The Flow’s 2017 Fly Fishing Holiday Gift Guide

The holiday season seems appropriate for a time of year to consider new gear for that fly fisherman in your life. It could also be argued that this is a reasonable excuse to treat yourself to some new digs. Like a Merry Christmas to me, from me type of thing. Regardless of why you’re searching the web, here are some of my favorite gear options for this year.

Orvis Helios 3 Fly Rod

Photo by Orvis.

This fall brought the new Helios 3 from Orvis. Regardless of how you felt about the Helios 2, you need give the Helios 3 a chance. It’s safe to say that I 100% favor the Helios 3 over the Helios 2. The hype with this new rod from Orvis is real.

Hatch Gen 2 Finatic Fly Reel

Photo by Hatch.The first generation of the Hatch Finatic was a favorite. With the improvements made to the second gen, this is a reel fly anglers will be sure to want in their arsenal. Performance and oh so pretty.

Scientific Anglers Sonar Fly Line Series

Photo by Scientific Anglers. With a variety of sink rate options, the Scientific Anglers Sonar Series has every depth covered. These lines are quickly becoming a favorite of anglers fishing for trout, bass, and musky.

Simms Rogue Fleece Hoody

Photo by Simms Fishing.
I’ve had my current Rogue Fleece Hoody from Simms for over 4 years. It’s jacket that with layering can meet the needs of many different temperatures. Purpose, style, and comfort.

Orvis Fleece Under Wader Pants

Photo by Orvis.A very comfortable option for those cold days on the water. It’s a lot easier to be in waders during winter with a warm pair of pants underneath.

Rio Powerflex Plus Tippet – 3 Pack

Photo by Rio Products.There no such thing as too much tippet. The 3 pack option of Powerflex Plus from Rio makes sense. Save a little money, and put the tube they come in to good use holding flies.

Airlock Strike Indicators

Photo by Airlock Strike Indicators.Strike indicators are a great tool. Airlock Strike Indicators are easy to adjust and do not kink leaders.

Tacky Collab Delux Fly Box

These fly boxes quickly became very popular. Everybody could use a Tacky Fly Box to hold their flies. Even if you already have one, you could always use another one.

Plan D Pack Fly Box

Photo by Plan D Fishing.Carrying and organizing articulated streamers can be a pain. Boat boxes are great, but not for wading. I have yet to get my hands on one of the Plan D Fly Boxes, but they look great for carrying some streamers with you for everyday wade fishing.

Yeti Rambler 20oz Tumbler

Screen Shot 2017-12-15 at 1.00.07 PM Whether it’s for coffee in the morning or adult beverages later in the day, it’s easy for a fly fisherman to find use with the Yeti Ramblers. I’m using my 20z Tumbler daily whether it’s on or off the water.

 

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Gear Review: Orvis Recon – 9ft 6wt

A Coffin Fly perched on an Orvis Recon 9ft 6wt.

Over the last 15 months, the 9ft 6wt Orvis Recon became one of my favorite all around trout rods to date for the larger water that I fish. Yes, this rod was released in 2015, but I like to thoroughly fish a rod at least full season before drawing any conclusions.

Orvis released the Recon in the mid price category with a retail price of $425 for the freshwater models and $450 for the saltwater models. It seems that over the last year or so, fly fishing companies are putting more emphasis on offering quality products at the mid price level. While priced in the mid level category, the Orvis Recon is anything but.

I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure what to expect when purchasing a mid priced fly rod because I frequently do so. Over the last 15 months my Recon saw much more than a fair share of water time. Some of my other fly rods are actually feeling neglected. For trout fishing on the larger pieces of water I frequently fish, I can’t put the 9ft 6wt Recon down. Why? It’s simple. I love the way it feels in hand, and love the way it casts.

Although physical weight might make the Recon heavier than some other rods, it’s almost impossible to tell that with the rod in hand. The Recon feels so light in hand, and to me that’s what really matters. The Recon’s progressive action also makes it super smooth and easy to cast. Be aware, this rod is faster than you may think. Yet another reason I dig it.

Whether it’s a long cast with a dry fly, roll casting a heavy nymph rig, or putting the fight to a large fish in heavy water, the 9ft 6wt Orvis Recon will do so effortlessly. This rod is a great tool for wade fishing, but also for float fishing. When it comes to all around trout fishing on larger waters I feel right at home with the 9ft 6wt Orvis Recon.

The only application that I would shy away from the Recon is serious streamer fishing. In my experience, the Recon is not quite as stiff as desired for throwing sinking lines or big, heavy streamers.

If you are in the market for a mid priced all around trout rod, I’m sure it will be hard to find one better than the Recon. At the price point, I almost think that Orvis did too good of a job with this one. Go cast a Recon, see what you think.

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Gear Review: Orvis Superstrong Plus Nylon Tippet

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After 8 month of fishing through well over 2500 meters of the Orvis Superstrong Plus Tippet, I think it’s safe to share my thoughts.

I switched over to Superstrong Plus at the beginning of last spring when the era of the original Superstrong came to an end. In the past I’ve always used the original Superstrong, so when the new formula was introduced I was excited, but also a little reluctant. I guess you could say I’m not always quick to welcome unexpected change.

