Gear Reviews

From Bass to Bluewater: Redington Predator & Grande Reel

By now you guys are well aware that I love a good rod that can hunt in both the freshwater as well as the salt. This rod was built for just that. Perhaps my favorite part is that this rod and reel combination will take your from fishing your home waters to fishing smaller saltwater species all without breaking the bank. Here I have opted for the 8wt since most of the water I spend time on around here are stuffed full of Bass, Gar, and Carp, with the occasional catfish from time to time. Both Rod and Reel have a price tag of $299.99 so for around $700 you have a fantastic setup capable for just about any predator fishing situation. After all the rod is aptly named for just the occasion. It's certainly not the cheapest salt water setup on the market, but it casts well and won't let you down come showtime. If you are looking for the cheapest setup. Look at the Redingtion Path combo. Yes I have caught Tarpon on that rod. Just be sure to wash in between uses. I would like to think by now though that I have upgraded from a casual salt angler so my needs are a bit more robust.  When sampling this rod the other day with a few friends of mine, I actually hooked into a pretty sizable carp which allowed me to take this rod and put the cork to the fish. The rod handled well even when the fish darted under the boat and I had to take a quick run around the boat to get the rod on the other side. Lately I have been a big fan of over lining rods and this rod is no exception. As a fast acti...

Loon Outdoors fly tying tool kit: ergonomics and performance on a budget.

I know you've seen me tie with these tools on the live videos for a few weeks now and its high time that I gave you my opinion on these (new to me) tools. If you're like me and you've clamored over the Tiemco fly tying tools, which lets face it, to some these are the Rolls Royce of fly tying tools, but if you have the Toyota budget then this tying kit is perfectly suited to you. In fact let's start there at the price point. Especially since that is one of the first things people look at when purchasing new goods.  Coming in at a mere $90 the value you receive more than justifies that price. The aforementioned company's bobbin costs $75 alone! That aside, what exactly are you getting for your 90 bones? 1 bobbin, 2 scissors, 1 gator clip, 1 dubbing twisting tool, 1 dubbing brush, 1 whip finisher, and 1 bodkin. All sporting their Ergo handles. It even comes in a nice travel case as well. Which is nice for those destination fishing trips where you bring tying materials with you.  I want to take a second here though to talk a bit on the ergo handles. I think the handles are a nice touch and give the tools a unique feel about them that is vastly different from others on the market. They even have a nice robust weight about them that adds to the tying experience. The one caveat to the Ergo handles, is they have a hard time sitting in conventional caddies. This might be a minor thing for tying hobbyists, but personally for me its a bit obnoxious. Now I also recognize that I might...

Sno Cat Cozy: The Neck warmer that saved my life.

Okay so I overreacted. Winter is frigid. I know “water is wet” right? But no. THIS winter was extra frigid it felt like. So naturally when I found out about Sno Cat Cozy a few weeks ago, I had to try one out. Neck warmers are the super powered buff in my opinion especially when you find one as over built as these are. But how did it save my life you might be asking? We’ll in order for you to know where I am coming from when telling you this story, I need to give you the backstory albeit at my own expense here. As a 20 something homeowner, I am excited to renovate, add, and improve my living conditions. Like many fly anglers alike, I am an avid outdoorsman and what does every outdoorsman need in their backyard? That’s right, a firepit. Similarly… as a 20 something I also am a bit “budget minded” when it comes to all of my projects. After scouring Facebook marketplaces for a few hours, I found some awesome redbrick that I thought I could build my new firepit out of. Well no one in my life has ever told me that I needed to use a special kind of brick for fire. In every movie, home, and hearth I have ever seen, fireplaces were made out of brick so logically brick should be fine for a firepit right? WRONG. What I didn’t know is that if you use normal brick, any moisture trapped inside the brick could rapidly expand and turn your fancy new brick firepit into a makeshift claymore mine. Seriously I am not kidding. After my first fire got nice and hot, bricks started exploding....

Lifesaver Liberty Water Filter

Water. It's the most important resource to us as fly fishers and human beings. It provides the habitat for the fish we seek, and we need it for our bodies to function properly as well. Have you ever run out of drinking water while on a fishing trip? Perhaps the hike in was a bit more strenuous than you had thought or you didn't bring enough water with you for you or your group. We are standing in the river but that water is rarely ever safe to drink without being filtered. I wanted a small water filter that I would be able to carry with me, and that would be able to filter enough water for myself and whoever I was with, family or fishing buddies. I chose the Liberty Lifesaver for a couple of reasons: its built into a water bottle you can use to drink from if you don't have another bottle and also the long filter life. Here is my review with both the pros and cons and my experience using the Lifesaver water filter. Let's first take a look at the unit: on one end it has a cover and a typical water bottle mouthpiece underneath. The other end has a cap that comes off with a pump handle attached. The operation is simple and it can be used in two modes, water bottle mode or pump mode. The first way I tried was water bottle mode. You want to make sure the cap is on tight on the mouthpiece side so the end you will be drinking from doesn't get contaminated. Open the other end and dunk the body of the filter and let it fill with water, then replace the lid with the pump built in, ti...

