Epic Rod Building Kit – Product Review

epic rod building kit
I've recently had the urge to have a fly rod that was mostly dedicated to trout fishing. I have several outfits geared towards  Salmon and Steelhead that are largely overkill for trout. And lately my 5wt has taken over as my primary warm water and streamer rod. This leaves a hole in the arsenal on the lighter end of the spectrum. With more trout fishing in my plans for this summer I quickly talked myself into getting a new fly rod. After some thought and questionable personal accounting practices to make the numbers work, the Epic rod building kit was on its way from New Zealand!   The primary intended use for this rod is throwing dry flies on smaller rivers. Fiberglass seems to be all the rage right now, and I was intrigued by the softer action. I settled on Swift Fly Fishing's Epic Fast Glass rods for a few reasons. First, the Epic rod building kits seem to be an easy way to build your first fly rod. This is a skill that I have wanted to learn for a while, as rod blanks ca...
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Kast Gear Steelhead Gloves Product Review

Kast Gear Steelhead Gloves
  This fall I took to finding a better solution for keeping my hands warm while winter steelheading. I have previously owned some waterproof neoprene gloves that were good at keeping the river water and cold air out, but easily made my hands sweat and were hard to take on and off. Neoprene is a great water barrier and insulator, but it is not breathable. When you spend some time working to get to fish, either hiking or rowing, you are likely going to sweat. This moisture is usually the end of having warm fingers in the cold winter months. Enter the Kast Gear Steelhead Gloves.   If you google "best winter gloves for fishing" you are likely to find some hardcore anglers raving about the Kast Gear Steelhead Gloves. So when they had their Black Friday 30% off sale I quickly got out the credit card and bought a pair. Normally $100, I was really happy to try them out for a lower price. I used the sizing chart on their website and hoped for the best.   Before receiving the K...
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Griffin Montana Mongoose Vise – Product Review

griffin montana mongoose
I was recently in the market for a new vise for my tying bench. My Danica Danvise had served its purpose and the jaws had worn to a point where it was hard to place a hook. They were made of non-hardened steel so they dented and nicked easily. I was ready for a higher quality device that I wouldn't have to replace parts on every year or so. I ended up with the Griffin Montana Mongoose.   griffin montana mongoose   I told myself I wasn't going to spend over $250, really wanted to keep it under $200. Of course my "dream" vise was the Stonfo Transformer ($350). It had the cool factor of coming with three separate interchangeable jaws (one standard, one for large streamers and one for tube flies), so it caught my eye right off the bat. I decided to move on from raising my budget when I found some fine options, including the Griffin Montana Mongoose, for around $200. This would save me enough money to where I could buy a dedicated tube vise if I wanted and still come in cheaper that  the Transforme...
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Allen Azimuth 9′ 8wt Fly Rod

allen azimuth
I finally added an Allen fly rod to the quiver! If you've poked around the site at all you probably know that I am extremely happy with my other Allen products. And although I wish this was one of their shiny new Icon II rods, $600 was not in my budget for yet another 8wt setup. So, the Allen Azimuth is a rod that normally goes for $300, well $319 for the 8wt to be exact. But in my weekly newsletter (which came 10 minutes after emailing the guys asking about this specific model), I was pleased to see a 50% special for their newsletter subscribers on all the Azimuth models. It pays to get Allen's promotional emails as there is almost always a great deal on at least one of their great products. So for $170 delivered (plus a $100 gift card left over from my birthday), it was an easy decision to finally try one of these rods.   First, let me explain my intended use for this rod. The vast majority of my fishing, from a time on the water standpoint, is throwing streamers at warm wat...
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Dryft S14 Adrenaline Waders

dryft s14 adrenaline
  I had stumbled across Dryft S14 Adrenaline waders while surfing Facebook a while back, and told myself that when it was time to buy new waders I would have to check them out. Their products have style if you are in to that kind of thing, and the prices seem a little too good to be true.   Needless to say I have been researching waders for a couple months now. My cheap pair of breathable waders from Outdoor World were never perfect (from day one the outer layer let water into the waders, but the inner layer was solid), but had kept me dry for a couple seasons. They finally sprung a leak in the crotchal region early this spring and finally got to the point where I was ready to invest. I have to say that money was a strong motivating factor. I had no desire to buy new waders, there are plenty of other things I would rather be buying from my wishlist at the moment.   I looked at all the usual suspects because if I was going to spend the money, I wanted something that w...
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Rio InTouch CamoLux Line: Product Review

