The iconic brand is on a mission to go 100% recycled
by Chad Shmukler
Did you know that the clothing industry pumps more carbon into the air—roughly 1.2 billion tons—than all international airplane flights combined? The creation of materials used throughout the clothing and apparel industry, whether natural or synthetic, is a carbon-intensive process, and one most often powered by coal-fired power plants. Using recycled materials can prevent an enormous amount of carbon from ending up in the atmosphere. And that’s why Patagonia is on a mission to completely eliminate virgin materials from its manufacturing.
If reaching their goal of using 100% recycled materials sounds like pie-in-the-sky snowflake stuff, consider that, as of this year, Patagonia has already made it to 69%—leading the charge on the use of recycled synthetic fibers like polyester and nylon, as well as natural fibers like cotton, wool and down.
Sadly, the industry average is a paltry 13%. But Patagonia wants that to change. According to the brand, if the clothing industry as a whole recycled at the same rate as Patagonia, the atmosphere could be spared the same amount of carbon emissions that would be generated powering every household in the state of California for an entire year.
The latest in Patagonia’s recycling mission is its new line of its revered Black Hole bags. The new Black Hole line of bags have body fabric and webbing that are now made with 100% recycled materials—mostly plastic bottles.
According to Patagonia, 10 million plastic bottles went into this year’s lineup of bags—which includes everything from the latest version of the venerable Black Hole duffels, backpacks and rolling luggage to ultralights, waist packs, cubes, totes and even mini-hip packs (read: fanny packs).
On top of using 100% recycled body fabric, Patagonia’s Black Hole bags are also made in Vietnam at a factory that produces zero wastewater. The facility treats all of the wastewater from their manufacturing onsite and uses it to water trees around the factory—eliminating wastewater pollution in nearby rivers and stream while recycling that water into the natural environment around the factory.
To see the entire lineup of new Black Hole bags, visit Patagonia.
Buying gifts for anglers can be a tricky task. Whether you’re a participant, or someone not quite familiar with the sport, picking the perfect gift is often an intimidating and sometimes stressful endeavor as each angler possesses a unique taste. That being said, we here at Fly Lords wanted to take the guesswork out of the process and deliver to you the ultimate fly fishing gift guide for 2019.
Whether this gift is something small for a friend, or the gift of the year, we explored the internet far and wide to culminate a plethora of options that will fit anyone’s budget! Like what you see? Click here to be taken to our buyer’s directory.
How to choose (for non-anglers)
When it comes to finding a gift for the angler in your life, it feels like there are a million options to choose from. So, when trying to find the perfect gift to give, focus on the person you’re buying for, not an exact item or brand. If they are someone who never seems to be outside of an airport terminal, focus towards a gift that embodies travel such as a backpack, or rain jacket. If they’re more of a weekend warrior, consider smaller gifts like a water bottle built to last, or a cool hoodie. By matching the lifestyle of the person you’re buying for, as opposed to their estimated taste, you’re far more likely to find the perfect present they didn’t even know they needed. (But just in case, it never hurts to save the receipt)
Finally, remember that sometimes it’s better to think little! Whether it’s a holiday, or just a token of gratitude, sometimes its a hat, shirt, or replacement tool that ends up being the gift that means the most. Not everyone needs something big and flashy. Plenty of times, just the simple reminder of knowing you care is more than enough.
This fly box is streamlined to carry 168 flies, and can slip into just about any pocket you have. Built with a shatter-resistant polycarbonate body, as well as a magnetic closing system, this is the ultimate all in one box for any angler.
One of the most looked over, yet useful devices an angler can carry on them, the Smith Creek rod clip is a fly fishing must-have. Being small, yet extremely durable, this rod clip provides a third hand to anyone removing a hook, changing flies, or dealing with a nasty tangle.
Say goodbye to sheep’s wool and say hello to the Fishpond Beavertail Fly patch. Gone are the days of twisting and bending hooks out of weathered patches. The durable foam pad allows for dependable storage of wet flies, as well as easy access for a quick fly change. With an easy to use velcro attachment system, this patch can be slapped onto any velcro surface withing seconds.
Every smart angler knows to never leave home without a pair of forceps, and to never settle for a sub-par make. Loon outdoors provides a compact, top quality pair of forceps that are sure to last as long as you can keep track of them. Made with a comfortable grip finish, as well as a rust-resistant finish, these forceps are all you could look for, and then some.
What’s more important than staying hydrated? Nothing. With the stylish and extremely durable yeti 18oz rambler, you can keep water cold ALL DAY, and look great doing it.
Gifts under $100
Dead Drift Fly Fishing T-shirt
Work less, Fish more; truly a motto to live by. A perfect gift for the angler who seems to spend more time in the office than on the water, this athletic poly blend t-shirt is a quick and easy way to remind someone (or yourself) what really matters in life. Not to mention, because of its durable construction, you can wear this shirt on and off the water (With a few washes in-between).
A fan favorite on the river, keep your hands cool and safe from the sun’s harmful rays. These gloves come in a multitude of styles that are sure to match the hatch when it comes to each angler’s unique taste.
Duck Camp Co. Bamboo Hoodie
Made from a 67% bamboo blend material, this hoodie will allow you to blend in with your surroundings, and keep you feeling comfortable all day. Moisture-wicking technology combined with soft lock seams come together to keep you dry and on the water all day.
One of the most convenient over the shoulder packs, as well as one of the most cost-efficient, the Orvis safe passage shoulder sling pack is designed with comfort and practicality in mind. Constructed with specialized pockets for water bottles and fly boxes of all sizes, this pack never fails to accommodate any angler’s preferences.
FlyLords Artist Series: Lucky Hat
Born in the journal of Ed Anderson this hat came to life with the quote ” There is no explanation – a good hat can mean the difference between the words “skunk,” and “epic”. Supply is limited, so don’t miss out on the lucky hat that may be just what you need to finally land that once in a lifetime fish.
