Archive for the 'Gear' Category


Fishing: Recycling your waders….

Saw this idea at Deneki Outdoors & Epic Angling where one takes your leaking (can’t salvage them) boot foot/stocking foot waders and cut off the neoprene boots. Now you have an industrial strength set of rain pants/bibs that while worn with rubber boots will out do any typical pair of bibs. Great idea. I have an old pair of Simms Guides that will soon fall into this category.


Photo @ Epic Angling


Photography: “Can’t You Hide That Damn Pouch?”

I have worn this pair of Simms Guide Waders for years. In all of fishing, the greatest purchase I have ever made was a pair of Gore-Tex waders that replaced the old grape skin neoprene waders. The second purchase of note was switching to an Intermediate Clear line for lakes….

But anyway, my wife is often sizing up my unkempt appearance while we fish for photo ops. One aggravating site apparently is the pouch on my waders. It is meant to be flipped inward against the chest, but I have always had it outside the waders to access any number of items. And, as a result it shows the wear of time.

pocket out stained swittersb

I mean it does show some stains from floatants, wet pipe tabacco, sweat, fish slime and water.

I mostly carry pipe tobacco, pipe, lighters, strike indicators, split shot, and other oddities in the pouch. It is just so handy. Some how it gets soiled.

Pouch3 SB


pouch 2 SB

pouch1 SB

Personally, I think it is part of the charm to wear well worn attire on the water. I mean it doesn’t smell too bad, and I can’t really see it. So, what’s the fuss about.


Fishing: Cork Handles and Hooks

corkHere you see the rod’s cork handle…and  to the far left a small metal loop under the rod…a hook keeper. Yet the fly’s hook has been set into the cork of the handle.

When I was a kid there weren’t any hook keepers on ‘poles’. The hook went into the cork. And, apparently for many it still does. If the barbed hook is backed out of the cork, it does little damaged. If it is pulled out in any other way it does pull out a chunk of the cork handle. Some would call this adding character to the rod. 

Given the price of some fly rods and drift rods these days, I think the hook keeper or some other means of hooking the fly/hook to the rod (reel, guide’s footings) should be used. The cork handle on the rod above is 20+ years old and the hook holder was quite an innovative addition when I bought this rod from Harry Teel.



Fishing: Gravel Guards & Abrasion

simms-guide-boot-swittersb-gravel guardsSimple elastic, stretch bands with velcro closures are wrapped around the top of the boot to prevent silt, gravel, grit from gaining total access into the boot and rubbing against the outside of your stocking foot portion of your waders. These are a good investment to protect your waders.

Some newer waders actually have a built in gravel guard that pulls down over the top of the boot. If you have waders without that built in gravel guard like I do, then the gravel guards provide the protection and even some ankle support.

The advantage of the built in gravel guards? You won’t forget them as they are always attached. I always seem to be hanging mine to dry, then grab my gear and don’t notice the gravel guards hanging.

I snapped these two examples of gravel guards covering two different pairs of wading boots I have worn. Remember, you aren’t really protecting the ever rugged wading boot but the stocking (neoprene) foot/ankle portion of the waders. Some grit will still get by, but the amounts will be significantly reduced and protect that spendy investment in waders.

Simms Boots Gravel Guards 2 SB


Cold Weather Gloves for Fly Fishing

This is such a trial and error area for me. I cannot really make a recommendation. Once the temp dips below freezing and the finger tips get wet it is like a combination of bee stings and hammer strikes on my fingertips. Dexterity suffers on tying on flies, using tools, line management with a spey rod especially. I can withstand most things outdoor until my fingertips lose the battle often followed by the toes. I carry different gloves and trade them off as a pair gets overly saturated. Only advice I can give…couple pair of gloves, maybe those hand warmer packets and make the most of those hours you can take it.

Commenter Sk8flyrod pointed the way to the Kast Steelhead Gloves. Positive reviews at MidCurrent and Deneki.


Your Reel’s Drag System

For many of us, we fish for smaller fish as is often said the reel is nothing more than a storage place for the fly line. This implies the reel’s drag really won’t be used by those 6″-12″ trout.

So, assuming you infrequently catch fish that will pull line from your reel to test the drag…that is all the more reason to test a few things about your drag: how is the drag set now? too tight…too loose? You will usually know this as you strip line from the reel to make that ever longer cast. Which way do you turn the drag knob to loosen or tighten the drag? It is good to know this before you are stumbling about playing a large fish.

