Aug 13, 2015

Greg's Top Picks from I-Cast / IFTD 2015

Every year more and more I look forward to IFTD. Yeah we get to preview all the new products but more than that it's a chance to actually spend some quality time with the individuals we spend countless hours on phone calls and emails working together in the common goal of delivering the products we all benefit from. I can promise you this it's still, and hopefully always will be driven by pure passion for the sport much more than just corporate sales figures. Most everyone I meet in this industry is a passionate angler and I believe nothing is ever going to change that!


Kicking off with Fly Rods

Winston - Last year I quoted "There is a way different vibe at the Winston booth and I like it!", I'm happy to report that vibe is alive and growing!

Boron III Plus
Winston BIII Plus
The BIII Plus Comes in Freshwater, Saltwater and The new Jungle configurations and replaces and BIII SX Saltwater Series. Saltwater rods today are so versatile that labeling one salt specific just doesn't completely describe increasing usefulness of these rods. From trout streamers to jungle predators like peacock bass or golden dorado and all salt species in between this new series of rods are built to perform and exceed your expectations. Much lighter than the previous SX and much livelier! The freshwater and saltwater models certainly exceeded my expectations but it was the Jungle model that set off my adrenaline. While casting I could vision myself launching big flies from a boat into the wind and delivering them to the targets were these predators lie! I am certain we will be delivering solid reviews on this new series of rods once we get them in our hands and on the water. Stay Tuned! 2 Freshwater sizes, 6 Saltwater sizes and 3 Jungle Series sizes expected to arrive in September. $855 - $895

Sage - Sage came to the show with more new rods than some rod companies have in there entire lineup. I assure you there is a new Sage rod this year that will spark your interest.


MOD - "The MOD is a Modern Interpretation of a Moderate Action"


Mod Single Hand Trout - In a world where fast action rods seem to be the norm there is an ever increasing craving to get back to roots of days gone by when fly casting was relaxing and rod actions lend themselves to the finesse nature of the sport. Meet the MOD! Built on the Konnetic platform the MOD represents what modern graphite and technology are capable of achieving. You don't grab this rod to take out in the parking lot to impress your friends but instead you take it to your favorite river and enjoy a relaxing day of fishing.
5 models 2-6 weight all 9 foot. Retail $850

Mod Two Hand - The MOD two handed spey model could easily be that rod that writes a new chapter in history. It develops its power with such ease and grace. Basically takes no effort to make great cast with the MOD. Set a good anchor point, swing into a D-loop, pull some underhand and watch your fly reach orbit, It's really that easy. Just two models of the MOD Spey...6130-4 and 7130-4. Retail $1050

Little ONE - Replaces the TXL-F line of spring creek rods. These rods are so light and crisp and the Konnetic Technology provides unparalleled accuracy. 5 sizes: 082-4, 182-4, 282-4, 382-4, 482-4
Retail $850

ONE Trout Spey - You can rest assure I will be doing a full review of this new addition to the Sage ONE family once I've have some time on the water.
Two Sizes: 2109-4 and 3110-4. Retail $1050

BOLT - Ultra Fast Generation 5 Technology. Anglers looking for long distances, fast line speeds and quick recovery will appreciate the BOLT.
5 sizes, 490-4, 590-4, 690-4, 790-4, 890-4. Retail $650

PULSE - Replaces the Response. Fast action Graphite III in a full line of single hand, switch and spey models. Fast action but still connected.
Retail Single Hand $450, Switch $550, Spey $650

G. Loomis adds several additions to the Pro4x family of rods.

Pro4x Lite Presentation - Built on the wildly popular success of the NRX Lite presentation.
Four sizes: 269-3, 376-4, 486-4, 590-4
Retail $325 - $375

More Pro4x additions include: 

  • 790-4 Salmon/Steelhead rod
  • 790-4 and a 1290-4 Saltwater
  • 4106-4, 6110-4, 8116-4 Switch rods
  • 12'6" 5/6 Spey, and 6/7 Spey
  • 7'6" 7/8 Short Stix



Echo continues their tradition of delivering uncompromising rod actions


Gecko Outfit
Echo Carbon XL and Ion XL - The big news here is "LIGHTER!" I got a chance to cast both models and found them to be excellent rods with actions that would suit a wide range of anglers and with a very forgiving price tag. 8 Models of Saltwater grade Ion's retail at $159.99 and 6 Models of Carbon freshwater rods retailing at $139.99

Echo Glass sees some additions
Sales of Echo glass rods have been off the hook and often times they are exceeding supply. Glass is back and in a big way! Three new groovy models are coming soon to fill the need of big water anglers. Included are a 486-4, 586-4 and 690-4. Retail $219.99

Echo is also adding to their Shadow II Nymph rods and additional models to the popular Base line of rods.

