I know that I have already sent you information regarding my recent trip to Chile. I wanted to also give you a bit of a tackle report as well. This was a great chance for me to fish and use the new Winston SX rods as well as the new WestWater products from Fishpond.
So, here is the scoop. Let’s start with Winston. All of you that have spent time with me casting in your parking lot know my casting style. I am always a guy that prefers rods that are not overly fast. The SX is a fast rod, so as much as I liked it, I doubted it would be a trout rod that would fit my style.
Now, when you are packing to go to the other end of the earth, it is smart to bring a lot of fishing equipment. You never know what the conditions will be, what rod might get stepped on, etc. So, I brought a 4 weight BIIT, a 5 and 6 weight BIIIX, and two 6 weight SX rods…..one 9’ and the other 9 1/2’.
I started fishing our first day with a 9’ 6 weight BIIIX. We were wade fishing a smaller stream, but one that is exposed to the wind. And, it was blowing. Casting was pretty short, but the fly was a big dry. My guide Gaston, commented part way through the day, that he liked fishing the Winston, but wished it was a bit faster.
The next day was another small creek, this one even more exposed, where again the flies were all big dries. We broke out the 9’ 6 weight SX……..and never looked back. I loved it, the guides loved it, and it did the job for all the fishing we did the remainder of the trip. Now remember, a good portion of our fishing was out of the boat. Casts were pounded against the bank with dries or streamers, quickly, one after the other. You had to pick up a lot of line, and in one or two false casts knock the fly right back against the bank or under the trees.
Gaston and his other guide working with us, Matt, were both SAGE guys. They were fishing Xi2 rods for most of their trout fishing, so you can understand the conditions. They fell in love with the 690 BIIISX. Gaston commented that it felt like a trout rod, but that it had both power and finesse. A pretty good description I think.
Now for Fishpond. First of all, I chose the three items I thought I would use the most. First was the WestWater Rolling Duffle. It was my big gear bag, meant to haul the lion’s share of my luggage. I brought the Westwater Backpack to use for camera gear when hiking, and the Guide Lumbar Pack for all my on stream fishing equipment.
As for the Rolling Duffle, it did all that I wanted it too. The things I noticed were, first of all, how light the bag is. It weighs just over 8 pounds, so with weight limits as they are you still have 42 pounds of gear that can fit in the bag. Secondly, I like to put all my fly rods in my checked bag. I know most people don’t want to risk it, but I carry on camera equipment and a laptop bag, so I am forced to. I put all 6 of my rods in this bag, even the 9 ½’, in only their rod socks. I always pack them in the middle, padded underneath and above by all my clothes and wading gear. As usual, all rods arrived safe and unbroken. And lastly, when I arrived in Chile, this bag went in the back of the truck, with me not worried about a little rain falling on it.
|Westwater Rolling Duffel|
I used the WW Backpack a lot. It would be used each day for extra clothes, etc. that I would be bringing to our destination. However, if we were going to wade fish or hike, I would fill it with camera gear. Now I know this bag is not totally waterproof because of the zipper, but it did great in very tough weather. Furthermore, it was just the right size and was comfortable and lightweight. I think I am going to use it a lot, and I think your customers will really like it.
|Fishpond Westwater Backpack|
Best of the bunch, as I think you all would expect, was the Westwater Guide Lumbar Pack. Now, this is a piece that a person is going to use only on the water, and be a replacement for a vest or other pack. I loved it. It is big, which is good for this kind of trip. I had lots of fly boxes, so I needed the volume. What I really liked was that the heavier weight material gave the bag some form, so it held its shape and made the piece easier to get in and out of. With this bag feeling so substantial, being made of the material it is, and with its great zippers, these packs should really take off.
|Westwater Guide Lumbar Pack|
The Gorge Fly Shop