Thursday, February 16, 2017

Gearing up

There are probably exceptions out there, but it seems to me that pretty much every fly angler on the planet is a "gear head."  Do you know anyone who's been fishing with a fly rod for more than a year and owns only one fly rod?  We have innumerable fly boxes, clamps, sling packs, waist packs, rod racks, tying vices, reels, and assorted gadgets.  And there's always something new and shiny out there.

Photo from tackyflyfishing.com
One of my favorite acquisitions from last year is a couple of Tacky fly boxes.  My wife bought one in 2015.  When I sat down one evening last year to put some new flies into it for her, I fell in love with the magnetic closure and the size.  I now try to limit myself to carrying two of these at a time for any given wading session, rather than the rag-tag collection of water-tight latching boxes that were taking up too much space in my sling pack.

2016 was also the year of the wading staff for me.  Parkinson's Disease can make you stiff and slow.  If you can't move as fast as you used to, it's harder to keep your balance, even on normal flat surfaces.  I don't dare set foot into a stream without my staff on my belt.  And I've found that it doesn't cause any inconvenience at all!  It's tethered to my belt, so I can wade into position and just drop it at my side to start casting.  And I've found it essential for stepping down into or climbing out of the water.  Even if I'm wet wading, I buckle my Wingo belt (American made!) around my waist with the staff in its holster.  When I get to the water, it's deployed in 10 seconds.


I've got my eye on three new pieces of equipment for 2017.  In January, Mrs. Fading Angler and I went to the Flyfishing Show in Denver with Howard Levett.  Lots of shiny things to grab your attention there, but there was one piece of equipment in particular that caught my attention: the Quik-Cast fly rod case.  This appears to solve a few problems:
Click to enlarge

  1. How to get your pre-rigged rod to the water when you have to drive to the spot (or drive to another spot) and don't have a vehicle that will accommodate a 9 foot rod in its fully-assembled state
  2. How to store a rigged rod when camping, so you don't have to leave it outside (and unsecured) at night or completely re-rig in the morning.
The Quik-Cast rod case has a cool system of pockets and straps to hold the rod sections and secure the line so that you don't end up with a BFM (big frustrating mess)!  The gentleman at the booth demonstrated how to fold the rod into the case and then reassemble.  The process is simple and can probably done in under a minute with practice.  In addition to the rod case, I've very interested in the "LT Series Carrier" that would make it a piece of cake to break your 9 foot rod into two pieces and tuck it into the back seat or into a safe corner at night.  I'm looking forward to trying these.

Photo from Vedavoo.com
And then we move on to Vedavoo's products.  Can I have one of each, please?  I've been drooling over admiring Scott Hunter's creations for a few years now.  He's a fellow alum of the University of Wyoming, so I was excited when I learned about his gear. But, I haven't pulled the trigger on a purchase yet.  There's so much cool stuff, and a person with ADHD tendencies who overthinks everything just gets stuck in analysis paralysis.  Yet, I have made one decision: the Hip Pack Deluxe is a must for me.  It looks like it'll hold a couple of Tacky boxes, tippet, nippers, etc. for a simple afternoon of wading, without having to carry an annoying (and sometimes hot) sling pack.  

Photo from Orvis.com
Speaking of sling packs, I'm done with the one I've been using.  I originally bought it because it offered lots of versatile storage in a medium footprint, and I will say it holds a lot of stuff.  But, it won't stay put in good, comfortable position behind me and the shoulder strap wanders while hiking and casting.  I haven't spent much time with my wife's Orvis sling pack, but I really like a few of its features:
  1. Smaller size (so less heat retained on my back in the summer temperatures), but still big enough to hold a water bottle and raincoat
  2. Magnetic closure strap to secure a hemostat in an outside holster pocket on the pack front (essential for me because I use hemostats to tie all my knots, due to shaking and less-willing Parkinson's Disease hands)
  3. A SECOND hemostat pocket (with magnetic closure) on the strap for quick access after you net the fish
  4. Magnet sewed between fabric layers to hold nippers and prevent them from flopping around as they dangle from a zinger
With any luck, I might be able to make up my mind on a sling before the spring gets here.  And it would be cool to join the "inner circle" of Torchbearers, too.  (While I was writing this, I got distracted by the Escape pack with ARC fly belt and ARC fly pack.  Dangit!)

Finally, I was browsing around some of the blogs belonging to fisherpeople who wander Minnesota's Driftless Area creeks.  Somehow, I ran across this nifty little gadget:
Photo from Oprosgear.com

This is the Dragonfly Rod Holder by O'Pros, LLC out of Janesville, WI.  It looks like something that might free up a hand or arm when re-rigging (something that we low-talent/low-skill fly anglers are forced to do quite often.  I'd like to try one of these, but I have to admit I'm a little concerned about potential damage to cork handles.

Gird your loins, people!  Spring is nearly upon us!

And now I've got Vedavoo on the brain again...

8 comments:

  1. Chris.....If I get yelled at for buying more gear....I'm giving your email address. LOL!

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    1. Right back at you for posting about the Cabelas CGR rods when they were on sale. Quid pro quo works for me.

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  2. Hey, I appreciate the enthusiasm....... True, most of us are called gear junkies because we try several different products always looking for that "One" piece of equipment that fits who you are...... Part of the fun of fly fishing! Thanks for sharing some new stuff. I just picked up a sling pack from Moonlit Fly Fishing and will be using it this year. Like what I see so far. I am afraid I will also be purchasing a couple more Tacky boxes!

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    1. Yeah, the Tackies work pretty well with my fumbling fingers, or at least better than what I was using! It's good to read that you've got plans to use a sling pack. Go fish!

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  3. I wouldn't give up my Vedavoo Sling Pack for all the dinners at Old Chicago. I've been trying to win a Tacky Fly Box for forever. I'll get my hands on one some day.

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    1. I know. I either need to just pick one (a Vedawoo sling) or make a wish list for Scott to ponder...

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  4. Yeah dude, I'm with Ralph on this...too much too soon...it's only February. I haven't even paid for the stuff from 2016.

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    1. Drew, I can't get a line in the water quite as often as you, so this is how I stay engaged with reality. Otherwise, I'd get grouchy, or just fade away...

      Working today, and the weather's not looking great for next weekend.

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