Patagonia Neoprene Socks with Gravel Guards
In the midst of summer. wet wading is every angler’s relief. However, there’s no need to toss aside your wading boots just yet. With Patagonia’s durable neoprene wading sock, you’ll be able to keep debris out, all while keeping cool and looking cooler.
This shirt specializes in comfort and breathability. Perfect for the long days spent on the salt, the PFG Tamiami shirt is constructed of omni-shade UPF 40 fabric, as well as Amni-wick moisture-wicking fabric in order to keep you protected rain or shine. An essential to any angler to keep your skin, and state of mind safe.
When it comes to fly-line, nobody does it better than Scientific Anglers. With their new line of amplitude line, SA utilizes patented divot technology to get your line further and smoother with each cast. Specializing in accuracy, this is the ultimate trout line.
Made to look good and function even better Costa’s 580 Polycarbonate provides high clarity, impact- and scratch-resistance along with lightweight all-day wear-ability. If you’re looking to take your fishing game to the next level, look no further than the sunglasses that are built by hand and backed for life.
“We’re gonna need a bigger…net”. Don’t find yourself on the river trying to cram your new PR into a tiny outdated net. Trust one of the most popular brands in the net game right now and upgrade to the Nomad Mid-length net. By prolonging your reach, and increasing your grip, kiss the awkward fish fumble goodbye, and say hello to the easiest net job you ever experienced.
Moonshine is making a splash in the rod industry right now, and their rods back the hype. Introducing the Moonshine Drifter series rod, available in sizes from 3-8 wt. there’s a rod for any angler. As if the High-performance graphite and grad AAA cork wasn’t trustworthy enough, this rod is backed by a no-fault LIFETIME guarantee. There are very few rods on the market that have this much value, for such a low price.
Simms Dry Creek Z Hip Pack
Built with the ingenuity one would trust from a pack made by SIMMS fishing, The Dry Creek z Hip pack is everything you could want in a fly bag and more. Engineered to be completely waterproof, the Dry Creek Z’s patented TIPZIP technology keeps your gear safe and dry. Built big enough to hold all your geat and then some; you’ll have to buy more fly boxes just to fill the main compartment.
Taking a place on our 2019 list for The Best Fly Fishing Packs That’ll Have Your Back, the Yeti Panga Waterproof backpack is as sleek as backpacks come. Capitalizing on patented THICKSKIN TPU lamination, and Hydrolock zipper technology, this bag is here to serve and protect from any and all elements. The pack is also compatible with the Yeti Sidekick Hopper, which can be easily attached to the back for added storage and accessibility.
When it comes to an all-day fishing trip, the last thing you should have to worry about is staying dry. Luckily, the Orvis pro wading jacket has your back. Engineered with a waterproof rating of 20,000mm and a breathability rating of 15,000g, no jacket performs quite like this one. Designed with the rugged outdoors in mind, the pro wading jacket is a class above the rest when it comes to keeping your dry and comfortable.
Abel TR Click and Pawl Reel
Scientifically engineered to last, this C&P reel is one of the most versatile high-end reels on the market. Made in the USA, this reel utilizes a time-honored click-pawl system that protects light tippet while preventing overrun with a Quick-change spool and large-arbor design. If that’s not enough, all Abel Reel designs can be personalized to match the heart and soul of any angler.
Thomas and Thomas Zone Rod
When you’re buying a T&T rod, you know you’re making a sound investment. However. something that makes the “zone” a little different from most other rods is its willingness to compete. Adaptable, durable, and surprisingly affordable, the “Zone” ditches the frills and sparkles most high-end rods decide to boast, and focuses purely on functionality. Built with Thomas and Thomas’ premium rod tech, the “Zone” is one of the best rods an angler can find for the price.
If you’re looking for waders that manage to match their functionality with their ingenuity, look no further. The Redington sonic pro HDZ waders are a testament to wading technology and could be considered the most practical waders on the market. Built to withstand the most rugged conditions, the Sonic Pro HDZ waders include their patented TIPZIP waterproof front zipper, two-sided fleece hand warmers (with waterproof zippers), a large water-resistant pocket, and an integrated tool dock. If it’s time to toss torn and tattered waders, make sure to make the investment that will pay off for years to come, and invest in a pair of these bad boys.
*Note: Wading boots are not included in this list, but can be found HERE
Yeti Tundra 65 Cooler
When it comes to the Yeti Tundra 65 it’s going big or go home. There’s no need to explain why this cooler reigns champion amongst all other coolers but were going to tell you anyway. #1 in insulation, as well as #1 durability, Yeti coolers have made a name for themselves in the outdoor gear world. This cooler can carry just about anything but the kitchen sink (and maybe that too, depends on how good you are at packing), and keep the load at the perfect temperature for days. If you’re looking for the cooler that’ll last the rest of your life, look no further than the Yeti Tundra 65.
One can only go so deep with a standard pair of waders, not to mention, what about fishing lakes… or strong rivers? Drift boats are too expensive, and where can you store them? Here with a solution to all these problems is the CA Colorado XTS inflatable Pontoon boat. This boat comes with everything you need to get on, and off the water. Including over 20 insulated pockets, a swivel paddle seat, and a detachable transport wheel, this boat’s main focus is convenience. Not to mention, it can be deflated and folded up to fit in the back of your car (with room leftover!). Additional features include a removable stripping basket, adjustable footrests, quick fill valves, and a built-in anchor system, making this one of the most versatile pontoons in its price range, and the perfect gift for any angler looking to extend their fishing adventures.
Handmade/ Personalized Gifts
Brady’s Handmade Nets
Crafted by father and son, these nets embody the spirit of fly fishing and the connections the sport creates. Each net is individually constructed purely by hand in South Carolina, and can be customized to meet even the most specific preference of any angler. With an unbeatable price, these nets are the perfect way to show someone you really care, as it’ll be a staple to their fly fishing loadout for many years to come.
