Rod Review: Thomas & Thomas Avantt

Thomas & Thomas’ new Avantt is an impressive American built rod. The rod is finished in a classy matte blue with darker blue around the wraps. Most noteworthy however is the way the rod handles long distances. The rod has a lightning quick recovery speed and shoots line effortlessly. Because of the speed of the rod, Fly Fusion testers also over-lined the rod, but found it performed best with a matching line weight. The Avantt is a fast action rod that loves distance but is sensitive enough in the tip that it can adjust to the short game as well. Fly anglers who like the long game and an extra bit of power will like this rod. click here

Gear Review: The Chironomid Stillwater Boat

Magazine staff tested the Chironomid stillwater boat by Cunningham Boats and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. An angler would go a long way to find another single-person stillwater craft that moves as easily and fast or is more maneuverable. The hull is an extremely lightweight (30 lbs) Kevlar canoe design, with pontoon fixtures to provide stability. It’s propelled by lightweight oars, not paddles. The Chironomid is an appealing hybrid, providing the speed of a rowing scull, the tracking of a trimaran and the fishing stability of a wide-bottomed boat. FF staff found it easy to stand up in and cast, and spent an enjoyable day in the boat catching large rainbows on stripped leeches. Perhaps most impressive is the ease with which the boat can be disassembled and placed on the roof of a car or truck. Weighing less than a Florida-bound traveler’s suitcase, it’s an extremely manageable one-person boat. The stillwater angler who enjoys getting out on the water in a personal watercraft, who wants the freedom to stand up or sit down while casting, and who wants to move quickly and effortlessly from one shoal to another, needs to check out the Chironomid. click here

Reel Review: Redington Rise

Redington added a new reel to their roster this year. Machined from anodized 6061-T6 aluminum, the Rise is an extremely lightweight reel. It has a uniquely modern look and the aesthetics complement the reel’s balanced feel. Fly Fusion testers gave the reel high marks 
for the enclosed carbon-fiber
drag system that delivers
 smooth stopping power 
accompanied by a pleasant 
sound (a small but
 significant detail for
 some anglers). Testers 
also took notice 
of the functional 
oversized drag
 adjustment knob 
and appreciated
 the innovative feel
 especially for cold
 climates where sticky 
drag adjusters present 
a challenge for clumsy 
fingers. The Rise carries 
a lifetime warranty and is
 available in sizes 3/4 through 9/10 in three colors 
(silver, black and amber). redington.com

Reel Review: Orvis Battenkill Disk Reel

Fly fishers today live in
 a very fortunate time. They have access to 
traditional gear, fully
 modernized gear and fully
 modern gear designed to
 honor traditional gear. Such 
is the case with Orvis’ Battenkill
 Disk Reel. The exterior of the reel remains true to its impressive heritage, but the interior components fully capitalize on the latest technological advancements. Fly Fusion staff tested the Battenkill III designed to match 5-7wt lines. Testers found the sealed drag system, which is based on the award-winning Hydros SL reel, both smooth and very easy to adjust. Built from aircraft aluminum, the Battenkill is lightweight and strong. Spools are easy to switch in and out with no extra parts to remove. In short, the testers thoroughly enjoyed reel. Its functional simplicity consistently impressed them. The reel is available in sizes that match 2-10wt lines and there are also two spey reels in the family. orvis.com

Reel Review: 3-Tand VIKN

A few members of the Fly Fusion team have been using 3-Tand reels over the last number of years and have been extremely impressed by them. Each of their reels has a super smooth sealed drag system with unparalleled stopping power. Not only that, the 3-Tand design team makes an extremely attractive reel. With the VIKN™ (pronounced vixen) the company takes another step forward. The V-80 (8-10wt) weighs 7.7 ounces, has an ultra-large arbor spool that packs 300 yards of 30 pound backing. The reel feels well balanced on single hand, switch and spey rods. It’s also available in a 5/6wt and 11/13wt. 3-Tand.com

