Dec 17

A post for SOs and spouses… this is what your flats fisherman wants for Christmas (2017).

Folks… forward this on to your loved ones if you’d like to drop hints, but don’t want to just fill out an Amazon Wish List.

Flats Anglers have needs… special needs… needs that are different from Rocky Mountain trout anglers or a bass fisherman. We are special.

First… there is the sun. The sun is kind of brutal out there on the flats. There’s no shade wading a flat or standing on a flats skiff. So… here are a few thing we might need to stay un-crisp.

The Patagonia Men’s Tropic Comfort Hoody II.
Long name, but a pretty awesome shirt for the sun. The hood, the high collar, the thumb holes… I like it all. I have one in blue and I want more.


And since we’re on Patagonia… let’s talk about the Guidewater II Pants.
I have several pairs of these. I love them. After a day in the salt they sort of harden to be similar to armor. I love that feeling. I’ve torn a couple pairs at this point, but those were 100% my fault.


I also have this hat
Trucker caps are cool… but if you are like me (a bit bald) the mesh doesn’t do what I need it to in terms of keeping me from burning.

Fitz Roy Tarpon Stretch Fit Hat, Navy Blue (NVYB)

And because it is part of the uniform and part of not burning… how about a Stalker Mask from Skinny Water Culture.

SWC Tail Pima Cotton Stalker Mask

Everyone NEEDS good sunglasses out on the flats. I prefer Costas, which is pretty much what 95% of the fly anglers I know fish with.

A trigger, and Costas

In terms of our feet… well… that is less about sun and more about coral/shells/urchins. There are two boots I’ve used lately. My heavy boots were from Patagonia, but a look on their website and they DON’T MAKE THEM ANYMORE! Crap!

Luckily, others do. Here’s the other pair of flats boots I have. The Simms Zipit Bootie II.
These pack down nicely to save room. I have these a size too small, sadly, which can make a day on the water a bit uncomfortable (I wear a 14 and it can be hard to get what I need in this department). It looks very much like Simms has you covered in their other designs as well. I mean… Simms… pretty solid.

You need a pack while you are out there, and I recently converted over to the Thunderhead sling pack by Fishpond. In addition to being just an awesome company (love their conservation ethic), the sling does a couple of things really well. It is waterproof. I can leave my phone in that thing without worrying. Second, it is big enough for me to carry everything I need without sacrificing. Third, with it sitting higher than a hip pack if I leave a zipper open in haste, it isn’t going to fill up with water with one deep step. I’m a fan.

Now… on to the rod and reel end of things.

Let’s start with the most important element piece of hard gear for the salt… the reel.

The best budget option out there right now, by far, is the Behemoth from Redington. I mean… at $129 you can pick up three of these for the price of one of the bigger named reels. They are not likely to fish for 20 years, but if you need a back-up or want to pick up a rig for your first trip without fully investing… this is a great option.

Other reels I think highly of..

I’ve always wanted a Galvan T8. At $430, this is what passes for a mid-range reel for saltwater. They are also a California company, which is cool.

Image result for galvan t8

It seems these days a lot of the top anglers I see are sporting the Hatch 7+. At $650, this is a solid high-end reel.


Now… on to the rods, which some would argue is just as important as the reel… maybe even more important.

On the budget side of things, the revamped Redington Predator is a good, solid option. Budget, for a saltwater rod, is about $300. I’ve got three Predators, an 8, 10 and 12. When you are going multi-species and are looking at three rods, it gets hard to fathom getting three $800 rods. The Predator helps get you around that.

For the top end of the market… I love, love, love my Orvis Helios 2. Now, they have a third version of this rod out now, so, you’d have to settle for an H3 (which is supposed to be even better).

Helios 3D 8-Weight 9' Fly Rod

Other rods that are beloved by anglers I deeply respect include…
The Meridian from Scott.
The Sage Salt HD.

In terms of fly lines, I’ve pretty much been a RIO guy for a while.
I like their standard bonefish line. They have a Quickshooter line as well, and I’d recommend that if you are going to primarily wading for your bones, or if you might need a little bit more loading on your rod. They also have a directcore line, which I haven’t fished, but seems really promising.


That’s it.

OK. That’s not IT. There is a ton more. There is tippet and leaders and flies and fly tying material and boat bags and then the actual boats… kayaks, SUPs, skiffs. Nippers, pliers, tippet holders, coolers… so much gear to have so much fun. The gear is half the fun (OK, maybe 10%, but still, you need this stuff to get out there and get after it.)

