I love to look into my fishing buddies’ fly-boxes, check out their fly rods and reels, and hear about their clothing experiences. Assuming you do as well, I have decided to tell you about the stuff I carry around when aiming for trout or salmon, or any other type of fish in the vicinity. You will notice though, that I am not a gear freak, even though I like to buy new gear now and then. I like to rely on gear that has proved me to be trustful, and prefer to save money for travelling!
I happen to use three brands of rods: Winston, Sage and G. Loomis. Not for religious matters, but because I happened to stumble across these brands first, helped sometimes by my angling friends.
I discovered the Washington state brand when I bought my first real serious fly rod, a 9-foot 6-weight RPL, two-piece. What a lovely rod! It has landed me many a fish, from Europe to America, from Argentina to Iceland. Its cork handle has seen its share of fish scales, and slime, and could need a replacement… but the rod would loose its soul! I still have it at home, but unfortunately my newer 4-piece rods have been the choice most of the time these last years, for travel comfort reasons.
A couple of years ago, I purchased a G. Loomis CrossCurrent GLX for saltwater fishing. What a powerhouse! G. Loomis rods are famous for a reason, and I have been charmed too. Sure I will buy other Loomis rods in the future! Their Spey models have been designed with the help of Ed Ward. One good reason to go with a Loomis Spey rod.
My latest acquisitions are two Winston rods: one is a single-handed Boron IIIx rod, 8-weight model, and the other is a Spey rod Boron III TH 12’9 foot 7 weight model. I did not know the Twin Brigdes, Montana based company well before a fishing buddy, Sergei Sapronov, told me about them. He asserted that they made the finest rods with great action, thanks to the boron – graphite combo. I can confirm this: that rod is the finest (as most expensive) rod that I have ever owned!
Here is a list of the rods that normally sleep under my bed (with my wife’s blessing):
- 5-weight 9-foot 4-piece Sage XP (590-4)
- 6 weight 9-foot 2-piece Sage RPL (690)
- 6 weight 9-foot 4-piece Sage TCR (690-4)
- 8 weight 9 foot 4-piece Winston Boron IIIx
- 10 weight 9 foot 4-piece G. Loomis CrossCurrent GLX
- Spey: 7 weight 12’9 foot 4 piece Winston Boron III TH
- Spey: 8 weight 13’6 foot 4 piece Winston Boron III TH
- Spey: 10 weight 13 foot 4 piece Echo King
My fly-reel assortment is not much varied: I mostly trust the Waterworks-Lamson and the Swedish Danielsson reels. These two brands have been able, in my opinion, to come up with cost-effective reels that are beautifully and modernly designed, and with tremendously efficient and simple drag systems. I own two Lamson Velocity size 2 and one Lamson Velocity Hard Alox size 3 reels, mostly for my trout fishing, one Lamson Litespeed Hard Alox size 3 and one size 4 for my Spey fishing, and one Danielsson 6nine for heavier single-handed fishing.
I recently purchased a Hardy Fortuna X3 for my king salmon fishing, and have been impressed by its smooth drag and usability. I might get a Fortuna X2 for my steelhead fishing…
In my early fishing years, I bitterly learned the importance of proper clothing when fishing. Since then I have never compromised on this aspect. Hence, I am a bit more religious on this aspect of fly-gear. I trust Patagonia for all of my outer clothing, including waders, wading boots and jacket. The company’s environmental and business philosophy is one other companies should take example on! I highly recommend you to read Patagonia’s founder Yvon Chouinard’s book, called “Let my people go surfing”. Patagonia is part of the “1% for the Planet” movement, meaning that the company donates 1% of their sales to a network of environmental organizations.
Patagonia’s new Guidewater waders with integrated merino wool in the neoprene foot are simply stunning! The Canyonwalker wading boot is simple in its construction, lightweight yet robust, with no metal parts which saltwater like to attack! And my trustful SST jacket has never failed me in pouring rain over the last 5 years that I have owned it. I would never exchange it for another model.
As for insulating layers, I have become increasingly fond of the merino wool material, which has great heat retaining capabilities. But the best is yet to come: it does not pick up your body odors! You can wear it several days in a row, on a remote river, without it becoming stinky! Result: no need to pack so many first layer clothes anymore. The brand I prefer in the merino business is Icebreaker, a company also converted to responsible business.