Hand-Painted Customized Abel Reel
One reel to rule them all. Hit the water with an all-new, customized VAYA reel from Abel Reels. Making their second appearance on the list, Abel enables any of their reels to be customized with a hand-painted finish that can be modified to incorporate over 70 different designs! Show someone you truly know them with the unique gift that will distinguish them from anyone on the water.
Handmade Scott Splitcane Flyrod
Inspired by the rod’s that started it all, The folks down at Scott Fly Rods are preserving history within each one of their customized split cane rods. In collaboration with Naoki Hashimoto of Hokkaido of Japan, these rods are works of art created through masterful precision and care. Pay homage to where the sport was born and embark on your next journey with a true one-of-a-kind tool that can be matched by no other.
Can Sage’s new TROUT LL fill the big shoes of its beloved predecessor?
by Cosmo Genova
The rod tube hadn’t been on the counter for more than ten seconds before a voice from behind me perked up: “Is that the new Light Line?”
In the hour I spent at the fly shop, I was approached by numerous similarly intrigued anglers, a couple of which had owned the previous iteration of Sage’s dearly beloved LL (or Light Line) series of fly rods, designed by Sage founder Don Green over 30 years ago. I had not had the privilege of owning the original LL, and that was why I was there—for some shop chatter with those who had.
I had gotten my hands on the newly released, modern incarnation of the Sage TROUT LL—in a 9’ 5wt—and wanted to get my buddy’s take on it. He manages the shop, and I hold his words on fly rods and technical trout fishing in the highest regard. He’s a master explainer and can turn seemingly complex topics like rod actions, line weights, tapers, casting strokes, and the lot, into something logical and digestible.
On paper, the Sage TROUT LL is a series of specialized medium-action rods ranging from a 7’9” 3wt to a 9’ 6wt which draw inspiration from the trout-focused Light Line rods of the past. Described by Sage as a “versatile tool designed to cover the majority of scenarios faced by a trout angler,” and having a “modest casting tempo” and a “smooth but versatile action,” the TROUT LL is fundamentally a dry fly rod that can do everything else decently well too.
I liked the TROUT LL from the very first cast, and so did those I shared it with. Far more than a casting pond prodigy, the rod was a joy to fish, and within a relatively short time on the water I could see why the old Light Line had developed such a dedicated following.
True to Sage’s description, it’s a silky smooth caster and a rod that does everything you ask of it. Sage has a winner on their hands with this rod, whether you were a fan of the revered LL of old or are new to the series. If you love dry fly fishing and prefer a medium to medium-fast action, you’re going to be very pleased with how this rod performs.
When you’re talking about high-end, premium fly rods, it’s hard not to compare them. But ultimately, selecting a rod in this “class” will come down to individual preferences, as you’re unlikely to find rods that are objectively bad at that tier of the market. While more budget-friendly options may be capable of getting the job done, it’s hard to argue with the level of quality, control, and flex recovery that premium rods offer over their less expensive counterparts. And when we further narrow the topic of conversation to making perfect casts, mends, and drifts on tough, dry-fly-sipping trout, being armed with a rod from that premium tier can truly make a difference (I can hear the frantic typing of the keyboard warriors already). Do I own many flagship rods? No. Do I think they’re typically better? Of course.
Case in point: the Sage TROUT LL. This rod oozes quality. The Konnetic HD mahogany blank comes with Fuji ceramic stripper guides and chrome snake guides wrapped with bronze primary and gold trim thread wraps. The grip features a walnut wood insert, a bronze up-locking reel seat, and a Super Plus snub-nose, half-wells cork handle. The rod also comes with a really nice cloth rod bag and brown powder-coated aluminum rod tube.
But most importantly, it performs like an $800 rod ought to. Having cast and fished many of the big-name trout rods in the game, I would certainly say that the TROUT LL deserves to be uttered in the same breath by nearly every metric. In terms of quality of the product and performance on the water, the TROUT LL is a premium piece of kit.
While I couldn’t get my hands on an old Light Line to compare, from what I’ve gathered from the internet, talking to folks who have owned them, and my fly-shop-buddy’s sage (pun intended) wisdom, the TROUT LL is a comparably better rod than its predecessor. Like other contemporary top tier rod series with a legacy, the TROUT LL has the same feel and flex that people love, but with the benefits of modern graphite technology. The TROUT LL’s Konnetic HD blank material greatly improves accuracy and loop control and provides more power and feel. My fly shop buddy explained that while some might confuse a deeper loading or slower rod action with “feel,” that is not really the case. In reality, the design and action are fundamentally the same, but the rod flexes more and recovers faster. This deeper flex and faster recovery greatly improves your perception of the rod’s load (what some might describe as feel), which ripples into pretty much every aspect of your casting and fishing.
What I like the most about this rod is its control. It responds immediately and accurately, and because the rod recovers so quickly, it allows you to make split-second adjustments without fighting collapsing loops. The rods feature a relatively supple tip that transitions to a “smooth easy-loading mid-section that increases feel and feedback throughout the casting stroke.”
The commanding medium action is a joy to cast, mend, and fish and the delicate tip really helps on quick hooksets and fighting fish on light tippet.
Though the TROUT LL might not have the same punchiness of a faster action, distance oriented rod, this thing can fling. While it shines in 30-60ft range, it’s not terribly difficult to send a full line across the casting pond. And when rises start popping up around you, you’ll also really appreciate the close-quarters accuracy and finesse of the TROUT LL. I fished the TROUT LL paired with the RIO Technical Trout, RIO Trout LT, and Cortland Finesse II in WF5F and enjoyed them all.
Just as noteworthy casting prowess is the control the TROUT LL provides on the water. Mending, feeding line and managing slack are some of the most important aspects of dry fly fishing, and here the TROUT LL also excels, making long drag-free drifts a relatively easy task both to perform and control.
