Category Archives: Product Reviews

Simms Rogue Fleece Hoody

Gear Up For Fall: Simms Rogue Fleece Hoody Review

Simms Rogue Fleece HoodyThe leaves have changed and the temps have dropped which means one thing is certain. Winter will be here in the blink of an eye. Finding the right jacket or pullover for the variance in the ever changing Utah weather landscape can be difficult at best. Having a jacket that is too light and you find yourself freezing, on the flip side a jacket that is too warm can be just as detrimental to your angling opportunities.

The Rogue Fleece Hoody has been in my arsenal since this time last fall and I can say with the utmost confidence that it is a favorite of mine.  Since I picked this jacket up I have used it fishing on many occasions.  This jacket has kept a smile on my face a lot lately. From fall pike fishing in 40-50 degrees to snow flurries where the thermometer barely touches 30 and the pesky ice forms on rod guides..

The reasons I like this jacket are simple. First off this jacket will not break the bank.  It is a nice lightweight piece that is water resistant and it is nice and warm. This is not a piece I would trust if the temps drop even further but overall for this time of year when the weather can be as unpredictable as the fishing I would say with a good base layer this Hoody will stand up to just about anything.

Downsides are few and far between with the Rogue Fleece however the sizing on this piece is pretty hard to decipher. This jacket runs huge and the variances in sizes are quite noticeable.

Pros:

  • Lightweight design with DWR treatment (Durable Waterproof Repellant). The jacket holds up well in light rain and other types of moisture (No taped seams so this jacket is not waterproof by any means)
  • Overall usefulness – Great for all seasons – fall , early winter , spring
  • Hand warmer pockets – Essential for coldweather fishing
  • Zippered chest pocket – good for fly box, keys , snacks…really whatever you please.
  • Makes an excellent layering piece
  • Price tag of $99.95 – One of the greatest values in the Simms lineup.

Cons:

  • Sizing- The sizing on this jacket is a little bit on the larger end.  (Plan on one size smaller than normal.)

 I honestly cannot say enough good things about this piece. It has definitely become a personal favorite as well as a favorite of all the shop staff here at Fishwest.  It is no secret that the staff here have a great deal of respect and admiration for Simms products and it is easy to see why. Simms has outdone itslef this time with the Rogue Fleece.  If you find yourself in need of a jacket for fall / early winter fishing or even just a jacket that is good for a “kick around” jacket certainly consider the Rogue Fleece Hoody.

You can check it out by clicking HERE.

Sage One Humidor

A Midday Break: Sage One Humidor Review

There’s nothing much more enjoyable than taking a break midday from fishing and smoking decent cigar. All the craziness of life fades into the background as the river continues it’s run downstream through the haze of cigar smoke.

Although there are several different options of transporting your sticks to and from the river, Sage really hit one out of the park with their Sage One Humidor. Here’s what I like about it

1. Protection – The aluminum tube keeps your cigars safe from danger so you can focus on your fly presentation. Also for those that wade a bit deeper, fear not. The screw on lid of the case is lined with a water tight gasket to keep the water out should you take an unsuspecting dip.

2. Plenty of room – The Sage One Humidor has a 2” diameter. Depending on your choice of cigar, you can carry multiple cigars on the water so you can share with a buddy or smoke like a chimney all day long.

3. Humidor – There’s nothing worse than the anticipation of a good cigar only to find a crispy, dry stick instead. The inside of the Sage humidor is lined with cedar and on the lid is a small little humidifier that you can add some distilled water too, so you’re cigars will be kept in that optimum environment.

Bottom line: The Sage One Humidor is an excellent option for the fly fisherman who enjoys a nice cigar on the water.

For more info on the Sage One Humidor please click Here.

 

Sage TXL-F Fly Rod

Gear Review: Sage TXL-F Series Fly Rod

A near perfect lightweight fly rod for delicate presentations on small technical waters.

Sage TXL-F IMageThe Sage TXL-F  is a choice rod for anglers who seek their quarry in small brooks and spring creeks. For years, this ultralight, moderate-fast action rod has been my preferred tool as the bulk of my fishing is done in the overgrown, tiny cold streams that dot the New England landscape and barely appear as a blue line on a map.

A purist in pairing gear that is appropriate to the task at hand, my Sage TXL-F  3WT is outfitted with the Sage Click Series reel and Rio Gold Weight Forward Floating line. I have found this setup to be perfect in balance, weight, and sensitivity whether I am casting through an emerald foliage tunnel or delicately presenting small flies to voracious brook trout. The rod is smoothly accurate and playing fish of all sizes is an absolute pleasure due to its high sensitivity.

While the Sage TXL-F suits my style of fly fishing, it has two primary downsides: versatility and price point. On versatility, the TXL-F is a ‘niche rod’ which is not a viable ‘all around’ option for anglers who strive to own a single rod that will perform equally in all situations (does one really exist?). Those who hit the small water with the TXL-F and attempt to mix-it up between varying sizes of nymphs, streamers, and dries will quickly become frustrated as casting can be difficult and unwieldy to say the least. Across all fly fishing applications the TXL-F generally disappoints.

