Downsizing on fly storage – Wychwood Vuefinder Fly Patch Review

Made by:
Wychwood
Price:
£14.99

Reviewed by:
Rating:
2
On March 24, 2013
Last modified:May 20, 2013

Summary:

The idea behind the Fly Patch is excellent, and just what I was looking for. However, since this review and after a few weeks use I've been disappointed in the Wychwood Vuefinder Fly Patch due to the clip breaking (an area I highlighted as a concern in this review). Take a look at the update for more info

1 May, 2013 – I’ve posted an update to this review, with feedback on how the Wychwood Vuefinder Fly Patch performs in use – Please give it a read after you’ve finished this post.

For the last 25 years (with a hiatus somewhere in between) I’ve relied on two Richard Wheatley 4604 Black Aluminium fly boxes, loosely organised with Lures and nymphs in one, drys and wets in the other. The backs of both boxes have my initials ‘engraved’ into them by school compass – the guy who engraves the Wimbledon trophy need not fear for his job.

During that time I’ve also used a few boxes that’ve been freebies with Trout & Salmon, as you’d expect from freebies you get what you pay for and most have gone the distance. One still remains, it’s now used as my storage box for flies fresh off the vice, ready for decanting into either the left or right Wheatley box (drys in left waistcoat pocket, nymphs in right).

Recently I’ve been looking to reduce the amount of clutter I carry around with me. I also noticed, whilst reading through my 2012 season diary, I use relatively few fly variations through out the year. A good number of flies in the left and right boxes have been in there almost as long as I’ve had the boxes!

With the move to carry less stuff, and the knowledge I don’t use anywhere near the amount of flies I’ve been carrying around with me, I decided to look for a more compact method of fly storage.

Time for a change, enter the Wychwood Vuefinder Fly Patch

The box that caught my eye, and the one I ended up buying, is the Wychwood Vuefinder Fly Patch. It’s small by anyones standards, holding just 38 flies.

The idea behind this box is to wear it, as the name suggests, like a traditional fly patch. At the top of the fly box is a plastic clip. The clip is designed to fix to a pocket or flap of your clothing or vest. It’s articulated on the horizontal allowing the Fly Patch to spin 360 degrees. Why would I want to spin my Fly Patch I hear you cry, to gain access to the in built hook diamond sharpener and fleece fly drier I reply!

The hook sharpener is grooved along its length and found at the bottom of the back panel. I haven’t made it to the river yet this year, never mind needing to sharpen any blunt hooks, but by the feel of it this thing will do the job. A hook sharpener is something I’ve been meaning to buy, so having one built into a fly box all helps to the reduction of stuff. I do wonder how easy it will be to sharpen sone of the smaller (size 18 and less) hooks, what with all the plastic of the fly box on either side of the sharpener getting in the way – once I’ve had chance to use it I’ll know.

Above the sharpener, measuring 2½” by 1½” is a fleece ‘fly drying patch’. I’ve tried drying flies on my fleece before. Whilst it does remove the worst of the water, it doesn’t really dry the fly. I’m not sure this one will perform any better, but I’d be happy to be proved wrong.

To open the Wychwood Vuefinder Fly Patch, there is a spring loaded clip on the clear front lid. Push this down and you hear a reassuring clunk as the lid catch disengages from the base. The lid is hinged at the bottom, so when you’re wearing the box on your vest the lid folds down and acts as a tray. Ideal for those (like me) with butter fingers – this might just save you from watching your next fly drop into the river and float away before you tie it onto the leader. Two banks of grey foam take up the bottom two thirds of the inside. Each piece of foam has 19 slots in it, allowing you to slide each fly in place (rather than spiking the fly into the foam). As you’ll see from the photographs, there isn’t much room between each slot. The beadhead flies are using 2.8mm beads on size 16 hooks. Each bead is pretty much touching it’s neighbour. This is fine for me, I won’t be using any flies bigger than this. If you do you might find it a bit tight for space.

The hight inside the box (when shut) is perfect. I’ve put a few parachute adams in, some with relatively tall neon posts – these fit fine and do not touch the lid when shut.

Above the two foam strips, either side of the catch recess are small flat magnets. The idea behind these is to allow you to quickly store a fly in the box, without fiddling around with the slots in the foam. It’s a great idea – one I can see me taking advantage of, though I wouldn’t expect you can get more than two flies each magnet. The magnets aren’t mega strong, strong enough to hold a fly but not so strong you’ll struggle to unattach it again.

Now we come to the only part of the Wychwood Vuefinder Fly Patch that I’m a little unsure about – the clip. There are three plastic parts to the clip; the main frame, an articulated jaw that clamps onto the frame, and a clamp – used to lock the jaw in place when the thing your attaching the fly box to is between the jaws.

All this looks ok, and from my random testing on different items of clothing, looks to be strong enough. However I can’t help thinking it could, and probably will wear out if used the box is being clipped on and off on a regular basis. I don’t intend to keep moving the box from one piece of clothing to another, but I’m sure I will at some point.

The second area of concern is the point at which the clamp and the fly box attach. As mentioned earlier, the box rotates through 360°, to do this the clamp is mounted to the fly box via a swivel. Again, I’m not sure how long this will last. You can see from the photo below how it’s attached, I think the two tabs holding it in place could give way.

I’ll see how things go when I get using over the coming weeks. If either the clamp or the swivel look like they’re going to give in, I will remove the clamp assembly and attach the box to a zinger. With the mounting point at the top of the box I don’t think it’ll be very hard at all to get a zinger to fix onto it.

So all in all, I’m very pleased with the Wychwood Vuefinder Fly Patch. It’s well built (issues above not withstanding) and has some really useful features and hold flies – which for a fly box is all you can ask!

Now if only this fekkin’ weather would sort itself out I might just get chance to try it and see if 38 flies is enough for a day on the river!

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2 Responses to “Downsizing on fly storage – Wychwood Vuefinder Fly Patch Review”

  1. Jason

    I always thought the fly patch served two major functions, to store fly’s and to store wet fly’s so they can dry. It looks like the latter won’t happen unless you leave the lid open! I think attaching to a zinger and dispensing with the weak plastic clip would also make the fly patch more secure and more user friendly.

    Reply

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