The TROUT LL is unquestionably a dry fly rod—topwater is where the LL is really going to shine. If your primary goals are laying down the pinpoint, delicate casts, setting up the perfect drift, and nail a top-feeding fish, the TROUT LL is a helluva good choice. That said, there’s nothing about its design that would prevent you from effectively drifting an indicator or throwing a streamer—two things that many of us also like to do when chasing, well…trout.
Sage went with a no-frills, classic look for the TROUT LL that may leave some wanting. I like the simple look and the fact that the LL’s performance is left to speak for it, but some might want to flaunt the fact that they just spent $800 on a graphite stick. Based on looks alone, you’d be hard-pressed to guess the price tag from across the river, but in the hands of a competent angler, you’ll likely be able to tell once they start fishing.
The Sage TROUT LL carries on and improves upon the Light Line rods of the past. Benefiting from advancements in modern material technology and manufacturing processes, the TROUT LL offers the classic feel that people have grown to love from their legacy Sage rods, while also providing faster flex recovery and better all-around performance. With an $800 price tag, this rod is marketed towards the high-end dry fly fisherman, and if you’re a committed guy or gal who appreciates top-tier gear and spends their time and money chasing trout on technical water, the TROUT LL is for you.
Wherever you’re fishing, the medium action is delicate enough to drop flies on spooky trout yet powerful enough to reach across the river and turn over long mends with relative ease. In addition, the soft tip does a great job of hooking and fighting fish on light tippet—and its classic aesthetic lets its performance do the talking.
Despite the fact that it may sound cliche to say so, the TROUT LL is a rod that truly becomes an extension of your body, smoothly and intuitively reacting to your commands and enabling you to create the exact presentation you’ve imagined.
The $89 BASE punches above its class in nearly every category
by Johnny Carrol Sain
If you’ve got kids of a certain age, you’ve likely viewed the Pixar flick Ratatouille, in which the lead protagonist, Remy—a rat—is inspired by Chef Gusteau’s proclamation that “anyone can cook.” It is possible that no other company more tightly follows the vision of its leader than ECHO fly rods follows Tim Rajeff, who proclaims that anyone can fly fish. You don’t need years of practice, and you certainly don’t need wads of money. But Tim knows that you do need the right fly rod.
The ECHO BASE I own is a workhorse of a rod that I’ve put through the paces for various species of warm water fish for nearly four years. You can learn a lot about a rod in that amount of time.
A pleasing action
ECHO says the BASE is a medium-fast action rod. Personally, I’ve found the action difficult to define because I throw so many different types and sizes of flies, but whatever it is, I like it. Casting the BASE is an enjoyable experience.
On the lighter stuff, sure, I’d call it medium-fast with a lean more toward the medium. Heavier Clousers, bunny strips, and big poppers slow the action down considerably. It’s nowhere near glass levels of softness, but it is a languid, very liquid feel. Smooth is a good word for it. Overall, let’s call the action a comfortable medium.
I don’t worry about dainty presentations because none of the fish species I pursue really care about them. That being said, I’ve slipped a few tiny streamers into some minuscule moonshine-clear pools without alerting the resident smallmouths until one was hooked. And I did it with accuracy. The BASE is a surprisingly accurate rod out to about 50 feet and even a bit beyond.
It’s not a spool thrower, not in my hands anyway. Maximum casting distance is 65-70 feet for me, and in pursuit of bass, bowfin, gar and drum, pinpoint accuracy at those distances is rarely needed. One fine summer day, I did unfurl a dandy toss that perfectly intercepted a couple of cruising grass carp more than 60 feet away. I’m not saying that’s the norm, but I wasn’t shocked.
Pretty much anything I’ve tied on, the BASE has handled from size 10 nymphs for spooky panfish to 2/0 hollow flies. Only when trying to stretch my casts with the beefiest of flies does it feel like the BASE is laboring and only on the biggest fish have I wondered if the BASE had the guts. Twenty-inch largemouth, 17-inch smallies, 18-inch spotted bass, two-foot gar, 8-pound freshwater drum, channel catfish long as my forearm— all have succumbed to the BASE.
The grass carp was, perhaps, the ultimate test. And, though it took a while, the BASE eventually wore it down, too. Tackling 15 pound grass carp in mild current is a lot to ask of any 6-weight rod.
The graphite BASE is a deep ocean blue accented with black and silver wraps. It features chrome guides, an anodized reel seat and two grip options. It also comes with a lifetime warranty and excellent customer service. Just a few months into my ownership of the BASE, a sloppy backcast led to a collision between the rod’s tip and a heavy Clouser. The dumbbell weight cracked the tip. But after a quick call to ECHO, a new tip was on the way and I was back in the water with it in less than two weeks.
The BASE costs $89-$99 depending on what size you want. This include a sock and hard tube.
I’ve got some buddies who dig the finer things in life, including expensive fly rods. I won’t throw out the brands they own, but when I put the BASE in their hands, they were shocked that a sub-$100 rod could compete—fiercely—with their rods costing five to seven times more. As for me, in a comparison with their rods, I could not tell that more dollars spent would equate to making me a better fly caster. And I sure as hell wouldn’t want to bang up and down the creeks I roam with a rod that costs nearly as much as my set of off-road tires. I’ve abused this rod—beat the crap out of it, actually—from falls on slick rocks, to clambering up bluffs with it in hand, to traipsing down brushy deer trails hoping not to snap it, to asking way too much of it on big fish. The BASE has not let me down.
My 9-foot 6-weight weighs in at 3.9 oz. Some might consider that a little heavy. I’ve logged several four- to six-hour fishing trips, crammed full of blind casting with the BASE in hand, and never thought twice about the weight.
A lot has happened over the last four years: I finally finished my college degree (after a 20 year hiatus). My hopes for the country’s future took the steepest of nosedives. I became a grandparent — twice. But one thing that did not happen was me finding a better fly rod for the price for my local smallmouth bass or pretty much anything else I want to tackle. ECHO’s BASE is the penultimate everyman’s fly rod.
