Aug 5, 2014

Greg's Top Picks at IFTD/I-CAST

2014 IFTD/I-CAST show came and went. I would have stayed longer if they would've let me but the convention center turns the A/C off at closing time so I'll take that as a hint to "please leave!" While many seem to be ready to go I on the other hand can't seem to get enough. Catching up with old friends, meeting new friends, casting some rods and getting to touch and feel some new stuff gets me thinking about possible new toys to add to my already over-inflated collection of fishing equipment. Too many goodies to list them all here but I would like to highlight a few standouts...

Fly Rods

Winston - There is a way different vibe at the Winston booth and I like it!

Boron III TH-MS Microspey
Tom Larimer describes the Microspey
Trout junkies and warm water species chasers listen up! This is not a switch rod (whatever that really is) or a scaled down steelhead rod. Nope, not at all. The Microspey is just as the name implies, it is a small trout size spey rod designed to do everything a trout anglers does. Winston ambassador and two hand expert Tom Larimer worked side by side with Winston's guru rod designer Annette McLean to create a true spey trout rod. Microspey that is! Cast dry's, swing soft hackles, strip streamers and whatever you wish to do, do it with two hands!
Sizes 3105-4, 4110-4 and 5116-4. $830. Available Setptember-ish
Casting the New Winston Micro Spey
The first time you pick this rod up you notice the lightweight feel of a trout rod. Only the lower handle indicates that this is made for two hands. While casting it feels like a trout rod with its smooth loading and finesse feel but as if instinct just clicks in you naturally want to grab it with two hands. Start out with a simple roll cast and suddenly your mind begins to dream of cascading water with hungry trout. Set up a Snap-T and feel the effortless power of sink tip and fly as it launches across the stream in position to set up the perfect swing!

Winston Nexus 
Winston Nexus 890-4 - This all-Graphite stick has life!

While no particular order in place after the Microspey the New Winston Nexus could certainly hold its own. Winston has shown us with the Microspey to think outside the box and the Nexus backs that fact up even more so. Typically we don't use verbage of Winston and fast action rods in the same sentence but we just got it handed to us and impressed is an understatement. There is nothing wrong with a good fast action graphite rod without all the fancy resins and new technologies. The Nexus is proof of that! The Nexus was an absolute joy to cast and the smile on my face was proof. I liked it! With the price and finish of this USA built rod it will surely put a smile on many faces. Seriously, I see one of these in my very near future. 3 thru 12 weights. $475 - $495. Expected September-ish!

G. Loomis Pro4x SS (ShortStix)
Bass rod, Predator rod, or Mangrove it anything you want but SS doesn't stand for sissy stick. Equip this magnum with a short shooting head line like a RIO Outbound and cast rabbits and chickens with ease. We casted the prototype of this rod back in the winter and it was so impressive we could hardy detain ourselves. The finished version is a true hunter so watch out mangrove tarpon, shallow pike, coastal stripers and lily pad bass, this magnum is headed to the proving grounds and I'm quite confident we have a winner! The ShortStix is 7'6" 3 piece and comes in four sizes, 8/9, 9/10, 10/11 and 11/12. The 10/11 and 11/12 have integrated fighting grip. $400 - $425...Coming soon!


2014 IFTD Best of Show and Best Saltwater Rod Winner

Sage rod designer Jerry Siem talks about the new SALT
The first like I have about this rod is the name, SALT. I like the straight forward METHOD of how to name ONE series of rods. Ok, I'm having fun with names but seriously too many times anglers buy rods not knowing what the rod was intended for. I do realize that fly fishing by design is not supposed to be easy but enough already with lengthy overstated sometimes foreign and unusual rod names.
Get to the point and the Sage SALT does exactly that in its name and its action. Incorporating Konnectic technology into the SALT was a given but the surprise is SALT is not just a METHOD in disguise. The SALT has its very own unique action that can load short for accurate casts but yet progressively builds power the deeper it loads for long ranging double hauls. Sizes 590-4 to 1686-4, $850...Most sizes available now!