I am a faithful fan of this rod and highly recommend as the top of the line rod for those whose game is throwing small flies with feather-soft presentations to eager small stream trout. Hit your local fly shop or eBay (see article) and check a new or used Sage TXL-F outfit for yourself!

For further reading on what I think is the quintessential small water outfit:

Visit the Feather and Fin blog for more great content!

Not Just Any Old Fly Line: The Scientific Anglers Mastery Textured Trout

Anglers today have a multitude of choices when it comes to choosing a fly line these days.  They are bombarded with terms like AST or 3M Microballons just to name a few. What this means for anglers is that with every passing year manufacturers are pushing the limits in fly line design. They are constantly trying to improve fly line technologies so anglers have better odds at catching more fish. In a nutshell these aren’t your grandpa’s silk fly lines any more.

I have been fishing the Scientific Anglers Mastery Textured Trout Line for a little while now and I thought it would be a good time to share my thoughts on the line. I have to say that I was initially skeptical of the addition to the textured line family based on my previous experiences with the Sharkskin. Too many times did I find myself left with scoured hands from the aggressive texturing used in the Sharkskin family of lines.

Well SA must have got the memo because they have revamped the texture design on the Mastery Textured lines. The newer lines are dimpled like a golf ball instead of having a series of triangular ridges similar to that of a shark’s fin.

In my opinion the taper of this line puts it into the category of a more “all around” trout line.  I have had the opportunity to fish this line on a Scott A4 905.4 as well as the Scott G2 884.4. Since the line has a longer, less aggressive front taper which is almost 30 feet in length it results in an extremely smooth casting fly line.

Now don’t think that this line is just for throwing dry flies to spooky rising fish by any means. Like I said this line is more of an “all around” trout line. I feel that this line excels with smaller flies ranging from 22-12 however it handles anything larger with relative ease. Paired with my A4 this line has seen many a nymph rig as well as a plethora of small streamers as well as larger dry dropper rigs. (It is no secret Utah area waters are full of terrestrial hungry trout in the summertime!)

All and all this line is worth checking out. In a nutshell this line has all the positive characteristics found within the SA Sharkskin lines. The best features of the line are superior shootability from the textured surface as well as a fly line with increased surface area which sits higher on the water which allows for an easier mend.

Pros:

  • SA/ID Feature: The guys at SA decided to code all the lines with the taper and weight of each line for easy identification
  • Replicated Texture: I can’t say this enough the texture on these lines is awesome! They float high and cast/shoot extremely well.

Cons:

  • Noise Level: Due to the texture these lines do have a slight whistle that is noticeable and it does take some getting used to. *Note that the dimpling on the lines does not damage rod guides*

 Honestly I feel that our friends over at Scientific Anglers hit a home run with the Mastery Textured Trout line but don’t take my word for it. I suggest you try it out for yourself. I have a feeling you will be impressed.

Get your hands on the Scientific Anglers Mastery Textured Trout by :  Clicking Here

Two For The Price Of One: Soulfish 1 & 2 Review

Authors Note*** I am in no way a trained, licensed, or certified entertainment critic so if there is such a program that prepares or credentials individuals to review movies, I have no knowledge of it.  But I do watch quite a few movies and most of the time, I tend to disagree with those reviews that find their way into print, so, there is the disclaimer.

We (my wife and I) had the opportunity to watch SOULFISH and SOULFISH 2 this weekend as a result of the combination of having to work and the weather being what is was made it a premier chance to stay inside and live vicariously through other peoples accomplishments.

You want to see fly fishing action of the world’s largest Salmonid in Mongolia?  These movies have it.  Dry fly action for steelhead, bucket mouths on fly rods, inshore action in both gin clear water and the stained backwaters of the marsh delta, fish with chompers that would frighten a dentist, huge bones within line of sight of populated vacation areas, these movies have them all.

Both SOULFISH and SOULFISH 2 provide incredible insight to fishing corners of the world that most people would never have the chance to see (or even able to find on a map) let alone fly fish.  This is not the made up, fantasy land of professional actors, these are fly fishers doing what their passion is, fishing pure and simple.  If you take in the sights during the movie, it can give the viewer a feeling of inner peace.  If focus on the action is the impetus of watching it, it can instill a sense of envy.   But instead, take the cues from those fortunate to be part of the videos expertise in the areas fished to provide an insight of their knowledge of the sport that must be paid for through years of fishing or hiring a professional guide(s).

On a note, SOULFISH 2 gives credence to the human spirit that obstacles are not life stoppers, but challenges, that if met head on, can increase the total fly fishing experience.  Mike is a true model of resilience.

My advice, get both SOULFISH and SOULFISH 2 from a fine retailer like Fishwest and watch them when life keeps you indoors, you shouldn’t be disappointed.

I give SOULFISH three dry flies; SOULFISH 2, three dries and a nymph.