The BASE is a good—really good—fly rod at an incredible price. It punches above its class in nearly every category. Regardless of your skill level or your bank account, with ECHO’s BASE anyone can be a fly angler.
Whether you’re heading out for a longly anticipated journey into the mountains, or just want to make sure you’ve got all the gear you need for a day on the water, having the right backpack is essential. Considering Anglers have been transporting gear, food, and of course: Beer, in backpacks for as long as the means has existed, we decided to make a list of the best fly fishing packs that’ll have your back for the year of 2019.
We took into account practicality, durability, and functionality as our primary points when assessing what we believe to be the best packs available on the market. Please note that the styles and purposes differ for each pack, all accommodating for certain preferences and styles any anglers may have.
Like what you see? Click here to be taken to the buyer’s guide at the bottom of the page.
1. The REI Ruckpack 28
This day pack comes in at 28 Liters and is made up of durable ripstop nylon that can take anything you throw its way. With comfort kept in mind, the Ruckpack comes with a rugged foam frame, and a ventilated mesh back, allowing easy breathing and sweat minimalization. On this inside of the medium-sized streamlined backpack, you’ll find a large storage area, as well as a reservoir pocket for stowing fragile gear such as a laptop. On the outside, you have a top pocket, and side pockets to the body built for incredibly easy access. Additional features include a concealable daisy chain, trekking pole holders, and most importantly, a built-in stowable rain cover to assure everything in your pack stays bone dry even when mother nature doesn’t comply.
2. Patagonia Storm Front Roll Top
Patagonia has reengineered their bags to become the pinnacle of fly fishing equipment. This fully welded, 40L waterproof bag is made of 800 denier Nylon with a Tpu AND DWR finish. In its large main compartment, you’ll find a built-in zippable mesh pocket that can hold objects you don’t want to bounce around during your journey. On the outside, the bag possesses a removable waist belt, an adjustable shoulder strap, and low profile adjustable shoulder harnesses compatible with a Patagonia convertible vest. Additional features include a built-in rod tube strap (as well as a spot for an additional one), and an adjustable shock cord for holding wet gear or a net.
3. The Fishpond Bitch Creek Tech Pack
Conservationists take note: this bag is made with Fishponds fish net based material Cyclepond, and is a piece of recycled genius. Built with structured back airmesh paneling, and load control padded shoulder straps, you’ll be able to go all day without the ache or sweat. This pack’s features include aquaguard water-resistant YKK zippers, two zip rod tube holders, as well as a D ring attachment tab for your net. Built to be compatible with an internal water bladder, as well as Fishponds signature Oxbow chest rig, this loadout can be the one-stop-shop for practicality and versatility
4. Yeti Panga Submersible Backpack
leave it to Yeti to make a bag we simply can’t take our eyes off of. Its simple yet functional design capitalizes on its THICKSKIN TPU lamination, as well as its patented Hydrolock zipper technology, keeping it completely waterproof as well as submersible. Inside the main compartment of the bag, you’ll find a mesh stowaway sleeve to keep your gear neat and organized. On the outside, the ergonomic DryHaul shoulder design, as well as the adjustable chest and waist strap assure that your gear is riding high and comfortable. Not to mention, if your looking for additional external storage, the bag is completely compatible with the also waterproof Yeti Sidekick hopper.
5. Simms Dry Creek Z
The folks at Simms are committed to putting forth American made, nature proof gear; and the Simms Dry Creek Z Backpack is no exception. Here we have yet another completely submersible backpack, held together by welded seams, 500D TPU-coated nylon fabric, and patented TIZIP tech waterproof zippers, you can take this pack anywhere. On the inside of this bag, you’ll find a stretch mesh storage pocket, perfect for holding water bottles upright. On the exterior, the pack has a built-in D ring, velcro patch, rod straps, and lash points for any extra utilities. Also, this pack is sure to help you keep dry and comfortable rain or shine with a water-resistant, breathable foam back pad.
6. Rockgator Kanara
Pack the car and leave a note, the mountains are calling and you must go. This pack means BUSINESS. With a whopping 90L of storage space, you can pack enough gear for the fishing trip of a lifetime. Built with a 500D PVC construction, as well as 1000D connection points for added strength, this pack can hold its own (Not to mention if it can’t, its got a limited lifetime warranty….yup). Not to mention, with welded watertight seams, you’ll never have to fear a wet sleeping bag again. Still, this pack does not sacrifice comfort, as it includes adjustable padded shoulder straps, hip straps, and a top carry handle. Additional features include Hypalon attachment points on either side, mesh side pockets, and a large external mesh zipper map pouch. However, tread cautiously, because with a bag that has it all, you’re always subject to becoming the group’s mule.
7. Fishpond Wind River Roll Top
Fishpond is back with another brilliant design sure to keep your gear safe and dry. Again, this backpack is constructed with the signature Cyclepond recycled fabric and coated with a 420D TPU. Inside the body, you’ll find the main compartment, as well as a zipped pocket, and an additional stash spot for smaller gear. The outside features a removable hip belt, adjustable fishpond gear straps, and for extreme ease of access, front stretch mesh pocket with zipper closure. It also features a coated webbing hauling haul handle for the user’s convenience. This Backpack can be folded down to 24″ to be compact and light, keeping you fishing longer.
8. Umpqua Surveyor 2000 ZS
Designed with Fly fishing in mind, and 2000 cubic inches of carrying compacity, the surveyor allows anglers to go further for longer. This pack is built with a solid ABS frame, a suspended back panel, and a full-length ventilation channel that keeps you feeling cool and clean all day. Featuring an easy to access clamshell opening, two front pockets, two side pockets, and two loft pockets built into the 420D body, you’re going to have to try to find more to carry. The Surveyor also has 2 webbed rod straps, an internal key clip, and built-in wet loops. Tie that all together with closed foot sliders and a fully padded waist belt, and you’ve got the perfect culmination of practical and comfortable.