Notable Imports

Redington Vapen Black
This rod caught my eye from across the aisle. While the Vapen is not a new rod (introduced at IFTD 2013) it has a new stealthy member to the family. Still available is the Vapen Red and Standard (cork handle) Vapen. Meet the new Vapen Black. The Vapen Black has a cool matte black rod blank color and a black PowerGrip Winn Grip handle. The new look of this rod is stealthy but it's not all just for show. The Vapen rods are very lightweight fast action rods. Oh and the name (yeah it's one of the those we talked about earlier) Vapen means "weapon" in Japanese. Lifetime Warranty.
Sizes 490-4 to 1290-4, $349.95 Available Now!

Echo Glass Two Hand Spey and Switch rods
Echo Glass Two Hand

Glass is a blast! Reminds me of my first rod I fished when I was a kid. It loaded all the way to the handle and seemed impossible to break. Glass has made somewhat of a comeback especially in trout rods. They are so relaxed to fish and really do certain techniques superior to graphite like roll casting. While not for everyone or every fishing situation, Glass is back and many new anglers are discovering it for the first time. Echo has taken the next step and applied Glass to Two Hand Spey and Switch Rods. The rods have a classic look, cast silky smooth and won't break your bank. Expected around January 2015.
3106-4 to 8130-4 and everything in between. $279.99 - $299-99


Kristin Mustad of Nautilus shows off the Silver King to Travis Duddles of Gorge Fly Shop
Nautilus Silver King
Winner - Best of Show Fly Reel Saltwater
All Big game anglers pay attention! Nautilus CCF-X2 Silver King is for you. Following the CCF-X2 design the Silver King is a 5 inch diameter 10.9 ounce fully sealed reel and it's ready for battle with all things silver whether it be Tarpon on the flats to Kings in Alaska. We knew this reel was a winner and the IFTD show awards proved it a winner with Best of Show Fly Reel Saltwater award.
Will be available sometime this fall.
Capacity WF12 w/275yds #30. Price $685

Hatch Finatic 2 Plus

The Hatch Finatic has won our respect and I am glad to say that it doesn't change, (What?). That's right I said it! This is one reel that I wish to stick around awhile longer just like it is. Isn't that the ultimate compliment! So what's the news? Hatch is adding to the Finatic with a 2 plus size. Available mid August.

Trout anglers dream! You now have that perfect size Hatch reel for your 2 or 3 weight. 

Hatch Nomad Pliers
Function + Style = WINNER!
What I am really excited about (I'm talking I've been on the edge of my chair for months) is the new Hatch Nomad Pliers. I'm a huge fan of pliers that perform. Three functions is what I want: grip a hook, cut a line and open a bottle. They also need a sheath and lanyard. Hatch Nomad pliers have all of these features. One trouble I've had with other sheaths is my (normal size) wading belt buckle will not fit thru the loop of the sheath. Hatch has solved this issue with a snap open loop to allow the sheath to slip onto your wader belt. This is a big issue for me since I spend the majority of my time in waders and have another brand of great expensive pliers that I cannot use because of this issue. Attention to detail is what makes the difference. Oh and I need to mention the Nomad Pliers and Sheath look and feel awesome! $280
Word on the street available September 1st.

Abel Sealed Drag
Jeff Patterson presenting the New Abel Sealed Drag

While cork has been traditional drag material for many great reels over the years there comes a time when you want to fish more and maintain less.
Sealed drags are not new and most of the best salt reels have them perfected. Abel has joined the ranks of a sealed drag market with a new reel they simply call Abel Sealed Drag. Abel wanted to get it right so they enlisted the help of an expert Mr. Joe Saracione. With Joe's skills an all new design was created and tested for the new reel. Starting at $550 for a 4/5 size...a 5/6 and 7/8 sizes will come later this fall.

