Much like a masterfully tied fly can lure in the wariest of trout, Wolff’s Apex vise is designed to hook enthusiasts with its impeccable quality.
Ready to get “tied up” in the details of the Apex? If you’re familiar with the brand, you’ll know that with Wolff Industries prides itself with high quality, America made fly tying vises.
If you are starting out or a seasoned veteran on the vise, we all know the importance of having a good quality vise. The main job of the vise is to hold the hook so we can tie feathers and synthetics onto it. This all needs to happen without any slipping or pulling off the hook. This is the first sign of a poor-quality vise when the hook starts to slip in the jaws. The rest of the vises add-ons like rotary capabilities, hackle clamps, light brackets, etc, are what attribute to a more sophisticated vise, but more on this later.
Check current prices and reviews on Amazon with this shortcut link 👉 Wolff Apex
Overall Rating Compared to 6 Other Popular Fly Tying Vises
In my comparison the Wolff Apex came in Sixth Place out of the six fly tying vises tested. (This is purely my opinion using a vise I personally purchased) Check out my Review Summary 👉 HERE
It’s important to note that all the vises I reviewed are fundamentally good. The below ratings are not saying it’s bad, just I’d recommend others in this price range. The machining is excellent and the included table clamp is nice.
Below is my scoring. With 10 being highest
- Ease of Use = 7
- Vise Clamp = 5
- Weight = 2lbs, 6oz
- Assembly score =8
- Rotary = 6
- Fit and Finish = 8
Description of the Wolff Apex Fly Tying Vise
First off, we can all admit that we like it when things look cool, crisp, and clean, and the Atlas Vise is all of these things when you unwrap it from its box. That new box and clean metal smell all add to the excitement of the unboxing. When you first see the vise, it is as you would have imagined, shiny clean, and perfect.
Setting the vise up is simple with the base plate insert or C-clamp addition. Whichever you choose or prefer to work with is up to you. One of the issues I have with base plates is that they often aren’t heavy enough to provide sufficient base support for the vise, but this doesn’t seem to be an issue with Atlas’s base. On this note, the base is great for when you need a traveler’s vise and/or are trying on the move or on the boat.
The jaws are stable and comfortably hold hooks. The box indicates hooks from 7/0 to #32, but I’m always reluctant to push the boundaries on these specs as the jaws often strip out and get damaged.
What vise came out on top in my review and what vise do I recommend? 👉 Peak Rotary Fly Tying Vise
Pros and Cons of Wolff Apex
Hooks are held well in this set of jaws. The indications are that the jaws can hold from a 7/0 to the smallest #32, but as I have mentioned above, please be wary of pushing the jaws too far. What is nice is that the jaws are made from a hardened tool, stainless steel, which helps to prevent any damage on the hook slip.
The jaws are also available in a 1-0 size should you wish to tie the larger patterns.
The strength of the clamp is important, and you can clearly see the strength of the jaw in the attached video when we test this Apex Vise Breakdown. Note that the hook doesn’t actually slip before it bends, which is a great indicator of jaw strength. While these jaws aren’t the strongest on the market, they do a pretty good job.
Base and Weight
The base plate is important, even if you are only using this vise as your travelers’ vise. The weight is crucial, and while the Atlas base weight is only 2lbs 6oz, it gets the job done just fine. When compared to other bases, it is on the light side of the scale, but this doesn’t seem to affect its performance.
The heavier the base, the better, in my opinion, and I have seen some extremely heavy homemade base plates for the vise, but if you are using the vise on the move, there needs to be that balance between functionality and ease of use.
Guide Pro Tip: Hey, I’ve got a FREE Fly Tying Class. Videos, and written instructions can be found with this shortcut link 👉 How to Tie Flies Step by Step
The vise comes with a marketed point of the ‘inline rotary’ function, and while this is true, this isn’t a true rotatory vise, well, in my mind, anyway.
The advertised inline rotary does work but can be a little cumbersome and can prove to be quite tricky when needing to palmer a dubbing brush down the hook shank. The most important aspect of a true rotary vise is that the hook shank turns on the same axes as the vise head. This way, the shank rotation is true to the vise, and you have direct control.
When the shank is off slightly, you will immediately feel the imbalance and may struggle to maintain a uniform forward wrap.
On a side note, you can very definitely wrap and use techniques that require a rotary vise on the Apex vise. It may just be a little trickier, that’s all.
Fit and Finish
As mentioned earlier, the look and feel of Apex are great and right up there with the more advanced models. It has a rounded hand pin on the jaw lock and a lovely silver finish. The base plate is a darker, more matt color with rounded edges.
Ease of Assembly
This may sound silly or irrelevant to some, but there are some very complex vise setups out there, and the Apex is luckily not one of these. Super simple to set up and break down. A few Allen key screws to tighten, and you are on your way.
Extras Included with the Wolff Apex Vise
Everyone loves extra stuff. What’s great is when you purchase the Apex vise, an additional C- clamp comes with the vise. This is a great clamp for a coffee table or for a more permanent-based vise. I’m a c-clamp advocate and my vise never leaves the house on a trip without it.
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One Last Fly
The Apex vise is a great vise for beginners or as a second vise for a more experience tyer. The more experienced you get and the deeper down the rabbit hole you go, you will realize you want a few extra things on your vise. But until then, the Apex should be your choice, and with a 4.6 score on Amazon and a retail price of $178, you can’t go wrong with this choice.
Happy Tying Friends!
Fly fishing has been my passion and pursuit for the past 20 years. I am a South African based fly fisherman who loves nothing more than spending a day on the water. Fly fishing is more than catching fish, being in the outdoors with good friends and family is what it is all about.