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.
The Castaway Roll Top has lots in common with other boat bags: easy access compartments for whatever gear is needed for a long float, outward attachment areas for forceps and rod tubes, and handles and straps for easy movement. This waterproof boat bag has a few other added features that impressed the Fly Fusion team. Fishpond designed the bag so it travels easily. So whether you’re heading to a saltwater flat to fish for bonefish, or you’re on your way to British Columbia for the dry-fly float trip of a lifetime, this bag can travel with you. The inner compartments are fixed into place with velcro, so they can be removed and both the interior and exterior can be flattened and placed in the bottom of a suitcase or a duffle. Aside from this functional design element, the staff also gives the boat bag high scores because it’s constructed from recycled nylon fabric. The Castaway is an environmentally responsible purchase you can pack with you wherever you go, and it’s going to keep your valuables dry. Check it out here.
The Fly Fusion team likes testing out fishy products and spreading the word about them, but every once in a while we also like to test out products that are a little more on the fly-fishing fringe.
Throughout the summer team members have enjoyed using the Picture Keeper. After a few trips, it’s super easy to load up the smartphone with images of highlights. Over time, ten photos becomes 400 photos and the phone can go from feeling like a lighting quick, fast action rod to a lethargic fibreglass rod as the storage gets more and more crammed.
The Memory Keeper is an easy and effective way to store memories of your fly-fishing trip while alleviating the storage issues. Testers found the device easy to use (even for the less tech savvy individuals). In a few simple steps, the iPhone dumps photos directly onto the Memory Keeper and then asks whether you’d like to keep the photos on the phone or delete them from the phone. Even if you choose the later of the two, it’s super simple to add any photos back onto the phone from the Memory Keeper should you choose. This is a great devise for any angler who takes a lot of shots but likes the phone to still function at normal speeds. Check them out here.
There’s a lot that the Fly Fusion staff likes about this new rod from Redington. At the top of the list is the fact that the company consistently finds areas of need and provides a solution at a reasonable cost to the consumer. The Hydrogen Trout Spey is designed to cover a lot of water with minimal angler effort. Each model features a medium- fast action, and the Zirconia stripping guides reduce guide and line-freeze in cold conditions. The down-locking, skeleton reel seat offers superior in-hand balance to create the lightest rod in its class. If you enjoy spending the day on the water, but feel the strain of overhand casting all day, or if you just want to cover more trout water with greater efficiency, make sure you check out the new offering from Redington.
Staff fished with the smaller Native Nomad net for the last couple of seasons and appreciated the fact the net fit perfectly into the net slot on fishpond backpacks. The Emerger Net has all the assets of the Native Nomad, but with a little bit of added length. The Emerger has a longer opening (18.8”) than the Native but is still slender enough (9.8” wide) to fit comfortably into the backpack. With the hoop shape and size, the net is the perfect for the angler who does a lot of walk-and-wade trips on rivers where larger trout reside. Because fishpond designed the net to fit the pack, an angler does not have to dedicate a free hand to the net when moving from one location to the other. Staff also appreciated the net’s non-slip handle and the fact net mesh is designed to be very gentle on trout. This is the perfect mid-sized net. It’ll handle larger fish but it’s not overly cumbersome. With the mid-sized handle the net is also perfect to use in Water Masters and pontoon boats. click here