Orvis made it aware that the Superstrong Plus has increased wet knot strength. I’m not really sure how they quantified or defined “wet” knot strength, all I know is whether something seems stronger while I’m fishing. To be quite honest, I really did not have any major issues with the strength of the original Superstrong. Although I will admit, the Superstrong Plus does seem to have improved knot strength. This is a nice feature because if you find yourself in a situation where you need a tow strap, just pull out a piece of 1x tippet. But in all seriousness, I’ve noticed less break offs while fishing with the Superstrong Plus. I’m convinced it’s stronger.

At first, my worry with the Superstrong Plus was what would be sacrificed to achieve increased knot strength. One thing that I really liked about the original Superstrong was it’s suppleness. The Superstrong Plus is more abrasive resistant, stronger, and therefore not as supple as the Superstrong. However, I do not experience a noticeable difference between the two while fishing subsurface. The only situation that could differentiate the suppleness between the two formulas might be while dry fly fishing. However, the Superstrong Plus is stronger than the original so switching to a smaller diameter could achieve a similar suppleness.

Two issues that I did have with the original Superstrong were that it didn’t always knot together smoothly, and it seemed to tangle extra on rainy days. Both of these issues were resolved, and have not been a problem with the Superstrong Plus.

Another feature that I have come to love about the Superstrong Plus is the line cutter conveniently located on the tippet spool. It’s genius, the cutter is easy and efficient to use. No more using your teeth to cut a new piece of tippet off the spool.

After fishing Superstrong Plus for nearly a year, I believe that it is an improved product from the orginal Superstrong. Superstrong Plus is strong, like don’t worry as much about breaking off the fish of a lifetime strong. When compared to other tippet options available in today’s market, I put my trust in Superstrong Plus. I feel confident that you would also.

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Gear Review: Hatch Nipper

A smallmouth courtesy of the Juniata River while the Hatch Nipper hangs from a lanyard out of the way, but at the ready if needed.

I’ll be honest, I was very skeptical as to why a fly fisher would need a special pair of nippers. A good argument is that nippers do not put any more fish in the net for anglers. My counterargument is that neither do waders, vests, fly boxes, or many other pieces of equipment that us fly fishers like spending money on. Notice that I did say “us”, I’m guilty also.

At first I wasn’t sure if spending the money on a pair of high quality nippers was worth it. Despite the dismay of my dentist, prior nippers usually hung from my vest being ignored by the fact that I used my teeth to cut line far too often. I thought purchasing a pair of better nippers would be a good way to break the habit of using my teeth. I thought maybe spending the extra money would help force me to use my nippers instead of my teeth. I was right.

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The Hatch Nipper in black.

Using a pair of Hatch Nippers has completely converted me from using my teeth, and any other pair of nippers for that matter. I’ve tried many other pairs of nippers over the years, I’ve never found a pair that cut with the ease and smoothness of the Hatch Nipper. They are razor sharp out of the box, and have remained that way through the duration of my guide season this year. The tungsten carbide blades are replaceable, but I haven’t even had to think about replacing them yet. I also like how the Hatch Nipper is shaped in a way that make them easy to use even if your hands are cold.

They come with a lanyard. I wasn’t sure why I would want a pair of nippers on a lanyard while wearing a vest, but I’ve grown found of the idea since. I think it’s much easier to make snips without being limited by a retractor. Some tools work great on retractors, but I do prefer having nippers on a lanyard now, maybe that’s just me.

Like most pairs of nippers they come equipped with a needle to be used for poking out the eye of a hook. The needle is positioned in a way that is a bit different to use than most nippers. I’m sure that it’s a bad thing, but it took some getting used to.

I really couldn’t imagine a better way to cut line than with the Hatch Nipper. I would recommend the Hatch Nipper to any angler looking for high quality nippers, or to quit using your teeth. Your dentist will be happy.

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For more information on the Hatch Nipper, visit their website by clicking HERE.

Gear Review: Hatch Finatic Fly Reels

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Last fall I took a large stride into the Hatch Finatic Fly Reel lineup by adding a 4plus, 5plus, and 7 plus reel to my arsenal. I have used these reels to target trout, smallmouth bass, and steelhead. After spending seven months on the water with the trio, here are some of my thoughts.

The Finatic is offered in a wide range of sizes that cover line weights from 0 all the way up to 12. If you fish a Finatic it is pretty easy to find a reel perfect for any rod due to the option of nine different sizes. Sizes 3plus and larger all have the option of both mid or large arbor spools, which allows even more flexibility.

The most impressive aspect of the Hatch Finatic Fly Reels would be that they are just plain tough. Like fish in any condition, day after day, never stop working tough. In addition, the drag is strong. Like slam the brakes on any fish strong.

In my opinion, the Finatic is one of the most cosmetically appealing reels on the market. In other words, the design is sharp. It looks the way you would want your fly reel to look. 

The Finatic Fly Reels are not what I consider to be light weight fly reels. They are slightly heavier than other reels that I have fished of the same size. Situationally I see this as an advantage. For example, it is easier to properly balance these reels with ten foot fly rods. The extra weight also reinforces the fact that the Hatch Finatic Fly Reels are built to last. 

Overall, the Hatch Finatic Fly Reels are cosmetically appealing, tough, and dependable. I think that there is a Finatic available to suite the specific needs for any type of angler.

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For more information on the Hatch Finatic Fly Reels, click HERE