Rio InTouch CamoLux Fly Line
Here is the description from Rio's Website for the InTouch CamoLux Fly Line:
    RIO’s new InTouch CamoLux line is the most incredible intermediate line ever made. Built on the ultra-low stretch ConnectCore, and featuring a unique hang marker 13 ft from the front end, the line is loaded with assets that helps anglers catch more fish. An ultra-cool, clear camo color ensures fish do not spook even in the clearest of water, and with a sink rate of 1.5 to 2 ips, this line is a fish catching machine.
      - Ultra-low stretch core for maximum sensitivity
      - Hang Marker helps indicate when to cast

On the Water w/ Rio's InTouch CamoLux Fly Line:

I've been using the Rio InTouch CamoLux fly line extensively this spring and early summer as my go to streamer line. I fish mostly warm water species this time of year, and the intermediate camo line is perfect on my 5wt Loop Cross S1 for bass and pike. There are surely some lines that are more fine tuned to this use (Scientific Angler's Sonar line ...
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Cutthroat Leader Company’s Furled Leaders

Cutthroat Leader Company furled leaders
Cutthroat Leader Company's furled leaders have been quite the mystery to me. I've always been intrigued by the claims that they present flies much more delicately than standard leaders, while at the same time improving your casting efficiency. This always seemed too good to be true. At the same time I was having pretty good luck making my own tapered mono and fluorocarbon leaders, so I couldn't justify spending the money (upwards of $15 for one leader!) on an untried piece of equipment. I think it is probably fairly clear from the content on this website that I don't do a ton of dry fly fishing for trout. Due to my location in Metro Detroit I focus mostly on warm water species and then making my trips up north for Salmon and Steelhead season. This is something I am looking to change. I love the tranquility of an early morning or late afternoon on a trout stream. The relative peace and quite as compared to a day on the river during peak Salmon/Steelhead run is very appealing. But,...
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Rio InTouch Xtreme Indicator Line: Product Review

rio intouch xtreme indicator
The InTouch Xtreme Indicator fly line from Rio is our go to specialty line when we know chucking a bobber is going to be the plan for the day. This line definitely has applications in its smaller sizes for trout both with and without an indicator. You can just use the hi-vis tip with lighter nymphs and forego the bulky indicator all together. For us though, this is a Steelhead line. I like to use the InTouch Xtreme Indicator line on my 10' 8wt Echo Ion rod. This rod, along with an Allen Kraken reel in size 3, is my workhorse salmon and steelhead rig. And when indicators are on the menu, I make sure to change over to this line. Here is the description from Rio's website:
    The InTouch Xtreme Indicator line has been designed to be a very effective tool for anglers that fish nymphs and indicators out of a boat. The short head has a powerful front taper that casts indicator rigs with ease, and loads up with a single cast. Built with RIO’s ultra-low stretch ConnectCore Technology, t...
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Wulff Ambush Fly Line Product Review

wulff ambush line
From throwing big flies, to great roll casting and single hand spey casting, the Wulff Ambush line delivers. We use this line on multiple setups. The Wulff Ambush line excels on your streamer setup throwing large weighted flies effortlessly. Or, line up a couple weights and use it on your switch rod, or single hander as a great skagit style shooting head. Product description from Royal Wulff
A recent addition to the Triangle Taper family, floating Ambush lines are our most successful introduction. A West Coast influenced design for single-hand casting, single Spey, Skagit, scandi, switch, and double Spey. Now in heavier weights to 600 grains. Originally designed for roll casting in close quarters, the short 20’-29’ heads are ideal for quick-loading. With J3 coating and welded loop. 195-600 grains.

Wulff Ambush Line - On the water:

The Wulff Ambush line is a very versatile streamer line. I have it rigged up on a 9' 5wt Loop Cross S1, as well as a 10' 8wt Echo Ion. Th...
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Rio Trout LT Fly Line Review

rio trout lt
The Rio Trout LT weight forward fly line is our go to dry fly line. We love it on fly rods up to 5wt, or in any situation where fish are spooky and you need a delicate presentation. If you have a rod that is dedicated to dry fly fishing then we don't think you need to look much further than the Rio Trout LT. This line over hand and roll casts dry flies very well. We even do some dry dropper fishing and some light nymphing on this line when the situation calls for it. If you are thinking you will be doing a large amount of double fly or indicator fishing then we would recommend jumping up to the InTouch Rio Gold fly line, or if you are doing a lot of streamer fishing, the InTouch Rio Grand line. The Grand line is designed for fast action rods to throw larger streamers. Here is the description from Rio's website for the Trout LT:
      The Rio Trout LT (Light Touch) line features a long, fine front taper for the lightest of presentations. This extra supple line is built with weight di...
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