April 21, 2021
By Fly Fisherman Staff
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 2021 Father's Day Gift Guide.
Stanley Classic Easy-Pour Growler
Dad will be able to transport his favorite beverage in fully functional and iconic style with this 64-ounce growler. The extra-large size keeps liquids extra cold for up to 24 hours. Take control with a rugged handle for easier carrying and one-handed pouring. The wide mouth allows for quick filling, sharing, and cleaning. And that satisfying ‘pop’ you hear when you open the steel-lined lid is a sure sign your carbonated beverage is still fresh and bubbly. Offered in three colors: Matte Black, Nightfall and Hammertone Green.
MSRP $55 | stanley1913.com
Patagonia Ultralight Packable Fishing Jacket
This go-everywhere, waterproof, breathable and lightweight jacket packs into a tennis-ball-sized stuffsack and adds crucial, angler-inspired details including a fly-box pocket, a tool dock, a brimmed hood, corrosion-resistant zips and a DWR (durable water repellent) finish. $249.99 | patagonia.com
Waterworks Lamson - LiteSpeed F reel
When Lamson designers set out to design the Litespeed F, they had very specific goals in mind: they wanted a reel that was lighter, structurally stronger, and picks up line quicker than the previous Litespeed series. In fact, that’s been their goal with every generation of Litespeeds, and this is the sixth generation.
It make you wonder when reel (and rod) companies will hit the strong-and-lighter ceiling, but due to new CNC machining technology and techniques, and new material, evidently we’re not there yet.
The Litespeed F is the freshwater cousin to the new Litespeed M (marine). The freshwater version comes in three diameters—3.5’, 3.75’, and 4’—for line weights 4, 6, and 8 (approximately). I put a 5-weight Scientific Anglers Amplitude Infinity line on mine with about 125 years of 20-pound-test Dacron backing.
The reel has a 1-inch width an extraordinarily large arbor, so when you’re already got half the fly line off the reel, there’s plenty of diameter to pick up line quickly and efficiently. The reel weighs 3.6 ounces, not the lightest trout reel on the market, but possibly one of the lightest with a 3.75” diameter and a disk drag.
The conical drag system will be familiar to Litespeed fans, but the F has a external polymer clicker (for sound), a click/stop drag knob, and a internal spring set that creates a very reasonable progression of drag for trout fishermen. Too many disk drags have torque that quickly escalates out of the usable range, but the Litespeed F has a delicate starting point for 6Xtippet and #22 flies, and gradually progresses through a highly functional range. The reels are available in whiskey or fuego anodized finishes. $249.99 | waterworks-lamson.com
Trxstle - CRC System V2.0
The CRC System V2.0 ($395, trxstle.com) is a secure, keyed locking storage system that allows you to keep two fully rigged rods on top of your vehicle, ready to fish for the next day, after work, or while you move from one spot to another. The locking clamp system also allows you to quickly and easily remove the aluminum case, and telescope it down into a 44-inch “carry mode.” Fully extended, the CRC System can hold rigged rods up to 10 feet. In carry mode it weighs 15 pounds, can handle two 4-piece rods, and it comes with a comfortable carry strap (see opposite page) so you can carry the rods on a plane, or easily store the system when you don’t have immediate fishing plans. Even the clamps have a secure storage spot inside the carrier.
When you’re ready to fish, the CRC System V2.0 quickly clamps back onto your vehicle, and it’s designed to fit on all major manufacturer crossbars, from round to square to aerodynamic, with no additional tools.
Inside the carrier, the padded ABS plastic reel housing is designed to seat your rods with the reels upward, so the weight of the rod is not resting on the line guides. It holds reels up to 4.25 inches in diameter. The internal rod liner suspension system is made from two high-density polyethylene tubes that are individually tapered/swaged and sanded by hand at each joint to ensure a no-snag insertion and removal. The maximum entry diameter is 1.6 inches, so it accommodates most rods, but some saltwater rods with oversize stripping guides might not fit.
Big Sky Cigar Co. - Yellowstone
I admit I’m not a cigar aficionado. Heck, I’m not even a weekly cigar smoker, but I’ve had many special celebrations outdoors that involved a fine cigar: That time I smoked a cigar and caught trout one-handed—on a Morrish Mouse—in Kamchatka; that time I had a glass of Glenlivet and a cigar with my good friend on the porch of Royal Wolf Lodge in Alaska; and that time I had caught more than enough fish on a Paradise Valley spring creek and finished the day just smoking a cigar and watching the trout rise.
Cigars keep the mosquitoes at bay, and seem to put an exclamation point on special events like welcoming the birth of your first child or releasing your first 10-pound brown trout.
The founders of Big Sky Cigar Co. took this foundational idea, and made the idea of a great fishing cigar just a little bit better. With the sale of each box of cigars, a portion of the proceeds is donated to Warriors & Quiet Waters Foundation, a Montana-based therapeutic fly-fishing program for post-9/11 combat veterans and their families.
