- By: Fly Rod and Reel
The Headwaters Day Pack is a multi-use backpack designed to carry gear to the water, around town or on a plane. With 1,730 cubic inches, or 30 liters (and weighing in at 43 ounces), the Headwaters Day Pack has an internal compartment for laptop storage, side stretch mesh pockets to hold water bottles or rod tubes, a zippered front pocket for additional storage, a bottom dry zone and removable pack fly and zippers and compression straps designed to eliminate line-catching. It’s designed to be used in conjunction with the Headwaters Chest Pack, which adds to the versatility; $119.95. The company’s Headwaters Chest Pack holds fly boxes and other on-stream gear conveniently and without inhibiting casting or mobility; this spiffy little pack has internal pockets for your iPhone or camera, a retractor docking station, a molded foam front pocket that holds large fly boxes and an easy-pull adjustment system that eliminates traditional line-catching hardware. It can be used on its own, or clipped to the Headwaters Day Pack for bushwhacking excursions. The chest pack weighs 13.6 ounces, has a 500 cubic inch capacity and retails for $69.95. simmsfishing.com
Boron II-MX Two-Handed Rods
Recently, I was standing on the banks of Washington’s Skagit River, lamenting the merit of my Spey cast. In contrast, three seasoned guides traded off with Winston’s new Boron II-MX switch rod, saying things like, “This isn’t fair! Now I have to own one.” I understood what was in store; with rattled nerves and a lack of confidence, I took my turn with the stick and readied for verbal abuse. And then, the strangest thing happened. I set the line downstream, performed the lift and sweep, and effortlessly launched my cast, which ended about 60 feet from where it began as the line stretched tight in midair. I turned to the fellows with mouth agape. One of the guides said, “Look at his face.” I replied, “How much are these?” Love at first throw.
That was my introduction to Winston’s new line of Boron II-MX switch rods, the 12-foot, 3-inch 7/8 two-hand model to be specific. Those new rods are touted as perfect for midsized steelhead rivers, such as the Deschutes and Grande Ronde, but we found the 7/8, when paired with Airflo’s 540-grain Skagit Compact head, to throw all the distance we desired. This rod, which was designed with input from leading Spey caster Andre Scholz, throws distance like a dream.
Dave McCoy, who owns Emerald Water Anglers in Seattle and who hosted me on the Skagit last winter said, “I am surprised how subtle that switch rod is. I thought it would be too fast for the average angler to pick up and enjoy. But it’s not heavy or clunky at all, even with a heavy tip. It’s easy to handle and extremely light. With the right instruction, even a novice could pick it up and cast really far—maybe 80-to 100 feet—in five or ten minutes.” The Boron II-MX two-handed rods are available in the aforementioned 12-3 7/8 model and in an 11-foot, 5-inch 6-weight design; $795 to $895. winstonrods.com—Greg Thomas
The Hook & Hackle Company
Available in a co-polymer and fluorocarbon, H & H’s tippet is made in Japan in a factory with long-time experience producing these materials. According to the company, the fluorocarbon numbers test at 20 percent stronger than nylon of the same strength. You can go from 5X co-polymer to 6X fluorocarbon and not give up any strength, H & H’s Ron Weiss reports. The spools are 50 yards, not 30 like most others (except in sizes 0X, 1X and 2X). Price is $9 for the fluoro and $3.25 for the co-polymer. “The guides out West use this and when I found out what it was, I had it private labeled for us,” Weiss says. The company also offers packaged leaders, from tapered nylon in a dull olive color to hand-tied fluorocarbon leaders. hookhack.com