Category Archives: Industry

Gear For The Sun

We recently had a customer come into the shop asking about clothing to wear on a trip to Andros South Lodge he booked with us. So we here at Fishwest thought this would be a great time to write about sun protection clothing for warm weather situations.

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When I’m planning on being on a boat or hiking a stretch of river without much shade all day the first item I think about is the shirt I’m going to wear. I look for breathability and coverage when it comes to features in a shirt. My usual go-to is the Solarflex crew neck shirt; it’s the most comfortable all-around shirt I have found on the market. Super lightweight, quick drying and the COR3 anti-microbial features of the Solarflex allow you to fish all day long without a worry, while the flat-seam construction gives you a next to skin comfort. These shirts are available in a number of different colors and prints to best fit your personal style and fishing environment.

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The next item I grab for a trip would be my Simms’ Sungaiter, this isn’t just another sun sleeve tube thingy, it’s a step up from those. Featuring laser cut breathing holes for better comfort and to reduce sunglass fog from breathing, the fit is more true to one’s facial features cutting down on excessive material around the eyes. I can take it off when needed; dunk it on those extremely hot days, and packs easily into a waist pack.

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Lastly I always try to remember my Solarflex Sun gloves; these gloves are made out of the same lightweight material as the Solarflex Shirts and Sungaiter giving the same performance and feel. My favorite features of the gloves are the open palm and extended coverage on the middle ad index fingers. The open palm allows you to have optimum feeling of the cork grip while fishing, this is a main reason why I dislike fishing with gloves but have become a fan of gloves since trying these out. The extended coverage on the stripping fingers gives you protection when throwing steamers or saltwater flies all day. I have tried using stripping sleeves before but they always move or twist on me, when I moved over to the gloves I noticed they held their position much better than stripping sleeves, allowing me to pay more attention to the action that was happening in the water.

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There are a few other items I usually grab before a trip, lightweight quick-dry pants or shorts are a great choice on hot days, the pants will give you the maximum protection from the sun but shorts are more comfortable in my opinion. Also make sure you grab your lucky fishing hat and socks come in handy if you are fishing off a boat all day.

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All of these pieces are available in UPF50 giving you the most protection in today’s market and making sure you have a few of these items packed for your next trip will make your fishing more enjoyable, allowing you to focus on your fishing techniques instead of worrying about your skin burning. Give us a shout at 801-617-1225 if you have any questions about the product or the South Andros Lodge trip.

2015 Fishwest Wader Showdown

As fly fishermen, we know (and have experienced firsthand) the parity that exists between fly rods. By and large, you get what you pay for when it comes to rods. Given the parity that exists between rods, we here at Fishwest were curious to see if the same parity exists between waders.

So we decided to do a mini-shootout of waders. We took a pair of Orvis Silver Sonic Convertible waders ($279), Redington SonicDry Waders ($399.95), and Simms G3 Waders ($499.95) to see how they compared at their respective price points.

We rated the waders on a scale of 1-10 in 3 categories: breathability, durability, and aesthetics. After all, waders are meant to be worn and we all want to look good out on the water.

Photo Credit: Preston
Photo Credit: Preston Lange

Obviously, these ratings are subjective and they’re just our opinion. However, we’re not just shop guys or writers – we’re fishermen too. I spend around 250 days a year on the water, while JC works the Fishwest shop in Sandy and spends plenty of time out on the water himself. We know what anglers look for in a pair of waders and think that we made some objective judgements.

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at how the waders fared in their respective categories.

Orvis Silver Sonic Convertible (Spencer’s Review)

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Breathability – 10/10

The SS waders are very light and they breathe exceptionally well. I wore them for 10 straight hours, hiking over 3 miles in 70 degree heat, and they didn’t get me nearly as sweaty as I’d imagined they would have.

I did notice that water tends to bead off these waders, meaning they’re water repellent as well as water resistant.

I wore the waders in pretty cold runoff water, hiking around at high elevation, and they did a good job of letting my legs breathe so I didn’t freeze too badly.

Durability – 9/10

I’ve had these waders for a solid month, and they look brand-new. The neoprene booties have a thick rubber lining along the seams, which is absolutely brilliant engineering on Orvis’ part. The rubber lining will reduce wear along the neoprene seams, the most common place for neoprene to leak.

The only knock I have in terms of durability relates to how thin the material is. While I’m sure it’s a material that will stand the test of time (if these waders last two seasons that’s a win in my book – I’m pretty rough on my gear) it’s thin enough that a well-placed branch could tear a nice hole.