OTHER Stuff:

Flyfishing for Bonefish by Dick Brown
Fly Fishing Belize by Jim Klug
Body of Water: A Sage, a Seeker, and the World’s Most Elusive Fish by Chip Dombrowski
GT: A Flyfisher’s Guide by Peter McLeod
Fly-Fishing the Yucatan by Rod Hamilton (and others)
Yeti Tundra cooler
Fishpond Thunderhead Duffle
Skinny Water Culture Tarponist t-shirt
Estrada Art Tarpon Slime t-shirt
Body Glide (seriously)

Sep 13

We have a winner

Frank Reid is getting a new flats pack from Fishpond. That works out pretty well, as that was the piece of gear he was most wanting.

Our winner, Frank.

Our winner, Frank.

Thanks to the good folks at Fishpond for letting us do the give away and thanks to all of you for your comments. Fishpond is a pretty solid company. I like their gear and their philosophy.

Thanks Fishpond

Thanks Fishpond

Sep 13

The Fishpond Scavenger Hunt

Nice pack

Nice pack

I have gear to give away (the Low Tide Hydration/Lumbar pack above). One of you lucky folks will be the beneficiary of this thanks to the good folks over at Fishpond. I am not one for just selecting people at random. I want you to put in some work, so here’s what’s required to be entered into the drawing for the wonderful flats pack.

  1. You need to go to the Fishpond Facebook Page and give them a “Like”
  2. You need to go to the Fishpond website and find the piece of gear you most covet and tell me what it is and why you covet it.
  3. List out what you put in your pack for a day on the flats.

I’ll announce the winner on Friday. You must put your answer in the comments section of this page (look at the top of the page, not the bottom, for the comments link).

Sep 13

Fishpond Pack Give Away

I like Fishpond, as a company. They just seem solid, solid, solid. I like their gear and I like their ethics.

So, later this week I’m announcing a Fishpond Pack Give Away. I’ll announce the details in a couple days. Should be fun.



Nov 11

Fishpond… kind of awesome.

OK… thanks to Fishpond for sending me a Low Tide Lumbar pack for my upcoming Hawaii Trip.  I’ve long been a fan of their gear, so it was great to test drive this latest version of their lumbar pack (I’m not calling it a fanny pack). I have the earlier generation and it has put a lot of miles in with me.

The Low Tide Lumbar Pack from Fishpond

So, first the important stuff.  This pack fits two of my big fly boxes.  That is essential.  If they don’t fit, it won’t be a useful pack to me.  This pack fits.  So… we are off to a good start.

They fit and the zipper can still zip.

Another REALLY cool thing was that looking at the tag on the pack I saw that it was very short on the normal marketing drivel and it was instead a place to help spread word on a really important issue… the slaughter of sharks in our oceans.

That's www.protectsharks.org


I say… well played Fishpond… very well played.  Check out Protect Sharks.


Aug 11

Fishpond’s new flats pack

Finally. I’ve been waiting for them to put out a new flats pack.

The Low Tide Hydration Lumbar Pack will keep up with you all day while chasing rooster fish on the beach or permit on the flats. Recycled, lightweight CYCLEPOND™ fabric covers the exterior, and the air LTE lumbar support keeps you comfy all day. A front zippered pocket allows access to quick access items while two exterior pockets accommodate large water bottles. Dual webbing straps with Velcro® hold a plier sheath or accessories and plenty of attachement points exist for tools. MSRP: $69

Not bad.. not bad at all.

Have to say, I wouldn’t mind taking one of these out for a spin… just doubt the guys at the office would appreciate my wearing it to work.


Oct 10

Shark Free Marinas

I could get behind this… Shark Free Marina’s sounds like a good idea.  Basically, it lets folks know that your marina doesn’t support the harvest of sharks.

Therefore, the Guy Harvey Foundation, The Humane Society of the United States, and various other organizations have teamed up with the Shark-Free Marina Initiative (SFMI) for a singular, historic purpose: to reduce worldwide shark mortality. SFMI certifies sport fishing and resort marinas as ʻShark-Freeʼ thereby prohibiting any shark from being landed at their dock. The SFMI team is being advised by Dr. Bob Hueter, Director of Shark Research at the Mote Marine Laboratory and John Le Coq, co-founder of Fishpond USA.

via Fly Rod and Reel’s Blogs: Conservation – 2010 October – Shark Free Marinas – by Ted Williams.