The opening line in Norman Maclean’s classic, A river runs through it, is perhaps the most memorable distillation of the inherent passion behind angling: “In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing.” Anyone who has been around fly fishermen knows that pursuit is more addiction than hobby.
Thus, it comes as no surprise that fly fishermen choose their gear with the same care that they choose their fishing waters. A fly rod, a waterproof backpack, a bag, a shirt or a pair of boat shoes are not chosen solely because of its functionality. For loyal fly fishermen, the purchase of gear is an opportunity to make a clear statement to the world: I know the secret behind what lies beneath … and how to catch it … with a dry fly.
While all fly fishermen are bound by the basic truth, anglers come in two basic dispositions – those who spend their lives fishing in familiar waters, and those who forever seek new destinations and challenges. For the latter with perpetually wandering lust, there is a whole category of equipment just for them, and nothing says you love them more than these choices.
I knew this company when it could have been called Small fish in a large pond, an unknown company that created a better travel duffel. Now they are a strength in the fly fishing community – with many products ranging from fly boxes to waterproof bags and backpacks to fly fishing vests, rod boxes and nets – not to mention everything you need accessories.
Along the way, however, the company grew, and as all large companies do, they became a strength for good. For Colorado-based Fiskedam Business is about saving the wild, where anglers and fish meet, the cross of existence that makes the dance worth it all. By making a statement and taking a stand, Fishpond has become far more than the manufacturers of high-quality inventive products for fly fishermen. Instead, the brand asks those who believe in healthy rivers, lakes, and seas to join their tribe and save the places our species cannot live without. “We are friends with our wild places far away, and those in our own backyard,” says the tag associated with most of their products.
If you want to tell others that you’re a member of that tribe – especially at airports around the globe – do nothing better than the Grand Teton Rolling Duffel. It’s a fishing camp in a bag. In addition to pulling boots, waders, nets, shirts, vests, rods and reels, the 35-inch-high, lightweight multi-compartment duffel is very tough because it is made of a proprietary fabric with ballistic fabric centers in high-wear areas. And did I say it’s beautiful to start?
If there is one company that connects the fishing world, it is Bang (pronounced hook). Look at their clothes and accessories and it’s easy to see why. The first thing you notice about their shirts is not that they look good, it is that the people in them look good. Every skinny gym rat shines in every shirt, but the way Huk designs their technically sophisticated clothes, the Double Pony Polyester fabrics they use, and the smart print patterns they use tend to give dad bods a boost. and I’m okay with that.
And in addition to their extensive line-up of angling favorites – from rain gear, pants and boxers to hats, gloves and leggings – they offer some of a traveling angler’s most comfortable shoes. The Huk Brewster is a lightweight slip-off model that is ideal for buzzing through TSA checkpoints as well as standing on the bow of a flatboat scanning for bony fish. The shoe comes in many colors, but Refractive Storm just screams, See you on the water.
It’s a simple question, what case would you rely on for thousands of dollars of rods and reels to go to the Amazon for peacock bass or Belize for permission or the Seychelles for bonefish? For those who have used the handmade Sea Run Fly Rod Cases – there are many models – the answer is obvious. Sea Run boxes hold four to five, four-part rods, up to six flywheels or fly cabinets, are TSA compliant and are the lightest and most durable boxes on the market – period. The Italian company has more than 40 years of experience in manufacturing cases for premium firearms that often cost as much as many homes. When your rods and reels absolutely need to be there in one piece, there is a safe choice.
Bajio’s line of high-performance glasses are both stylish and practical, whether you throw to the tarpon or take a walk on a beach. The frames are made of a low-density bio-resin, and its wide, curved lenses provide improved field of view with polarized lens technology that blocks blue light and reduces eye strain on the brightest days. Despite being lightweight, they are stronger than heavier models and also provide impact resistance if your buddy is carried off with his back bracket.
From the Montana-based manufacturer of some of the world’s best fly fishing gear – where they know a thing or two about fish … and bugs – comes the ultimate bug-off shirt. Simms makes a comprehensive range of premium men’s and women’s fly fishing and adventure clothing, equipment and accessories, but I have been using their shirts for many years because they are well made, fit beautifully and in the case of the Bugstopper series you should keep me from being consumed of mosquitoes … and that means more time on the water.
If you have ever gone through Filson’s Seattle store, you know a lot of what the brand is all about, that it stays dry and warm in all kinds of weather. This is the mantra of most fly fishermen who call Nordlandet or the Pacific Northwest their home, which is why you see so much Filson carried anywhere rain, snow and ice are common.
However, their new dry bag is something of a technical leap from the traditional wax cotton and wool materials that make up most of their outerwear. It is made of 840 denier nylon tarpaulin coated with thermoplastic polyurethane – as they say, water simply can not penetrate it. The package was developed with extensive feedback from serious fishermen and hunters and has all the features that make it comfortable to carry with even heavy loads.