Maybe you get revved up when a muskie is tracking your 12-inch streamer. Perhaps you live for a bronzeback smacking a popper on a summer day. Or, it could be a carp tailing on a mud flat that drives you crazier than anything else. No matter which warm-water species is your preferred fly target, these new gear items will help you sink the net more often, deliver those bulky bass bugs more efficiently, and fight that 40-plus- inch northern with less effort than ever before.
Got that itch to hit early bass with spinning gear, but want to bring along a fly rod just in case you spot tailing carp? Inevitably you’ll leave the buggy whip on the ground somewhere and have to spend precious time finding it. With the O’Pros rod holder, simply slide the rod into the holder and hammer away on bass, without losing track of the fly rod, or vice versa. It’s also great for fishing flats with multiple rods, taking photos, fishing on a stand up paddleboard, or simply changing a fly or untangling line. It’s available in three colors.
Are you one of those sickos that loves chasing big, hard-to- catch fish on fly gear? The folks at Rep Your Water now have an adjustable snap back hat that lets the rest of your weird fraternity know you’re “in.” Ten percent of the purchase goes to their conservation partners, too.
Rio Products recently unveiled a line called “Big Nasty” that’s perfect for casting big, heavy bugs at all your warm water favorites like bass, pike, muskie, and other brutes. The “Big Nasty” line includes leaders, tippet, and fly line that utilizes medium stiff materials, big butt sections, and aggressive tappers for turning over the meat.
These prefabricated leaders offer 7.5 feet of stout, abrasion-resistant material plus a black nylon coated (for low visibility) 15-inch section of stainless steel wire that I would dare a piranha to chew through. Each leader also comes with two seriously bombproof sleeves for creating a loop in the wire and attaching your fly. There are two versions: one with a 45-pound rating and one with a 20-pound rating.
Montana Fly Company is known for its innovative flies, and these two are definitely must-haves. If you like bass, Jake’s Burglar was designed with a spandex body infused with flash in order to allow a kicking motion every time the fly is moved. The large double foam head keeps it popping on top of the water while its tail also wags slightly for additional movement. If pike are your thing, then Jake’s Pike Bait is it. The fly has been tested on hundreds of fish across the Northwest and was designed with a very light and water shedding material for ease of casting and extreme durability. The Pike Bait runs a stout hook up front and a tail tied on a MFC Fly Shank to eliminate fouling and increase action in the water.
These insanely light waders from Patagonia are a true game changer in terms of wader technology. They replaced traditional neoprene booties with hypoallergenic synthetic rubber. These waders are incredibly thin but still made up of multiple layers both up top and the on bottom, where the material is slightly thicker. The whole package fits in an 8-inch by 13-inch sack and weighs just a hair over a pound. Throw them in your pack, boat, or trunk of the car just in case and you’ll always be ready to wade in.
The SolarFlex Armor shirt comes with a built-in hood and a patent pending full coverage gaiter, giving you the option to look like a ninja and cover your entire face and head from the sun’s harmful rays. The shirt is fabricated with Coolcore fabric that chills down when it gets wet. This shirt is also infused with a treatment that resists odors and has mesh side panels that add ventilation to keep you even cooler on the hottest days.
Loon Outdoors Quick Draw Forceps can be clipped anywhere thanks to their innovative carabiner finger loop, which should help folks that seem to loose a pair of forceps every time they hit the water and hate using any type of retractable lanyard. The oversized finger holes can accommodate gloves or larger hands, and the built in scissor easily cuts heavy leaders.
Musky and pike like big flies and finding a rod that can actually push these giant balls of fur and feathers through the air can be a challenge. Thomas & Thomas has aimed to change that with its new line of predator rods that are specifically designed to cast giant flies coupled with 300- to 500-grain sinking and super compact floating lines. The cork grip is elongated and “rubberized” for easier handling and figure 8’s, while T&T’s proprietary resin helps the blank absorb boatside rod-bending eats.
Sage’s new Spectrum LT reel is light as heck, tough as nails, and gives you amazingly precise settings with labeled numbers and indented markers you can feel as you turn its sealed carbon drag. The large concave arbor is perfect for giving you that consistent drag and quick line retrieval with less coiling. This reel is a looker, too.
This rod holder is truly an innovation and incredibly versatile, letting you stow rods inside station wagons, SUVs, and vans. It’s quick to set up and easy to use with multiple attachment options, utilizing suction cups for window mounting or straps and carabiners for attaching to grab handles or other mounting points inside the vehicle.The price is right too, easily beating most other hard-mounted exterior travel boxes.
Hatch makes some of the most durable reels on the planet, and the Generation 2 series takes toughness to the next level. These fully machined reels that are lighter than older generation Hatches are made in the USA and come with a fully sealed Rulon/stainless stacked drag. Choose between mid- or large-arbor spools, depending on whether smallmouths or muskies are on the menu.
This pack is perfect for a quick trip to the bass pond. It sits across your non-casting shoulder and rides on your back until you pull it across your chest for easy access when it’s time to switch poppers. Its modular design lets you remove the gear pouch for an even more stripped down setup. It’s also fully constructed in the USA with American materials too, which we love.