“There is always a way to do it better… find it.” Posted above his teacher’s desk at Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in the late 1960s, this Thomas Edison quote caught Andy Renzetti’s eye and stuck in his memory. When he got hooked on fly fishing several years later, he found that the fly tying vises of that time were ineffective and frustrating to use. There had to be a better way to tie flies, and in the spirit of Eddison’s words, Renzetti set out to find it.
With a one-car garage as his workshop and his younger brother as his right-hand-man, Renzetti created his first True Rotary vise, named the Presentation 3000, in the early 1970s. Word of the Presentation 3000 spread throughout the small but tight-knit fly fishing community.
As Renzetti’s after-hours hobby developed into a flourishing business, he relocated to a three-car garage. Then, a two-story shop. Now, a full-scale facility in Titusville. It’s a long way from his humble beginnings, but through the success, Renzetti, Inc. has remained an honest, quality source upon which fly fishers can depend.
Fly fishing 101
To understand the fly fishing business, we have to get to know the sport. Lily Renzetti, Andy’s wife and President of Renzetti, Inc., explains that conventional fishing and fly fishing have a lot in common. In both, the goal is to attract a fish – in conventional fishing, with a bait, and in fly fishing, with a fly, an imitation of what certain fish in a body of water would eat. But with fly fishing, she continues, the fly and the structure of the rod present new challenges: “Imagine tying a fly… add that to the skillful task of casting a fly rod and presenting that fly to the fish so you can entice it to bite it, and then the challenge to bring that fish in with a very light rod.”
The vise is a tool used to tie the fly to the line. It was this piece of equipment that Andy Renzetti first innovated back in his garage in Pennsylvania. The kind that he crafted, a True Rotary vise, can turn as the user ties, allowing the fisher to use small flies and streamers that require more intricate handwork to tie. Now, Renzetti, Inc. offers not only True Rotary vises but also rod lathes, vise accessories, flies and more.
Lily Renzetti believes that the company is unique “for contributing to society even before it became a part of a company’s marketing plan.” From the very first Renzetti vise that hit the market to the dozens of variations available today, Renzetti products have been made with the highest-quality materials, right here in the United States in Renzetti, Inc.’s very own manufacturing facility. Knowing that all their products are USA-made gives Andy Renzetti, Lily Renzetti and the rest of their team confidence that their equipment benefits not just their clients but the whole nation.
The family atmosphere of the staff and the feedback from the fishing community fuel Renzetti, Inc.’s desire to always “give [the fly tyers] more so they can grow with the sport,” Lily Renzetti says. Another, perhaps unexpected, source of inspiration in the fly tying business: America’s veterans. She explains that fly tying can bring a much-needed sense of peace and purpose to our nation’s veterans. “What comes to my mind… is a comment a veteran made to me, “When I tie flies is the only time I do not hear voices,” she recalls. “That stayed with me for the last 15 years.”
Renzetti, Inc. keeps innovating, and Andy and Lily Renzetti keep fishing. “We still travel miles, when possible, domestically and internationally in search of the next fly fishing experience,” Lily Renzetti says. No doubt it’s this passion for quality fishing that pushes Renzetti, Inc. to stand always at the forefront the fly fishing industry.