One of the reasons that fly fishing is reaching thousands is the top quality equipment that is available today. I began with a fiberglass fly rod in the mid-1960s matched to an automatic reel and level fly line. It's a marvel that I ever stuck with the sport. A revolution in technology began with graphite rods some years ago. Graphite fiber was produced for NASA and U.S. space exploration. Little did the fly fisher standing knee-deep in the stream know that the answer to his fishing dreams was flying miles overhead and had even traveled to the moon.
The explosion continued with fly lines with better coatings and microscopic micro-balloons built into the inner core to aid floatability and line speed. Machined reels were an object of the jeweler's art. Solid blocks of aircraft aluminum were cut and polished to produce an attractive and long-lasting reel.
The 21st Century usher in the best fly fishing equipment imaginable. We would like to review a handful of quality products that showcase the development of fly fishing. These items are found at most local fly fishing stores and pro shops. This edition will focus on tackle for streams.
Sage XP rod
The Sage XP is the latest series of top quality rods that incorporate 20 years of product development. Besides the cosmetic additions of a lustrous mossy green color and exquisite nickel-silver reel seat, rod dynamics have changed. This fast-action rod features a smaller shaft for reduced swing weight and air resistance. It is light, quick and powerful - a perfect combination. The XP is a superb casting tool at short, medium and long distances. Look for it in two or four pieces from 4-8 weights. As with other Sage rods, the XP carries a lifetime warranty for the original owner. This will be the number one rod in your quiver. For typical Utah streams, test cast a 5 or 6 weight in a nine-foot length.
Tibor Light reel
New for 2000 is Ted Juracsik's Tibor Light reel, Spring Creek and Tail Water models. At only four ounces, wide arbor, anodized, and eye-catching styling, this beauty will match any trout outfit. Machined from aircraft aluminum and outfitted with a new caliper disk drag, this reel operates in silky smooth fashion. My son, Tyler, tested the Tail Water, with six-weight line and 125 yards of backing, on Florida shad and saltwater redfish with perfect results. The Tibor can take a beating and is saltwater-resistant. It would be excellent for the Provo and Green. Ask to see this reel at your local fly fishing specialty shop.
Simms Lightweight Gore-Tex wader
Can the best get better? For years in a variety of test settings, the Simms Gore-Tex wader was rated as the best on the market. The goal of all wader makers is to produce a bulletproof product. This flies in the face of a wader maxim, "Sooner or later they all leak and need repairing. "The key areas to focus on are fit, seams, breathability and puncture resistance. Simms receives four stars on all counts. For everything other than barbed wire fences and briar patches, this wader can handle abuse. Wading for hours means no sweat' for this Gore-Tex model. For the hot summer months, this wader top will secure down to form a waist-high length. It comes with a standard suspender harness, wading belt and fitted neoprene stocking feet. If maximum comfort is your goal, try the new Simms Lightweight.
Danner River Gripper boot
I manage to fall once a year when wading and get absolutely soaked. The best help for soak prevention is a felt-soled, studded wading boot. Danner produces this full-featured model with a wide foot bed to accommodate wader neoprene booties. Speed lacing and a boot pull-on tab are nice extras. The only small issue for this solid product is that the leather shrinks slightly when the boot dries. It will seem one size smaller the next time out. A simple fix is to dip the boot in water before putting it onvoila, back to correct size and flex. For protection against rocks and stones, the boot has a hardened toe and heel, as well as a six-inch top length to secure your ankle. The River Gripper is a sure cure for slips and stumbles. Danner has an excellent wear-life and can be repaired and resoled for years of safe wading.
Maui Jim Volcano sunglasses
Besides a basic fly outfit, a critical and necessary piece of equipment is polarized sunglasses. Polarized glasses, in general, can be purchased for $10 to $300, and the adage "you get what you pay for" definitely applies. Maui Jim is a top, high-end maker, and its Volcano model is a good choice for fly fishers. The Volcano is rose-colored for sunny or cloudy conditions, and glass that wraps to the side of your face provides extra sun protection. Fish spotting is essential and these glasses pass the test. This is an excellent crossover sunglass that is perfect for driving, biking and skiing. Don't worry about breakage. The heavy-duty side pins and almost indestructible plastic frames are made for years of service.
For fly fishers who want to go light without the tug of a vest on their shoulders, switch to a chest or fanny pack. The Versi-Pak by Abel Reel Company will work for both chest and fanny applications. It comes with all necessary straps and two drink containers. You can attach several tools to the pull-out lanyards. Inside you can stuff a couple of fly boxes, leaders and tippet spools with room to spare. Last year I got into a deep wading situation and would have loved a Versi-Pak. Made from rugged Cordura, this pack is durable. I like multi-use products and the Versi-Pak can be used in boats, float tubes and for saltwater. It is excellent for a short trip while traveling. If you are going light, this is a must product.
Ex Officio Baja Plus shirt
Extraordinary! This shirt has more features than a Swiss Army knife. It has ventilation on the back and sleeves to keep you cool on the hottest days with the biggest fish. As a dedicated caster, I appreciate the elasticized back pleat and extra shoulder room. Amazing! For once the traveling fly fisher gets a shirt that can be hand washed and comes out looking freshly pressed. The two large bellows pockets can fit fly boxes, camera, leaders and tools. A nifty tab secures the sleeves in an up position to create a short sleeve. Stylish, functional, packable and durable; with the Baja Plus you get your money's worth.
You can check pricing, features and nearby dealers by searching for these products on the internet. Flyfishing is better than ever with these quality products for fishing our nearby streams.
Maui Jim Sunglasses: www.mauijim.com
Tibor Reel Corp.: www.tiborreel.com
Ex Officio: www.exofficio.com
Abel Automatics: www.abelreels.com