No one uses and abuses gear like fly fishermen, and this roundup includes some of our favorite tried-and-true picks for the season. No matter if you’re a backcountry bum or a quick-trip-before-work kind of angler, you’ll find something here for your next excursion. These 17 items range in price and scale, so you’ll be sure to find something that fits your budget.
Fulling Mill Paolos Wiggle Bunny
Like pike fishing? Fulling Mill
Need a new type of bug for your fly box? Check out Paulo’s Wiggle Bunny from Fulling Mill. The tail’s movement in the water column is irresistible to predators, while the head pushes a ton of water-grabbing attention for most warm water fish.
Alpine Start Instant Coffee
Sick of crappy gas station coffee or bringing bulky gadgets on your fishing adventure for your 100-percent necessary cup of morning joe? Alpine Start Foods
Alpine Start is instant coffee that you can blend with hot or cold water for what is easily the best cup of instant coffee out there. I’d even say it rivals many fully-brewed cups you can get on the road. Seriously, it’s that good.
RIO Powerflex Plus Tippets
You get 50 more yards per spool. Score! Rio Products
RIO Products claims its new Powerflex Plus Tippet is the strongest nylon tippet material ever made. The new material is very soft, yet very strong—20 percent stronger than their regular stuff. It’s also got a very small diameter considering how much additional weight it can hold.
Crazy Creek Drop Sac
This is so simple, yet so handy, after a long day of fishing. Crazy Creek
This is super handy. It’s basically a piece of ripstop nylon with a drawstring that can be used as a changing mat and a place to dump your wet waders and boots at the end of a long day, “containerizing” them and keep the rest of your gear from getting muddy and wet.
Hyrda Pak expedition 8L
Perfect for car camping or basecamp on your next fishing expedition. Hydra Pak
Hydrapak has introduced its largest water storage container yet at eight liters. It’s tough as nails and can literally be run over by a car. The container collapses and compresses when empty, is easy to fill, and is compatible with backcountry water filters. Plus, it has a plug-and-play tap insert that makes pouring water a breeze.
For every Waka Waka product you purchase, the company helps someone in a developing country get their hands on batteries or lights. We’ve been using the Power 5 battery in conjunction with the Solar Panel and have been seriously impressed with the ease of use, design, and portability.
Klymit Litewater Dinghy
It even inflates with its own stuff-sack. Klymit
Ever hike miles to your favorite lake, only to find all the fish are rising in the middle? What about when you reach that spot on the river where you’re cliffed-out and have nowhere to go? Now there’s a lightweight, 35-ounce boat you can throw in your backpack to get where you want to go with very little hassle. It even inflates with its own stuff-sack.
Korkers Women’s Darkhorse
Women’s version of the classic boot design. Korkers
Korkers took their classic, BOA-lace-system-enabled Darkhorse wading boot and actually re-engineered it for women’s feet, rather than just “shrinking it and pinking” it. The boot has a multitude of features that make it perfect for long hikes into the backcountry, including a bunch of interchangeable soles for different traction situations.
Rod Mounts – Rod Up for Trucks
Rod Mounts also makes these for cars, too. Rod Mounts
This is a super versatile rod rack that hangs in the back of your truck cab and allows rods to be transported inside the vehicle without those goofy-looking tubes on top of your truck. It’s safer, much cheaper, and can carry different rod types, including fly rods, spinning rods, and casting poles. The modular kit allows you to customize exactly as you see fit, and the machining quality is excellent.
Smith Sunglasses – Chromapop Glass
The new shades are available in three colors for the angler (Polarized Blue Mirror, Polarized Brown, and Polarized Gray) with a handful of popular frames that are water-approved. Smith Optics
Smith Sunglasses is infusing their proprietary “Chromapop” technology into their premium glass lenses. Previously the technology was only available in their plastic versions. The tech filters specific light color crossovers to allow greater definition, natural color, and insane clarity. I’ve had a pair for a few weeks now and have been blown away by the glass.
Costa’s Sunrise Silver Mirror Lens won “Best Eyewear” at the 2017 industry trade show last year with its plastic version—now the company has unveiled this color in their Lightwave Glass with more visual clarity and scratch resistance. The color filters out harsh yellow light, while reducing glare and helping with all day eye fatigue.
Fishpond Submersible Duffel
This is one of the best travel duffles for fishing we’ve ever used. Fishpond
Fishpond’s fully submersible and completely waterproof duffle bag can actually carry a full length, 9-foot, 4-piece rod tube, and also comes with removable backpack straps. It’s made out of 840 denier recycled nylon and is welded together for maximum durability.
Ross Reels – Gunnison
Sizes run 4- to 8-weight. Ross Reels
My first fly reel was a Ross Gunnison. I got it 25-plus years ago, and it’s still going strong. The company has redesigned it and just released a new version of that iconic reel that is 10 times sexier and just as strong with updated aesthetics and new technology. It has a fully-machined frame and spool made here in the USA.
New Simms G3 Guide Stockingfoot Waders for Women
Simms sought out female guides for feedback on their new G3 Guide stocking foot waders. The biggest request? A wader that actually fit. Simms Fishing
This new wader design includes a scalloped top opening with a higher fit on the chest and lower cut on the back. The waders also include two different thicknesses of material on the uppers and legs, and a Gore-Tex membrane that’s exclusive to Simms—plus a zippered, reach-through, micro-fleece lined hand-warmer chest pocket.
SAGE HD Salt Rods
Lightweight enough to cast all day. Sage
The Sage Salt HD won best saltwater rod at the 2017 International Fly Tackle Dealer show, and for good reason. It’s a bad-ass rod designed to handle the biggest, nastiest fish quickly, with a super fast recovery for second shots at fish, delivered with incredible accuracy. Plus, its thin blank and lightweight design helps keep you casting the big bugs all day.
Tepui Tent – Autana SKY Siberian Camo (3 person)
We were skeptical at first, but became true believers of the product by the end of the trip. Tepui
Ever seen one of these crazy-looking boxes on top of a car and wondered what it was? Most likely, it’s a Tepui tent. So what is that, exactly? It’s a tent that lives on top of your vehicle until you need it. When you do, it deploys quickly, is incredibly spacious and comfortable, and proves bombproof against the elements. My 6-year-old daughter and I used the Autana SKY three-person just before Thanksgiving this past year for a couple of days on the Colorado River. It was a hoot. The built-in mattress kept in the heat, and the spacious A-frame set up allowed us to play board games late into the night. The company offers tons of tent styles and options past the base model tents.
Need a frameless, two-person fishing boat that can handle big water or skinny sloughs? How about one that weighs only 114 pounds and packs up into the back of a car? Look no further than Outcast Boat’s OSG Ambush. The inflatable comes with a built-in lean bar, front casting deck, oar towers, and floor.