The best fall fly fishing gear for 2013:
1. Sage Bass II Smallmouth Fly Rod
Warm water abounds in the Southeast and when you are targeting bucketmouths, bronzebacks, toothies, or old pajamas, you need to wield a big stick with a stiff backbone to show them who’s boss. These rods are engineered specifically for different types of bass, from bluegill to peacock, and they have the power to huck big streamers and poppers all day while still being accurate enough to cast into deep cover. If you are into bass fishing, the Sage Bass II is a must-have for your quiver.
2. Cheeky Ambush 375 Reel
The latest, and definitely boldest, entry into the high-end reel market is Cheeky Reels. Founded by four anglers who quit their lucrative day jobs to pursue their obsession for fly fishing, that passion is reflected in their products: the flashy colors belie the top-notch quality of these reels. The Ambush 375 ranges from 5-7 weight, making it the perfect reel for everything from Blue Ridge trout streams to big water bass fishing. The sealed disk drag will stop any fish in its tracks and the MAX arbor will bring them to net faster. Don’t let the price scare you off, this reel will last a lifetime.
3. Costa Prop Shades
Costa makes sunglasses for fishing, it’s their specialty and they are very good at it. New for 2013 is the Prop, an homage to the 1950s with retro styling in a medium fit. These shades are lightweight so you can wear them all day, and feature a no-slip nose pad to keep them on your face as you cast. Cut even more weight with the 580p scratch- and impact-resistant plastic lenses.
4. Simms Down Under Zip Top
During the fall, temps can drop in a hurry at the golden hour, that time right before sunset when fish go into a feeding frenzy. Then you still have to hike back to the car. Carry the Down Under mid-layer for extra warmth; the wool will still keep you toasty even when wet and provides an outstanding weight to warmth ratio. Plus, it fights off body stench so you can fish in it all day, then rock it to the bar. Only your fish stories will turn people off.
5. Umpqua Ledges 650 Waist Pack
Umpqua Feather Merchants jumped into the pack market with both feet in 2013, producing a product line that garnered rave reviews, and the Ledges 650 may be the cream of the crop. This hip pack has enough room to store any fly you will ever need, and is packed with innovative features like a high wear tool sheath and weather proof pocket to hold your camera for that “grip and grin” shot. This pack also features a suspended back panel to keep you comfortably fishing all day.
6. Patagonia Ultra light Wade Boots
One of the most challenging aspects of fishing in the Blue Ridge is getting to that secret spot. Whether you are trekking high into the mountains for brook trout or walking down the tracks to your favorite smallmouth shoal, doing it in waders can be a bear. At just over two pounds, these wade boots are lighter than anything on the market and are comfortable enough for the long slog up the trail, because you know what they say: less people, more fish.
7. E-Case Protective Case
These days, it’s almost impossible to leave the cell phone in the car. A smartphone is now a fish finder, camera, life line, and map all in one, but can cost a pretty penny if you drop it in the drink trying to get the hero shot. E-Case allows you to store your phone or tablet in a waterproof sleeve, while also allowing you to swipe, talk, and take photos without exposing your device to the elements.
8. Loon Streamside Kit
Whether you are just starting out or looking to upgrade your gear, having the right tool for the job is essential, especially on the river. Loon provides you with everything you need in their Streamside Kit. Whether you are trying to keep a fly afloat, make it sink, see it better, cut it off, or keep it close, this kit has you covered. It even includes UV wader repair in case something comes out of the water to burst your waterproof bubble.