Articles in the Category Gear Reviews

1000 Day Gear Review: Grip Studs — Unmatched Traction for Wading Boots

Grip Studs are single point carbide tipped studs with an auger style bit. The result is sticky traction, incredible durability and studs that don’t fall out. Simply put, they’re the best studs I’ve ever used.

Here’s more . . .

VIDEO: Wading Belt Carrying System

How can we keep our stuff with us, make it easily accessible and not be slowed down or fatigued by extra weight? Answer: Carry the heavy things on your hips.

Most anglers focus on whether to choose a chest pack, vest, sling pack, hip pack, lanyard or something else. We think of carrying fly boxes, tippet, leaders and other incidentals. But what about the net? What about water, a wading staff, a camera or anything else with extra weight? Carrying these items should not be a secondary consideration. As the heaviest things among your gear, how you carry them is of primary importance.

The heavy stuff is best carried on your hips, so the most critical part of your carrying system is probably the wading belt. And most wading belts are not up to the task.

Recommended Gear Pages Updated! Also With Troutbitten Crew Favorites

I’ve revamped the Troutbitten Recommended Gear Pages to reflect not only my current favorites, but the preferences of the guys whom you’ve also come to know through the podcast: Austin, Matt, Bill, Trevor and Josh.

So here are our favorite rods, reels, boots, waders, packs, vests, lines, leaders, tools, jackets, layers, vises, books and more . . .

100 Day Gear Review — Skwala Carbon Waders

Skwala takes the minimalist approach seriously. The Carbons are high-end waders, built from the ground-up with mobility, comfort and toughness at the forefront.

The Skwala Carbon waders are a workhorse for the die hard angler.

Here’s a closer look at the best (and worst) features of the Carbons, as I see them, from bottom to top . . .

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.

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 . . .

Fly Shop Fluorocarbon too expensive? Try Some Finesse

Fly Shop Fluorocarbon too expensive? Try Some Finesse

The trouble with cheaper lines is threefold. Their breaking strength is inferior to the fly shop brands, they’re usually a bit stiffer, and the manufactured diameters only go down to about 4X — usually.

Then a couple of years ago I bought Seaguar Finesse. It was hard to track down when it first came out, because here was a line sold in smaller quantities, with a higher than expected price tag (for the gear guys). But to fly anglers, the 150 yard spool for about $20 was a steal. Easy decision. I bought it immediately, based on Seaguar’s own description and the specs.

Since then, Seaguar Finesse has become my go to fluoro tippet material from 2X to 5X, and a few of my Troutbitten friends do the same. It’s thinner, but stronger per diameter, and is indeed more flexible as described. (It has some finesse.) It’s as almost 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 . . .

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A Fly Fisher’s Gift Guide — The C&F Chest Patch

A Fly Fisher’s Gift Guide — The C&F Chest Patch

It’s Christmastime. A season where people who love a fly fisher wonder what the heck they could possible buy that might produce a genuine smile on Christmas morning. To the non-angler, all the stuff out there in the garage, in the boxes and tubes, all of the tools, pieces and parts in the dens, bedrooms, studios or man caves is an exhausting mystery.

But I have the solution. There’s one gift that I recommend for any trout angler. I’ve suggested it often, and it never fails. The C&F Chest Patch . . .

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A Fly Fisher’s Gift Guide — Troutbitten’s Favorite Books

A Fly Fisher’s Gift Guide — Troutbitten’s Favorite Books

I still get excited about a new fishing book. And I trust that will never change. After all these years, I still look forward to shedding the dust cover, stressing the binding and digging in. Whether it’s tactics or stories doesn’t matter. If it’s a book about a life on the water, I’ll give it a look.

My uncle taught me to fish, to read water and find trout, to explore — to get away — and to enjoy fishing for more than just catching a trout. We fished bait. Mostly fathead minnows. And what I absorbed in those young years were the largest building blocks for any angler. I learned to love the river and feel at home there. And without that, the books that I later picked up would have felt like a foreign thing, like fiction, a tall tale, or like some branch of mysterious and inaccessible science.

Years later, my early tutelage into fly fishing came not through a personal mentor, but through two key books. (I’ll list them below.) And it was the enlightenment of those works that served as the gateway into so much of what has shaped my life to this day.

The words in a good book — the shared ideas — can change lives. And I’ve always wanted to be part of that, to pass on what I too have discovered, both technically and in experiential form . . .

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Fly Fishing in the Winter — Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

Fly Fishing in the Winter — Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

Yesterday afternoon topped off at thirty-eight degrees. That’s warm for a winter fisherman. I had five hours until dark, and I knew the temp would drop a bit at the end. There wasn’t much wind, no sun, and I had a long walk upstream to start my day. I thought about all those factors when I lifted the hatch of my SUV. Staring at the big bag of winter gear that goes everywhere with me, I knew exactly what to wear.

What follows here is my own system for staying comfortable (enough) while fishing the winter months. Soft, snowy days in the silent forest, with the solitary song of flowing water passing through are my favorite. I prefer January over July. I welcome the first crisp days of fall and the wool gloves that come with me.

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Fly Fishing in the Winter — Your Hands

Fly Fishing in the Winter — Your Hands

I fish with some very tough, die hard trout fishermen. But cold wind and colder water gets the best of everyone who isn’t prepared. And when we get temps down into the low twenties and teens, that’s when the guy who stubbornly wants to wear a ball cap and no gloves simply doesn’t make it.

The toughest thing facing a winter angler is not picky trout. It’s the weather.

There’s a good solution to every winter situation we encounter. And all of those solutions require your hands to operate.

Good winter fishing starts and ends with warm fingers . . .

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