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  • March 13, 2014

    Gear Review: GRAYL Filtration Cup

    By Tim Romano

    I almost never pack water when going out on a fishing adventure, unless I absolutely have to. Be that a couple of hours out on my local trout creek or a multi-night wilderness backpacking trip. I feel there's simply no reason to lug the extra weight if the water I’m fishing is relatively clean.

    Instead, I choose to bring tablets, filter straws, or most frequently, bottles with filter straws like the Katadyn MyBottle Purifier. While these items DO get the job done, most just don't work well enough in my opinion. It takes an incredible amount of energy to suck just a tiny bit of water through the filter — never quite quenching your thirst if you're craving a couple of gulps of water.

  • February 28, 2014

    Gear Review: Ghillie Kettle

    By Tim Romano

    If you're the type of angler/hunter/camper that likes the idea of being able to boil water without relying on any fuel, go on extended fishing or hunting trips where the weight of fuel is an issue to carry, or just like the smell of wood smoke, the Ghillie Kettle might be for you.

    I started using one last fall. It’s basically a double-walled boiler with a chimney and is remarkably simple in its operation. It does the same thing any other backpacking stove does, only you don't need to carry any fuel. You just use small sticks, dried grass or any other combustibles that might be lying around to boil water.

  • January 29, 2014

    Fly Shops vs Online: Is "Showrooming" Fair or Foul?

    By Kirk Deeter

    I'm all for doing as much research as possible before buying any fly gear. Heck, if companies are going to charge $800 bucks for a fly rod or a rain suit, they should expect consumers to do as much poking around as possible. And there's nothing wrong with looking for a deal when you can find it. But "showrooming" has become a real problem for many retailers in this country. 

    Here's what happens: Anglers do the majority of their research online, hopefully they read some magazine and/or online product reviews, and have their mind set on what they want to buy. But it's hard to really know for sure with some gear — at least in the case of a fly rod. Most anglers won't know if they like a rod or not until they actually pick it up and cast it. So they head to the fly shop, try a few rods, and get the spiel from the person behind the counter. And when they're really sure about what they want... they go home and order it online.

  • January 22, 2014

    Do You Really Need a Landing Net?

    By Kirk Deeter

    For me, the use of a landing net has always been dictated by the situation. I always carry a net when I am guiding or fishing with others; I almost never do when wading by myself. It doesn't matter how big the fish are, which species, or even where I am.

    But my views on this are changing and I wonder if any of yours are as well. The thing is, with the latest generation of rubberized mesh nets and the light composite materials the frames are now made from, I have found myself using them more on my own. And a beautiful net is, as I have said before, a piece of art that's every bit as much of an heirloom as a favorite rod or reel can be. I'm proud of my net. By using nets more often now, I wonder if I getting lazy or am I starting to see the light?

  • January 20, 2014

    Gear Review: DeLorme inReach SE 2-Way Satellite Communicator with GPS

    By Kirk Deeter

    I spend a lot of time fishing and hunting in the backcountry, and I'm not just talking about places where the cell phone doesn't work, I'm talking about jungles in South America, and the Russian taiga, and well past the sight of shore on the open oceans. So satellite communication has become increasingly important in my travels. The margin for error when it comes to ease of use and reliability is practically non-existent, in my mind, so it's important to use something you trust, because in some cases, somebody's life might depend on it.  

  • September 20, 2013

    Behind the Scenes at Orvis: The Raw Graphite Freezer

    By Tim Romano

    Have you ever seen $50,000 worth of graphite in a freezer?

    Me neither. Until two weeks ago, when Kirk and I got a tour of the Orvis Rod factory.

    What you're looking at is rolls and rolls of raw sheet graphite, destined for future fly rods.  After asking three different shop employees how much this pile was worth I heard three different answers. I honestly don't know whether this is $20K, $30k, or $100K worth of graphite in a freezer. I think they were being squirlly on purpose about the answer, but my gut tells me that the right one leans toward the higher amount. Regardless, it was impressive to see this much raw graphite, especially considering this was one of two walk-in freezers loaded with the stuff.

  • September 5, 2013

    Rethinking Fly Rod Warranties

    By Kirk Deeter

    Every few years the issue of fly rod warranties generates some heated debate among manufacturers, fly shop owners, and consumers, then disappears. This year might be different. David Leinweber, owner of Angler's Covey in Colorado Springs, wrote an open letter to the industry demanding that rod warranties be rethought, and in the last few weeks, I've heard more buzz on the topic from more sources than I can remember.

  • September 3, 2013

    Fishing With An Heirloom

    By Kirk Deeter

    My father-in-law passed away a little over a year ago. Fred Warner was the reason I got serious about fly fishing. He was an avid fly angler; I was dating his daughter. I knew I wouldn't make the cut unless I learned the sport. Right up until he died I joked with him that I could have been a doctor, or a lawyer, or a captain of industry, but for the fact that he gave me that fly fishing bug.

    As it happens, we're now helping my wife's mom move to a new place, and as part of that, I just received two things that my father-in-law had earmarked for me:  He left me a Benelli Super Black Eagle shotgun with which to shoot ducks, and he left me a fly rod. It's a classic. An H.L. Leonard "Golden Shadow" 9-foot 5-weight. 

  • August 27, 2013

    The Honest Truth About Boa Laces: Are They Right For You?

    By Kirk Deeter

    One of the gear questions I get asked most often is whether or not a person should opt for the Boa closure system on their new wading boots. Boa laces are wire and they crank tight by turning a knob at the top of the boot. Pull the knob, the wire loosens, and you step right out of the boot. The idea had been successfully applied to ski boots, and Korkers was the first to get a license to use Boa on wading boots a few years ago. In recent years, many other boot manufacturers have fallen in line, not wanting to give up market share by not offering this feature. The effect on price really isn't significant. It usually comes down to a matter of personal preference. I know people who swear by Boa, and some who hate it.

  • August 23, 2013

    Check Out Abel's "Steal Your Face" Grateful Dead Fly Reel

    By Kirk Deeter

    Sometimes you see a piece of gear, and know you were meant to fish it. That "match made in heaven" phenomenon happened to me recently when I got wind of the new series of Abel limited edition reels, which are individually hand-painted with the Grateful Dead's iconic "Steal Your Face" logo. Abel has an agreement with Warner Music Group which allows them to produce 250 of these on its Super Series and Classic Series model reels. The Grateful Dead reels are available for a premium of $300 over standard pricing, but these things will stand out on the water, and maintain their value down the road.