As the holiday season gets into full swing, buying gifts that the fly angler in the family wants can be challenging. Being a gearhead myself, I’m always looking at new gear and am constantly trying new products to see what satisfies my needs. Having gone through several bags, fly rods and tying gear in the past year, I have developed some opinions about products that I like and think that many other anglers will fall in love with.
Packs and Bags:
The Fishpond Summit Sling is still one of the best-selling packs at the shop and for good reason. Fishpond has really knocked it out of the park the last couple of years with packs and bags. The Summit Sling is not new to the market, but with a spacious and well thought out pack design it is still one of our favorite packs on the market. Highlights of this pack are the net sleeve, external stretch mesh water bottle holder and a removable Velcro fly patch. At only $99.99 this is a great value in one of the best sling packs I have ever had on my back.
Living in the mountains there are plenty of opportunities to get into the backcountry and find some unique and less travelled fishing locations. A great piece of gear for angler that likes to get in the backcountry is the Simms Waypoints Backpack in either large or small. The pack is designed with the angler in mind with a rod tube holder, side entry panels and a rugged frame that keeps the pack feeling light and supportive throughout the day.
The Fishpond Thunderhead series of packs and bags are zippered waterproof bags that are completely submersible. Anglers are starting to carry more expensive gear on the water such as cameras and cell phones, and protecting this gear from the water and rain is becoming a greater issue every year. Fishpond has met this need with the Thunderhead Sling and Hip Pack which are both fully submersible with a waterproof Tizip zipper, allowing easy access to the pack’s contents while still protecting gear from the elements.
The Simms Waypoints Sling Pack is another sling pack that I guided with a good portion of the past season. The larger size was plenty big enough to throw everything an angler might need for the day inside (yes that includes the kitchen sink). The Pack has an internal water bottle sleeve, Velcro tippet tender and floatant caddy. The pack has a fold out work station that can be used for rigging flies and has several magnetic sleeves that prevents hemostats from falling out.
Rods and Reels:
Sage released the Foundation series of rods in July and they have quickly become a favorite here at Tuckaseegee Fly Shop. At a price point of $325 this rod is a heavy hitter in the Domestic rod manufacturing market. With Graphite IIIe Technology this rod is durable and very appealing to the eye. The Foundation is a fast action rod which produces tight loops and high line speed perfect for punching through wind and making accurate presentations on days where the conditions are less then preferable. All Sage rods are made in the United States and come with a lifetime warranty against damage. This rod is also offered in a combo that includes a Sage 2200 series reel with a premium Rio fly line for $525. This is one of the best values in the industry for an American made fly rod.
The Scott G-Series was the biggest rod release of the year at IFTD. The G-Series is the longest standing series of domestic fly rods and has been a favorite for anglers for many years. With a moderate action, the rod presents dry flies exceptionally well while still being able to handle bigger nymphing rigs in the heavier line weight options. Being a Sage guy my entire life, I was pleasantly surprised at how well the G-Series roll casted and allowed me to control my cast at both short and medium distances while fishing. The supple flex in the rods action while fighting fish protects tippet well and makes mending a more achievable task. The Scott G-Series also comes with a lifetime warranty against damage, so you can rest assured that your investment will last for many years to come.
Hatch redesigned their reels for the 2017 fall season and made some exciting changes that will improve already great durability and aesthetics. Hatch reduced the weight of the new Finatic, and used a flat finish instead of gloss to cut back on glare. With the same durability and reliability that Hatch is known for and an array of custom color options, the new Finatic is sure to be at the top of many anglers’ Christmas wish list.
If your angler doesn’t have one yet, give them the gift of convenience with the Headgate tippet holder from Fishpond. This tippet tender holds 7 spools of tippet and includes a cutter for the tippet, eliminating fumbling around to cut the tippet the angler needs. This has been my favorite accessory I’ve used this year.
Dr. Slick tools
Dr. Slick makes some of the best tools for fly fishing and fly tying. From hemostats to scissor clamps and Whip finishers to hair scissors, Dr. Slick has you covered. Surgical quality tools last longer and are made from higher quality materials.