Yes kids the rumors are true. There is an international fly fishing trade show, and somehow Steve and I wound up attending. We’ll be engaging in various forms of buffoonery over the next few days including heckling the casting pond and spreading rumors and lies amongst the industry solely for our own entertainment, you know the usual. We are strangers in a strange land so we figure we’d take all our friends to Reno with us…through the magic of the intraweb. Check out our facebook and twitter pages for updates from the show on new gear, SCOF partners in swag, and whether II can get Steve drunk enough to take a second wife while we’re here in Reno.
Seeing as how we are in the middle of an epic heat wave up here in the high country, and everywhere else in the Southeast, we figured it would be a good time to break out some more SCOF style sun protection. I’m not gonna say these shirts are the only thing standing between you and spontaneously combusting in ball of fire that burns with the intensity of the sun, well actually that is kind of what I’m saying. So buy a shirt, don’t burn alive, and help my kid go to the dentist…win…win…win. Click on a shirt to check them out in the store.
Sometimes we do things a certain way because we have always done them that way…that is until someone comes along, kicks you in the ass and shows you a much better way. Well, that foot in your ass belongs to Kevin Best, at Nomad Fly Fishing, and he has basically re-invented how fishing nets should be made. Wood and metal are great choices if you need a table or a chair, but fiberglass/carbon fiber composite seems to make a lot more sense for a tool that will spend its life in and out of water, digging into river rocks, and generally being abused day in day out. Not to mention the fact that a boat net that weighs as much as a PBR is just too good to be true.
Seeing as I had just laid another metal boat net to rest after I got aggressive on digging a client’s fish out of a rock pile, I was in need of something new and better. One google checkout later, and I was opening up my new Nomad, wearing nothing but a grin from ear to ear…don’t ask, but know that it was always a little weird at my childhood birthday parties. I have only put the wood to my new composite net on one trip so far, but first impressions include wow, zowee, and ka-blam! From the rubbery grip to the built-in ruler on the handle, Nomad Fly Fishing is the best thing that has happened to nets since they stopped using them to catch crazy people. We are going to give the net a full review in this winter’s issue after we have been able to put a little more abuse on it, but until then, go ahead and plan on getting an early start on this winter’s kindling pile. Trade that wood albatross in for a Nomad, the 21st century will thank you.
Trying to figure out an acceptable way to tell Wifey, that I would like an open marriage to include my new net,
We recently received the last bag for our gear review in the fall issue, and it’s one that I have coveted for more years then any self respecting man should covet a bag (insert jokes involving Nancy and purses here). The Patagonia Great Divider Bag has been around since I was but a mere lad and it hasn’t changed all that much over the years. I’m guessing this stalwart like consistency stems from the principle “Why go messin’ with stuff, that don’t need messin’ with,”…I’m imagining old Yvon saying this exact thing at a Patagonia board meeting…I read his biography…the man hates messin’. When they first came out with this bag it was the best boat bag on the market and all these years later it remains the best boat bag on the market. From the beefy zippers to the clear water proof pockets this bag is simple like a bucket, if that bucket was the most awesome bucket ever made…like that one in the limerick. This one is gonna see the bottom of a lot of boats before the full review comes out in the Fall issue, and we couldn’t be more excited.
Have you ever tried to stuff 10 pounds of crap into a 5 pound sack? Well I do it almost every day out on the water. I am the type of guide that carries every fly everywhere because you just never know what the day may bring, and I may have just found a bag that can hold all my crap plus your crap and maybe even a little bit of your weird buddies crap to. We just got our hands on the new Sage DXL Typhoon Bag (the big daddy not to be confused with the itty bitty), for the first issues gear review, and we are about as impressed as one can be with a bag (I mean it is a bag after all, not one of those fancy self-cleaning European Porta-Johns). Upon first look, the folks at Sage spent some time thinking on this one and it shows. The bag is highly water-resistant in the main compartment with the normal waterproof zip closures you’d see on the Simms Dry Creek bags but Sage has added a magnetic storm flap over the zipper to beef up the most likely spots for water intrusion. What makes this bag stand out from everything thing else we’ve seen out on the market is the separate submersible compartment that sports a zipper beefy enough, that I wouldn’t be opening and closing it around any vulnerable appendages…if you know what I mean. The submersible compartment is big enough to hold anything you absolutely don’t want getting wet…camera…keys…phone…a vertically challenged individual…all of it. Sage also put plenty of other nice amenities into this bag like a ton of pockets to separate out your separables, a comfy thick hip belt, and bottom compression straps that will carry an extra rod tube or a jacket. We’ll be putting this bag through the proverbial meat grinder over the next couple of months so be sure to check the Spring Preview Issue for the full review.
The kind folks over at the Outdoor Blogger Network sent us a new waterproof box from Plano to play around with…oh and play we did. This whole deal worked quite nicely for me in particular because I am one of those guides who stuffs everything into my pockets through out the day on the boat. When I say everything, I mean all things within in my grasp at any point in time…I wouldn’t be surprised if some of your stuff got into the mix. To combat my compulsive Kangaroo-like pocket stuffing, I have taken to carrying a dry box and living out of it. Up until now I have been using a small Pelican case that will fit the essentials (smokes, lighter, wallet, phone, nicotine lozenges, and a small foreign exchange student…in that order of importance), but that left my clients with the big dry bag that was what I like to call a seasonal dry. If it rained enough, water was gonna flow. This box is the perfect size to fit not only all my clients’ and my crap, but I could probably start renting out crap storage to other guys on the river…for a nominal fee of course.