Other Abel news includes three new finishes: Satin Olive, Satin Blue III and Satin Slate.

Ross Animas
Ross Animas
I'm calling Ross Reels the "The one to watch". After many changes of ownership I believe Ross may have finally landed in a great place of ownership by The Mayfly Group and sister company to Abel Reels. The future is bright! The new partnership has already produced a limited run of highly sought after original Ross Gunnisons' and there is talk of a newly designed Gunnison reel for the future. Also happening is a release of a new reel called Animas. The Animas design is built around the long time trusted workings of the CLA (A true workhorse of a fly reel for many years and counting) with modern features including machined aluminum hardware and a first for Ross machined aluminum handle. Comes in two colors: Granite/Bronze hardware and Stealth Black/Moss hardware.  3/4 to 11/12 weights. Starting at $225. Coming Soon!


Simms Dry Creek Boat Bag
Magnetic Catch and Release

Boat bags have always had one major malfunction, The zipper! Hard to zip, lids don't want to fit right and who wants to struggle with gear when your next cast could be a fish of a lifetime. Simms impressed me with this new design they came up with. Save the zipper for when your done fishing for the day but make easy access all day long without worry of your gear flying out or getting wet. The new catch and release buckle is amazing. It's magnetic so all you have to do is get it close and it catches but its more technical than just magnets alone. The magnets are actually polar aligned to turn the latch into a lock position and the knob must be turned to release the lock. Innovations like this is what takes a product from same old status to forget the others, this is the only one you want. Sorry all other boat bag manufacturers but this is my top pick! Available Now! $199.95

Simms G4 Pro Jacket

IFTD Best of Show Winner Men's Outerwear

Eric Neufeld Shows the G4 Features
When I think of rain/wading jackets it's hard to look any further than Simms Jackets. If you have one or compared them to others you know it's hard to find anything that's even close to comparison. The only trouble you'll have is picking the one you want. Simms has just made that an even tougher decision with the all new G4 Pro Jacket. Simms took an already awesome jacket and somehow made it better! Its lighter, stronger and more user friendly. Available Now in colors Black and Wetstone. $549.95

Slick Jacket gets a new color for 2015...Loden - Available Now!

Simms Wading Staffs
Wade Better!

Two all new Wading Staffs arriving this month. Both operate on the same design with the main difference being aluminum or carbon fiber shafts. The Pro Wading Staff utilizes carbon fiber for its strength and light weight and also incorporates a contoured cork handle. Both staffs use an adjustable fast lock system to allow a customized length from 51" to 56". Neoprene Sheath comes standard with both staffs and has a nice new design of a wider opening making it much easier to stow the staff than previous models. One thing to note is that both new staffs DO NOT come with a retractor. Simms Wading Staff Retractors can be purchased seperately for $24.95. The Aluminum Wading Staff retails for $99.95 and the Pro Carbon Fiber Staff retails for $149.95. Available sometime in August 2014

Fly Lines

2014 IFTD Best of Show New Saltwater line RIO Permit Fly Line

Make that one cast count
When I saw the New RIO Permit line the thought I had was this is such an obviously needed line! We have Bonefish, Tarpon and Redfish lines, why not a line for one of the most sought after game fish. If you have pursued Permit then you know time is of the essence. Your Window of opportunity will most likely be counted in single digit seconds. The RIO Permit line is tapered for easy loading at short range but with enough body to engage your target at a distance with great accuracy.
WF8F - WF10F. $89.95 Available Now!

