Archive for the ‘Fly Fishing Gear Reviews’ Category

Pat Dorsey, Colorado Fly Fishing Guide for the Blue Quill Angler has developed an innovative strike indicator that works well in just about every situation and will “stay put” on the leader and cut the frustration out of having to constantly move the indicator back up after a few cast.  The indicator kit cost $11.95 and will last a long time.  Give it a try!!


Czech Nymphing is really taking off here in the United States and the use of specialty hooks to tie Czech specific flies has skyrocketed as well.  Knapek hooks are probably the most recognized Czech hook on the market here in the States but supplies can be limited and the demand is pretty great. 

In Europe, Knapek hooks are popular but second in choise to another brand called Skalka.  Skalka Original Barbless Hooks are hand made in the Czech Republic by Mr. Miroslav Skalka since 1985 and these hooks are tested by the best Czech fly fishers. These top quality hooks are difficult to find as they are the preffered hook of the Czech fly fishing team.  The distribution here in the States is pretty limited but when you find them, they are well worth the money!!  Skalka hooks feature fine wire, perfect bend and sticky sharp long needle point and each hook is carefully tested by the manufacturer.

The Skalka Czech/Grub hook is one of the finest hooks we have used with a long, sticky needle point, this hook will hold on to fish like crazy.  The wide gap will accomodate beads well and the hook point stays sharp!!  skalka 2x long nymph hook

The Skalka 2X long Wet/Nymph hook is another hook that sets itself apart from the other Czech specific hooks on the market as the longer hook shank allows the use of tungsten beads without cramping the fly on the hook shank, making it look short and stubby.  This is a great hook for micro nymph patterns for French Nymphing that is super sharp and will hold on to fish. 

Once you use these hooks, you will see and feel the difference that a true hand-made Czech hook makes!!

New for Simms this fall are some exciting new products that we all use and love.  Simms decided to pursue this Lodge Line to further the branding of the Simms name and offer us, the consumers some really cool products that we can use on the river, at the camp site or in the office.

Included in this line-up are super cool Simms/Wheatley Fly Boxes that come in Simms Orange or a Derek DeYoung Trout Print.  These are real Wheatley boxes with slit foam in the top and bottom of the box for added durability that will also protect your flies. Simms also introduced a Molded Foam Fly Box series that are lightweight, float if dropped in the river and will accept the C&F Designs inserts so you can interchange your flies for different rivers.  One of the coolest Molded Foam boxes in the line-up is the Patch Box that will attach to any Simms vest, pack or waders that has a Velcro patch. You can then attach a Simms Super Fly Patch to the outside of the box to dry your flies before re-inserting them back into the box. 

Also in the Lodge Line line-up are the new Simms humidor that come in Simms Camo and DeYoung Brown trout prints.  This is a handy little item for the angler who like to enjoy a cigar on the river as they will stay nice and moist until you are ready to light up.  Let’s not forget the new Simms Cigar Cutter to trim the end of the stogie and the Simms Windproof Butane lighter to get things going.  With all that fun going on, let add a little fuel to the fire with the Simms Flask offered in a rubberized black finish or a DeYoung trout print to take that tasty beverage along for the end of a great day on the river or a little nip in the middle of the day when the going gets tough. 

We all like to fish early and late and Simms has got us covered when we need a little light on the subject.  The new Simms LED light offered in trout or tarpon, this little item will definitely brighten up your early morning or late evening adventure.  When not on the river, have a little fun in the house or at a party shining this on the wall as this little LED will project a Simms fish or Simms tarpon on the wall.  Now that’s a party in itself!!!

We all love cold hard cash but carrying it in style is another thing.  Some cram it in a front pocket, others use a cool trout print money clip while most use that awful leather wallet from a major department store.  Simms to the rescue in this department with the new G3 Guide Wallet.  Made out of old waders and trimmed with leather, you can now carry that dollar bill in style, your library card or whatever you like to carry in a wallet.

For you early risers that cannot get the day started without that super dark cup of joe, Simms has a mug for you.  The Early Riser Mug will hold up to 450ml of straight “joe” or a little concoction of Bailey’s and “joe” to ease that pounding headache from the night before.