Aesthetics – 9/10

These waders look great. They’re colored in the classic Orvis green and gray, and the waders match the blank color of the Superfine Glass rods, for the fashionably astute angler.

The waders come with “anatomically correct” neoprene booties (and attached gravel guards, of course) according to the Orvis website. I do have to say, I’ve noticed a HUGE difference in fit and comfort in these neoprene booties compared to the Redington SonicDry Waders.

I do enjoy the green Sonic logo on the left leg, and the large Orvis logo across the front. I do think Orvis could get a bit more creative, though, which is why I knocked off one point.

Average Score: 9.3/10

Redington SonicDry (Spencer’s Review)

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Breathability – 9/10

These waders are made from Redington’s patented 37.5 active particle technology. It’s supposed to dry up to five times faster than similar materials, as well as breathe better and be lighter.

Truth be told, these waders do dry quickly, but the Silver Sonic waders dry faster. However, the SonicDry waders fit a bit more snug along the leg, and it seems to me that they breathe a bit better when walking longer distances than the Silver Sonic waders.

Durability – 4/10

This is the big knock I have against the SonicDry wader. The material is a rouger nylon than most waders – it’s almost abrasive. In theory, that’s a great thing because it reduces the likelihood of the waders tearing on a stray branch. However, the welded seams on these waders (the same as on the Silver Sonics) started splitting after only 7 months of moderate-to-heavy use. While I know that waders aren’t supposed to last forever, having the seams split after less than one full season on them isn’t good.

To make matters worse, because of the abrasive fabric, the traditional Aquaseal doesn’t hold to the fabric as well as it should, and I’ve had to apply it three times before getting a seal on the seams that holds water.

All in all, Redington should have some way to fix this issue, and until they do, I’d stay away from the SonicDry waders if you walk longer distances in them, as I tend to do.

Aesthetics – 10/10

These waders do look nice. The two-tone coloration has a certain flair to it, they fit very tightly, and I like the look of the thicker wading belt. If you were to buy waders purely based on how they look (let’s be honest, fly fishermen are more vain than we’ll ever admit) then these would be the ones.

Total: 7.6/10

Simms G3 Guide Stockingfoot (JC’s Review)

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Breathability: 9.5 / 10

All I need to say is Gore-Tex. The Gore-Tex Pro Shell material is both lightweight breathable. The G3 waders use a combination of both 5 layer and 3 layer fabrics to make up the body of the wader. I (JC) have found this combination keeps me dry and comfortable no matter the season.  The 5 layer from the thighs down can get a little hot during the summer months depending on the situation, otherwise it is pretty close to perfect.

Durability: 9.5 / 10

People who come into the shop always ask me if these waders are worth the $499.95 that Simms is asking for these waders. My answer is always the same. These waders are worth every penny based on how long they will last. I put my waders through the angling ringer of thorns, sticker bushes, and drift boats and sure, they do spring a leak from time to time but that is nothing a little Aquaseal can’t fix. I retired my last pair of Simms guide waders with 7 seasons of heavy wear and tear on them and they could have lasted longer. Bottom line is that Simms built these puppies to last, and they most certainly do.

Aesthetics: 10/10

Simms hit a homerun with these in the looks department. Features like the left and right articulated feet as well as built in gravel guards are just two of the things that set these apart from other waders in our test. The fleece lined hand warmer pocket is also perfect for those days when the temp drops.

Total: 9.7 / 10

The Simms G3 Stockingfoot won this shootout, but narrowly over Orvis. For the budget conscious angler, the Orvis Silver Sonic Convertible Waders are a great buy, and in all reality they should last a solid 2-3 seasons, at the very least.

Either of these waders would be a great pair – it’s just up to you to decide which one you like better.

AFFTA President’s Statement to the U.S. Senate Small Business Committee

AFFTA-LogoStatement of Benjamin H. Bulis, President and CEO of American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA), for the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship hearing entitled, “An Examination of Proposed Environmental Regulation’s Impacts on America’s Small Businesses”, May 19, 2015.

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Ben Bulis, AFFTA President

Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee. I appreciate the opportunity to provide testimony in support of the Clean Water Act at the hearing today. I had the good fortune to be born and raised in the beautiful state of New Hampshire. I have fished around the U.S. and the world, but the rivers and streams of New Hampshire will always stay close to my heart. Now I have the great fortune to live and work in Bozeman, Montana, and the fishing is not too bad there either, as you may have heard!

AFFTA represents the business of fly fishing which includes manufacturers, retailers, outfitters and guides across the nation, who all share the same bottom line: furthering the sport and industry of fly fishing. This cannot be accomplished without clean water and vibrant fisheries habitat. The formula that drives AFFTA is very simple: Access to healthy habitat creates recreational opportunity that drives economic activity and jobs.

