Most of the fly fishers we know believe you can never have enough flies, rods, reels, and many other fly fishing types of gear. Here are the top picks for the 2013 Holiday Gift Guide for the fly angler on your list.
Hemostats were invented by a French surgeon in the 1800s as a tool for stopping blood flow, and they were adopted by fly fishers in the '50s and '60s as catch-and-release gained popularity. As a hook removal tool they are quick and precise, but the clamp engages whether you want it to or not, and they can be awkward to disengage with cold, wet fingers. Abel Hemostats are miniature precision pliers small enough to hang on a lanyard, and the clamp does not engage until you flip the switch on top. Click Here to View Product!
The Adios is an extra-wide 36" so you can say goodbye to the idea of a 'tippy ' paddleboard. The traction pads give you a no-slip grip, and the pull-up strap makes it easy to stand up and sit down in the Larry Chair — an accessory that gives you extra comfort and as well as 10" of height for sight-fishing while seated. This feature-rich hybrid also has adjustable foot pegs, storage areas front and back with tie-downs in the stern, and bungees up front, and a 13"x24" cockpit-accessible front dry storage locker. Smooth, flat surfaces allow for suction-mounted rod holders and electronics. Click Here to View Product!
Dyna-King Ultimate Indexer
Ron Abby worked for 32 years toward designing what he calls 'a fly fisher's dream vise. ' Built on the Barracuda chassis, the added indexing feature allows you to rotate the vise to eight pre-set stopping points, but you can disengage it by unscrewing the knurled brass knob. It also has a swing-arm bobbin holder to position the thread and bobbin for true rotary tying. Click Here to View Product!
With adjustable straps and a feminine cut, it's clear Fishpond has put effort into the Chica Women's Vest. A total of nine interior and exterior pockets offers a home for everything from fly boxes to lunch. A large back pouch allowed me to easily bring along extra layers, and fleece-lined handwarmer pockets hold the promise of more comfortable cold-weather fishing. As with all things Fishpond, attractive colors and Western detailing make this a cute vest with big personality. Click Here to View Product!
What list of 'perfect things ' would be complete without a Hardy Perfect reel? The Bouglé (pronounced BOOG-lay) is a variation of the original Perfect that was produced at the request of Louis Bouglé, a French cyclist, inventor, angler, and competition caster. The original Bouglé was built in Alnwick, England from 1903 to 1939, and this newer version is made in the same shop by Hardy craftsmen. It voices an authoritative check system with an unmistakable Hardy sound. Click Here to View Product!
Native Versa Board
This is a true hybrid. You can stand up on the Versa Board, sit down in the cockpit, or you can add a real sit-on-top seat for comfortable all-day fishing. This board has large-volume displacement for a 300-pound carry capacity and added stability for rough weather or — better yet — large, unruly fish. The Versa Board arrives factory-rigged with two Scotty flush mounts, a Groove Scotty rod mount, two rod holders, and a deck-mounted paddle holder. Click Here to View Product!
Orvis Helios 2 Switch
When rod designer Shawn Combs set out to add switch rods to the popular Helios 2 rod family, he had the same parameters — a 20% reduction in swing weight, and a 20% increase in strength.
'When we were designing the Helios 2 switch rods, we wanted to reduce their swing weight (from the original Helios) without sacrificing any power or accuracy, ' explained Combs. 'The H2's steep tapers allowed us to keep more mass in the butt section for fish fighting and longer casts, but the rods are still light enough to overhand cast like a 10-footer. '
Like the single-handed H2s, the switch rods have midnight blue blanks, crushproof REC Recoil guides, California buckeye burl reel seats with black-nickel skeletons, cork handles, and cork-composite on the top and bottom of the handle. The rods will be available in five different 11-foot models, from 5-weights through 9-weights. Click Here to View Product!