Gear Review: Hardy Ultralite FW DD

Most reels nowadays are lightweight by design. But truthfully, lightweight is a relative term (even a tyee is lightweight compared to an orca). Not only is the term relative, but what does a fly angler have to give up in order to fish with a next-to weightless reel—a more modern drag or machined aluminum? Hardy’s new Ultralite FW DD is a feather like, large arbor reel that provides the best of both worlds. It’s one of the lightest (non click-and-pawl) reels on the market, as it features a minimalistic disk-drag system. Built from 6061 bar stock aluminum, the size 1000 (1/2/3 weight) is 3.15 inches in diameter and weighs a mere 2.9 ounces. The heaviest in the family, the size 4000 (4/5/6 weight) measures 3.74 inches in diameter and weighs just 3.6 ounces. If you like the featherweight nature of a click- and-pawl, but you prefer a disk drag system, then you’ll enjoy this marriage. hardyfishing.com

Gear Review: Big Nasty by RIO

In the area of fly lines, fly fishing has
 obviously progressed. We’ve come a long
 ways since the days of the encased glass
 display providing meager choices between
 floating and full-sink lines in a few different
 weights. Now there are literally hundreds of 
line choices for the consumer to fit unique 
angling needs. Enter the Big Nasty by RIO. It’s a floating line designed with a specific 
purpose in mind: to turn over large flies, whether they be large streamers, dries or nymphs. The Big Nasty is front loaded so there’s a better energy transfer when turning over big flies, and the long handling section at the back of the head makes it easy to cast long distances and mend the line once it’s on the water. If you’re like members of Fly Fusion’s team and you swing large streamers on sink tips through the spring, or you’ve got an early summer love affair with oversized foam stoneflies, you’ll want to check out the Big Nasty. rioproducts.com

Gear Review: The Scott Flex

There are a lot of new fly rods on the market this
 year and many of them have price tags that place
 them in the high-end category. Possibly one of the most remarkable aspects about the Flex is that it has a high-end feel without the high-end price tag. Aside from the price point ($475US), the American built rod 
is impressive to cast and has a number of features characteristic of high-end rods. The Flex has a smooth feel and is a moderate fast action rod that matches well with true to weight lines. It’s a good all around rod that functions well at a variety of casting distances. More than that, the rod looks good. It’s got a dark textured finish, and has a sharp looking recessed reel seat with the Scott logo opposite the reel positioning. The Flex comes in 3wt through 8wt. check it out

Gear Review: Fishpond’s Thunderhead Duffel

With fishpond’s innovative commitment to creating attractive, functional, and 
environmentally friendly products, the company consistently provides the fly-fishing 
consumer with a responsible option. Lots of companies support environmental 
initiatives, and that’s essential, but fishpond takes their commitment to another level by 
creating products from recycled nylon commercial fishing nets.

Aside from the fact that the Thunderhead Duffel is created by an environmentally aware company, with the TIZIP submersible zipper, the product is completely waterproof which means all your valuables will be safe and dry when you’re out on that multi day float trip.

The bag also features outdoorsy braided climbing rope handles and tuck-away backpack straps on the large model (which can fit 9 foot, 4-piece fly rod tubes inside) to make larger loads more manageable. In short the duffle is stylish, waterproof, and virtually bombproof. I suspect the bag can even withstand a disgruntled airline baggage handler—though if you’re using the smaller model, you’ll never have to find out because it’s carry-on compatible. fishpondusa.com

Amplitude MPX by Scientific Angler Earns Editor’s Choice Award

The new Scientific Anglers MPX with AST Plus might sound a little like trying to decode your child’s text messages, but the results are far less complicated. Fly Fusion Staff tested the line for the last few months and it is impressive. The line shoots extremely well and added an effortless distance. It contains AST Plus, which is a slickness additive that increases line slickness and durability. Testers really enjoyed casting the line on fast action rods because the MPX is a half size heavy so it loaded the rods extremely efficiently. The line is an all-around freshwater taper ideal for trout and warmwater species. Each line in the Amplitude family will be triple-colored, triple-textured, and feature welded loops on both the front and the rear.