Our industry provides the waders, rods, guides and boats that 47 million sportsmen and women utilize every time they step foot in their favorite piece of water. Their quality of experience, and thus our return sales to enhance those days, is dependent on access to clean water.

I am here to express our support for the Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to restore protections for our nation’s headwater streams and wetlands under the Clean Water Act. Simply put, the draft clean water rule is well crafted and appropriate, it should be allowed to move through the federal rulemaking process with support of Congress.

Here’s why. The small waters to which this important draft rule applies are the lifeblood for many of our country’s prized fisheries. The health of these headwaters sets the tone and benefits for all waters downstream, supporting and creating even the backbone of our nation’s marine resources. They flow into rivers, streams and lakes that provide the foundation of our industry, thus eventually concluding the voyage in our oceans–ourindustry’s viability depends on intact watersheds, cold, clean rivers and streams and healthy, fishable habitat.

Given that fishing in America supports approximately 828,000 jobs, results in nearly $50 billion annually in retail sales and has an economic impact of about $115 billion every year (Sportfishing in America an Economic Force for ConservationAmerican Sportfishing Association, 2013), it stands to reason that the health of our nation’s waters is vital to the continued success of our industry, and to the health of America’s economy. We urge you to allow the rulemaking process to continue unimpeded, carefully review the final rule when it comes out, and then determine what, if any, legislative action is warranted. We owe it to the more than one million Americans who took the time to comment on the proposal to allow the process to reach a conclusion. More than 80% of those who commented on the proposal were in favor of it. Such strong support for clean water and healthy watersheds is what our members experience every day as we interact with our customers across the Nation.

If we fail to protect our headwater streams and wetlands, we may destroy the $200 billion annual economy of the hunting and fishing industry, as well as put 1.5 million people out of work. Of those 1.5 million jobs…many are located in rural areas with limited economic opportunities and few other employment options. Some of the best trout water in the lower 48 is located here in Montana, where our entire state population just recently broached a million residents. Because of access and quality of those trout waters…world-wide fly fishing companies such as Simms, RL Winston, Montana Fly Company and Bozeman Reel Company have decided to set up shop in our relatively rural location…and employ hundreds of people in the process. If those jobs are compromised due to a lack of clean water, what options do those employees have in our rural economies across the nation?

AFFTA members from the White Mountains of New Hampshire, the Coast of Louisiana, the Olympic Peninsula in Washington, the Florida Key, the Front Range of Colorado and the remote outfitters in Alaska are all funding their local economies by clean water and healthy fisheries. From the flies to the rods to the rain jackets for the guides rowing clients down the river…none would be possible without clean water.

In recent years, participation in fly fishing has grown. We are seeing robust interest in our sport and it is translating to our sales, to the numbers of employees we hire right here in America, and to the health of brick-and-mortar retailers all over the country. The fly fishing industry is the epitome of small business, the sustainable domestic industry is dependent on clean fishable water.

But, in addition to being acutely interested in the health of our watersheds, we are also concerned that blocking this rulemaking process could turn back the clock on the progress our nation has made since the Clean Water Act was put into place more than 40 years ago. Today, rivers that were once polluted are home to remarkable runs of steelhead, salmon and brown trout. Streams that were once uninhabitable for native brook trout are now home to robust populations of these prized fish. What’s more, our country’s drinking water is healthier and safer.

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Ben Bulis, AFFTA President, with ranking committee Senator Jeanne Shaheen from New Hampshire.

Please consider the present state of our watersheds before interfering in a proven process that has generated more than 800,000 comments from the public in support of this rule. While we understand that politics these days can be tumultuous and rancorous, we strongly encourage you not to play politics with clean water.

Again, on behalf of AFFTA, I appreciate the opportunity to testify today and I’d like to also thank this committee and staff for their continued service to our Nation.

Sincerely,

Benjamin H. Bulis

 

A Look at the Glass: The Orvis Superfine Glass

I’ve been fishing a less-expensive glass rod pretty heavily for the past six months (a Redington Butter Stick, 7’6” 4wt) and I wanted to get my hands on some top-of-the-line glass to see if I’d enjoy the best glass the industry has to offer. A pretty big gap exists between low-end and high-end fly rods, and I was curious whether or not that parity exists with fiberglass.

orvis_logoOrvis was kind enough to send me the 7’ 3wt and 7’6” 4wt versions of their Superfine Glass rods. I’d heard nothing but good things about the Superfine Glass line of rods, and with Orvis being a leader in the fly fishing world, it made sense to see what they had to offer.

