November 13, 2014
Most of the fly fishers we know are completely merry when they receive more rods, reels, flies and any other new fly fishing gear as gifts. Here are the top picks for the 2014 Holiday Gift Guide for the fly angler on your list.
- Abel seems to have found a niche in taking necessary but often poorly made accessory items and turning them into highly functional precision instruments.
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 'S ' 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 Guards
- 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.
- The first thing Mayfly Outdoors did after it acquired Ross Reels in 2014 was to immediately begin production of the all-time classic Gunnison Reel in limited, numbered quantities. The reel series was originally discontinued in 1998 but a decade afterward, it was still famous for its rugged durability. The 2014 Heritage Series Gunnison has a re-engineered bearing housing, but the spools you bought in 1998 will still fit nicely on the new frames, which have the same porting and sizes as the original, $250-$270.
Orvis Safe Passage Guide Sling
- We've used the Guide Sling Pack for years and loved it, but the redesigned 2015 model is even better. 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 $89.
Patagonia Nano Puff Pants
- These breathable, comfortable, and packable Nano Puff pants are 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 Cane
- 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.
Abel Sealed Drag
- Abel has moved away from cork for this sealed drag system, instead using multiple stacked disks of machined aluminum and Rulon, known for its low coefficient of friction and abrasion resistance. The drag surfaces are inside a hub with a proprietary gasket seal that completely locks out moisture. You buy the reels with either right-hand retrieve or left-hand retrieve and they cannot be switched due to the permanent, failproof nature of the sealed hub. The sealed reels are available in three freshwater sizes to start: 3/ 4, 4/5, and 5/6 (larger versions will be available in the spring of 2015), $550-$675.
- Jon Bauer's objectives in designing the new RX sealed drag were to eliminate all exposed threaded components, make the hub one piece, and reduce rotating seal points to only one. He also wanted a high top-end on the drag system, yet with a lighter weight. Both goals were achieved as RX 5, 6, and 7 (the largest) have twice the drag of the corresponding Rogue sizes, quicker line pickup due to larger diameters, and are lighter. The RX 7 has a 4.5" diameter, holds 450 yards of 30-pound-test Dacron backing, and weighs 9.3 ounces, $400-$750.
Nautilus CCF-X2 Silver King
- 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, $685.
Tibor Signature Series
- 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.
- ShortStix PRO4x — short all the way down to 7'6" rods for 8/9- to 11/12-weight rods — were 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. 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.
- What if you could get a rod that felt a lot like an Orvis Helios 2 but at almost half the price? 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.
- The Sage Accel replaced the VXP, and like its predecessor, it's an entire rod family with freshwater rods from 3- to 6-weight, saltwater versions from 6- to 9-weights, and both Spey and switch rods from 6- to 8-weights.
The design of this rod trickles down from 'key insights ' learned through the development of the Konnetic Technology in Sage's premium rods, the ONE and Method. The Accel also uses Sage's proprietary Generation 5 technology, which means the rod has a graphite hoop core instead of traditional fiberglass, and more accurate fiber positioning. Visually, Generation 5 means the rod shaft has a thinner diameter, with thicker rod walls, for light weight and stability, $595-$750.
The new Tidal series is easy-casting, workmanlike saltwater rod that is not sanded and painted, the reel seat is matte black, and the guides are chrome, not titanium. In others words, if you want a showpiece, this rod might not have the 'bling ' you're looking for. But if you want to stand up on the casting platform and show your guide a great cast — and do it for less than $500 — then this one is worth looking at, $475.
- A 'nexus ' is a center, or a core, and with this rod, Winston has found a way to instill the essence of a Winston rod into a product everyone at the Twin Bridges factory can be proud of. Winston's most expensive rods are made from boron and graphite, and painted a very recognizable 'Winston ' green, while the Nexus has the same polished, glossy feel in a black color and all-graphite construction, $475.
- When your adventures take you beyond cell service, SPOT Gen3 lets family and friends know you're status with the push of a button. Users can send S.O.S. messages to emergency responders and predefined text/email from virtually anywhere on the planet. You can also choose the rate you want to track your adventure: 2 ½, 5, 10, 30 or 60 minutes, which saves on battery life, $149.95.
Trout Boss HTx from Cortland
The Trout Boss just got more boss with a complex new taper, a thinner core and a new proprietary heat-tempered surface treatment (HTx). The taper combines a 45-foot 6-inch head with 10-foot of level line that's slightly thicker in diameter than the running line for better management. A thinner core gives the line a smaller diameter-to-mass ratio without skewing its specific gravity or killing energy transfer. And the new heat-tempered coating seals out dirt and oils while maintaining an exceptionally low friction coefficient. The result? Trout Boss HTx casts tighter loops, shoots farther, floats higher and is even more durable than its predecessor. Available from dealers for $80.00, it makes a great gift for the trout boss in your family.
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!
MONEY CLIPS by DREAMKEEPER
- Custom made to your specifications, they are perfect replicas of traditional and modern reels. So what makes them different? The handle pops up and they make a clicking sound that will take you right to the pond, lake, river, or stream where all fishing memories began. So take a look if you have dreams left out there€¦we won't lose them. All DREAMKEEEPER'S come with a magnetic pin so they can be worn as jewelry if you want, and they all come with a leather traveling bag.
- Ever get that sense of panic when your phone battery is on its last leg? Recharge it from anywhere with the FireCel, a 3-in-1 multi-purpose tool that features a power supply for charging smartphones and personal electronics, dual temperature hand warmer, and a multi-mode flashlight. The 5200 mAh rechargeable lithium ion battery can deliver a full charge to most smartphones and MP3 players. The two-temperature hand warmer, with 110- and 130-degree settings, provides continuous heat for up to three hours. An integrated flashlight features both red and white LEDs and five modes, including SOS for unexpected emergencies, $49.95.