Farewell, Sweaty Waders. Hello, The Fly Zone (We’ve Moved)

Fly ZoneHere at Sweetwater Fly Shop, we’ve got a fancy new website that we’re very proud of. In order to consolidate our efforts and make things more efficient, we’re now posting our blog posts directly to our website, instead of on this Sweaty Waders blog page. To see our most recent reviews, features, tips & techniques, etc…, click on the “Fly Zone” tab at the top of the new web page (or click here to go there directly). Please bookmark our site for future reference. Thanks!

New Stuff #3 – Fishpond Goodies

We continue to unpack box after box of new products, and what we’ve found has us very excited for the upcoming season. The boxes from Fishpond were particularly juicy. Let me just mention a couple of items that we unpacked, in addition to all of the exceptional quality packs, bags, and tools that are the forte of the Colorado company.

hand-camo_3First up are the Nomad Series nets. These babies are crafted from a combination of carbon fiber and fiberglass. They’re incredibly light for their size (considerably lighter than wood), but are built to last. They’re weatherproof and buoyant, lest your buddy drop your net in the river. The handles are coated with rubberized paint, so they won’t slip out of your wet hands. The come with a “ghost net” clear rubber bag. I’m not fully convinced that the clear bag makes a difference in netting a fish, but the rubber sure is easier on the fish than mesh and also easier to untangle your flies. These nets sure look nice as well.

We also love the new CO-Lab wool pullovers, Fishpond’s collaboration with Voormi, another small voormi_access_detail_1_2Colorado company (it took me a while to figure out that the CO in CO-Lab stood for Colorado). Made with locally sourced Merino wool, these pieces are butter-soft on the inside. On the outside, Voormi has come up with a process to coat the wool fibers such that they are more water resistant and also more durable than plain wool. These pullovers would be ideal to wear as an outer layer on a cool spring morning, or as a layering piece when the cold wind is blowing or the rain/snow begins to fall. You’ll look great in one when you’re just hanging out at the sidewalk tables of Gil’s Goods. We’ve got the High-E Hoodie for women and the somewhat lighter Access Pullover for men. Check these out, for sure!

_0003_delta_sling_front_2In the more traditional fishing packs category, Fishpond has a winner with the new Delta Sling Pack. Made with Fishpond’s Cyclepond (recycled fishing net) material, it’s light but durable. Unlike most sling packs on the market, this one can be worn over either shoulder, so you can switch off during the day. It’s big enough to carry a ton of gear, as well as your rain jacket and lunch. It has plenty of attachment points to keep all of your tools at hand and a slot for a guide net. It even has a Velcro attachment point for a pistol holster, if you’re one to carry heat in bear country. Load one of these up and head to the backcountry; the mesh back panel will keep it comfortable even when it’s full of heavy stuff.

New Stuff #2 – Sage Rods

I’ve just been unpacking the box of rods that we received from Sage, and I must admit to having to wipe a bit of drool off of my chin a couple of times. We’ve restocked the usual suspects: The exceptional fast-action One, the slow-action Circa, ideal for the spring creeks, the TXL-F, great fun on small creeks, and the Accel, Sage’s new moderate-fast action rod. And for those starting out or on a budget, the Response and Approach. But we’ve also added a few new rods that we like a lot.

Sage-Rods-201342348-01First up is the ultrafast-action Method. This one is not for the faint of heart, either in appearance or in performance. The blank is a deep blood red (Sage calls it “magma”). And when they say ultra-fast, they mean it. In the hands of an experienced caster, this rod will boom out the casts, even in a stiff wind. It’ll handle big streamers and heavy nymph rigs with aplomb. It’s capable of producing loops about as tight as is humanly possible. And with the help of Sage’s Konnetic Technology, it’s incredibly light, especially for a rod this powerful. But it’s certainly not for everyone, or for every fishing situation. A less expert caster is going to make a mess of things. And it’s not going to be fit for fishing small dries on the spring creeks. But if you’re up to the task, you’ll amaze your friends with the monster casts that you can shoot out there.

SALT AngleDo you make an annual bonefishing pilgrimage to the Bahamas or the Keys? Have you been looking for the ultimate saltwater rod? Sage’s new Salt rod is a more than worthy candidate. Like the Method, it takes advantage of Konnetic Technology to fashion a rod that is exceptionally light but strong. Accuracy at distance is the name of the game for saltwater fishing, and the Salt fills the bill. But that distance must be achieved with a minimum of false casting, and the fast-loading Salt is capable of shooting line like no other rod you’ve tried. Like the Method, the Salt is not a rod for the less-experienced caster; it’ll tend to amplify casting faults. On the other hand, if you’ve already cut you teeth on the flats, the Salt could take your saltwater fishing to the next level. And it’s very pretty as well, sporting a deep blue color.

Sage-Motive-890-4-Angle-201342362What if you’re making your first trip to the salt? You don’t want a rod that’s going to cost you a fortune and that is going to be difficult to cast up to its potential. Take a hard look at Sage’s Motive. At $425, it’s about half the cost of the Salt. And it actually weighs the same as that rod. It has a medium-fast action, not as fast as the Salt, and will therefore be more forgiving. But it’s still a powerful, fast-loading rod that will be able to reach those distant feeding bones with a minimum of false casting. I loved casting this rod; you can really feel it load up in preparation to shoot a bunch of line. A bit lighter blue than the Salt, this rod’s also pretty snazzy in appearance.

