As we all know, the fly fishing world is full of cool gadgets and technical outdoor gear, designed to make our time on the water more comfortable and hopefully help us land a few more fish. The last part of that sentence may seem a bit like BS but fly fishing can be a game of fine lines. Especially when trout fishing where a few more inches on that cast, a few more ounces of breaking strength of your tippet or a smoother drag can make all the difference between bringing a fish to hand or blowing an opportunity. Like the old saying, "10% of the fisherman catch 90% of the fish", being a 10%er is about capitalizing on opportunity. There are always a few new products every year that we are excited to get in the shop for our loyal customers. Being a fisherman I am actually more excited to get my hands on the new stuff to test out. Why else would you work in a fly shop? Hopefully I can find a few products that help improve my odds of landing more fish and I'm a firm believer that every little bit helps. Being comfortable, especially in crumby weather, allows us to stay on the water when others are back at the cabin wringing out their wet clothing or resting after a long day.
Here are several products we are looking forward to selling and using this upcoming season. All of the gear we use on a daily basis is the same stuff we sell in the shop. The last thing I want to do is promote a product that is going to fail in the field. It not only ruins your day but also destroys our word and trust from you loyal customers.
There are a couple new reels on the market this spring from trusted companies we carry. Both reels are value-packed trout reels that won't break the bank-under $300 for a trout reel that will last for many seasons to come is something I'll spend my money on. The first is the Orvis Hydros SL - a large-arbored, machined aluminum reel designed from scratch that will pick up line quick with a price tag of around $200 or the trout sizes. One of the biggest improvements is the totally sealed drag as well as clutch. The former Hydros reel had a sealed drag but the one-way clutch was exposed to the elements. I see high-end reels fail and it's often due to this clutch bearing seizing up and can even become fused to the shaft of the reel - game over for that reel. Remember, warranties don't do you much good out on the water- wether it's a day trip or week-long vacation. Here's a short teaser for the new Orvis Hydros SL.
Another new reel for 2016 is the Nautilus X-Series which is replacing the FWX. As most of you know the FWX is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to a sub $300 trout reel. There isn't too much to say about this bad boy as the FWX was a killer, light-weight fly reel with a smooth drag. And it's made in the good ole USA. The new X-series features an open frame design, hence the name, which reduces weight and makes the frame stiffer. They come in black and silver and will likely be a hot-seller for the shop.
Patagonia is known for making great, durable gear that's environmentally friendly from start to finish. Why buy something you will have to replace every season? Patagonia is synonymous with quality goods that will take a beating and keep on performing, season in and season out. They have completely re-designed their entire wader line for spring 2016 and the results are pretty impressive. Their whole wader-building process has undergone a revamping to provide the highest-quality product which we all use and abuse each time we are out on the water. A good pair of waders is like an old friend, you don't want to replace them and it hurts when you finally have too. Especially because high-end waders aren't cheap nowadays.
We will be carrying two of their new waders, the Rio Gallegos II and the Rio Azul II, both of which we have sold in the past but the new waders are better in every way. The Rio Gallegos are their highest end wader made with burly 4-layer fabric on the lower half and a lighter weight 4-layer fabric on the upper half. There are several features on the Rio Gallegos II that set them apart from all others on the market. First, the suspension system allows you to keep the suspenders up while lowering the top half of the waders for increased breathability/comfort. After wearing the older Gallegos for several years this feature is invaluable and I utilize it every time I fish. Other companies have tried to copy this feature, guess why? Second, the feet or neoprene booties are lined with a grid pattern of synthetic material which makes the booties much more comfortable, especially in hot weather and keep feet warmer in the cold. Simply put, the feet are much more comfortable than any other wader as they are all just straight neoprene which we all know doesn't breathe. The fit of the new waders is much more dialed-in too.
The Rio Azul waders have been our best seller the last couple years due to the value of these lightweight chest-high waders. The updated Rio Azul II waders are sure to be a hit with a price tag of only $249, packed with many updated features. The fit has been more dialed-in with their single-seam construction in the legs, a feature carried over from their more expensive waders. The gravel guards are also new with a flat panel on the inside ankle which allows them to drain easier, looks better and most of all reduces bulk when moving. This may seem silly but I have a pair of waders from another manufacturer and you literally trip over the bag-like gravel guards, not so with the new waders from Patagonia. If you're in the market for a lightweight and inexpensive wader check these out and you won't be disappointed.
One last product to check out is pretty self explanatory, the new Nippers from Hatch Outdoors. High-end nippers are nothing new to the industry and if you fish a lot you appreciate how well they do their job, day in and day out, compared the the cheapos from the fish bowl on the counter of your local shop. The Hatch Nippers come in 4 colors, red, blue, black and clear/silver. They come with a para-cord lanyard so you don't drop em in the drink. At $100 bucks they aren't cheap but are a piece of gear that will last a lifetime. The tungsten-carbide cutting blades are replaceable. We will have some engraved West Branch Angler nippers in the shop this spring for all of our Hatch fans.