9. Orvis Waterproof Backpack
What this name lacks in creativity, it surely makes up for in design. With a 500D TPU coated exterior and a flex seal waterproof zipper, this bag provides 21L of safekeeping, included a padded bottom for fragile objects like a camera. Outside of the pack, you’ll find a comfy suspension padded back panel, an adjustable padded waist belt, and adjustable padded shoulder straps. On said straps, there’s a built-in gear station where you can store forceps or clippers. On top of all that, there are also 2 water bottle/ rod holders (mix and match for maximum utility) and an easy to reach back pocket for smaller items.
Fly fishing gear is a big part of Casting Across. I’ve always enjoyed the aesthetics, the marketing, and, most importantly, the function of fly fishing gear. Consequently, I’ll review new products on the site from time to time. But appreciating fly fishing gear shouldn’t only be about the latest model or newest technology. The things that you’ve fished with for years – for decades ought to be celebrated as well.
It is in that spirit that I put together this gear review. Although some products are old or even out of production, their value compounds with use, experience, and familiarity. We should enjoy what we use when we fly fish, especially if we’ve enjoyed it for a long time.
The trout were rising in front of me and as far as I could see upstream. I was on a low stone wall overlooking a deep, slow moving pool. Just downstream was an old low head dam. Any cast of distance that wasn’t plumb line straight would quickly drag because of the accelerating currents above the fall. The most consistent riser was about fifty feet out. And there were trees behind me.
Peeling off the right length of line and letting it fall through the guides, I slowly brought the rod tip behind me. In a quick motion I flicked the rod forward and sent the line shooting straight ahead. It was smooth, effortless, and a nearly perfect roll cast. That fish didn’t take, but others would on that afternoon.
I also knew I was going to buy my very own Orvis T3.
The Axiom II-X was designed for the intermediate to advanced fly angler seeking to maximize accuracy at distance.
Based on the fast action of our renowned TiCrX, we used our highest modulus material and Axiom technology to redefine performance in an extremely powerful fly rod. Unlike other “stiff” rods, the Axiom II-X delivers both the energy necessary for long casts and the incredible tracking and recovery which results in accuracy at distance. If it comes down to one cast, one perfect long cast, this is the fishing tool to do the job.
TFO’s patented and exclusive Axiom technology embeds a double-helix of Kevlar within the blank. The superior tensile strength of the Kevlar acts to buttress the rod’s carbon fiber matrix in compression. The result is that Axiom series fly rods stabilize faster and smoother, absorb shock better and comfortably tolerate over-loading. The angler benefits because Axiom technology virtually eliminates the ability to over power the rod when casting. Bottom line – whether you carry more line in the air or push the rod to the limit, you won’t feel any mushiness – What you will feel is line ripping out of your hand as it launches.
The Axiom II-X series is constructed with high modulus carbon fiber material and an embedded double-helix of Kevlar within the blank all finished in a satin sky blue. The series features premium quality cork handles with burl accents, anodized aluminum up-locking reel seats with carbon fiber inserts. All eight models feature alignment dots color coded by line weight, Recoil guides by REC and ultra-lightweight chromium-impregnated stainless-steel snake guides. All Axiom II-X rods are packaged in a labeled rod sock and rod tube.
Axiom II-X rods are available in 9’ 4-piece configurations from 5 to 12-weight and retail from $349.95-$369.95.
About Temple Fork Outfitters (TFO): TFO assembled the world’s most accomplished, crafty anglers to design a complete line of fishing rods priced to bring more anglers into the sport. Because we believe that anyone who has the fishing bug as bad as we do deserves the highest performance equipment available to take their game to the next level. And in our experience, when we get people connecting with fish, they connect with nature. And they join us in our mission of keeping our rivers, streams, lakes and oceans in good shape for the next generation. There’s a new breed of anglers out there. They’re smart. They’re passionate. They’re socially conscious. And they’re fishing Temple Fork. For more information, please visit: www.tforods.com
At a mere 11-pounds, Alpacka’s tandem Oryx is a go-anywhere workhorse
by Johnny Carrol Sain
How is it that no matter which direction we paddle, it’s always into a headwind?
That was the question I kept asking after two days and 20 miles of shoulder-throbbing strokes. I was in the Boundary Waters aboard Alpacka Raft’s interpretation of the flat water canoe, the Oryx, hoping to enjoy the mystique of the North Woods, encounter some wolves, and hook up with a few bruiser smallmouth bass.
As it turned out, the scenery was spectacular. No wolves, but I did see wolf shit, some moose and hear the positively primal calls of loons on the moonlit waters. The fishing? Meh…I caught only a few thumper smallies, but that could have had something to do with never getting more than one cast out there before battling the breeze again. The Oryx? It did what we asked it to do, though, I think the boat could have been a superstar if the trip had been better designed to employ the Oryx’s unique skill set.
All about Alpacka
Alpacka Raft manufactures a selection of packrafts, and packrafts are exactly what the term implies — lightweight inflatable boats that are easily transported and geared toward the more adventurous outdoors person. Alpacka has been in business since 2000 and all of the boats are handmade in Mancos, Colorado. The company is owned and operated by Sheri Tingey, her son CEO Thor Tingey, and Thor’s wife Sarah. The entire family are lifelong outdoor adventurists. The Alpacka Raft executive crew are, perhaps, the company’s most demanding customers.
When inflated, the Oryx measures 129 inches long and 41 inches wide with an interior length and width of 74 and 15 inches, respectively, with about an inch and a half width variance between bow and stern. It’s a two seater with inflatable bow and stern seats. Airless, the Oryx folds up to a neat 19×8.25 inches. It weighs just under 11 pounds.
