The Griffin Montana Mongoose Vise – Part Three

mt mongoose caseGuest Blogger: Michael Vorhis, Fly Fisher & Author, FreeFlight Publishing

[…Continued from the second installment of my review of the Griffin Enterprises Montana Mongoose fly tying vise….]

Materials Clip


The included materials clip is a very nice design; I think I’ll find it helpful to hold long bits of herl, hackle and flash which will turn as the hook is rotated while remaining nicely and temporarily tucked out of the way until the time is right.



They give you a good bobbin rest; its adjustments are easy and I like it a lot. They give you a nice ceramic bobbin that has already become my primary. They give you a little hackle and hook gauge I didn’t crave but find that I use. The carrying case is fatter than I’d imagined but it’s durable and, after all, it’s all gotta fit. Again, the stalk extender, clamp base, and pedestal base are all included. Also there’s an extra little crank handle–optionally mounted via a (different) tiny Allen wrench.

Printed Instructions


See the notes on “tuning” earlier in this article. The instructions do need a few steroids.

Durability and Service


Yes on the durability; that’s obvious just by looking at it. And Griffin warranties the thing forever. It’s said they have a good reputation for that, although I haven’t had to put them to the test. I did ask two questions prior to buying, one of which was answered. I thanked them and repeated the second one but got no reply. I took a chance and bought anyway, then later sent a specific question about tuning and got no reply. So I learned on my own. I guess it was fishing season.

Where To Buy


I looked around and got mine from J.Stockard. Yes, I did see one or two eBay ads for a couple of bucks less, but remember there are older versions of this vise out there, and parts of older versions, and who knows what “frankensteined” hybrid or demo unit one might get?  And anything can be torqued and mistreated, and then sold. Buying from J.Stockard gives me the full lifetime Griffin warranty and a strong retailer to back me up. Will I notice a twelve or fifteen dollar difference, amortized over 30+ years of use? What I’ll notice is the service and support continuity.

And remember you can sweeten the deal substantially by applying some J.Stockard reward points…and the purchase itself also earns reward points you can use later. That math yields no small number. I’m a natural born skin-flint, but still to me it was a no-brainer.

Overall Usability


I’ve re-tuned a couple of times now and am already used to the feel. The vise I used before now feels odd. The tuning is where I’ll leave it. I’m tying much smaller flies than was my previous habit, and with more confidence because they hold so well. Good tools really do make for a high quality result.

But as good as it’s going, I get the strong feeling that I have to grow into this vise. Printed instructions aside, at the moment it’s still more impressive than I am. As time goes on each feature will feed into my rhythm I’ll be able to use each with skill. Until then, it’s discovery…epiphany…honeymoon.

Figure 7__Vise & Flies 2It’s a joy to explore all the things one can do with the Montana Mongoose vise. I find myself jumping from #12 emerger to tiny #22 dry, then a streamer, then back to a classic soft-hackle or

Hare’s Ear nymph…like casting to different points in the stream. It’s without question the best and last vise I’ll ever need. I have two other vises but I’m damned if I can remember what they look like anymore!







2 thoughts on “The Griffin Montana Mongoose Vise – Part Three

  1. Mike Cline

    Mike, nice review – Made in Montana – Yeah!
    You’ll come to appreciate the heavy base when tying larger patterns using kevlar, G or 3/0 threads. You tend to put a lot more pressure on the vise when crimping down heavier materials or spinning hair with these heavier threads and the heavy base helps keep the vise stable. Enjoy it, I know you will.
    Mike Cline, Bozeman, MT

  2. Michael Vorhis

    Excellent point Mike. Those zonkers you use are probably a good example. I confess I haven’t tried the heavy stuff yet on this vise, nor did I think about it.

    The point about putting the weight down via small-area feet rather than a 24 sq.inch pad is all the more relevant in the case of heavy ties I believe. Also, given that the pedestal base (even with feet added) can still move a little depending on the table, I’d probably use the table clamp if I needed to put any muscle into a tie.

    And yes, I forgot to add that “Montana” in the name is another big plus. : )

    – Mike


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