November 06, 2020
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 2020 Holiday Gift Guide for the fly angler on your list.
Bart's Bay Armor Protective Wading Boots
Made from state of the art, newly developed, cut and puncture-resistant material that is patent pending, these boots from Bart's Bay Armor make a great gift for anglers. They are protective from the very top to the bottom, even under the sole, and the rubberized lower makes the most vulnerable areas even more protective. These boots are so comfortable they will revolutionize wade fishing. Since 99% of all wading injuries occur from the ankle down, Bart's Bay Armor made the boot mid-calf to reduce unnecessary weight with extra protection where it counts. Gift a pair for summer and a pair a couple of sizes larger to wear with waders in the cool months. $189.00 – $199.00, barts-bay-armor.com
Developed specifically for the fishing market, Tactacam Fish-i offers anglers the perfect compact action camera package to film their experience. Fish-I is the only action camera featuring loop-recording technology that allows anglers to film all day and easily mark and keep catch footage at their fingertips. Waterproof up to 30 feet, Fish-i also has a 360-degree microphone, a low-light sensor, and films in HD. Tactacam also offers a replaceable back-cap for all-day power and now ultra-wide, and 2x zoom lenses for this one-of-a-kind camera. Easy to use and light enough to easily attach to your boat, fishing pole, or body, this compact camera is made to perform on and under the water giving anglers the opportunity to film and share their best angling moments. $199, tactacam.com
In the Colorado Rockies, trout fishing takes many forms, from close quarters and #22 Tricos on the South Platte to bombing out #6 Golden Stones in the Gunnison Gorge. This complexity calls for a trout rod that can perform across a wide set of circumstances. And while some rod companies are caught up in making rods for streamers, rods for Euro nymphing, and rods for soft presentations, the Scott Centric is an acknowledgment that a well-rounded trout fisher should be prepared for anything. The new Centric feels incredibly light, has amazing range (both fishing and casting), and it’s a fast-action rod with surprising sensitivity.
Scott president Jim Bartschi credits new rolling equipment at the Montrose factory, and new materials for this “leap forward” in rod design. The Centric uses a completely new resin system. Because it bonds so well, the carbon fiber-to-resin ratio is higher, and carbon fiber density is higher. This means the rod is lighter, tougher, and it recovers quicker than any other rod in Scott’s inventory.
“We were so excited about the performance jump that we put a big exclamation mark on it with the new components we designed,” said Bartschi. “These are the most advanced components ever seen on a freshwater rod.”
Titanium stripping guides with zirconia inserts, low-glare Snake Brand Universal guides, and a machined reel seat with speed threads, easy grip knurling, self-indexing hoods, and a stand-out red Delrin lock washer set Centric rods apart on fly shop racks as well as on the water. $895, scottflyrod.com
Rising Lunker Net
This American-made anodized aluminum net has a 24-inch handle with a knurled texture for better grip. No longer will you have to guess how large your fish is—the hoop has built-in measurement indicators (12, 16, 18, 19, 20, and 21 inches) to help. The long handle gives you plenty of reach for wade fishing and netting fish from a float tube or pontoon boat. The net also offers easy access to your celebratory shot of whiskey after you land that beautiful fish—just unscrew the cap on the handle and take a swig from the 6-ounce holding tube. Made in Francis, Utah, the Rising Lunker Net has a fish-friendly rubber net bag to protect the fish’s fragile slime coating. The Lunker is available in orange, red, blue, purple, black, pink, wasabi, gunmetal, or two-tone. The hoop unscrews from the handle for easy transport. Total length is 45 inches. The hoop is 21 inches by 13.5 inches. The net bag is available in black or clear and is 8.5 inches deep. $180, risingfish.net
Scientific Anglers Amplitude Smooth Creek Trout
For small creeks and streams you need a light, weight-forward line with a long front taper for delicate presentations, right? False. On tight, brushy, small streams, you often don’t have the space to even use the weight in a line with a 30- or 40-foot head. Those types of lines are for Silver Creek, the Henry’s Fork, and the West Branch of the Delaware. What you need is the opposite. The Creek Trout is a short-head fly line (22 feet for a 3-weight) with much of the weight rear-loaded in the head so you can load the rod adequately at distances of 20 or 25 feet, and still land the fly gently in small pockets. It comes in lighter line weights (2 through 7) with a tip that allows you to target smaller fish and use smaller flies. But the lines are one weight heavy. (Remember, weight is measured over the first 30 feet of line.) So a 3-weight is the AFFTA-standard 4-weight. But what we found using this line on small streams in Pennsylvania is that since you’re using only 20 or 25 feet of line when you’re casting, the rod is not overweighted. It’s actually perfectly weighted for shorter distances and for roll casting in places where you just can’t make a regular overhead cast. $100, scientificanglers.com
Sea Run luxury fly fishing travel case
Sea Run cases are designed and developed in the USA, but made in Italy by Negrini Case Co—a company that is globally famous for its TSA-compliant luxury shotgun, rifle, and handgun cases. If these cases can protect a Greener Sidelock with Alan Brown Viking artwork, along with an extra pair of Damascus barrels, then why not your Scott Centric fly rods and Abel reels with custom Casey Underwood artwork.
