Rather than buying Dad gifts like a sweater or a six-pack of socks, how about getting the father in your life something that fits his fly fishing lifestyle. To help you sort through the options, we offer the following suggestions in our 2015 Father's Day Gift Guide.
- Abel seems to have found a niche in taking necessary but often poorly made accessory items and turning them into highly functional precision instruments you can be proud of. The company started with the Abel Nippers a few years ago and in 2013 produced Abel Hemostats, but wouldn'™t it be nice if you had a comparable retractable zinger you could use with those items?
Abel'™s made-in-the-USA Zinger is constructed from cold-finished aerospace-grade aluminum with a screw mechanism to pin it directly through a vest or jacket, or you can use the included 'œS' carabiner to hang it from any loop or D-ring. The 36-inch retracting cord is a 40-pound-test Spectra/nylon blend that withstands pull-tests of 25,000 repetitions. (Don'™t worry, the one you buy is brand new.) The Zinger is 2.5"X2.5", weighs one ounce, and is available in black, matte black, olive, and platinum. $50
Buff Stripping Guardsbuffusa.com
- Strip, strip, ouch! Remember the days when stripping streamers used to cut a bright pink, painful gouge in your finger? That doesn'™t happen with Stripping Guards from Buff. Sold in packages of three in a variety of designs and colors. $8
Nautilus CCF-X2 Silver Kingnautilusreels.com
- The CCF-X2 drag system generates an enormous amount of friction at the top end — up to 20 pounds of drag with less than 1% start-up inertia when the fish starts running. The sealed drag system uses both cork and carbon fiber inside the hub for its heavyweight stopping power. Hybrid ceramic bearings and TPX bushings keep the weight of the reel low (compared to other reels with the same volume) and ensure the spool tracks true even on the heaviest drag settings. We'™ve used the CCF-X2 drag for tuna in Louisiana, Bahamas permit, in fresh water for Chinook salmon and it has performed flawlessly each time. What'™s new for 2015 is the Silver King version which with a 5" diameter can pick up to 15 inches of line per crank of the big game handle. At 9.1 ounces it'™s truly the lightweight of the heavyweight division. $685
- What if you could get a rod that felt a lot like a Orvis Helios 2 but at almost half the price?
You might say the Recon is Orvis'™s attempt to 'œknock off' its own top-selling brand. Hey, if you don'™t do it someone else will.
Although Recon rods do not have the same kind of carbon fiber or thermoplastic resins as Helios 2 rods, they are designed with similar tapers and they have the same slim ferrule design. The outside of the ferrule is thinner, with a deeper seating of the male end for a smoother transition of power, greater strength, and lower weight compared to Orvis'™s previous mid-priced rods.
Recon freshwater rods come in 3- to 6-weights with a black nickel reel seat and dark burl wood insert. Saltwater rods from 6- to 10-weight have EVA foam-and-cork fighting butts and saltwater-safe components. $425-$450
Tibor Signature Seriestiborreel.com
- Tibor introduced its Signature Series sealed drag in 2011, but was presented with a challenge in 2013 when designers tried to make the sealed system fit on a new 5/6 reel size suitable for trout fishing. To make it work, they reversed the drag assembly so the sealed connection was on a flatter, broader surface facing inside. The result wasn'™t just a more secure, dependable seal — the separate, exposed hub could be painted different colors for different esthetic color combinations. It worked so well, Tibor reverse-engineered the entire Signature Series to match the 5/6 design. The newly designed reels are available in six reel colors and six hub colors including violet 3D, lime, crimson, black, and aqua. The enclosed drag surface is cork — the same as the original Tibor — with a graphite-based lubricant. The simple drag system can be completely disassembled using just a penny or screwdriver, and using the same tool you can flip the clutch dogs to turn the reel from left-hand to right-hand retrieve. $685-$885
- G.Loomis kickstarted the mid-priced, high-performance game a few years ago when it introduced a line of trout rods similar in feel to its flagship NRX brand, but without the expensive components or proprietary resins. Since then, the company has vastly expanded the range of rods in the PRO4x series to include saltwater versions, two-handed Spey and switch rods, and in 2015 two new specialty rods — Long Handle Predator (LHP) and ShortStix models in the PRO4x series.
LHP rods are 9 feet long with a long two-handed handle meant to toss extremely large flies and handle big game like salmon, muskies, and tarpon, but without the fish-fighting drawbacks of a long rod. With two hands it'™s also more powerful for lifting heavy lines, easier to use in a boat, and reduces fatigue over the course of the day. They come in three weights: 9/10, 10/11, and 11/12.
ShortStix PRO4x take the concept one step farther — all the way down to 7\'6" rods for 8/9- to 11/12-weight rods. Designed by G.Loomis director of engineering Steve Rajeff in collaboration with saltwater anglers Ian Devlin and Mark Sedotti, these shorties make quick, powerful casts with surprisingly little effort if you load them up with the right lines like the Scientific Anglers Titan Taper, the new Siege (details on that line of page 43), Airflo Sniper, or RIO OutBound Short. With these short rods, it'™s important to have a line with a short, heavy head for maximum performance. They are perfect for kayak fishing, wading shallow water, and for big fish like reds, roosterfish, cobia, and striped bass. '¨$375-$550
Orvis Safe Passage Guide Slingorvis.com
- The redesigned Guide Sling Pack is better than ever. The coated nylon is more water resistant, it has a built-in forceps sheath with a magnetic anchor, the cord loops for the tippet bar are more strategically positioned, and despite the fact that it'™s the same spacious 1,391 cubic inches, Orvis made this improved version $50 cheaper than the old one. $129
Patagonia Nano Puff Pantspatagonia.com
- Finally, we get the breathable, comfortable, and packable Nano Puff insulation for our bottom half. These aren'™t just great for layering under your waders, you'™ll find yourself wearing them to start the cabin fire, shoveling snow, and crisp fall walks. $180
Scott Split Canescottflyrod.com
- Designed and built in collaboration with legendary Japanese rod builder Naoki Hashimoto, Scott'™s SC rods honor the craftsmanship and history of split cane while at the same time taking the material to new levels of performance. First, they take more material from the hollow inside to make the rods lighter with a lower swing weight, and on the outside they triple-heat the hand-planed strips before they are glued to increase the modulus (stiffness) of the bamboo. Toshiyuki Hariki makes each nickel silver low-mass ferrule by hand to fit each piece of the rod. $3,250