The Oryx has a carrying capacity of 800 pounds. The standard construction hull is proprietary 210-denier high count nylon, single side laminated with pigmented polyurethane film. The raft is held together with Vectran, a liquid crystal polymer yarn with five times the strength of steel. The boat’s floor is proprietary 840-denier ballistics nylon, laminated on both sides with polyurethane film. The seats are 200-denier oxford nylon and 210-denier high count nylons, with proprietary polyurethane laminate films. Grab loops and other attachments are manufactured in house out of scrap floor materials and USA made webbing. Nearly every component of the Oryx is “Made in the USA,” if that kind of thing matters to you.
Alpacka Raft says the Oryx is their fastest flat water design. The company also says that experienced paddlers can ride the Oryx through class II rapids, but other Alpacka models are better suited for rough river runs.
One of the most impressive features of the Alpacka Raft line is the incredible storage capacity. The air tubes can be accessed via a beefy, waterproof zipper — the cargo fly — and loaded down with supplies. Then, simply zip it up, air it up, and launch.
And the inflation device is pure genius. It’s a silk nylon bag. Alpacka calls it an inflation bag. You attach the bag to a screw-on nozzle on the boat, open the bag wide, move it a little (or if your lucky, point it toward a breeze), wrap up the top of the bag to capture air and then squeeze it into the boat. It takes surprisingly few bags of captured air to fill the Oryx, and then you can top it off with a few healthy breaths.
On the water
We had four boats filled with assorted writers and photographers, along with Thor and Sarah, for our expected three-day excursion. Pretty much every bit of camping equipment including tents, sleeping bags, cooking supplies, grub, and assorted other must-haves were stuffed into dry bags and loaded into the cargo hulls. Fly rods, fly boxes, water bottles, snacks and cameras rode inside the boats with us. In our boat, my nearly six-foot and 190 pound frame sat in the bow and Dave, my six-foot-two-inch 210 pound boat mate, took the stern seating. Later on, Dave told me his nickname was Gatortooth (he’s not sure how the nickname came to be). And since sharing a boat with “Gatortooth” sounds a helluva lot cooler than sharing a boat with “Dave,” any other references to my boat mate will be signaled by the use of “Gatortooth.”
Thor advised that we not stand in the boat, but then later on demonstrated that you could indeed stand and cast. I never tried it. Though, I stand to cast out of my canoe, and the raft seemed plenty stable even when climbing aboard, the risk wasn’t worth it in those cold lake waters when I could cast perfectly fine from a seated position. If I was solo on one of my local warm creeks, yeah, I’d be standing to cast.
Gatortooth and I were plenty comfy in the Oryx and gleefully sang it’s praises for about half a day. But five hours of paddling an inflatable raft on flat water and into the teeth of a 15 mph headwind hones a man’s critiquing skills. Two days of that routine will transform you into one ferociously nitpicking son-of-bitch who will cast a cold, critical eye on even the Alpacka name… which is actually pretty clever. It’s a corruption of the phrase Thor has been throwing around for decades while planning any adventure: “I’ll pack a raft.”
The Oryx sells for $1,600. That’s right in line with top-tier canoes and kayaks.
Two things stand out about the Alpacka Oryx: Storage capacity and portability. I was amazed at the sheer quantity of equipment four relatively small rafts could swallow. And we still had room. I’d imagine you could pack two boats with enough supplies to keep four people out in the wilds for a week. The cargo fly is an incredible idea. All that space in the tubes occupied by air — why not use it for storage?
The boat weighs only 11 pounds empty, which knocks probably 100 pounds, on average, off of your shoulders for portaging. We only portaged once, and over a short distance (we did get to step over wolf shit on the portage, which made the trek an epic experience for me), but on trips with multiple portages, I can’t imagine a better vessel.
It’s plenty tough enough. Gatortooth and I had some concerns about the raft’s durability, and we discussed just what would happen if a missed hookset or sloppy backcast embedded a hook into the raft. But many a hook came into contact with the boat along with several jagged rocks (we did encounter some mild rapids between lakes) and the pointy limbs of downed trees. We had nary a problem, and by the time we made first camp never thought about it again.
It’s a raft. That means it won’t track like a canoe. It’s not as fast as a canoe. And it damn sure catches more wind than a canoe. One of the last areas we paddled before the takeout point was through a bluff-lined narrow stretch of water with a howling headwind that I’d estimate to be in excess of 30 miles an hour sustained. If we’d stopped paddling hard at anytime, we’d have been swept back down the lake and might still be paddling somewhere in the Boundary Waters right now. I believe a canoe would have cut through the breeze and white-capping waters much better.
Space inside the boat is at a premium, especially with large and XL size dudes. I had my smallish camera bag, smaller still tackle bag, two fly rods, water bottle and rod tubes in front of me and I was either wadded up with my knees near my shoulders or spread out with my boots dipping in the water. There was simply no room for everything. Gatortooth had a bit more room in the back, but he also had less stuff. The solution would be a waterproof pack strapped to the boat, and that’s what a few other boaters did. Sadly, I was unprepared. But if you consider an Oryx you’ll need to consider purchasing a couple of waterproof packs for more storage.
In the right situations, this boat is a wish come true. At 11 pounds, you can take it pretty much anywhere. Photographer Jeremiah Watt was on the trip and talked about how he would pack multiple Alpacka rafts and breakdown paddles into a checked bag and simply bring his boats on the plane with him for far-flung adventure. If you don’t have a truck to haul a boat — packraft. If you’ve got a long hike to water — packraft. Hell, buy one to keep in your vehicle for those impromptu opportunities to fish water that’s too deep to wade.
If you’re heading into the backwaters for days on end, that cavernous storage capacity will be appreciated immensely. I don’t believe there’s any way to pack a canoe — safely — with the volume of equipment consumed by the Oryx. Also, it’s all kept snug and dry.
