Up until this spring I have had the same fishpond Waterdance Guide Waistpack for close to five years without a single complaint. My waist pack was the only exception to my constantly changing fly fishing gear that I use on a regular basis. So when I was told one of the Umpqua Ledges 500 packs was going to show up here at the shop for me to use, I was skeptical.
My intentions were to load the pack up and use it once to learn about and then let the other employees at the shop here use it to learn about the product. I was less skeptical after I had emptied my much larger fishpond pack into this pack completely. After fishing the pack on the day trip that I planned to be its only trip out with me, I quickly made the decision that I was selfishly keeping this pack for myself.
I wouldn’t venture to say that the Umpqua Ledges 500 is a better product that the fishpond Waterdance, However I would say it is a better fit for me. The reason is that the Ledges 500 is a smaller pack that forces me simplify what I bring with me, but for a medium sized waist pack it holds a serious amount of gear though. It comfortably holds 4 fly boxes in the main compartment along with a sandwich and granola bar, two water bottles, and a flat pocket for leaders etc.
The ECHO EDGE rods are the best looking most reliable rod in their price category. Patterned after our extremely popular ECHO2 rods, the ECHO EDGE series sport a deep burgundy gloss blank on the fresh water models, and a deep blue blank on the Saltwater and the 8’4″ models. Tim never seems to be satisfied with the status quo and is always looking at ways to improve upon the older rod designs. With the ECHO EDGE rod project he started with the ECHO2 rods and using newer technology was able to tweak the actions and toughen the blanks to make the rods perform better. The results are the best casting rods ever built in this price range.
If you are looking for a fairly in expensive fly tying vise than the Griffin Odyssey Spider Vise is the one to get. This vise has a nice smooth rotary feature to get your wraps uniformed. The clamp is nice and snug and I have tied hooks anywhere from size #4-22.
I have been tying on this vise for about 2 years now and have not come across a problem with it yet. Its functionality is perfect for what I need to tie flies. I am no pro but wouldn’t call myself a beginner either. The Griffin Odyssey Spider Vise has a long stem and comes with a C clamp to attach your vise to the table. It’s all very easy to use and very easy to adjust the tension of the rotary on the vise. One of the best things about this vise is that the hooks don’t pop out of the vise while you are tying like some cheaper vises do.
The price, simplicity, rotary, the secure feature for holding the hooks in place.
I would recommend this vise to anyone that has found they like tying more than they thought they would and have grown out of the beginner tying kit vise and don’t want to break the bank.
This vise is adaptable to a pedestal base also and I would recommend one if you like to travel with your vise from trip to trip. But that’s another review in itself. Go out and try it for yourself. You won’t be disappointed. Trust me.
The Umpqua Magnum Midge Fly Box is one of my new favorite fly boxes to own. Its slim design is nice so you can stuff more boxes in your pack. This box has so many slits in the foam it’s hard to fill the box up with all your small dries. This box has 2 large magnet spots to through your old flies or really small flies that you can’t pick up out of the foam.
The pros to this box is simple. Thin, see through sides, Zerust strips, water proof, magnets, and its fly capacity.
The cons to this box is I don’t own more of them. I haven’t found any cons to this box yet, other than if I get another one I would like to buy it in other colors to tell the two apart from just looking in my pack.
I would give this box a 5 out of 5 because for a small dry fly box, or very small nymphs, and emergers. This is the box to own.
Once you own this box look into the other great Umpqua boxes they have to offer for every combination you can think of.
Winter presents some of the best fishing all year. Less crowds, dry fly fishing, and you don’t need to be on the river at O’dark-thirty. What more could you ask for?
When asking anglers about winter fishing, one might encounter many different opinions. There are those that enjoy it immensely and those that believe winter fisherman are crazy. If you are of the latter opinion it’s in your best interest to make sure you understand how to dress for warmth and be comfortable on the river before you decide to spend the winter tying flies and hibernating.
Staying warm and dry by layering clothing is key to enjoying yourself while fishing on those cold winter afternoons. Layering gives you the option of adding or removing clothing based on temperature and activity level. Your basic layering categories are as follows:
Base Layer or “Next-To-Skin” is the first part and maybe the most overlooked part of staying warm. Base Layer clothing is designed to keep you dry by ventilation or by “wicking” way moisture. Not all Base Layers are made equal, material is what sets them apart.
Wool – Best – Provides the best breathe-ability and insulation
Synthetic – Good – Provides good breathe-ability and insulation
Cotton – Avoid – Provides some insulation and very little breathe-ability
Insulator clothing should be worn over the Base Layer to provide warmth. This should also be non-cotton piece to still promote breathe-ability. The weight of your insulator pieces should be chosen by activity level.
Outerwear is the final piece you put on and provides protection from wind and precipitation. Choose your Outerwear based on conditions. If you are fishing in wet and humid conditions a heavy duty rain jacket will provide the greatest protection from the elements. If you are fishing in cold dry conditions a soft-shell jacket provides excellent warmth without bulk.
Gloves, Socks, and Hats
Don’t forget any of these. Your hands, feet, and ears are the first things to get cold. Taking care of these extremities will keep you noticeably warmer and on the water longer. Make sure you layer your socks by following the same Base Layer and Insulation system and discussed before, but still provide room for ventilation.
Winter fishing can be very productive and if nothing else it is a good opportunity to expose yourself to sunshine on short winter days. With the right clothing it doesn’t only have to be for the “crazies”.
Sending fly rods in for repairs and hearing the stories behind them is part of working at a fly shop. After spending a decent amount of time behind the counter one almost becomes morbidly interested in how these fishing tools meet their demise. Some of the stories I have heard are exactly what you would expect.
“Broke this one fighting a toad.”
“The @!#$&! wind closed the door of my truck on it.”
“The window rolled up on it.”
“How long will this take? Because its my brother’s rod and he doesn’t know I borrowed it.”
“Dropped the boat anchor on it.”
Some admit their guilt, others claim their rod to be a victim of unfortunate circumstances, and others plead innocence possibly fearing accusations of neglecting their equipment.
I have never seen this one before and can only admire the ingenuity and perseverance of this rod’s owner. As I understand this rod was broken in the car door right through the middle of the grip. Not wanting to return home due to equipment issues the ingenious angler found a way to stay on the water. He started his repair by finding the perfect willow branch to insert into the halved rod blank. Then use tape from his first aid kit to secure the newly formed joint together for a day of fishing.