I played with the rods for a solid weekend, fishing Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, putting the rods through as many situations as I could find out here in Utah.

I fished the rods with the help of a few friends on the Provo River, Huntington Creek, and Thistle Creek. The Provo is a large, wide river with big, picky fish. Huntington is a medium-sized tailwater fishery, and Thistle is a tiny spring creek buried in mountains of willows. I tried to find three different types of water to really put the Superfine Glass through its paces.

I’ve also decided to break this review up into two sections – one for each rod I was able to fish. But before we delve into how each rod performed and my thoughts, I’ll just give a quick few suggestions here:

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  • I fish mainly a dry-dropper rig on 11-12-foot long leaders. I didn’t nymph with these rods, because nymphing with anything under 9 feet long isn’t practical.
  • The weekend I fished the rods was very windy, which played into my final thoughts on the rods.
  • One buddy of mine, a superb fly fisherman whose skill outpaces my own, had never fished glass before he tossed the 7’6” 4wt Superfine Glass. His thoughts are included.
  • The action on these rods was amazing. The rods flexed deep into the bottom third section of the rod, and when a fish was hooked, bent nearly to the cork in some instances. Some folks don’t like that much play in a rod, but I adore it. You could easily feel every head shake and roll of the hooked trout. Surprisingly, for being so bendy, these rods also threw exceptionally tight loops at distances up to about 40 feet. For those of you who revel in casting, and enjoy feeling every bit of your line load, the Superfine Glass is a great rod.
  • If I were Orvis, I’d think of going with a different color for the blank. Olive-green looks great for the Army, but fiberglass lends itself to being A deep red, blue, or green would look fabulous. Just a suggestion.

Now, let’s get started.

7’ 3wt.

superfine_1Any 7-foot rod is, in my opinion, a dry-fly instrument. And that’s exactly what the 7’ 3wt Superfine Glass rod is. On Thistle Creek, a small spring creek with mostly smaller brown trout, it threw very tight loops, powered line out well, turned over my longer leaders, and played fish the way a rod should. I was impressed with how the 7’ rod was able to punch line – just a slight flick of the wrist and the line would shoot out straight and flat.

However, if any breeze showed up at all, the 7’ 3wt buckled under the pressure. Wind seems to be fiberglass’s biggest enemy,  as the 7’6” 4wt rod didn’t do well in wind either.

I wouldn’t take the 7’ 3wt Superfine Glass out on streams wider than say, 10-15 feet. It just doesn’t have the backbone to throw an accurate, 40 foot cast. On the Provo River, this rod really struggled to throw flies to rising fish that were beyond 40-50 feet.

I did really enjoy this rod. Small, short, light rods have their place in most anglers’ quiver, and if you enjoy the classic slow action that glass provides, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better performing rod than the Superfine Glass in the 7’ 3wt model.

7’6” 4wt

When it’s all said and done, I prefer this rod to the 7’ one. The 7’6” 4wt had the spine to turn over leaders well at longer distances, and to push the line through breezy conditions. The loops were tight, the rod was responsive, and it was just a pleasure to fish. The extra 6” on this model as opposed to the 3wt makes a huge difference in the rod’s capabilities.

On Thistle Creek, this rod performed just as well throwing small dries to fish in close. On Huntington Creek, where we battled some wind on Saturday, it was a lot of work to throw line, but the job got done. On the Provo River, it handled dry-dropper combos well and threw casts accurately out to 50-ish feet.

superfine_2My friend Chris fish glass for the first time with this rod. He said it reminded him a lot of his Orvis Battenkill bamboo rod, and that he loved the way it set the line on the water. The longer length and stiffer blank of this rod made picking up larger amounts of line to re-cast much easier than with the 7’ model.

If I had to choose, I’d definitely go with the 7’6” 4wt. It’s just a more versatile, complete rod.

When all is said and done, Fishing fiberglass fly rods reminds me of when I try to fix my truck on my own – it ends up being a lot more work than it should be.

With that being said, it’s also a lot more satisfying to fix your truck on your own instead of taking it to a shop, and the same can be said about fishing fiberglass fly rods. Although I’m not great at fixing trucks and I’m just an average flinger of flies, so take my opinions with a grain of salt.

Gear Review: The Tacky Fly Box

After a few days of letting the dust settle from the most recent Fishwest hosted trip to the Andros South Lodge, I wanted to take a minute to tell you about a really nice piece of gear I picked up for the trip.  This gear isn’t the latest fly rod, reel or line. I am talking about a fly box, a really good fly box for that matter.