New Stuff #1 – The Umpqua Tailgater Organizer

BoxesBig boxes are arriving almost daily here at Sweetwater Fly Shop! That means we have lots of new products to unpack. We ordered it all so long ago, we’ve kind of forgotten exactly what we’re getting in. It’s a bit like Christmas! Within the next couple of weeks, the shop will be going from somewhat empty to packed to the gills (pun intended). We’ll be stocked with everything you need for your early season fishing.

We’ve decided to highlight a few of the new products that we’ve added for this year. Just a few things you might need to add to your fly fishing gear arsenal. We won’t have time or energy to go over everything that comes out of the boxes, so come on in to the shop and have a look around.

We’re excited about the new Umpqua Tailgater Organizer. If you’re like Tailgaterus, you have serious organizational issues when it comes to toting all your gear around. This just may be the answer. Wrap the organizer around any plastic tub (you’ll have to supply your own), dump your waders and boots in the tub, and arrange your fly boxes, tools, tippet spools, etc… in the multitude of handy pockets and slots. Everything’s right where you need it when you get to the river and you won’t muddy up your car with wet wading gear. The organizer “saddle bags” detach and can be slung individually over a car seat. The attached handles make everything easy to lug around. It won’t help you catch more fish, but it’ll make getting geared up and torn down that much easier and quicker. This intelligently designed product goes for $79.99 and will help keep the back of your rig from looking like a hurricane has blown through.

Rod Review: Echo 3

Echo 3Just finished casting the Echo 3 and I’ve gotta say: for 350 bucks it’s pretty impressive. As far as looks go, this is by far Echo’s most attractive rod. The wood reel seat looks like something you would see on an eight hundred dollar Winston or Sage rod and the ceramic guides are a nice, subtle touch. Echo describes the action of the 3 as “fast-ish” which is pretty spot on. It’s somewhere between medium-fast and fast, making it a great general purpose rod. My only real issue with the rod is that it’s a little bit heavier than I like. It may be a little tiresome to cast all day, as opposed to something a little lighter like the Sage Accel. Overall the Echo 3 is a very attractive rod that will cast just about any fly with ease and at a surprisingly low price, too. If a heavy rod doesn’t bother you, try out a 5 weight for a walk wading rod.

Code Red – The Vapen’s new look (and feel)

Vapen RedRedington’s Vapen fly rod has undergone facelift (grip-lift? hmm) surgery. Introducing PowerGrip, a collaboration with Winn Grips. That’s right, baby, a golf grip on a fly rod. The Vapen Red is an alternative option to Redington’s higher end fast action rod, the Vapen. With the Vapen (or Vapen Red) you can choose to present a Chubby Chernobyl with the elegance of a ballroom dancer or huck a Butt Monkey, if you’re into that sort of thing. In other words, it’s a solid rod for a variety of uses. But that’s not what we’re talking about. We are here to discuss the grip, which I think is actually pretty sweet. The idea behind the soft polymer grip is to create something more comfortable for the angler to hold and cast all day. If you have ever experienced wrist fatigue from casting a fly rod, try the Vapen Red out. Think Tempur-Pedic. If the old way is just not doin’ it for ya, the Vapen Red will likely change that. This is definitely an item where personal preference comes into play; some like it, some love it, others aren’t fans, I think its pretty cool. You may not cast as far as Bubba Watson can drive, but you will feel as good as John Daly doing it.

Gear Review: Sharkwave GPX Fly Line

SharkwaveAll new for 2014, Scientific Anglers have come out with the worlds first triple-textured fly line.  What does this mean you may ask?  Well, the folks at SA made the front taper of the Sharkwave using the Sharkskin technology.  Sharkskin floats higher, and shoots through the guides better than conventional fly lines due to the scale pattern on the line.  Less surface area equals less resistance on the guides, and on the water.  Sharkskin was a great fly line, however there were some complaints from line burn on peoples fingers, and the noise it made on the guides, but only using it for the front taper has taken care of these issues.  The second section of this line is known as the “tactile reference point”, which is made of conventional fly line, and is a different color than the front taper of the line.  This section allows for easy mends as well as giving a visual as to where the line will want to be stripped into to pick up casts well.  The Third section, or the running line is made of the Mastery Series Textured line.  The dimpled surface of the textured line, again allows for less drag on the guides.

The GPX taper, is designed to be a half-size heavy for today’s fast action rods.  The line is designed to be fished in cold to temperate water temperatures.  SA also makes the Sharkwave in the Ultimate Trout taper, as well as a Saltwater taper, which you will definitely want for warm water conditions.  The seemingly best two features of the line are that it remains virtually memory free, which is amazing!  Also, it stays very clean.  After a couple of months of being stomped around on the floor of a sandy drift boat, the line still looks great.

A few other technologies that they have put into the line include Micro-balloons, ( proprietary microscopic glass bubbles are added to the coatings of all Scientific Anglers floating fly lines to optimize line floatation by effectively trapping air inside the core and to provide precise control over the density of each line). Dry Tip technology, which keeps the line floating higher with less surface drag.  Extra Strength Streamlined loops, for easier line to leader, and line to backing connections. Also the Advanced Shooting Technology, which is continual line slickness allowing the line to shoot farther as it moves virtually friction-free through the guides.

The GPX taper comes in WF3-WF9 and in two colors, Bright, and Stealth. The new Sharkwaves are set at an MSRP of $99.95, and is absolutely worth every penny.  Call or come by Sweetwater Fly Shop to check them out!

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