Articles With the Tag . . . Recommended

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 . . .

Fly Fishing Gear: What to Spend On and What to Skimp On

Boots, traction, waders, tools, pack, vest, fly rod, flies, hooks, tippet, fly reel, fly line, net.

What fly fishing gear matters and what doesn’t? Here’s a list of where to invest your money and where you can save a few bucks.

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.

Gear Review: Simms Bulkley Wading Jacket

Weather be damned. We’ve come a long way from your grandfather’s yellow rain slicker. The Simms Bulkley insulated wading jacket is the perfect cold-weather fishing coat. And after spending about a hundred days in it over the last year, I can tell you why . . .

Fly Fishing Gear: What to Spend On and What to Skimp On

Fly Fishing Gear: What to Spend On and What to Skimp On

Last week I wrote a piece about selecting a fly reel, because while choosing a basic line holder may seem like one of the easiest decisions to make in fly fishing, things get complicated when your needs are specific. Most things in life are that way. The simple, quick...

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

Let’s be honest. A trout angler does not need a world class drag on a fly reel. And the avid fly fisher quickly realizes that even the largest trout in the river may be subdued with good fish fighting tactics — rod leverage, side pressure and smart angles. When...

Gear Review: Simms Bulkley Wading Jacket

Gear Review: Simms Bulkley Wading Jacket

A great hood, smart cuffs and pockets in the right places. That’s what makes a good wading jacket. Let’s assume that any fishing coat worth considering is first waterproof. Now add in breathability. The price tag goes up, but so does the comfort level and the amount...

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...

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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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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