- By: Fly Rod and Reel
G. Loomis Lite Presentation rods
While Steve Rajeff is considered one of the finest fly casters on the planet, I’m not sure he gets the credit he deserves as a top-notch rod designer. A case in point is the G. Loomis NRX 1085-4 LP. This new 9’ 5-weight NRX Lite Presentation fly rod is the equivalent of a Cold Smoke Scotch Ale or a Black Butte Porter—smooth and potent, with massive character.
The LP was created with one task in mind: To put your small- or medium-size dry fly in front of large rising trout with delicacy and extreme precision. I’m pleased to report that G. Loomis, along with the aforementioned Mr. Rajeff, succeeded, possibly beyond their expectations. They married high-density carbon to a nano silica resin system, then added REC Recoil guides, a proprietary reel seat and great cork. But the proof is in the casting—and the casting with this rod is nothing short of sublime.
A few weeks ago I took the LP to Craig, Montana, where large rainbows were playing the Missouri River midge game. I never knew whether my next target would demand a cast against the breeze or with it, short or long, upstream or down. It didn’t matter. The LP came up aces, putting my midge on a dime and protecting delicate tippets like a champ. What more could a dryfly junkie ask for? Rods available in 3- through 5-weight. Prices range from $720 to $750. www.gloomis.com
Orvis Guide Sling
Orvis’ Guide Sling continues the evolution of on-stream gear carriers and takes that innovation to a new place—this sling allows you to carry all those things you just might need on the water, along with the essentials.
I, for one, was never a big fan of vests, and not just because so many of them looked like neutral-color versions of what crossing guards wear. I was never able to fit enough stuff in a vest. Additionally, my fly line routinely caught on the zippers, nippers and hemostats that dangled from my chest.
The first fishing fannypacks had issues, too. They were awkward, uncomfortable things. Basically, they were wading belts with bags attached. I used them because I could spin them around behind me, stowing my gear where it would not interfere with my casting.
Thankfully, the fannypack has transitioned into the sling. Not only does the sling have a less embarrassing name, it’s a much more comfortable and functional design. Slings were initially fannypacks with shoulder straps attached. They were still uncomfortable to carry because the weight protruded off your body.
When Orvis released the Guide Sling, it showcased a whole new approach: Instead of having the bulk stick out from your body, the Guide Sling creates its cavernous space with pockets that extend vertically, up and down your body. The Guide Sling attaches with a comfortable padded shoulder strap and includes a sternum strap that locks the pack on your back when you’re not digging around in it. With enough space for plenty of fly boxes, all your terminal gear, a raincoat and a water bottle, this is the best fishing pack I have used. Plus it comes in camo, so much cooler than the traditional beige. Packs range between $139 and $259, depending on size. www.orvis.com
12 WT’s Free Wt Shirt
We’ve seen a lot of shirts roll through the doors at FR&R, and most of those harbor high collars, and front pockets we could fit a minivan in. Not that those shirts don’t have their place. It’s just that sometimes we want a shirt that is minimalist in nature, yet still offers all the functionality of a made-for-fly-fishing garment.
That’s what we found in 12 WT’s new Free WT longsleeve shirt. It’s made out of lightweight double-weave polyester and textured stretch nylon fabric, carries UV protection, and has super-comfortable non-slip cuffs, and a collar that offers more protection on the neck than a T-shirt would, yet isn’t as high as some shirts that seem built for the office, not the water. This shirt is equally nimble on trout streams and on the saltwater flats, and we’ve crossed it over to mountain biking and hiking, too. It’s available in two cool color patterns, orange-and-gray and key-lime-and-gray. Slip this baby on and you may be saying, like we did, “This is my favorite new shirt.” Price is $59. www.12wt.com
Ultra-Vision UV2 Tying Materials
Spirit River has often sought the Golden Fleece of fly-tying materials. It now produces and markets a remarkable range of materials with fluorescent and ultra-violet reflective properties, including marabou feathers, hackles of various kinds, bucktails, calftails, CDC feathers, peacock tails, pheasant tails, turkey biots and flats, rabbit strips, Sparkle Yarn and Multi-Spectrum dubbings.
The theory behind UV material is interesting. Visible light (sunlight) ranges from long waves of red, through orange, yellow, green, blue and indigo to the short waves of violet. Beyond visible violet is the very short ultraviolet wave that is essentially invisible to humans. Though humans cannot see the UV spectrum, many animals and insects can. Theoretically, fly patterns with ultraviolet materials should attract fish. Dave McNeese, who assisted in Spirit River’s UV development, remarked that UV attracts rather than imitates. Does this mean that body color is irrelevant as long as there is a strong UV response? Will there be a time when tying material will actual match the individual UV signature of a particular insect, and would this make a difference? Although some fish fry apparently use UV markers to capture food, it is less understood how a mature fish responds.
To increase the UV properties, Spirit River recommends base wraps of “white thread, pearl or silver Mylar” to maximize the UV fluorescence, and the UV reflectance in sunlight. Perhaps silver Mylar is the best base reflector. Ultraviolet is only active when light is present. Patterns, therefore, work best on or slightly beneath the water surface. Dark, natural materials commonly prevent or diminish the UV reaction, while bright, man-made fibers generally intensify the reaction. With adequate sunlight, UV may even give anglers an advantage in murky or rapid waters.
Spirit River offers some titillating items. The UV2 CDC feathers (for dun wings and hackles), the UV2 Sparkle Yarn White (for trailing shucks and spinner wings) and the UV2 Multi-Spectrum dubbings should inspire most tiers. Multi-spectrum dubbing, now a traditional concept, may be especially effective in projecting several hues at once. To this palette, Spirit River added both the reflective and fluorescent qualities of UV. If you must match a hatch, why not add different dimensions? UV2 might just be, as Spirit River notes, “an advantage” in arousing reluctant trout. Only the trout truly knows. So, go talk to a trout. www.spiritriver.com