The founders Jess Coleman and Brandon Marsh are both Montana State University alumni and started the company to bring jobs to the small town of Laurel, Montana, (just outside of Billings) and recreate what they say is a proud tradition of cigar making in Montana. The owners and employees not only fly fish on weekends, they are actively engaged in river cleanups and restoration projects in their area.
The Yellowstone River Box ($99, bigskycigar.com) comes in a Spanish cedar box with five hand-rolled Yellowstone cigars, 12 flies from Montana Trout Flies, and a twin-blade guillotine cigar cutter. It’s a perfect gift. A 20-count box of Yellowstone cigars (without flies) is $190.
Yellowstone cigars—the first offering from Big Sky Cigar Co.—are Rothschild size with long filler and binder grown in Esteli, Nicaragua, and encased in an sun-grown Connecticut River Valley seed wrapper.
Pescador on the Fly - El Jefe Packable Fly Rod Combo
Six-piece rods that fit in your carry-on for business trips, or stash in a backpack for long hikes, ensure you always have a rod with you. The Pescador on the Fly El Jefe Packable Fly Rod Combo ($399, pescadoronthefly.com) is a six-piece, fast-action rod that breaks down into a 22-inch padded rod tube with a rod sock, carry strap, extra tip section, and a machined aluminum reel—all with a lifetime warranty. As far as packable rod and reel combos go, this one really is “the boss.”
I fished the 5/6-weight combo on Pennsylvania’s Yellow Breeches and Conodoguinet rivers and found the fast action of the rod handles light-duty smallmouth bass fishing, as well as the accuracy and presentation demands of trout fishing.
The IM12 carbon fiber and 40-ton Toray graphite blank creates a sturdy rod that recovers quickly, tracks straight, and has the power to handle large fish. Titanium-coated guides allow fly line to glide through them and stand up to wear. You could use up to a 6-weight, weight-forward line to load the rod, especially for bass flies.
The reel is machined from aircraft-grade aluminum and balances the combo. It has a surprisingly strong sealed disk drag that handles any fish in its weight class.
The El Jefe combo comes in 3- to 8-weight sizes.
This award-winning small-batch traditional bourbon is made from non-GMO ingredients sourced exclusively from a single farmer in the Bighorn Basin near Thermopolis, Wyoming—a special place if you enjoy open ranchland and rising trout. Wyoming Whiskey’s mash bill is made from 68% corn, 20% wheat, 12% malted barley, using water pumped from a mile-deep aquifer just outside of the Yellowstone Caldera.
It’s a dark amber bourbon with a floral nose and a hint of vanilla bean and caramel pudding. On the palate, it tastes like browned butter, baking spices, toffee, and a finish with just a hint of mint.
Cofounded in 2006 in Kirby, Wyoming by fly fisher David DeFazio, Wyoming Whiskey is aged in 53-gallon barrels. The 88-proof bourbon is five years old. The same company also makes bonded Outryder whiskey with locally sourced ingredients, but instead of wheat, Outryder uses 20% winter rye. wyomingwhiskey.com
Nick Mayer Art Tough Phone Cases
Sure, phone cases need to be functional and protect your valuable device, but this protective shell can also be an expression of your interests, or merely show you have good taste in artwork. Nick Mayer Art Tough Phone Cases ($30, nickmayerart.com) are white, impact-resistant, and shockproof cases available with nine different designs by artist Nick Mayer, including brown trout, brook trout, false albacore, giant trevally, yellowfin tuna, and bonefish. The polymer cases have a snap-on design with a rubber liner that allows easy access to the charging port, on/off switch, and fully functioning buttons. Available for both Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy. $39.99 | nickmayerart.com
Angler Sport Group - Magnet-ique
External fly patches can be tricky— sometimes the loops catch the hook, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes it takes superhuman effort to extract your crimped-barb flies from a wool or Velcrotype patch. Powerful magnets can solve this pesky problem.
The Magnet-ique MagSingle ($19, anglersportgroup.com) uses a single neodymium magnet inside of a cupped polymer fly holder. A noncorrosive steel backer goes inside your jacket, vest, or waders. Unlike some other patches that require a pin to affix them, a powerful magnet holds your flies and also secures the patch wherever you’d like. Want to have it on the outside of your waders? No problem, there’s no puncture.
The MagDouble ($30) has two internal magnets, holds twice as many flies, and also comes with a stainless steel carabiner as an alternative attachment method.
O'Pros - 3rd Hand Rod Holder
The O’Pros 3rd Hand Rod Holder ($25, oprosgear.com) clips to your wading belt, waistband, hip pack, and frees your hands to tie knots, untangle dropper nymphs, dry your flies, or release fish. The belt clip holder rotate 360 degrees, and securely holds and standard cork fly rod handle. It’s made of durable molded nylon plastic and comes with a elastic cords you can pull over the rod handle to lock it in place.
Dragon Alliance - Tidal X LL Polar
Full wrap with ample side coverage provide the ultimate enhancement for long days on the water. Co-molded temples and rubber nose pads keep the Tidal X secure during the roughest of seas and longest of fights. Lumalens technology and Performance Polarized lenses allow you to see from the flats to the deepest of oceans. 100% UV protection and floats. $239.00 | dragonalliance.com