Sick of played-out year-end posts? Instead of annoying you with contrite soliloquies on the year passed or waxing poetic about the future or some lofty goals, my purpose with this post is to highlight some of the products I used in my 2015 that I believe you might like for your 2016.
Sticker shock shouldn’t be an issue here either. I am a
pretty cheap budget-minded angler. I like finding quality products that are offered at prices significantly reduced from the status quo. I can’t afford a $1,500 set up, and I’m not sure I know anyone who could either. So please, click the links without fear of disappointment, and maybe spend some of that Christmas money on some products that will serve you well.
Solar (Summer) hoodies. They continue to be my favorite clothing item for any summer activity. They are relatively hard to come-by but I am hoping to maybe change that in the future. My Brooks Essential Hoodie is the current favorite with Free Fly, Nike DriFit, and Cabela’s Guide Wear rounding out my most worn for the year.
Although you can’t find it anymore, I love my Skinny Water Culture Stalker Mask. It’s the old gold tooth model they came out with. Based on the quality of it, and the amount of life left in it, I would recommend getting the closest thing I can find to it, if you’re looking for one.
My head likes ball caps. Good ball caps are comfortable and relaxing to me, like hugs for my head. I usually find one that feels comfortable and that I like the look of, then stick with it until it it breaks down completely. The cap I wear at press time is from Condor Tactical and I am a big fan of it, but the new versions don’t seem to be made to the same quality. You might like it, as much as I like mine. I tell you about my hat so I can tell you about the two hat accessories you might really like.
- For fishing, I love my Nature Boy Designs “Hatch Patch”. It’s really well designed and fits snug while holding my favorite carp flies.
- For aesthetics, I found a company that makes a “clip” for the bill of the cap and I bought two after seeing them. The company is called “Brim It” and they are worth checking out.
The most-used rod in my inventory is my (now discontinued) Cabela’s 50th Anniversary CGR 7/8. Because I couldn’t replace it, I had it repaired after an unfortunate and accidental tip-ectomy late last year. This year something amazing happened, Cabela’s resurrected the full line up! These replaced Eagle Claw as my favorite glass rods. I picked one up from my local store for cheap so I could think about retiring the original. (Pro tip: they usually go on sale, so I wouldn’t pay full price for them unless you really have to.)
Don’t get it mistaken though, I still love my Claw. When you compare quality and craftsmanship to the price, this is a no-brainer. You have to own at least one of these beautiful rods. Don’t take my word for it. Cam sells them, this guy loves them, Ohio raves about them, People customize them, and check out the Amazon Reviews… Eagle Claw Featherlight Fly Rod; write that down.
Matecumbe. This is hands down my new favorite reel. Recently imported from Smith Fly, this thing has the weight and craftsmanship that reminds me of a Ross Evolution or a Nautilus, for about 1/3 to 1/2 the cost. It’s also the prettiest reel I own.
However, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the workhorse of my stable. It isn’t pretty, but I have beat this red-headed step child worse than Chris Brown beat Rihanna. I actually feel bad for the mistreatment of this reel, but you know what? I can’t break it. That said if you find one, buy a couple Redington Redfly 2s. If you can’t find one, the Pursuit is supposedly the same thing. Write that down also, maybe write Redington and petition them to resurrect the beast.
I have purchased almost every piece of modular gear SmithFly sells, and it’s not just because I’m on their pro-staff; I genuinely enjoy their product line. Every piece works with every other piece, either as a stand alone or as part of a kit.
- The Switch Belt. This guy is fully stacked and almost always within a few feet of me, 24/7.
- The product that started it all and possibly my favorite piece of gear from year to year… It holds a set of nippers (read: toenail clippers from Walgreens with the lever removed), a pair of not Dr Slick hemostats, and my favorite knot tying tool. El Poquito, never left home without it!
- The Switch Belt also holds my Digi Pouch. Designed for DSLR cameras and used extensively by some big names, in, fly, fishing, photography, this pouch is overkill for holding my cell phone, my work phone, and also my phone camera lenses that I picked up for cheap here, but it does it very well.
- Also attached to my wading belt is my modest sticker collection holder. To facilitate and insulate it, I use this little guy. The extra storage pouch also hold my license and a few emergency items in case I get stranded on the water somehow. You could use it to hold your hopes and dreams, or a snack. I’d go with a snack.
I only have one, and I couldn’t imagine trying to kayak fish without it. This company started in Austin very quietly a few years ago and has literally changed the entire industry. Now every company has a model to try and claim some of the market-share they created. I am talking about Diablo Paddlesports. This is the priciest item on this entire list, but you tell me where you can find a stand-up TEN FOOT LONG ‘yak that weighs LESS than sixty pounds for a cheaper price than my Chupacabra. Go on, I’m waiting.