More New Stuff from RIO

RIO is storming ahead with InTouch
George Cook Explains the new lines
Once you have fished with Ultra-Low Stretch InTouch lines you'll wonder why it took so long to latch on to this technology. It's a simple yet extremely effective upgrade that not only helps your fishing but I believe it can improve your casting as well with the added benefit of a more direct feedback to your fly rod. Joining the InTouch series of lines this year is the addition of all your favorites from RIO including RIO Grand, RIO Gold and RIO Trout LT. Now your favorite lines are better than ever! An added feature with the these lines is what RIO calls Surefire. Surefire is a unique three-color system to help the caster recognize where he is in relation to casting distance to help ensure accurate distance control. Most sizes available now! $89.95
Many other new lines from RIO coming soon include RIO Skagit Max Long, RIO InTouch Extreme Indicator and RIO InTouch T-Series Sink Tip Material.

Airflo is on the move!

Switch Float
Starting off with Switch Float and Switch Streamer. I had the pleasure of fishing a couple prototypes of these lines and the excitement was hard to detain.

The struggle to line a switch rod for trout has gone on far too long. Your long awaited answer has arrived!
Switch Streamer
       Tom Larimer did the research and built the protos from his basement lab. The project goal was to develop lines for switch rods and small spey rods that will effectively trout fish with the emphasis on all techniques of trout angling with the added benefit of a two hand rod. A key element to making a trout switch line was to integrate the head and running line to have one loop-less line and eliminate the klunk of loop through rod guides, a necessary design since so often the trout angler is stripping in to the leader and/or making short cast. Also the front taper is designed to be used with Airflo 10' polyleaders and/or T-Series sink tips for versatility ranging from floating, intermediate and many different densities of sinking tips. This added benefit was a key advantage for swinging or stripping streamers in many different currents and conditions while fishing my home waters of New Mexico this past winter.
 Switch Float comes in WF3 to WF8 with grain weights of 175, 235, 310, 370, 430 and 490 and comes with a floating polyleader tip. Switch Streamer comes in WF4 to WF6 with grain weights of 300, 330, 360, 390 and 420 and comes with a fast sink polyleader tip. Both lines will retail each for $99.95. Availability...Can't get here soon enough!

Kelly Galloup joins the Airflo design staff

Kelly Galloup and Captain Bruce Chard Join the Airflo Design Consultant Staff and have already went to work on some cool new lines. Besides these new lines being designed with talented minds they will also feature all the best stuff from Airflow including Super-Dri, Power Core and Ridge Technology.

Captain Bruce Chard joins the Airflo design staff

The Airflo Kelly Galloup lines include a Nymph, Streamer float and Streamer Max Long. All these lines feature very powerful tapers for turning the big flies! $79.99 to $84.99. Coming Soon!

Airflo's Chard Tropical fly lines kicks off with an awesome new taper appropriately named Chard Tropical Punch. The secret to this line is its compact front taper and extended rear taper. WF8 to WF12...$84.99
Coming Soon!

S/A is going places

Sharkwave Siege - IFTD Winner Freshwater Fly line
Siege is an all new creation utilizing the best that Textured and Sharkskin have to offer. It's an aggressive line with a short powerful head designed to carry big flies with ease. A great feature of this line is the Tactile Reference Point which allows you to hear, feel or see the loading point right behind the head of the fly line. Available November 2014. $99.95

Sharkwave Saltwater Titan
Scientific Anglers took the already popular Textured Titan Taper and made a Saltwater Sharkwave version of it. The Titan already does a great job of carrying big flies and now it has the Sharkskin Tip for high float, Textured running line for long cast and a Tactile Reference point for determining where the best loading point in the line is. $99.95...Available in November 2014

Textured Titan Intermediate
I have been a fan of the Textured Titan since it was introduced. It has an aggressive head to carry large flies and a nice rear taper that actually helps it to carry line during your cast. Now available in a full intermediate version from 6 to 11 weight. $84.95...Available in November 2014

You can see why I like to go to this show. So much to see and so little time. Since the convergence of I-Cast with IFTD there is a whole other side to the show that we didn't get to spend much time with. Enjoy our preview and look for more to come!


Gorge Fly Shop Internet Sales Manager | Product Specialist

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

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