Articles in the Category Gear Reviews

100 Day Gear Review: Simms G3 Guide Vest

When a big part of your life is fishing, how you carry fishing gear is a big deal. The Simms G3 Guide Vest starts with a classic design and modernizes it in all the best ways.

With a stacked layout, molded pockets, bulletproof materials, dual front closure, a unique collar and massive rear storage, the G3 is built for fly fishers.

The G3 is the versatile angler’s perfect, efficient carry-and-access system . . .

Euro Nymphing Fly Line vs The Mono Rig

I’ve received countless questions about my thoughts regarding euro lines and mono rigs. And while this is also one of the most common questions I’ve fielded through the years, it has a complex answer that I’ve never tackled in an article. So let’s fix that.

Here are my thoughts on euro nymphing lines vs a Mono Rig. These views address all seasons, all distances and many variations . . .

Pack or Vest? Why I’m a Vest Guy

As river anglers, everything we need now and we might need later accompanies us when we leave the truck. Our gear must transport with ease or we won’t bring it. And it must store with convenience, or we won’t use it. The vest solves these two directives better than any other system . . .

Fly Shop Fluorocarbon too expensive? Try InvizX

Seaguar Invizx has become my go to fluorocarbon tippet material, and some of my Troutbitten friends do the same. It’s thin, strong and flexible with excellent handling and flex. Invizx is as good as some fly shop brands and better than many others. And because the type of tippet we use is not what catches trout, I don’t overspend on tippet . . .

Euro Nymphing Fly Line vs The Mono Rig

Euro Nymphing Fly Line vs The Mono Rig

I’ve received countless questions about my thoughts regarding euro lines and mono rigs. And while this is also one of the most common questions I’ve fielded through the years, it has a complex answer that I’ve never tackled in an article. So let’s fix that.

Here are my thoughts on euro nymphing lines vs a Mono Rig. These views address all seasons, all distances and many variations . . .

Pack or Vest? Why I’m a Vest Guy

Pack or Vest? Why I’m a Vest Guy

As river anglers, everything we need now and we might need later accompanies us when we leave the truck. Our gear must transport with ease or we won’t bring it. And it must store with convenience, or we won’t use it. The vest solves these two directives better than any other system . . .

Fly Shop Fluorocarbon too expensive? Try InvizX

Fly Shop Fluorocarbon too expensive? Try InvizX

Seaguar Invizx has become my go to fluorocarbon tippet material, and some of my Troutbitten friends do the same. It’s thin, strong and flexible with excellent handling and flex. Invizx is as good as some fly shop brands and better than many others. And because the type of tippet we use is not what catches trout, I don’t overspend on tippet . . .

100 Day Gear Review: Orvis Pro Waders

100 Day Gear Review: Orvis Pro Waders

Orvis built a pair of waders that have lasted one-hundred hard days on the water (and counting) — with no leaks or seam failures. That is impressive. I’ve owned waders from all the major brands, and I’ve never come close to this kind of durability in waders before.

Here’s what’s good and bad about the Orvis Pro waders . . .

How to pick a fly reel — And why I choose the Sage TROUT

How to pick a fly reel — And why I choose the Sage TROUT

These are the qualities I think all good trout reels should have: durability, smooth drag, large arbor, counterbalance and a sweet sound. There are also a couple of extra things that tight liners and euro nymphers need in a reel. We need a full cage design with easy, reliable spool removal. Here’s an article that gets into all of that and more. And here’s why I really like the Sage Trout fly reel.

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Things that are good: Simms Solarflex Shirts and Gaiters

Things that are good: Simms Solarflex Shirts and Gaiters

We were deep into summer, with high August heat, hot sun and heavy humidity. Sawyer and I walked past the switchback at the halfway mark. We were hiking two miles back to the truck, emerging from the canyon after a long and productive day of fooling fish.

This kind of summer heat drives most anglers away from their favorite trout streams. However, in the cold waters of this limestone region, our wild trout eat all year long.

. . . And I was miserable in the heat. Yes, we were wet wading, but the long walks in and out, the hiking and getting around out of the water was really uncomfortable. At least, it was for me . . .

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Things that are good: The Fishpond Nomad Hand Net

Things that are good: The Fishpond Nomad Hand Net

Durable, lightweight and suited for the job — these are things we all want from our fishing gear. But sometimes such qualities are at odds. It’s impossible to make a truly durable pair of lightweight wading boots, for example. And usually, the functionality of our fly fishing gear is balanced with manufacturing and material costs, while also considering mass appeal.

But the gear that make it to the top of the heap — the stuff that’s adopted by a large set of anglers — has the right mix of these core elements. Dedicated fly fishers are a picky bunch. We’re a discriminating group of irritable outdoorsmen who want nothing more than long moments on the water. And we demand gear that works hard to keep us there. We need the right tools, and we want things that last.

I watched a couple of my Troutbitten friends with their Fishpond Nomad Hand Nets. I waited for a few years. I netted a couple of trout with them. I noted the long term durability. And when my old wooden net finally snuck off downstream one day without me, I bought my own Fishpond net. It quickly found a welcome home in my gear bag. And it’s now an on-stream essential — a constant and reliable companion on the water.

Here’s why . . .

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What about the wading staff? Thoughts on choosing and carrying a wading stick

What about the wading staff? Thoughts on choosing and carrying a wading stick

I always thought wading staffs were for the retired crew, something to lean on as you wait for the spinner fall — a third leg, when the left one has knee issues and the right one has had its hip replaced. However, one of the hardest-fishing guys I knew at the time was a guide on the Yough. Twenty-something, athletic and a strong wader, he carried a ski pole tethered to the bottom of his fishing pack, and he waded whitewater like a Grizzly bear.

So the day before our pre-dawn, westward departure to the Yough, I cut a wooden broom handle down to about four feet, zip tied a long-and-strong shoelace to the top and looped it to a carabiner on my wading belt.

I learned two things on that trip — a third leg makes you a faster wader and more efficient angler. And a broomstick makes a lousy wading staff . . .

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Let’s Rethink the Wading Belt

Let’s Rethink the Wading Belt

Seems to me, the last piece of gear many anglers think of is the wading belt. Often seen as an add-on, an accessory, or even unnecessary, some guys will tell you to tie a rope around your waist and be done with it. The wading belt provided with your new pair of waders perpetuates this notion. Every fresh box of breathables I’ve opened has a thin, flimsy belt thrown in as an afterthought. It’s good for helping you not drown as you go ass-over-tee-cups into the river, but not much else.

So I propose a rethinking of the wading belt. I treat mine as a utility belt — a place to carry heavier things. It’s an integrated part of my system for having everything I need right and ready at any moment, while keeping the weight and resulting fatigue of that gear to a minimum.

My belt system is designed for the wading angler who covers a lot of water, who walks away from the parking lot and hikes in a bit, who spends long hours pushing through heavy river currents and returns at dark. Of course, I don’t have the hours to fish like that all the time, but even on short trips, this wading belt system serves me well . . .

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