Last but not least, we all need a good bottle opener for the garage, boat, camper or right next to the fridge in the house.  There is nothing more frustrating that fumbling through the drawer trying to find a bottle opener and ending up banging it on the counter and leaving a nice chip in the granite that is a real bitch to repair.  Simms has a solution called the Workbench Bottle Opener that mounts to just about any surface with two screws and will open thousands of those tasty beverages we all love.

This new line from Simms is pretty exciting and we are sure that most anglers can find a use for at least one of the products if not two or three.

The Sage 4200 series reel is one of the greatest value in the high-end reel market thanks to an abundance of features for worry-free performance. These reels are made from fully machined anodized 6061 T6 aluminium, tumble polished and inspected by hand to ensure incredible durability and strength but also corrosion resistance. To reduce casting fatigue, a new lightweight design was engineered but not at the expense of strength and durability. The Sage 4200 series reels range from a 3/4 weight to a 9/10 weight with appropriately sized ergonomic handles and drag range specific to each reel size. Prices range from $289 for the 4230, $299 for the 4250, $309 for the 4280, and $319 for the 4210. Extra spools are available for each reel size.

“This series of reels took a great deal of advanced engineering in order to include every detail yet still be priced reasonably for our consumer,” says Kurt Van Wyck, Director of R&D. “The real value and technology story here is based around the unique Floating Tripod Drag system.”

The Floating Tripod Drag is one of the more unique configurations of Sage’s Sealed Carbon System drag technologies, and stands by itself in the field. The Floating Tripod consists of a carbon disk riding on a stainless steel rotor supported by a triangle of three smaller carbon disks. Like the three legs of a stool, the system is perfectly balanced and incredibly low weight, providing smooth resistance through its full range of settings. A numbered one-revolution drag knob offers the benefit of quick and precise drag adjustments. As with every reel from Sage, the Floating Tripod is sealed and impervious to outside elements such as sand, grit and salt, requiring no maintenance beyond simple rinsing.

A great reel at a great price!!!

Sage VXP aka the lighter XP

Posted: August 14, 2010 by bluequillangler in Fly Fishing Gear Reviews
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We had a chance the other day to cast the new Sage VXP rods that will be available early September and WOW were we surprised.  The old XP family from Sage that we all loved and hated to see dropped from the line-up is back with a facelift.  The new VXP is light in hand and is a little more responsive than the original XP.  The hoop diameter has been decreased to drop weight and the lay-up of the graphite gives the caster more feel yet is still quick enough to punch into a nasty wind or cast double nymph rigs with indicator and split shot with ease.   The tip is fast like the old XP which will allow the angler to set the hook yet is suple enough to protect light tippets when dry fly fishing. 

We casted the 5 weight with a RIO Gold line and the 6 weight with a RIO Grand and both lines worked exceptionally well on the respective rods.  You can feel the rod load and then unleash a fury of power with incredible line speed with very little effort.  If you thought the XP could not get any better, well leave it to Sage to figure out how to do just that!!

At $495 to $525 the VXP will for sure be a winner for the old school XP lovers as well as the anglers who never experienced the XP.  We feel Sage has hit a home run with this one and we are sure that you will feel the same when you cast one.  We welcome the offspring of the XP back to the line-up!!!!

Here in Colorado, we love our waist packs!!!  They are comfortable to wear on those hot summer days (although as I write this, it is snowing like crazy!!), they hold all the necessary gear out-of-the-way and are pretty easy to access.  There have been many new packs introduced to the fly fishing community over the past couple of years but most of these have left anglers wanting more – Waterproof, more storage, water bottle holders that actually work and most of all, comfort.

Leave it to a company that builds some of the finest fly rods in the world to basically re-invent the hip/chest pack.  Sage ventured into this thanks in part to Ned Hobson, soft goods product development guy at Sage, to come up with some of the finest WATERPROOF packs we have ever seen.  They are made for people who fish by people who fish.

