- By: Jim Bean
There are plenty of fly fishers who plunge boldly into swift and treacherous rivers without the aid of a wading staff. Indeed, there is a widespread sentiment that only a weenie or an overly cautious old fart uses one. I may fit both categories. It’s true that I have less to lose at this age, but I am also more loath than ever to lose it.
- By: Ted Leeson
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.
- By: Buzz Bryson
- , Zach Matthews
- , Greg Thomas
- and Darrel Martin
In my opinion, the late Jack Charlton’s legacy is that he designed and built the two best fly reels ever made. Ever. We could debate that over a single malt, and I acknowledge there are exceptional fly reels other than the Mako—and its predecessor, the namesake Charlton reels—but I don’t know anyone who thinks he can trade up from a Charlton.
5 Tips for Staying Warm on the Water During Winter
There’s nothing worse than knowing that fish are rising to Baetis or midges, or whatever else might hatch during winter, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Why? Because you’re freezing your gluts right off, not to mention that your fingers don’t work, your feet feel like wood planks, and you can’t even speak because your lips are nearly frozen shut. So you sit in the truck, watch those fish, and wonder how that dude who’s out there railing them can stand the cold.
- By: Kirk Deeter
We’re hearing a lot about the new products fly companies will unveil in 2012 (and rest assured, FR&R and Angling Trade will detail the hot newcomers before they even hit the racks of your favorite fly shop). Here are a few hints: Patagonia is coming out with a wading boot that uses mountaineering technology to dramatically improve traction. Sage shelved its Z-Axis in favor of a rod line called “One”; by early accounts, it is indeed something special. Orvis, Hardy and others are introducing new products across wide price ranges that should have consumers chomping at the bit to try (and buy). Overall, I expect 2012 to be a solid new product year—one of the best in a decade.
These 'aint your mamma's fluffy pinks
Maybe this isn't the best time of year to review what is, basically, a slipper. But, we've been getting close to frost each night in Missoula and the elk are bugeling, not that I would know personally, as I've been roped to this desk like a steer. Each day, as that knot ties around my ankles I look down and see Korkers Fisherman's Moc's attached to my feet. Why? Because these things are about as comfortable a shoe/slipper/sandal as I've ever worn
IFTD 2012 drew to a close with less of a bang than in previous years (when organizers wisely held the big casting contest to the end, thus holding a lot of the dealers as well). Many vendors reported that the show was down or just okay, while others stated that they'd been very busy and felt the show was a success. Unsurprisingly, those reports correlated pretty directly with the booths with the most big new product releases.
Thomas & Thomas has undergone a renaissance of late under new owner Mark Richens, who has given the company the business wherewithal it needed to clear a huge backlog of already- designed rods. First and foremost is a new premium saltwater series, the TNT.
Dynamite red with tons of backbone, these are fast-action lifting and fighting sticks which clearly were designed with tarpon anglers in mind. T&T also has a new fast-action trout line, which Richens was careful to explain will be offered as an option (T&T is not leaving its traditional medium action niche behind). The NS5 series (NS is for "no sanctuary," explains Richens, because "these are definitely distance casting rods)" is a gorgeous update to the classic T&T heritage.
Clear Cure Goo, along with the other UV resin companies, have collectively introduced whole new possibilities in fly tying. One of the problem areas with the new material, however, was that the traditional material dried rather tacky, while the "No Tack" solutions available were more expensive. Brian Carson of CCG explained that this is because the "No Tack" versions require much more of the photosensitive catalyst chemical, which is the most expensive part of the mix.
Recognizing the realities of this economy, Orvis decided to focus on updating their value-based products, and they did it in a really innovative way. Many fly rod companies have gone overseas for production of their budget rods in recent years. The technique for many overseas manufacturers is very similar to how bamboo makers used to steal each others' tapers in the golden era of the 1920s-1940s: basically, you just cut the rod up into many tiny sections and take precise measurements, then copy the internal taper (which gives you both the mandrel shape as well as the approximate number of turns of graphite needed to reach the external diameter).
Orvis's Steve Hemkens explained that for their updated Clearwater series, they instructed their overseas partners to do the same thing... to the Helios. "Basically," Hemkens said, "we knocked off our own rods!" The results are excellent: a modern fast action taper made with budget conscious componentry for $198 (freshwater) and $225 (saltwater). In keeping with the theme, Orvis also used the same drag design from its high-end reels to design an all new composite plastic (and also formed aluminum) Clearwater Reel, starting at only $49. Combo packages with line will be available for under $300.