Zippo Hand Warmer

I get a lot of outdoor related gifts from my friends and family because they know I’m obsessed with enjoying the outdoors any way that I can, no matter how cold it is! For Christmas this year I received a pretty cool package from my brother that included two Zippo hand warmers, fuel, and a capsule to carry extra fuel. I was pretty excited because I have seen them and a couple of my brothers have them. I was always curious about how they work since it runs on fuel and you put them in your pocket. I wanted to know if they were worth the hassle. Now I’ve been  fortunate to get my hands on a pair! I’ve used the disposable hand warmers before and they were really cool, but  they seemed a little wasteful and I could never remember them. So now that I have a pair of these refillable and sleek looking hand warmers I’m going to put them through the test. My first test was of course skiing since I live in Colorado and am fortunate to be 45 min away from Telluride. I’ll get back to this story in a minute because I want to run through a quick pros and cons list and then dive into my experience.   Pros: More environmentally friendly than disposable options. They are surprisingly thin and fit well in any pocket. The Bag helps to keep it insulated and warm. They last for at least 10 to 12 hours if they are properly built. If they need rebuilt there are tons of YouTube videos and better materials you can get. Inexpensive. These run about $15 for the big 12 hour model and fuel ...

Ninja Suit

My first encounter with the Ninja Suit was at a Denver based ski and board store. They proudly had this grown man/woman size onesie displayed on a manikin and to be honest, my first reaction was one of laughing out loud. But my curiosity got the better of me and I was intrigued by the sign saying something to the effect of “the best base layer you’ll ever own”. I picked up the box and read about the design and material and decided that this might be a very cool onesie, despite my initial thoughts of it being funny. When I came across their fish patterned merino wool suit I knew I needed to get one to bring to the TrueFly audience as a review, thinking these just might be really kick ass under waders as well.    I got in touch with the guys at Airbalster, who make the Ninja Suit, and they were happy to get one in our hands- they even sent the fish print merino wool edition! I couldn’t wait to try it on. So, with almost a foot of snow on the ground and my trusty dog Ivy along for the adventure I took it outside and this grown man did karate in my new onesie! It was surprisingly warm for how lightweight it was for a full body suit with a hood and being 16 degrees out.     When I buy a base layer I look for perks like comfort and how easily I’ll be able to move in it. When I’m outdoors I’m pretty active and the last thing I want is my base layer binding me up and restricting my movements. I also want a base layer that has good moisture wicking attributes. I sweat when I’m acti...

Redington Butterstick and Grande Reel

Okay so for those of you that know me, I am all about fishing "silly rods." I say silly not as an insult but as a compliment for a unique experience and this rod delivers just that. A very unique experience. In a day and age where modern fast to ultra-fast action graphite rods are king, fiberglass rods offer something that feels just as foreign as the day you first picked up a fly rod. Now for those of you that fish slow action rods, this treads familiar territory for you. For those of you that don't, I would recommend checking out this rod if only for an afternoon of laughter as you rework your cast to accommodate a rod that keeps you on your toes with every haul. With modern fast action rods, the cast is one that commands that the angler be extremely precise and confident through the motions of presenting the fly in exactly the right spot. Fiberglass could not be more polar opposite. That said though the experience that you get from a fiberglass rod is not a negative one. It actually becomes a truly enjoyable experience. There is a zen that comes with the slower casting methods as well as a certain gratification wondering where your fly is going to land on the water. So this is the 2nd rendition of the Butter Stick. The one thing that I do miss, from the 1st generation is the bright goldenrod color. The original color reminded me of delicious butterscotch candy as it glistened in the sun of some Rocky Mountain river bank. That said though, I am also really on board with...

Mountainsmith K-9 Pack

Up for review this week is a pack for your four-legged adventure companion.  Here’s a simple fact: outdoorsmen are gear junkies!  We like to have all sorts of tools, food, rope, fishing gear, hunting gear, camping gear, and any other gear that strikes our fancy.  We then need to find bags and packs to store and carry all of that gear in.  Another thing outdoorsmen are known for: our dogs.  Most of us (but not all) have adventure dogs that go everywhere with us.  My adventure dog is a yellow lab named Ivy.  She fishes on the river with me loves family hikes and loves to go camping.  But what most people don’t realize is that a dog will need more water than you (from my personal experience) and like you, she’ll need food and snacks during any physical activity as well. So when I came across this Mountainsmith K-9 pack I thought it looked super cool and would help me pack all that gear we love around, with the help of Ivy.  I mean, imagine all the stuff I could put on my dog’s back and turn her into a pack mule!  Of course, this isn’t what I did. Even though Ivy is a tough 70-pound lab I don’t want to do anything that will cause injury to her and dogs aren’t built to carry heavy loads on their backs. Diving into the pack, getting it on Ivy, and my thoughts before using it.  This pack is designed to carry your dog’s essentials like collapsible lightweight water bowl, food, snacks and possibly light bedding if going for an overnight.  It has big pockets which is nice and getti...

