I was recently in the market for a new vise for my tying bench. My Danica Danvise had served its purpose and the jaws had worn to a point where it was hard to place a hook. They were made of non-hardened steel so they dented and nicked easily. I was ready for a higher quality device that I wouldn’t have to replace parts on every year or so. I ended up with the Griffin Montana Mongoose.
I told myself I wasn’t going to spend over $250, really wanted to keep it under $200. Of course my “dream” vise was the Stonfo Transformer ($350). It had the cool factor of coming with three separate interchangeable jaws (one standard, one for large streamers and one for tube flies), so it caught my eye right off the bat. I decided to move on from raising my budget when I found some fine options, including the Griffin Montana Mongoose, for around $200. This would save me enough money to where I could buy a dedicated tube vise if I wanted and still come in cheaper that the Transformer.
I’ll end my story of how I decided to settle on the Griffin Montana Mongoose there. With so many options in this price range it would be hard to totally justify my pick over any other model. Instead I will just give you the bullet points.
- All metal construction – The Danvise was primarily made of plastic, so this is a large step up in class.
- Hardened Jaws – I don’t think I will be wearing grooves into these jaws any time soon
- Option for either C-clamp or pedastal – both options come with the vise, so no need to buy extra pieces
- Fully adjustable rotary vise – because I find myself tying more than fishing, making the experience comfortable is important!
- Included bobbin cradle and material clip – these are pretty standard in this price range. The material clip is awesome!
- Recommended by the guys at FlyFishFood.com – I follow these guys pretty closely and although they use a bunch of fancy vises in their videos, they spoke very highly of the Griffin Montana Mongoose
- Price!!! – I was able to find a lightly used one on ebay for $140 shipped! I can buy a lot of materials for the $50 this saved me. It came in the original box with all the accessories and I couldn’t tell it had been used at all.
On the Bench with the Griffin Montana Mongoose:
I have been tying with the Griffin Montana Mongoose for the last few weeks. In function it is very similar to my old Danvise. Actually the design in general is pretty close. The quality of the materials are what really separates this from the much cheaper Danvise. The adjustments are crisp and easy. All of the frequently adjusted pieces use thumb screws and don’t require a lot of movement to go from totally loose to super tight. They don’t seem to work themselves loose and change tension which is great. Once you are set up the way you want, things just seem to stay put. Cheaper vises require somewhat regular re-calibration to keep pumping out flies.
I started out using the pedestal attachment, but quickly switched to the C-clamp. This wasn’t due to any shortcoming of the pedestal, I’m just used to having my vise clamped and hanging over the edge of the desk. This provides space directly under the vise to hang your bobbin, or make wraps without bumping a pedestal. The pedestal will come in handy though when I want to tie somewhere other than my normal space. The Griffin Montana Mongoose is compact enough when attached to the pedestal that it will be very easy to take on trips to tie up some extra bugs in the car or in the hotel room. All of the accessories fit into the carrying case that comes with the vise, so it is very convenient to travel with.
So far I have tied everything from large 1/0 streamers, down to size 16 nymphs. The jaws handle all the hook sizes easily. Obviously, you can tie much larger and smaller flies (the jaws are rated down into the 20’s), I just haven’t had the need to go outside of that range yet. The Griffin Montana Mongoose also works well with the Pro Sportfisher Flexi-Needle for tying tube flies. I didn’t get my dedicated tube vise yet, but honestly I don’t think I need one. This setup works just fine for the limited amount of patterns I will tie on tubes.
All in all I am extremely happy with the Griffin Montana Mongoose vise. There’s not a whole lot more to say about it. It holds hooks firmly, looks great, and should function as advertised for a long time. And even though its not the cheapest vise around, the features, accessories, and quality finish, make it a great value in the end.
Here’s a link to FlyFishFood.com – You can read their high praise of this vise, and even purchase one for yourself!