Hydro Flask: Not Just Another Water Bottle

One of my favorite new pieces of equipment is my Hydro Flask. I, like most outdoors people, get thirsty on my adventures. I always bring plenty of water with me the problem is that when I arrive back at my vehicle it is less than refreshing having sat in the sun all day. Hydro Flask has solved this problem with a whole line of products that will keep your beverages cold all day.

I know you might be saying, it’s just another water bottle, I did myself, but when I saw the Growler Sized Hydro Flask I thought I would give it a try. The results: amazing! I have come back to my vehicle after a day of fishing to find my Hydro Flask too hot on the outside to hold but when I take a drink, whatever the beverage, it is still ice cold! Now I have several at home, in the vehicle, even at work.

The other really cool thing is that the insulated walls are much thinner than any other insulated product I have ever come across so Hydro Flask is much less bulky and will accommodate much more liquid.

The pros are simple: Superior insulation for long term cooling, variety of sizes & colors, variety of tops to suit your preferences

The cons are much harder to find. I do find that I “need” more of the bigger sizes. Having cool beverages around I am much more inclined to drink so I run out when I use the smaller Hydro Flasks

On a scale of 1-5, I would definitely give all the Hydro Flask products I own an emphatic 5!

You don’t need to take only my word for it; I have yet to find a person who owns a Hydro Flask that has anything bad to say. Most are just happy to know at the end of the days there will be something cold waiting for them before the drive home.

To check out the rest of the Hydro Flask Line Click Here

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Product Review: Umpqua Ledges 500 Waist Pack

 

Ledges 500 Moss

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.

Likes

  • Well planned medium size
  • Internal frame for support and ventilation
  • large main compartment

Dislikes

  • Shoulder strap slides requiring frequent adjusting
  • Mesh material on bottle holders gets flies stuck in it easily

If you are on the fence about medium sized waist packs and have thought about carrying less or wanting a smaller pack the Ledges 500 is definitely worth looking at.

Click Here to learn more and shop for the Umpqua Ledges 500 Waist Pack

A night with Clear Cure Goo

Product Review: Clear Cure Goo

A night with Clear Cure GooI have used many different types of epoxies throughout my fly fishing and fly tying careers. And I agree that at the end of the day, they all do pretty much the same thing. However, after coming to Fishwest, I was introduced to Clear Cure Goo epoxies. They are relatively new in the world of fly tying epoxies, but have quickly gained popularity amongst tiers in both freshwater and saltwater realms. Their product line offers tiers a wide variety of epoxies, covering all tying situations from small nymphs for trout, to large saltwater baitfish patterns.

For the Mountain West, I have found that the Clear Cure Goo Hydro and Thin epoxies cover most of my trout fly tying needs. The Hydro is perfect for putting a hard translucent layer on chironomids bodies, and topcoats for shells on nymphs. The Thin epoxy has just enough viscosity for situations that require larger amounts such as when building heads for streamers and baitfish patterns. The Thin epoxy does cure with a slight tacky feel, so a final thin coat of Hydro is necessary for a tack-free finish. I would also recommend that if you consider yourself a slower tier, or really want to build larger heads, to purchase their Thick epoxy

No matter which Clear Cure Goo products you use, the final results are a finish as hard, clear, and smooth as glass that I have yet to find crack, chip, or yellow.

Fishpond Slippery Rock Wading Staff

Product Review: fishpond Slippery Rock Wading Staff

Fishpond Slippery Rock Wading StaffAs winter continues I found it would be appropriate to talk about one of my most underappreciated pieces of equipment. Take it from someone who knows: having a good reliable wading staff can be the difference between enjoying a day of winter fishing or packing it in early because you took an unfortunate spill. I have had one too many a winter fishing day ended early with a nice brisk swim In Utah area waters.

I have tried all different types of wading staffs throughout my years as a fly fisherman. If you were to name the staff chances are I have used it. Crossing streams and rivers is not easy for me and it definitely isn’t the prettiest sight however, it has gotten easier with the addition of the Fishpond Slippery Rock Wading Staff.

Fishpond aka Komperdell (A brand synonymous with quality ski & trekking poles) have hit a home run with this staff. The biggest reason I choose this staff over any others out there has to be the patented “Easy Lock” system that is utilized to determine the length of the staff.

The staff has a base length of 29 inches which equates to roughly 74 centimeters. From there the bottom can be unscrewed to lengthen the wading staff. Once the proper height is reached the staff can be twisted into to the lock position. The locking mechanism on this staff is quite substantial and definitely gives me the ability to wade confidently.

Overall this staff has been a great addition to my equipment. From the telescopic “Easy Lock” system to the oversized grip are just a few things that help make this the perfect staff for this unsteady angler. Take the “plunge” (No pun intended) and give this staff a try. You won’t regret it.

Pros:

  •  Lightweight Telescopic Design – Ranges from 29in (74cm)- 57in (145cm)
  • Durable & Lightweight 3 piece aluminum construction
  • Oversized synthetic cork knob that unscrews to reveal a camera mount
  • Removable Rubber tip to reveal carbide steel tip

Cons:

  •  Just discovered today that the staff has a camera mount ( would have liked to know this earlier)
  • Removable Rubber Tip could be easily lost