3-in-1 Half Hitcher
8 CFT-100 Dubbing Twister Plus
9 CFT-110 2-in-1 Whip Finisher
10 CFT-120 Hackle Pliers
11 TS/1 Tying Scissors (curved blade)
12 Hook Pallet
13 Tool Stand
14 Bobbing hanger
15 The box!
The vice is for free. I took the time and calculated the single price of all components in there starting from the scissors to the hook pallet the vice doesn’t cost anything more. Anyway there is no serious way around C&F when it comes for fly tying tools. Our Japanese friends really know how to built fly tying tools. The vice is sold also separately but this doesn’t have a business case unless you haven’t bought all tools before and you don’t need the fancy box. In fact the box itself with all its tool slots is worth to buy the entire set. Its waterproof too.
C&F calls it beauty of function and I strongly agree to this statement. In the fly fishing industry there are a lot of must haves and only a few need to haves but I rate the C&F Marco Polo Fly Tying System clearly as a must have for the serious traveling fly fisher.
I got mine from Fly Fishing Europe (http://www.flyfishingeurope.de) and in terms of customer support they are world class too.
Check out further details or buy directly
Have fun and always tight lines