When Orvis product designer Tim Daughton went to a demonstration of a new rubber compound produced by JStep, they had him walk up a 45-degree slope of smooth stainless steel drenched in vegetable oil. With standard sticky rubber, he couldn't make it up the slope. With JStep rubber soles, he walked up the incline like Spider-Man. We all know that water and rocks aren't the same as oil and steel — there are different demands. The soles that worked in vegetable oil were developed for the energy industry for use by workers on greasy oil-rig platforms. But Daughton knew JStep was onto something, and with minor modifications to the rubber compound and a completely different tread design, he was able to change the entire Orvis boot program, starting from the ground up. We tried the Pivot on the West Branch of the Delaware and found that the key to the excellent traction was the 'dual-durometer ' rubber compound in the sole. What this means is that the outer edge of the sole is made from a harder rubber compound for durability and for positive traction on soft surfaces like muddy riverbanks. The inner rubber is made from a softer, less durable rubber that clings to rock like nothing we've ever seen. This may be the first rubber-sole boot where in many situations, you don't need metal studs. $180 orvis.com
Patagonia Spring River Wader
Patagonia has redesigned their women's waders for 2014 and brought several innovations to the market. EZ-Lock suspenders are mounted at the waist and allow for quick conversion from waist to chest waders, and they also unclip to allow for a quick drop-seat feature — those riverside rest stops just became much more pleasant. The fit is trim but allows free movement, and as I often fish with groups of rowdy guys, the drop seat feature makes river life far easier. The waders are comfortable at full height, or worn at the waist, and the wool-lined neoprene booties were surprisingly cool and comfortable even on warmer days. A flip-out dry bag mounted inside the chest provides a safe haven for my cell phone and an extra camera battery. $400 patagonia.com
Sage Pike & Musky
Everyone knows about Sage's Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass II rods — deeply loading rods for big flies and big fish in warmwater situations. Sage has now created two more specialty species-oriented rods, the Pike and the Musky. These rods have the same cosmetics and hardware as the 7'9" tournament-inspired rods in the Bass II series, but are 9' long and designed to throw even bigger flies, and they also have oversized stripping guides and extended fighting butts.
The Pike rod is a 9' 10-weight, and the Musky is a 9' 11-weight, and each comes with an appropriate floating Pike or Musky line. Our testers used both models on Wollaston Lake, Saskatchewan, for pike up to 50 inches, and found they were perfectly suited to giant flies up to 18 inches, and surface-churning topwater bugs that attract monster pike in shallow bays. Click Here to View Product!
Sage Travel Tube
Made using an aluminum extrusion process, Sage Travel Tubes have alternating convex and concave curves for a sophisticated look you don't get with off-the-rack tubes. Its distinctive octagonal shape also keeps the container stable on smooth surfaces so it won't roll around on the bottom of a drift boat, the back of a truck, or in overhead bins. The upscale rod 'safes ' have oversize rubber end caps to prevent scratches and dents, and a bottom cap with a custom ID area to write crucial contact information. A quarter-turn, tenon-style cap clips shut for a tight seal against dust, water, and grit. Offered in three diameters of 2", 2.25", and 4" (to hold one, two, or four rods) and three lengths of 33", 44", and 55" for a total of nine sizes to fit everything from your favorite bamboo to a bundle of saltwater sticks. Click Here to View Product!
Simms Contender PFD
This handy device could prevent your untimely death and save your family from grief and heartache. Still not convinced you need one? The USCG-approved PFD has 29 pounds of buoyancy and is covered in a 1680-denier ballistic nylon shell so it will last through the next decade. Click Here to View Product!
Lightweight yet tough, these pliers are machined from aircraft-grade aluminum in Bozeman, Montana. The hollow stainless-steel hinge gives you a third traction point, and both the jaws and the cutting tool align perfectly. $160 simmsfishing.com
Most bamboo rods are made from five or six strips of glued bamboo. The Quad is a four-sided bamboo rod pioneered by Jerry Kustich and Glenn Bracket at their shop in Twin Bridges, Montana. This version is an 8', 5-weight with two tips, nickel silver ferrules, and an agate stripping guide. Even the olive wood reel seat of this future heirloom is hand-turned by Montana craftsmen. Click Here to View Product!
Wild Water HX Series
Inexpensive rods come from overseas right? Well, yes and no. Wild Water owner Eric Dodds designed his HX Series tapers in Rochester, New York, and has the blanks manufactured in Asia. But Wild Water does all the rod assembly here, including reaming and gluing cork rings, and turning the handles on a lathe. The cork and components like the guides and reel seats, come from the Connecticut company REC Components, and after all that, Wild Water can still sell a good, 'assembled in the U.S. ' rod for less than $150. Click Here to View Product!