Echo Gecko is now going to be offered in an outfit complete with rod, reel, line and rod/reel case. Retail $169.99

Redington continues to up the bar of value and performance

Hydrogen
Redington Hydrogen - An incredibly good trout rod! Super light weight and a great mod-fast action. This rod really impressed me as an incredible value for an import rod. It casts and looks great. Pair it with the new Redington Zero reel and be a hero! 11 New Trout sizes including three nymph models. Retail $299.95

Chromer







Redington Chromer - Feature custom polymer gripping sections on the top and bottom handles. No trouble gripping mono with these grips! 3 switch rods and 5 spey rods coming in at $399.95


Reels...

Nautilus X-Frame
Nautilus - The new X-Frame is super light and has all the features you know and love From Nautilus including super smooth sealed carbon fiber disc drag, Activseal and Giga Arbor. While most open frame reels appear fragile I can assure that the X-Frame displays a bold look and the X beams provide amazing strength. Lighter than ever with sizes from 3/4 to 8/9 and priced from $275 to $395. Look for it around the new year.


Ross - Lots of good news coming from Ross Reels, The best is yet to come but for the immediate future the two existing imports get a complete make-over. Look for them in November

Left-Glimpse of a future New CLA, Middle-Rapid, Right-Eddy
Ross Rapid - Replaces the aging flyrise with a new large arbor design and enclose reliable rulon disc drag. Sizes 3/4 to 7/8 and prices are $100 - $120

Ross Eddy - A New entry level reel replacing the old standby Flystart. Utilizing a strong cast design coupled with large arbor and smooth disc drag the Eddy offers value at a price that's hard to find. 3/4 to 7/8 and price $70 - $80

Galvan Grip
Galvan Grip - Galvan Unveils it's newest creation called "Grip". The Grip features a fully sealed version of Galvan's Torque MicroTune drag system known for its silky smooth startup and reliable powerful performance. Three models to handle all your bonefish to tarpon needs. G-8, G10 and G-12 with prices starting at $525 for the G-8 and topping out at $625 for the G-12. Expected around October



Hardy Ultralite CA DD 
Hardy - Ultralite series gets an entire makeover. Two new models include a CA DD (Conical Arbor Disc Drag) and a MA DD (Mid-Arbor Disc Drag). The Ultralite CA DD reel is an ultra large arbor giving it incredible line pickup and reduces drag gain on long runs. The Ultralite MA DD offers extra capacity with its mid arbor design. Both reels feature a Color coded drag knob for easy reference. Sizes and prices coming soon




Sage Click -
I've always like the Sage click reel and with the redesign it looks better than ever. It's also lighter than ever with even the largest 4/5/6 size still comes in under 2 oz. Besides cosmetic upgrades the new Click has an even larger arbor than before and more open area for palming.
3 sizes from $259 to $299




Redington Zero - Looking for a good lightweight large arbor click pawl trout reel for a reasonable price than look no farther. Redington kept the cost down on this reel by utilizing die cast construction but it doesn't have the appearance of a die cast reel. Comes in two sizes a 2/3 and 4/5 and two colors (Sand and Black) with price set at $89.95




Redington Behemoth - Like the Zero the Behemoth is also a die-cast constructed reel offering up very impressive carbon fiber drag force. It's utilizes large arbor design for fast line retrieval and a V-shaped spool for backing capacity. Behemoth comes in four sizes (5/6, 7/8, 9/10, 11/12) and two colors (Black and Gunmetal) and retails from $109.95 - $129.95



Best Accessory

Hatch Nippers - Hatch continues to expand their superior line of products with a new pair of Nippers. The Nippers feature machined aluminum bodies with super hardened carbide cutters. Also incorporated is a hook eye cleaner. Nippers include the lanyard and retail for $100. Three colors: Red, Blue and Silver

Hatch Nippers

Fly Lines

Rio Skagit Trout Max
RIO...Too many changes to list...Most of it is current lines going to ConnectCore low stretch core technology. If you have not expereinced ConnectCore do yourself a favor and try it with the next line you buy.

