From jackets, to boots, to waders, Orvis added a number of new wading options this year. Members of the Fly Fusion team tested the Ultralight Convertible Waders over the last number of months and thoroughly appreciated the comfort of the new design. The waders have a better overall fit especially in the midsection where Orvis removed unnecessary bulk. Testers also appreciated the easily adjustable shoulder straps and the FIDLOCK SNAP used to allow for an easy conversion of the chest section of the wader from the chest position down to the waist. Designers also streamlined the gravel guard at the bottom of the wader so as to reduce drag and water collection. The Orvis wader redesign includes both men’s and women’s models, and they’ll be available in January for a very respectable price ($298 US).
For the last number of months Fly Fusion team members have been casting the Orvis H3 and are overly impressed by the rod’s unique feel and superior tracking. Orvis set out to create a more accurate casting rod and they accomplished that though the design process. By strategically reinforcing the blank, designers were able to further dampen the vibration in the rod, so it has an incredibly smooth feel when it straightens up from a loaded position. The H3 is available in a variety of different weights and two different flex styles. The H3F is designed for a caster who appreciates a deeper bend in the rod through the casting stroke; whereas, the H3D is a faster rod designed to throw larger flies greater distances.
From bags, to tippet holders, to fly rods and reels, 2018 has a ton of new gear for the fly angler. Wondering what to ask for Christmas this year? Put together a list using the latest gear review in Fly Fusion. Subscribe here or find the latest issue on newsstands.
Hodgman developed an innovative interchangeable sole system to help anglers deal with the varied terrain they regularly encounter. The versatility provided by the H-Lock boots allows anglers to switch from felt to studded felt, and from to rubber or studded rubber depending on whether they’re in and out of a drift boat or scaling steep banks on a remote mountain stream. Testers liked the idea of the versatile sole system and found that it was easiest to change soles with the boot off the foot. Aside from the versatility of the boots, testers also found the boots to be quite comfortable. Designers created the VION H-Lock with durability in mind. The boots feature a molded toe guard and double-stitched construction. If you like a sturdy boot, and you live in an area where your boots see lots of different terrain,
be sure to check out Hodgman’s new offering. hodgman.com
A number of companies make good reels, but it’s the subtle details in a reel that set it apart from others. Such is the case with Orvis’s new Mirage. The Fly Fusion team tested out the Mirage II (designed for 3 to 5-weight lines) and had an overwhelmingly positive experience with the reel. The ultra-large arbour on this machined aluminum reel enables a quick retrieve and produces less line-memory. The fully sealed drag system is both smooth and easily adjusted— everything an angler would expect from a good reel. But what takes this reel to the next level is the Orvis design team’s attention to detail. The reel foot has a smooth radius, so when the angler reels up, wraps the leader around the base, and fastens the fly to a rod guide, the leader doesn’t kink. Also, the counterbalance (opposite the handle) is not a knob but is low profile so as not to catch on line or fingers. And the handle itself is perfectly fitting machined aluminum so there’s no give or wobble—which increases the smooth feel of the reel because the reel-handle is the primary point of contact when fighting a fish. Also, the spool is a quick-release type with no extra parts that can be easily lost while out on the water. The Mirage looks good, sounds good, and feels good. This is one of those “what’s not to love?” gear pieces from Orvis. The Mirage is available in sizes five sizes with the largest designed for 11 to 13-weight lines. orvis.com
It’s nice to know that as fly-fishing gear progresses there’s still some equipment designed to remind us that we’re part of a rich history. That said, the Lodgepole is a classy gear bag. Though the satchel is definitely worthy of a nostalgic day on the water with a bamboo or glass rod, it’s also comfortable enough to wear anytime. The shoulder strap provides enough padding to wear for a full-day excursion, and if you’re an angler who prefers to keep a satchel a little closer to the body when hiking though a wooded area, there’s a removable waist-strap as well. Testers found the bag to have ample storage in the main compartment and lots of smaller compartments to help organize fly boxes, leaders, indicators, and whatever else an angler needs. The Lodgepole also has places designed to attach gear on the exterior. It’s functional and looks fantastic—what a great combination for the fly angler who years for something reminiscent of simpler times. Click here to view.
Testers enjoyed the feel of Allen’s Icon II. Across the board, the testers noted the rod has a very balanced feel in the hand and that the rod loaded effortlessly. The Icon II has a seamless feel when transferring energy from the rod to the line. Testers also noted that the rod definitely finds its place on the continuum of fast-action rods, but it’s closer to medium-fast than super-fast, which allows the Icon II to offer a smooth blend of power and sensitivity. Fly Fusion staff tested the 9-foot, 5-weight and gave it high marks for versatility. It performed well in a number of trouty situations with a number of different methods (streamers, nymphs and dries). To compliment the rod’s performance, the blank has an attractive deep brown finish with dark mahogany wraps. Click here to check them out.
The Fly Fusion team tested the Rogue Mitten Scissor Clamps through the summer in various trouty situations. The Rogues performed extremely well through the entire test period. Testers specifically noted how much they appreciated the way the Rogue felt in their hands. The handles have a textured padded coating that keeps them from slipping when removing hooks or cutting tippet. The team gave high marks for the tool’s versatility and found it to excel at every task they were designed to accomplish. Loon is an environmentally conscientious company. Their goal is to create safe products for fish, fisheries, and anglers. Loon’s Rogue Mitten Scissor Clamps are just that. Click here
Through the summer, Fly Fusion staff tested out the Orvis Waterproof Sling Pack and had an overwhelmingly positive experience with the gear bag. Waterproof zippers have the potential to be stiff and sticky. However, because of the system Orvis uses, the zipper is relatively smooth for a watertight system. It’s a double-layered zipper with the slider pulling together a conventional zipper the lies underneath a waterproof, rubber-like sealed zipper. To add to the functionality of the bag, the shoulder strap has a sheath-like compartment to house or clamp mitten scissors, the front of the bag has a place to attach a tippet holder, and the side of the bag contains a compartment to hold a water bottle. The team also found the bag extremely comfortable with sufficient padding on the shoulder strap and foam-like embossed back panel for ventilation. Aside from the bag’s functionality and comfort, testers also gave high grades for aesthetics. Waterproof gear often has a very plasticy look, but Orvis’s waterproof series has a sharp-looking textured finish. And most importantly, the bag keeps gear and valuables dry during an unexpected dunk or a deep wade. Check it out here.
It’s safe to say most fly anglers consider sunglasses a necessity on a few different levels—fish spotting and protection from wayward flies. The first and likely the most important test is whether or not the frames remain comfortable over an entire day of fishing. And without a doubt this was the case with the Costa frames. They’re lightweight so they don’t create pressure points after multiple hours of use. Costa attributes their lightweight feel to the fact they manufacture their frames from an earth-friendly bio-resin. Testers give company high marks for creating an environmentally responsible product (part of their Kick Plastic initiative). Along with their comfortable all-day feel, the glasses provide superior fish-spotting capability with Costa’s new Sunrise Silver Mirror lens. The lens is ideal for low-light conditions, which makes them extremely useful for any sight-casting applications. The lens is also versatile in changing light conditions. The Silver Mirrors are available in eight different frames. Check them out here.