1613869_718118501640955_5530473741500308413_nThe Tacky Fly Box from the fine folks over at Tacky Fly Fishing is a game changer, pure and simple. This fly box is extremely lightweight and compact with the coolest feature being the silicone slit storage used to hold the flies. The silicone feature grips the flies extremely well, which means no more torn and beat up foam, and in my case it was easy to rinse out at the end of the day to get all the potential salt buildup out.

The only downside about this box in the nature I was using it was the shallow and thin design. The larger bonefish flies that lived in the box did not allow the magnetic lid to close very easily. If the box was just a little deeper this would have not caused an issue.

All in all, for the first model of box I am quite impressed. When loaded with various bonefish flies (i.e. gotchas, Charlies, Mantis Shrimp) this box was able to hold about two dozen flies , which made this box perfect to tag along on flats wading adventures. This is a far cry from the 150+ trout flies that this box will hold but that is most certainly understandable. Lets just say it will become a go to trout box at some point.

IMG_20150312_080754I for one cannot wait to see what the guys over at Tacky Fishing produce in terms of boxes in the future. If they are anything like their first box I will be in line to pick one up for sure.

Check them out for yourself by clicking : HERE

Bonefish On The Brain: What makes a good bonefishing rod?

With spring around the corner and the 2015 Fishwest Hosted Trips to South Andros Island in the Bahamas filling up quick we want to know what you guys have to say once again.

This time I pose the question: What is your “go to” rod while fishing for bonefish?

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Again this could be viewed as a very loaded question. The variance in answers to this question can be due to what condition an angler may find themselves in.  Do you find yourself stalking these ghosts on foot in shallow water? For that type of bonefishing some anglers may argue that a 7wt is the way to go. Or do you find yourself fishing from the front of a flats boat with an 8wt? If the wind picks up do you grab a 9wt?

Once again please remember thereis no wrong answer here. We would love to hear what you think. Comment below or via our Facebook page.

For those who are interested we still have a couple of spots available for our 2015 trips to the Deneki Andros South Lodge. Please contact us for more details.

Tell Us About Your Favorite Trout Rod

Do you guys ever get sick of hearing about all the gear that we like to use? Well now is your chance to let us know your thoughts! The question I am about to pose is very simple yet up for a ton of debate.

What is your favorite rod to use when fishing for trout?

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Now I know this is question encompasses a HUGE range of rods that are good for a variety of situations. Are you a fan of rods in the lightweight class (0-3wt) to rods on the heavier side of things (6-7wt)? Do you like to throw tiny dries to wary fish or chuck big meaty streamers for predators looking for a big bite? There is no wrong answer here. We would love to hear what you think. Comment below or via our Facebook page.

 

Patagonia Presents a Stoecker Ecological and Felt Soul Media Production: DamNation

Some folks see dams as a source of energy, a creator of recreation, or even the protector from seasonal floods. This can be true but during the early twentieth century there was an obsession to put a dam on any river or stream they felt could be beneficial to human progress and not considering the environmental damages that could be caused during and after the build. Thanks to the partnership of Patagonia and Felt Soul Media, they have produced this amazing video depicting the negative effects caused by dams and the impact they have on native fish populations. This video was an eye opener for everyone here at Fishwest, each and everyone of us learned something new from it and we encourage anyone who hasn’t seen it to view it.

Mongolia: The Land Time Forgot

When folks talk about fishing in remote places for most the first thought that comes to mind  is the Alaskan bush or the back country of the North West. But there’s a place in Asia where human development and time have almost been forgotten. Most of you may have heard of Mongolia and the unique salmonid found in it’s waters. For those who haven’t heard of these creatures, they are the largest in the salmonid family, and fierce predators gorging on everything from bait fish to small mammals and birds. Here is a look at what it takes to have a chance at these incredible fish and what is being done to protect it’s habitat.

Ross Reels: Made On The Water

I cannot say enough good things about Ross Reels. You have probably heard me talk about my early fly fishing memories with my dad using his Ross Reels. I landed my first trout on the fly using his old Sage 590 DS and a Ross Gunnison G2.

Not to mention I landed my first Tiger Musky and Bonefish using Ross Reel. These reels will always be held in reverence in my eyes and for good reason too.

This video gives us all a brief look on the inside of the Ross Reels. You can tell that everyone on the staff has a tremendous amount of passion and respect for what they do because that is passed on in their reels.  Look for the hidden Fishwest logo somewhere in the video as well!

You can check out all the offerings from Ross Reels by clicking HERE

Enjoy!