Also, develop the habit of reeling line up onto the reel in a somewhat uniform manner.  Loops and loose coils on the reel will potentially cause a problem when the large fish (yes this is that fish of the season for many of us) makes its run. The line is streaming off the reel, the drag is working and then you come to a loose loop, coil or tangle. The reel can hesitate, or shoot line out too quickly (when a loop of line shoots off the reel) or come to a complete halt. All these create jolting forces that make the line/rod tip move about with a movement that is not smooth and threatens to snap the tippet. Smooth and consistent is the goal.

So, periodically check that spool. Is the fly line a jumbled mess? Strip out the tangles, loose coils and loops and reel the line back on nice and neat. Also, have some familiarity with that drag knob…in advance of that big one.


Gear Bag: Simple Attention & Prevention

A few years back, I received a beautiful gear bag from my family. It is a Fish Pond bag, that set  them back a fair amount. This is a reminder to immediately take care of your gear after an outing if: you have been infrequently getting out; subject your gear to the elements; don’t recognize the assault upon your gear and put it away sopping wet!

Last Fall, about eleven months ago, I went on a trip up the Sandy River chasing some late running coho. I was wanting to get some fishing in because I was due for surgery on my neck. That late afternoon, the pain was too much to wave a spey rod, the elements intervened and I stripped off my gear, threw it in back and headed home. The gear was off loaded into the garage and forgotten.

An unfrozen zipper revealing the white corrosion that held the zipper. (SwittersB)

The results have been unfriendly to the gear bag that I value and cherish. Corrosion had seized up every one of the 16 zippers! All exhibited that white, crusty crud that had frozen the zippers. I tried silicone sprays, unstick sprays for stuck nuts/bolts…it worked on 3 of the 16 zippers. Research lead to those obvious home remedies…vinegar & lemon juice. Obvious because they work! Actually, I did much better with the lemon juice than with the vinegar. Vinegar is a pretty good resource also, but today the lemon juice was wonderful. Thank goodness.

The gear bag with some of the many zippers unstuck. The zippers have that rusty sheen, but that is more a reflection of some light source as they are not rusted or corroded on the surface, especially not after all the lemon juice and vinegar I poured down their gullet! (SwittersB)

The obvious remedy is not to put anything away wet that can’t stand the mold, mildew, corrosion and rust villains. But, I imagine there are other home remedies or over the counter resources to conquer the stuck zipper/corrosion problem. Prevention being first and foremost.

This type of gear bag probably should not get so wet, and if it does it should be immediately dried out and attention given to the zippers.


New Intermediate Line…Rio Aqua Lux

This week, I ordered a new Intermediate fly line from Pacific Fly Fishers for my stillwater fly fishing. I had done some research on my own and arrived at two of the Rio lines (the Aqua Lux and the Camo Lux). I settled on the Aqua Lux and am excited to get out and use it soon. My old Intermediate is many years old and has been stretched tight many times. It served me well despite a gazillion coils and tangles. I am hoping the Aqua Lux will be a little less coiled and lay out there nicely when casting. I am a huge proponent of the Intermediate fly line for lake fishing (some even use it for fishing streamers on rivers although I have yet to give that a shot). The line has a aqua colored running portion of 60″ and a clear head of 40′. That will be of help in the retrieval up onto the apron. As the aqua transitions into the clear I will have a better idea of how much line remains in the water.


Watches: Water Proof?

More often than not we go fishing to escape the constraints of everyday life, which is almost always subject to time. So why escape only to wear a watch? Well, I am not very good yet telling time by the sun’s positioning against the landscape…give me a week and no clouds and I might figure it out.

In the mean time I wear a watch out of habit. I even wear certain watches when fishing (Dakota’s for me). So, I have never had a watch fail from the submersions into lakes and streams, but I thought I would check out the reliability of ‘waterproof or is it water resistant watches.

Here is what Wiki (Wiki-Leaks? Ha!) says about water submersions. If anyone, beyond a diver’s watch has any recommendations let me know. I do somewhat chart time for hatches, start up and drop off of the bite, tidal changes at the coast and time to head back to camp for dinner….so I can eat and head back out. Waters & Watches Techno Info too


Unintended Hook Up: Sturgeon

My bro-in-law, Richard Zach, is one successful gear fishermen. If he goes out, he rarely fails to connect into his intended target species. Recently, he was fishing for Salmon. Using his tried and true set up, the rod bent mightily…too mightily for a Chinook. Check out his link for Stik-itz

Yes, this surgeon was in the vicinity of 10′ long and somehow decided to gobble a rainbow spoon affair…not the normal glob of stinky bait on the bottom with seven ounces of lead holding it steady. The fish was well outside the slot limit and was released unharmed. Yet another story for Richard to add to his fishing journal.

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