DrinkTanks: Take your micro brew To-Go

If stereotypes have any truth to them, then I know fly fishermen and beer go together like peas and carrots. This is why I want to tell you about one of my new favorite pieces of gear I use to tote my favorite craft brew to the river. DrinkTanks makes one bad a** piece of gear. Currently I have the 64oz growler version but plan on expanding that to their 128oz version very soon. Each tank is insulated ensuring that your beer stays frosty cold for over 24 hours. So when your favorite micro brew doesn’t distribute, then fill ‘er up on the way to camp. The way the lid locks on to the top with the dual clamp system prevents any leaks and I mean ANY leaks.   Which brings me to my next point. If you spend the extra few pennies, you can get their Keg Cap kit. I mean sure you could just take the lid off of your Drink Tank, but why not get the complete experience. What makes the Keg Cap so cool, is you get a little CO2 injector that allows you to add CO2 to the empty space in your tank. Not only does this keep your beer from going flat, but it also pressurizes the tank allowing you to utilize the pour spout. Not to mention it adds a level of panache that you just can’t get with other drink management systems. One point that I would like to make, is MAKE SURE YOU POUR YOURSELF AT LEAST 1 BEER BEFORE YOU USE THE CO2 INJECTOR. I never thought I would ever have to write this but failure to do so will result in explaining to your family why you have to clean beer off the ceiling. Now...

Orvis Waterproof Hip Pack: No More Soggy Crackers

There are two things I love in this world more than anything else, wet wading and sitting on the side of the river with a gourmet combination of whole wheat crackers and peanut butter. The problem with that is, crackers and water don't mix. At least until I found this pack. So for anyone that knows me, I've tried fishing vests, sling packs, backpacks, hip packs, you name it. I've found that for my usage, hip packs tend to be the most comfortable while on the water.  So far the only issue I really have is I tend to wade through some deep water and well... get all of the contents of my pack soaked. Including my crackers.  Well I have that problem no longer. I have been using the Orvis waterproof hip pack for some time and I can tell you with the upmost confidence that it is in fact waterproof. Literally to the extent that I even keep my dslr camera in it which alone has saved it from numerous watery graves. Which brings me to my first point. This pack is roomy for a hip pack. Straight away when moving over from my Ledges 650 which has a few dividers in the main cavity of the backpack, the Orvis pack has one big area for you to store all of your gear. This is insanely beneficial to me as sometimes I want to carry extra spools to swap between the day if I am fishing salt flats or streamers on the river.  Inside the main pocket however, there are a few mesh pockets for smaller items like spare leaders and strike indicators. Theres even a larger zippered pocket for your cell pho...

Outer Limit Supply 6500 Outback : The gear review that could save your life.

This gear review is on an important piece of gear that I think is often overlooked. I will plan/daydream for days before a big trip about the gear I need to take. This mostly falls in the category of fly fishing core essentials like what weight rods I will need and, reels with spare spools for streamer tip or full sinking lines, flies for the area and countless other things that are running through my mind before a trip. The thing that often gets overlooked as we gather our fishing or outdoor gear is a comprehensive first aid kit. My trips often involve taking my Family friends and sometimes the dog well off of the beaten path and far away from medical care. We could be on a multi-day float trip or just that remote secret spot that took 3 hours to 4-wheel to and another hour hike. Because of the remote places, we fish and Hunt and my desire to be prepared and self-sufficient, I went in search of a first aid kit that would meet the needs of our group when in the outdoors.  I found the Outback 6500 kit from Outer Limit  Supply to be the best out there for my needs. Now I'm not a medical professional and having this first aid kit does not make me one, but I have found after going through the kit to familiarize my self with it that is not as overwhelming as if first seemed. Let's look at what inside and what I like and dislike about it. Inside you will find the supplies can be broken down into three categories  Dressings, Tools and Medications. The dressings included the stan...

Ty-rite, The Pen is mightier than... lost flies?

Almost everyone I have fished with has at one point struggled to tie a fly on, it’s not an age thing or being able to see well thing, it’s just a thing that happens to everyone at some point. Even I sometimes struggle to tie on small flies it could be the size of the hook like a 20 or smaller or the wind and lack of finger dexterity due to cold weather whatever the case is, it happens to us all. Well we got a product in our hands that seems to have the solution to this problem, and it’s called the Ty-rite. The Ty-rite is a great little tool that hangs on a lanyard or pack or will clip on a shirt pocket.  This little device is a small spring-operated assistant for holding and tying on small flies. Well, any shape and size flies really. The Ty-rite at first looks like a stubby a ballpoint pen. But looks are deceiving this is nothing like a ballpoint pen. Instead of hosting ink at its end it has a little hook that extends when the button on the other end is depressed. This hook on the Ty-rite goes around the bend of the hook on your fly and holds it tightly against the tool so you can tie it on the line without struggling. I found it easy to use, and when tying the clinch knot, it was very easy to spin the Ty-Rite 4-5 times and then slip the tag end through the loop to tighten the knot.  Pros: Small and light, easy to store and access Made in the USA Seems like it will last Solves a problem for everyone, but especially our more seasoned fishing buddies. Cons: Looks like a ...