The Oryx is simply another tool you can add to your outdoor toolbox. It will not replace a canoe, kayak, drift boat or even a jon boat. It’s not supposed to. It’s designed to help you get onto the water in places you can’t take any other boat. I’m seriously considering one for solo float fishing on local creeks where the current can gently carry me downstream with a paddle stroke merely here and there, and then I can deflate the boat and hike back to my truck without the need for shuttle service or a helpful friend.
There’s some real application out there for anglers and the Oryx. Every time I scan the Alpacka website, I envision a new scenario in which the Oryx could put me onto more fish. In those fishy scenarios, the best boat for the job is the boat I can bring with me. And I could likely bring an Oryx anywhere.
ARAB, Ala., July 12, 2019 — frogg toggs® – the undisputed leader in lightweight, breathable, affordable rain gear – has become one of the most recognized names in the outerwear industry. During ICAST 2019, frogg toggs debuted its all-new shoe line and from the brand new performance footwear collection, “The Skipper” won “Best of Show” in the footwear category.
“frogg toggs has been in the game for many years but this is our first venture into the footwear industry,” said Will Fowler, frogg toggs®director of marketing. “Our commitment to producing quality products has always been the number one focus for the company and we made sure this stood true with the new performance footwear collection. Being named as the ‘best of’ during an established show like ICAST and amongst our peers is truly humbling.”
The Skipper is constructed with premium water drainage technology featuring a quick drying air mesh, breathable uppers “hold tight” elastic lacing system. With color options in mossy green or black, this high performing shoe contains cushioned midsoles with water expulsion release holes and lightweight outsoles featuring strategic slip grip rubber inserts.
“With this collection, we set out to build a line of shoes that could withstand the rigors of days spent out on the trails and water, all while keeping your feet dry and comfortable,” said Bob Hollenberg, frogg toggs®vice president of footwear division. “The Skipper is truly unique with its premium water drainage technology that features a quick drying air mesh, breathable uppers “hold tight” elastic lacing system. Combine that with the FTX Aquaclearz drainage system bottom construction and you have the ultimate drainage shoe.”
Working with the best shoe factories throughout the globe, frogg toggshas produced the ultimate in fishing, boating, and hunting footwear for the entire family. This collection features high tech waterproof breathable materials, premium rugged leather uppers, rust proof metal hardware, memory foam cushioning, rip proof nylon uppers, moisture wicking linings, and slip resistant outsoles.
“The Skipper,” along with the rest of frogg toggs’new shoe line, will be available for purchase to the general public beginning in 2020. For more information about frogg toggs please visit froggtoggs.com, or check them out on Facebook and Instagram.
GERBER, an industry-leading manufacturer of personal knives, multi-tools, and gear, announced today that it will debut several additions to its inaugural line of Salt Rx fishing tools at the upcoming ICAST tradeshow in Orlando, FL. Gerber debuted its first saltwater tools at last year’s show, and the expansion will include additional styles of pliers and knives, including a needlenose and split ring Magniplier, a folding fillet knife, a steaking knife, and a Japanese-inspired slicer.
“Part of Gerber’s DNA is taking the common tool and elevating it,” said Andrew Gritzbaugh, senior vice president at Gerber. “We’ve spent a lot of time with saltwater anglers to understand the shortcomings of the tools they use most. Unanimously, saltwater anglers use knives and pliers day in and day out. Our additions to the saltwater line this year expand our offerings in both categories. The fillet knives and Magniplier we released last year were very popular and we’re excited to see anglers add a needle nose plier or a steaking knife to their go-to tools.”
All of the new tools will feature Gerber’s signature Salt Rx corrosion-resistant coating and materials engineered to resist the toughest environments. In addition, Gerber will release one tool, the Defender Rail Tether, in both freshwater and saltwater finishes. Explore the collection below:
Magniplier SALT Split Ring Pliers – The durable, hot-forged Magniplier efficiently handles size 2-10 split rings for quick rigging. The ergonomics are the same as the popular Magniplier SALT, with exchangeable and reversible carbide cutters, a sturdy finger choil, and exchangeable jaw tips. MSRP: $100
Magniplier SALT Needle Nose Pliers – The durable, hot-forged Needle Nose pliers provide extended reach and line of sight to remove hooks from the belly. The ergonomics are the same as the popular Magniplier SALT, with exchangeable and reversible carbide cutters, a sturdy finger choil, and exchangeable jaw tips. MSRP: $100
Controller SALT 6” Folding Fillet – The perfect companion for the adventurer, the folding fillet knife has a slim, compact design for easy packability. It features the same HydroTread grip for ultimate control even in slippery or messy conditions. The finger choil grants additional control and the 6” blade with Granton Grinds offers the perfect level of flexibility for precise cuts. MSRP: $45
11” SALT Scimitar – Born to handle the big jobs, this full tang steaking knife can efficiently process or steak large species of fish with an 11” 9CR stainless steel blade. The GuideFins and HydroTread grip offer ultimate control even in slippery or messy conditions. The knife comes with a protective sleeve and retention strap. MSRP: $60
9.5” SALT Slicer– This full-tang, Japanese-inspired slicer glides through fish with ease. The 9.5” blade features 9Cr stainless steel and chemical etching, and the knife comes with a protective sheath and retention strap. The HydroTread grip and GuideFins on the handle offer ultimate control even in slippery or messy conditions. MSRP: $55
Defender Rail Tether – With the same durable cable tether system at the original Defender Tether, the Defender Rail Tether allows you to slide the tether onto a rail and lock it down with one hand. With 100 degrees of pivot, 48” of cable and a carabiner designed to slide onto your finger for intuitive control, this tool is always at-the-ready. Comes in a freshwater and Salt Rx version. MSRP: $40
About Gerber: Gerber is a leading global supplier of activity specific knives, multi-tools and problem-solving gear. Built on the pillars of craftsmanship, innovation, and an unrelenting commitment to quality and service to others, the trusted brand features a diverse portfolio of equipment for recreational and professional end users. For more information please visit www.gerbergear.com