WRITING ON THE FLY
By GEORGE LISET
It is no secret that I like fly fishing gear. I am a collector, so collecting fly fishing gear is not much of a stretch. My favorite gear is the gear that I get a good deal on. That is why I haunt antique shops, thrift shops, auctions and fly fishing shops. Right up front I’ll tell you that I am not sponsored by anyone. Not Orvis, not G. Loomis, not KTP or Dover Marine. Although I have been known to accept a complimentary cup of coffee at a few fly shops and my local 7/11, I’m not on anyone’s payroll.
During this last year I have picked up some gear out of necessity, and other equipment just because it may have been a great buy. Sometimes I just like it. When it comes to a big purchase I try to do my homework. I read equipment reviews and hit the local fly shops to get their input on what they have heard. I also check in to see if they have any great deals. I am probably dating myself, but I was that kid that borrowed my friends record albums and played them a number of times to make sure the money invested in buying the album would be worth it.
With this in mind, let me review some of the equipment I purchased this last year.
Orvis Light-Weight Wading Boots
My current wading boots are heavy. I love them, but they are heavy. I wore them today out on the river because they give me ankle support and have cleats on the bottom, and I only wear them a couple of hours at a time. During the summer, when I sometimes fish sun up until sun down, they destroy my knees and feel like cement shoes by days end. The Orvis lightWeight Boots are great. I can wear them all day and my legs and knees are not too bad for wear. The boots also allow for cleats which is a big plus. I got them on sale and had a gift certificate. Score!
Douglas DXF 4104
I took a ride over to Kittery, Maine and made my Route 1 run to check out the fly shops. I hit KTP first as I worked my way north. I had been looking for a ten-foot rod that I could use just for nymphing. KTP has a nice selection of rods, and like most shops, you have to go in often to check for deals. I came upon the Douglas rack and noticed a red tag on this ten-foot rod with a great sale price. Just for background, my son was guided by a gentleman who repped for Douglas. A year ago we saw him at the Marlborough fly fishing show and were able to check out the rods. So I was familiar with them when I saw this rod.
I had been checking out comparable rods which had a higher price point. When I saw this rod for about a quarter of the price I had to pick it up. It is a wonderful rod. It is light and has great action. I may give it double duty and use it in my float tube.
Echo Shadow ? Reel
New rod, new reel. What can I say? Walked into KTP again and my friend behind the counter said they had a deal on the Echo Reels. I mentioned that I was looking for a reel for my Douglas rod. She showed me the Echo Shadow. It was light and balanced my rod. I have used it numerous times and it is perfect for what I ask it to do and at a great price point. Another score.
New England Nets
I collect fly fishing nets. I love the wood, the different shapes and sizes. Each net to me is a work of art. I love wood canvas canoes for the same reason, but they are a little too big to collect. I had read an article about New England Nets, out of Belmont, NH, in a local paper. I told my son about it and I just happened to find one under my Christmas tree. My son also found one under his tree too! I would love to say that I wore my other net out, but it didn’t happen. This was a case of I just wanted it. It is a beautiful handcrafted net that I immediately put into use. I love that the net allows you to hang it from the head or the handle. It also has the rubber netting to protect the fish. The net is functional and a beautiful piece of art.
South Fork Fly Keeper
Every now and then a gadget catches your eye, and you say to yourself “Why didn’t I think of that?”. Well South Fork did. The fly keeper is magnetic and it can be hung off your vest or sling pack. South Fork also has a model that is similar to a magnetic name tag so you can put it on your vest, shirt or pack without leaving a mark.
For those of you who fish out of a boat or canoe, they make a model that, similar to the name tag, can attach to the console of your boat, canoe or float tube. The magnets are that strong, and you won’t have to worry about losing a fly. Plus, they are fun to play with and come in colors.
These are just a few of the items I have picked up over the course of the year. I’ll be sharing more of my finds down the road. So remember, you don’t have to wait until the spring to try out your new gear. The rivers are open and waiting, enjoy!
George Liset of Dover is an outdoor writer and avid fly fisherman who shares insights of his time on the water exploring New Hampshire streams and rivers as well of those around New England. George is a graduate of Wheaton College, Illinois, and the University of New Hampshire.