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
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!
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.
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.
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!