1. The Big Gun
Temple Fork Outfitters’ low-priced rods designed by Lefty Kreh rose to fame on a wave of Internet buzz. Titanium and chromium particles added to the resin matrix in the new TiCr series dampen rod vibrations and add durability. The new 9-foot, four-piece, 10-weight TiCr ($230; 800-638-9052; www.templeforkflyrods.com) is perfect for pairing with a new No. 10 Nautilus large-arbor reel from Old Florida ($450; 888-397-7335; www.oldfloridareels.com). The Nautilus has a superlative center-drag system. Loaded with a new 350-grain Cortland 555 Quick Descent line ($62; 607-756-2851; www.cortlandline.com), it’ll dredge up big salmon, stripers, and pike.
2. The Trout Wand
Close-in situations on trout streams call for light lines and rods of 7 feet or less, which aren’t produced as often as longer rods. Orvis now has an excellent entry in this category with a new 6-foot 6-inch, two-piece 4-weight in its Clearwater series ($225; 800-333-1550; www.orvis.com). Pair this with a Ross Rhythm 1.5 large-arbor reel ($200; 970-249-1212; www.rossreels.com). It’s light enough to match the rod and carries a WF4F line plus 100 yards of 20-pound backing. Load up with the new WF4F Orvis Superfine Wonderline ($59) to make an outfit light and accurate enough for the wariest trout but also right for panfish on small ponds.
**3. The Bass Master **
Redington Rods creator Jim Murphy believes in affordable flyfishing tackle. His new company, Albright Tackle, now offers a very fine bass rod that won’t break the bank. The Topwater series includes a 9-foot, 8-weight, four-piece model ($90; 866-359-7335; www.albrighttackle.com) that drops bass bugs among the lily pads as precisely as any high-end stick, but has plenty of backbone. Better yet, the same rod comes in a package ($170) that includes the durable Albright Topwater standard-arbor reel with a center disc drag, a WF8F line with a leader, and 150 yards of backing. This outfit will also serve you well for pike and schoolie stripers.
**4. The Power Forward **
St. Croix’s new Legend Elite 5-weight ($520; 800-826-7042; www.stcroixrods.com) is a pure cannon for distance casting but has enough tip flex for close-in accuracy. The 9-foot, four-piece rod has what St. Croix calls a “polycurve” design that smooths the taper transitions within the rod-blank wall, leading to smoother casting. For a serious big-water trout package, pair the rod with a new St. Croix Legend LRF56 large-arbor reel ($230) loaded with the new Rio Selective Trout WF5F line ($64; 208-524-7760; www.rioproducts.com). The line’s precise forward taper makes delicate presentations a cinch, even when using the rod at full power.
5. The Idiot-Proof Fly Box
Keeping track of all those mayfly patterns-Cahill, Gordon, Drake, Hendrickson-is like high school science class all over again. Complete Hatch remedies that. This new service puts together species-specific fly boxes dedicated for certain times of the year. For instance, in the “Late Spring” group are the Sulphur Dun, Bluewing Olive Dun, March Brown, and Green Drake. Each organized box contains a dozen flies, nymph to spinner, so you’re covered, no matter what stage of the hatch you’re fishing, or if you encounter overlapping species. $30 ($20 for 12 refills); 914-533-6135; www.completehatch.com