The cases are made of tough, impact-resistant acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) with an outer double-wall shell and an inner double-wall shell that are sonically welded together for maximum shock absorption. That’s four total layers of ABS between your rods and the luggage conveyor belt. The upholstery and finishing work inside are all done by hand in Italy, using woven nylon canvas and marine-grade closed-cell foam, with either a standard ($500) or leather interior ($570) finish.
The deep interior bottom compartments hold up to about six large reels, or four reels with plenty of leftover space for lines, sunglasses, fly boxes, or other items. A divider wall separates the top from the bottom, and the upper compartment has room for about four rods with a maximum section length of 31 inches—just enough to hold 10-foot, 4-piece rods.
You can also buy a fitted, heavy-duty canvas cover with a shoulder carry strap to go over your case to keep the outside scuff free and looking new. $500, searuncases.com
Hardy Ultraclick UCL
This is the lightest fly reel Hardy has ever made in the company’s 120-year+ history. It may also be the lightest practical trout reel we’ve ever seen. Period. The 1/2 model weighs just 2 ounces, and the largest 4/5 weighs 2.4 ounces and has the capacity to hold a weight-forward 5-weight line and 75 yards of 20-pound-test Dacron backing.
The machined aluminum reel is bronzed and anodized, with a push-off spool release. It’s designed with a large arbor to pick up line quickly when you need it, a key attribute when you are using small, barbless, competition hooks.
The Ultraclick UCL has an adjustable all-metal exposed click-drag system designed for constant and fine pressure with light tippets and small flies. Consider this reel not only for Euro fishing, but anytime you are using light lines, small flies, and you need delicate precision. $250, hardyfishing.com
Orvis Pro Insulated Jacket
When you’re exerting yourself, you get hot in specific places, and when you’re casting, you need your jacket to stretch in specific places. That’s why Orvis’s new body-mapped Pro Insulated Jacket uses 80-gram Polartec Alpha for the side panels and under the arms, and 80-gram PrimaLoft Gold Active for the rest of the jacket. Polartec Alpha (55% recycled content) was designed for U.S. Special Forces teams to regulate body heat and moisture under the rigorous start-and-stop conditions of combat, while the Primaloft Gold Active (45% recycled content) delivers four-way stretch, breathability, water resistance, and ridiculous packability—this whole jacket folds into the pouch of the interior zippered chest pocket.
Working in conjunction with the flexible insulation, the outer shell is a 20-denier stretch nylon ripstop fabric for a non-restricting jacket that lets you double-haul, row, paddle, and stay warm in the most demanding conditions. The nylon has a durable water repellent (DWR) finish on the exterior and an acrylic coating on the interior of the shell that makes the shell highly wind-resistant. The jacket has a trim cut to fit inside your waders in deep wading conditions, a drawstring waist cord, fleece-lined handwarmer pockets, a zippered chest pocket that fits one fly box, and an internal zippered security pocket that doubles as a stuff sack. $200, orvis.com
Simms Extreme Bicomp Hoody
The problem with bulky jackets is that when you tuck them inside your waders, you look like a stuffed sausage, and you’ve got too much insulation where you don’t need it. The new Simms ExStream BiComp Hoody has a low-bulk Karuishi stretch fleece fabric with kangaroo handwarmer pockets and a locking drawcord in the lower hem. Just pull the drawstring tight, and the thin stretchy portion sits down inside your waders. The upper/outer (available in bronze or admiral blue) is made from a water-shedding stitchless quilted 20-denier ripstop nylon with a 60-gram fill of PrimaLoft Silver Thermoplume with Cross Core insulation (35% recycled content). The gusseted arm panels that extend continuously from the thumb loops at the wrist to the armpit and then to the waist are also made from Karuishi stretch fleece, giving you range of motion just where you need it, and water-resistant, warm insulation in the areas that are exposed to the elements. $200, simmsfishing.com
Orvis Premium Fly-Tying Kit
With more time spent at home now than ever, the Orvis Premium Fly-Tying Kit is the perfect gift this holiday season. The premium kit includes materials for tying 16 patterns and ten flies, for a total of 160 flies. It also features an instructional DVD with tutorials for every fly pattern made exclusively for the kit and also covers basic tool instructions. All this included in a durable and convenient carrying case. $198 | orvis.com