Field & Stream Online Editors
Field & Stream Online Editors

[BRACKET “1”] Bauer Mackenzie Z Series Reels
An ultrasmooth sealed drag and no plastic parts whatsoever characterize the new Bauer Z series: seven models ranging from the MZ1 for 5-weight line up to the MZ7 for 12-weight. They’re light enough to cast all day. Bauer also offers spool-color options (titanium, gray, green, or black), all in the midprice range for this reel class._ $325¿¿¿$495; 888-484-4165; www.bauerflyreel.com_

[BRACKET “2”] Orvis Mach Series Reels
Nicely balanced and light for their build, the Machs have a large, smooth center drag, multiple sealed bearings, and fabulous line capacity for 4- to 12-weight lines. The size III model (61/8 ounces) will take a WF6F line and 100 yards of 20-pound Dacron backing. The jumbo VI reel (89/16 ounces) takes a WF11F line and 350 yards of 30-pound Dacron; it’s a real salmon- or striper-stopper. $275¿¿¿$350; 800-333-1550;

[BRACKET “3”] Scientific Anglers Mastery Trout Line **
Finally, after all the bonefish and salmon designs, we get a trout-specific fly line. Made for fishing small nymphs and dries that are the toughest flies to place, this new Mastery Series line offers a mid-length head fronted by a delicate compound-taper for a smooth, gentle delivery. It comes in line weights 3¿¿¿7, in orange or gray-green. $55; 800-430-5000; **[BRACKET “4”] Flies

Check out Orvis (800-333-1550;; Rainy’s (435-753-6766;; Umpqua (800-322-3218;, and Urban Angler (800-255-5488; for these latest patterns and other novel designs.

[BRACKET “5”] Sage Xi2 Rods
If you flyfish on big water, or in really windy places, check out the Xi2. Its stiff tip and midsection help you hold more line higher in the air while false-casting for greater momentum and better wind penetration. These four-piece rods in 6- to 14-weight versions travel easily. If you’re already a good caster, you’ll see a true performance boost. $650; 800-533-3004;

[BRACKET “6”] St. Croix Legend Ultra Rods
This totally reworked rod series draws new strength from a manufacturing process that evens out and strengthens the transition areas within a rod’s taper. These load and flex more smoothly, making casting more fluid (improving your casting in general). They come in four- and five-piece versions for line weights 4¿¿¿10. $300¿¿¿$360; 800-826-7042;

[BRACKET “7”] Winston Boron IIx Rods
Based on a new graphite-boron composite, these medium-fast-actioned rods are as much as a full ounce lighter than comparable products. A 9-foot, 5-weight version weighs just 23/4 ounces, for example. This weight reduction feels extraordinary in your hand, yet the rods are still plenty strong enough for distance casting. All are four-piece rods in line weights_ 3¿¿¿12. $595¿¿¿$655; 406-684-5674; www.winstonrods.com_

** [BRACKET “8”] Albright EXS Quartz Fiber Rod **
What does “high-modulus graphite under a fused- silicate outer layer” mean? It means the EXS is one tough, impact-resistant fly rod to be fished with, not fretted over. It’s beautifully finished, in three-piece models from 3- to 12-weight. The EXS is about half the price that the first-generation quartz rods sold for when they first appeared. $325¿¿¿$395; 866-359-7335;