There are three offerings in the Sage DXL Typhoon series that should cover most angling needs. The smallest is the Sage DXL Typhoon Chest Pack, designed for the minimalist angler who wants to carry two fly boxes all the necessary terminal tackle for a quick trip to the river or in the backcountry.  This pack is constructed of completely waterproof fabric with welded seams and a water-resistant zipper that will keep out almost all moisture unless you decide to take a really long swim.  There is an adjustable, fold down work bench front pocket, concealed tool sheath and retractor docks that will accommodate most any retractors on the market today.  Dimensions – 7″ x 4″ x 9″ / 122 cu. in. – Retail Price – $80.00

Next in the lineup is the Sage DXL Typhoon Wasit Pack – Small.  Why they labeled this “small” we will get to in a minute but the actual size rivals most waist pack on the market today.  Constructed the same as the chest pack, with waterproof material, welded seam construction, concealed tool sheath with magnets and a hybrid zipper/magnetic closure, this pack is a true winner for any angler looking for a super comfortable, extremely water-resistant waist pack.  Dimensions – 13″ x 6″ x 7.5″ / 336 cu. in. – Retail Price – $99.00

To round out the DXL Typhoon lineup, Sage went to the field and asked the anglers and guides what they want in a waist pack.  Just about all of the guides wanted more capacity and something more water resistant while the consumers wanted a pack that was comfortable to wear and had features like a water bottle pocket that would fit a Nalgene bottle.  Sage went to the drawing board and developed the Sage DXL Typhoon Waist Pack – Large.  As the name implies, this bad boy is big, with 671 cubic inches of storage, there is plenty of room for that extra box you always have to leave behind.  The one feature you will not find on any other waist pack on the market today is the completely waterproof, submersible cargo area that will keep your gear dry no matter the weather or how many times you fall in.  This is great for delicate items like cameras, cell phone, GPS units or any other item you want to stay dry.  This pack is also constructed of waterproof material with welded seams and incorporates concealed tool sheaths with tool magnets as well as retractor dock in various places so you can choose the location.  This in one of the most well-built pack we have ever seen and it better be!! With a price tag of $200.00, it is definitely the most expensive waist pack on the market, but should last for many years to come.  Dimensions – 14″ x 8″ x 8″ / 671 cu. in. – Retail Price – $200.00

Sage took their time with these packs, with many hours of imput and research by us, the guiding and angling community and built a line of packs that will perform, outlast the competition and best of all keep our stuff dry!!!

When fly fishermen hear the word Sage, we all think of some of the finest fly rods on the planet but typically do not think of reels.  Well, we all should take another look as Sage has really stepped up the ante in the reel market.  The Sage 4500 Series reels were introduced in 2009 to replace the successful, award winning 2500 Series reels.  The 4500 Series boast reduced weight, increased rigidity, and a new high tech minimalist design ethic that makes these reels a real pleasure to look at. Each reel in the 4500 series is equipped with a compact 3:1 graphite and stainless steel disc drag system and is precisely machined from aircraft grade aluminum that will provide a lifetime of durable performance with minimal to no maintenance.

There are three styles to choose from each with 4 sizes that range from 3-4 weight in the 4540 all the way up to 7-8 weight in the 4580. The traditional styling is found in the 4500 series with a black frame paired with a platinum spool that not only looks great, but is incredibly light and durable.  If you feel the traditional style is too heavy or bright, opt for the 4500 CF series which has a carbon fiber spool that really reduces the weight and has a sexy sort of appeal that is indescribable.  The 4500 Bronze reel, introduced in late 2009 and has become one of our favorites as it  has the same internal components and external design of the 4500 traditional and the 4500 CF but comes in this deep bronze color that is appealing to the eye and will not reflect light, spooking every fish in the pool.  All of the 4500 series reels pick up line amazingly fast with their large arbor design and the machined aluminum drag knob has numbered detents that makes it super easy to adjust in the heat of battle. 

The 4500 series reels come with a ballistic nylon/neoprene case to protect the reel while traveling or when stored in a drift boat and a lifetime warranty from Sage.  If you are looking for a high performance reel that will handle the biggest, hardest running of fish with ease, definately give the Sage 4500 Series a look.