The first test was what we like to call the sticker test. Boxes make great places to bury all the extra stickers you get and let people know a little about you before they even talk to you…I personally don’t mess with anyone rocking a GWAR sticker on any gear they own. A box that won’t take a sticker is like a carnie that doesn’t smell like cabbage…doesn’t make sense. We are happy to report the Plano box takes stickers with an ease and grace reminiscent of a young Burt Reynolds.
After the sticker test everything else just seems like icing, but we might as well say that this box is simple, well thought out, and exactly what I wall looking for. The clear Lexan plastic is a great material that probably isn’t as crush proof as a Pelican but makes up for it with the clear plastic. It is really nice to be able to spot check your stuff without having to open and close the box all the time. Another nice feature is the three latch system. It gives you the option to lock the thing down with all three latches if you are going through some sketchy or splashy water, or just use one of the latches while you are on the flats and making access super quick and easy.
I am not sure what the mat that comes with the box does. It kind of reminds me of the mat in your car to keep the change from sliding around. I lost that mat years ago. The other thing was it might have been nice to offer the option of a pluck and pull foam insert for the box because as it stands now, I wouldn’t put any sensitive electronics like my SLR in there because I’m pretty sure hard plastic, drops, and electronics don’t react well together. But for everything else that I invariably carry along, this box will do just fine and will have a permanent spot on my boat the rest of the season.
I am not affiliated in any way with the Plano Corporation. My name was drawn at random and I received the Plano Guide Series 1470 GS Waterproof Storage in exchange for agreeing to use it and post an honest review.
Awhile ago we did a quick initial review on the Fishpond Piney Creek Tech Pack. Seeing as I am snowed in again (for the third time in December…If I ever get my hands on this La Niña character I am going to slap the piss out of her…I don’t care if she is a girl), I decided to take the pack out for more utilitarian purposes. In this case, utilitarian means strapping supplies to my back and making the soul crushing walk 3/4 of a mile straight uphill to my house, through a good foot of snow with nothing standing between me and the bottom of a frozen ditch except for a pair of glorified tennis rackets strapped to my feet. I am happy to report the Piney Creek Tech Pack not only met the challenge, but did it in a manner befitting the glorious sack of Zeus himself.
As you can see I was able to get two full size Digiornos’ Pizzas in there, what you can’t see is the 12 pack of beer, the half-gallon of milk, the 3 packs of smokes, and my iPad that were also crammed in that bad boy. If I could have found a midget at the grocery store, I would have stuffed him in there to with room to spare. The pack rides nice fully loaded, but a padded waist belt would make this thing a Cadillac. As it stands, you will probably never load the Piney Creek up heavy enough to need the extra padding, unless you are like me and like to load bags with rocks to carry around just for the f of it. Once the thaw hits I will fill this puppy up with fishing gear and head somewhere to test its non-utilitarian use, but it will probably still be loaded up with beer…lets make that definitely.
Once the magazine comes out, we will devote an entire department to gear reviews, as in the end we are nothing but boys with expensive toys. I have always kind of taken gear reviews with a grain of salt as most are glorified press releases or written by someone who used the gear in question for a total of one afternoon (if at all). In that vein, we are going to try to use all the gear we review for as long a period as possible before we pass judgment in print. In some respects this will hamper our ability to review the newest and raddest gear as soon as it hits the market but on the other hand, when SCOF makes a gear recommendation, you can be rest assured that there are a lot of river miles behind it. The Gear Review in the first issue will be called Sack Up: A Gear Bag For Every Southern Situation, and we just got our first bag to test… yay. The first entry into the SCOF bag bonanza is the Piney Creek Technical Pack (retailing for $169.00) from fishpond.
This bad boy is the leading candidate for our favorite backcountry creek bag. We were looking for something that had the capacity to carry backcountry essentials like water, rain gear, Snickers bars (at least 12), and maybe even an adult beverage or three for our aprés “slaying it” celebratory imbibing. What we didn’t want was an overly large “fishing” section of the bag since our Southern backcountry trout don’t require more than a couple small boxes, one or two spools of tippet, and a couple other essentials. On first glance this bag is gonna fit the bill well with a detachable chest pack that can be worn up front for fishing and in the back for walking. You can also stash the pack when you get there and just use the chest pack so your ninja-like boulder hopping skills remain uninhibited. The pack itself seems to ride nice fully loaded, and comes with all the bells and whistles that fishpond has become known for (rod tube sleeves, hydration bag slot, net retainer ring, etc…). Fishpond states that the pack material is waterproof and I really hope that this is the case because getting caught in a downpour is bad enough without adding the insult of a wet sack as well. All in all, I am quite pleased with the Piney Creek out of the box, but like everything else in life, time on the river will be the true test of its worth.