Check out our 2016 Holiday Gift Guide for the fly fisher in your life.
± Patagonia Sunshade €¨Technical Hoody — This functional flats shirt is a hat, neck gaiter, and has thumb holes on the sleeves help cover the back of your wrists and hands. The UPF 25 soft polyester fabric is a bluesign-approved fabric, which means a third party, based in Switzerland, works at every step in the textile production process to approve the chemicals and materials that are safest for the environment and for workers, $80. patagonia.com
± Airflo Super-DRI Tropical Punch — Capt. Bruce Chard helped develop this saltwater taper to load the rod quickly and turn over the leader even at close distance. This polyurethane line has low stretch, and texture in the form of Airflo's Ridge technology, which reduces friction for easier casting, $90. rajeffsports.com
± Simms Riprap — If you are going to lighten the load and wade wet, it doesn't make sense to eliminate your waders yet wear the same heavy boots. In the heat of summer, flows are down, the wading is generally easier, and the trout are often spookier so you won't be in the water much anyway. The Riprap is a fully enclosed wet-wading shoe with a liner, which means you can wear it barefoot. This slip-on shoe wears like a sneaker, has bungee laces, and weighs 28 ounces, $130. simmsfishing.com
± Smith Guide's Choice/€¨Chromapop Plus — The Chromapop brown lenses on these Guide's Choice frames have about a 15% light transmission rate, making them perfect for bright sunny afternoons on a freshwater river, $180. smithoptics.com
± Costa Motu/Sunrise 580P — The yellow Sunrise lens from Costa has a 27-percent light transmission rate, so you can actually wear your sunglasses and enjoy the polarizing benefits (plus UV protection and hook protection) when other fly fishers with darker lenses are removing their glasses, $170. costadelmar.com
± YETI — The Hopper Flip 12 ($279.99) features a HydroLok Zipper and wide-mouth opening that makes for easy loading and access to your food and drinks. The cubed shape makes it easy to haul and store just about anywhere.
± Thomas & Thomas Exocett — There's been a major shift in the rods coming from the Thomas & Thomas factory in Greenfield, Massachusetts. The new blanks on the freshwater Avantt series are a half ounce lighter in some cases than similar preceding models. For the saltwater Exocett series, T&T added a choice of titanium-frame ceramic stripping guides or RECOIL stripping guides, RECOIL snake guides, and a stealthy blue Low-Friction Finish. The slick matte finish avoids the heavy gloss paint jobs that only serve to add weight and deaden the feel of a rod. Our tester used an Avantt 5-weight for trout and Arctic grayling, and also a 10-weight Exocett for long days of casting massive musky flies, $895-$925. thomasandthomas.com
± Scott Flex — Since unveiling the Scott Radian in early 2014, Jim Bartschi, president of Scott Rods, has been looking for ways to get Scott's X-Core and ARC technologies into a more affordable fly rod that could be enjoyed by the masses. The answer came in the form of the Scott Flex, which uses the design ethos of the award-winning Radian and Meridian series in the form of a large-diameter, thin-wall butt section for increased strength and stability, and an inner core of reinforcing graphite, but doesn't have exactly the same expensive resins, carbon fiber, and components as those top-end rods. The result is an easy-to-cast, forgiving rod that delivers tight loops at a blue-collar price. "In a year where new technology and components are pushing prices higher, it's nice to see an elegant rod that's stripped down in price but still full of soul," said our tester, $475. scottflyrod.com
± Simms G4 Pro Backpack — This pack has an aluminum frame, removable padded waistband, and a sprung padded back panel for long hikes into and out of remote fishing areas. At 35L it's got the volume to carry boots and waders, and a large two-way zippered panel creates a cavernous opening so it's easy to pack all your stuff in there, $250. simmsfishing.com
If you need a duffel to travel around the world to far off destinations, this Thunderhead Submersible Duffel is 100% waterproof duffel and is made from bombproof material with a TIZIP® zipper. The 100L capacity easy holds plenty of gear, and the backpack straps make carrying convenient, $399.95. fishpondusa.com
± Farlex — Farlex Reels blend a traditional look, feel, and operation with modern precision machining and artisan construction. The 3¾" and 4" diameter reels have some heft to them, and are designed mainly for use on two-handed rods for steelhead, salmon, and migratory sea trout. It wails beautifully when a fish pulls out line, and you can buy either a one-way outgoing click with a silent windup, or a two-way audible click so you can hear the reel no matter which direction the line is moving. There is a plate wind peg-style handle or S-shaped handle available for both sizes, $800-$900. farlexreels.com
± Pflueger Medalist — This is the fly reel you had when you were a kid . . . or at least it looks just like it. But it feels, sounds, and performs much differently because the Medalist has been reborn with a fully machined spool and frame, an upgraded click-and-pawl drag, and three sizes to handle almost any freshwater fish, $120-$140. pfluegerfishing.com
± Hardy Marquis LWT — Hardy has for many decades set the standards for what a classic reel should look and sound like, and the Marquis (along with the Hardy Perfect) has been a mainstay of traditional fly fishers who want a reel steeped in history. The Marquis LWT is a remodeled version of the original Marquis machined in Alnwick, England, from aircraft-grade bar-stock aluminum. It has adjustable tension settings just like the original Marquis, but the adjustment range has been increased, and the LWT has more porting than the original which makes a significant weight difference in the larger sizes. The reel is manufactured in eight sizes to handle everything from trout to Atlantic salmon, $330-$450. hardyfishing.com