Skagit Trout Max - You will either love this or hate this new skagit head and here is why. It's short! Very Short! I did not like this skagit head at first but when I learned what was positive about it I ended loving it. Two key notes about this head. First is the shorter the rod the better simply meaning everyone out there that has been looking for or creating your own skagits for short switch or single hand rods, look no more, here it is! The second key feature of these short skagits is that they cast more off the tip of the rod than they do with water load. Bottom line is it makes them more versatile in many different situations than the more standard length skagits we're use to.


Single Hand Spey - More and more anglers are discovering the benefits of spey casting even with single hand rods. Armed with spey techniques you can go ahead and make a cast even if you have no backcast room behind you. Finally a line for single hand rods that really gives you the power to make these spey cast and also have a line that performs excellent overhead cast as well. This is a great choice for anglers that have always wanted to learn some spey techniques without having to invest in Specialized rods, reels and lines. Comes in #4 thru #8 weight sizes and retails for $84.95


Scientific Anglers


S/A...Just like RIO too many changes to list...I'll hit some highlights!

S/A Mastery Series news - The big news in this series is S/A has gone back to their roots and revised the lines that we all have come to know and love. Like the GPX, Expert Distance and the Bonefish taper, the very lines that has set so many standards in the industry! S/A did a re-evaluation on the mastery series and applied modern line technology to these long time favorites. We asked for it and S/A delivered...Thank you Scientific Anglers

Titan Line additions - If you casts streamers or bass bugs from foot or boat with single hand power rods than S/A's Titan series of lines might just become your new favorite. While they are a short shooting head the Titan incorporates a longer rear taper that can help in two ways. One, no need to strip all the way back to the fly line head to recast and two, better line stability on false casting. I guess you could also include better mend-ability. Titan started out as a freshwater floating line in the textured line category. Due to the overwhelming success of this taper S/A has decided to expand into clear tips, sinking tips, saltwater versions, big water tapers and even a smooth original version for those not interested in a textured line. Look for my post in the near future were I will break down the entire series of these awesome lines.

Airflo Bandit
Airflo
Bandit - Australia / New Zealand line. You asked for it and here it is! The bandit is an ultra stealthy line with the first 12' broken up with two tone bands. It also features a long rear taper for line stability on long casts. 4-8 wt...$79.95

Skagit Compact G2 (Generation 2)
Since introduction in 2007 there has never been a need to improve upon the skagit head that still defines what we know as skagit today.
Supple changes are what the new G2 is all about. Leading the way is Super-DRI Technology. 

With Super-DRI the G2 now floats higher than ever which helps tracking and improves mending. Slightly shorter overall and slightly increased rear taper requires less energy to cast, produces tight precise loops and is more stable in flight. Utilizing Zone Technology, the back of the head is more buoyant for better tracking and improved mending capability meanwhile the tip features increased density to help drive the cast on layout.
Look for it in September 2015


OPST - Olympic Peninsula Skagit Tactics

Pure Skagit Commando Heads
Designed by Ed Ward and Jerry French,  the new Commando heads take skagit casting to the next revolution. Get a complete look at this new product in OPST - Olympic Peninsula Skagit Tactics - $54.95 - In Stock
Pure Skagit Lazer Line
To Complement Commando Heads OPST releases Pure Skagit Lazer Line. This new shooting line is super slick, hydrophobic and easy handling. This is a line for those of us who love to launch a cast, sit back, maybe eat a sandwich while the line rushes out of the guides and pulls line off the reel as is comes tight. $31.95 - In Stock

My pick for this years best of the best!

Tough decision...And the Winner is...In my opinion everything I put in this article is a winner! That's why it's in the article. But if you must know here is three of my immediate favorites!

Seeing that so much of my summer fishing is predator fishing I can't wait to get the New Winston Boron III Plus Jungle rod in my hands. It really felt great casting it on the pond. I can't wait to throw some big bugs on it and tame some predators.

Equally I'm just as excited to get back to swinging streamers for trout! I am really looking forward to the new Sage Little One Trout Spey and see how it compares to the Winston Boron III Microspey. That will be a great showdown!

Going along with two hand trout swinging is the new OPST Commando head and RIO's Trout Max Shooting head. In my limited experience with these new lines thus far I really believe we are looking at the next Skagit Revolution!


BassProGreg



Gorge Fly Shop Internet Sales Manager | Product Specialist


"Fly Fish the World with Us"


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