Field Test

  • By: Ted Leeson
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Fishing in winter conditions, you need the right gear to give yourself a snowball’s chance.

Muck it up, Gear Hounds

  • By: Fly Rod and Reel
  • Photography by: Fly Rod and Reel

19 Killer products that came across our bows this year

photograph by adam tavender

New Gear

  • By: Fly Rod and Reel
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G. Loomis Lite Presentation rods

Field Test

  • By: Ted Leeson
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Back in the day, things were simpler.

Field Test

  • By: Ted Leeson
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EVERY FLY-FISHING SUBSPECIES CONFRONTS ITS own particular version of the same predicament—how to carry flies on the water in some reasonably organized and easily accessible fashion. For trout anglers, who tend to accumulate more flies than a Dumpster collects bags of trash, the storage problem stems from the sheer number and variety of patterns. For saltwater fishermen, it comes from oversized streamers on big irons; for bass folks, from bulky popper and divers. Every season, it seems, begins with a clever new storage scheme and ends with the same two thoughts:

Post Holiday Gift Guide

  • By: Ted Leeson
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Here’s the perfect chance for those special people in your life to show how much they really love you. From the classic Art Deco styling—decidedly retro yet still strangely futuristic—to the cushy interiors, Airstream trailers are an authentic American icon. And the Sport 16 is the ideal road-tripping model; at 16 feet long with a GVW of 3,500 pounds, it’s compact enough for easy towing and set-up, but large enough for two or three people. With a polished aluminum skin and signature rounded corners to cut drag, it’s your personal fly-fishing rocket ship, your portable fishing lodge, and the coolest thing on the road. It’s estimated that 60 to 70 percent of all Airstreams ever built are still in use—truly the gift that keeps on giving. Expect to give a little in return, though; this silver bullet runs about $40K. www.airstream.com

Field Test

  • By: Ted Leeson
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The expanding popularity of winter fishing, even among anglers who don’t habitually throw around the word “extreme,” is beyond dispute, as is its chief obstacle—the weather. To stay on the water, you have to stay warm. The alternatives—hypothermia or existential despondency—are unpleasant to contemplate and potentially lethal.

Off-the-Water Gear

  • By: Ted Leeson
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Whether you’re out for a day or gone for the week,
not every minute of every fishing trip is consumed with working the water. There’s no point in treating angling like a job—it’s much too important for that. So you take some time to knock off for lunch, knock around camp, or put your feet up and knock back a cold one.

Field Test rods

  • By: Ted Leeson
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At some point, every serious angler confronts the naked truth—no matter how many fly rods you own, the prospect of a new one is irresistible. Part of the attraction undoubtedly owes to an unspoken suspicion lodged in the fly-fishing heart—that a “better” rod will make you a better angler. This comforting (if vain) thought gives us hope, which is a primary component of fishing generally. Sometimes, however, the allure is less easily explained. A few seasons back, I somehow embraced the groundless conviction that the ideal trout rod was eight-and-a-half feet long, and my nine-footers were now insufficient. Time to replace them. Still, there’s often sound logic in the appeal of the new. Over time, your casting style or tempo may change, and you want a rod action that better fits the way you fish now. Or you might seek an all-purpose rod that performs all of its purposes with less effort and greater control. Conversely, you may need a rod for a particular water type or angling technique or fishing circumstance. Or maybe you just want to fish something that feels different from what you use now, just for a change. Sometimes it’s that simple.

Investment Options

  • By: Ted Leeson
Cabela's Packrat Fly Vest

Time has a way of muddling cause and effect. It’s difficult to know if the fly-fishing vest evolved because anglers needed something to hold all their gear, or if fly anglers carry so much stuff simply because someone invented a place to put it. Either way, it was love at first sight, and the vest now stands as the iconic representation of fly-fishing even among non-anglers. Although chest packs and fanny packs have emerged as alternatives, they seem most popular for less gear-intensive forms of angling—steelheading or the flats, for instance—where such packs are enormously useful. But for day-in/day-out trout fishing, far fewer anglers seem to have made the change. For them, a vest remains the most congenial approach.