Gordon Vanderpool knows a thing or two about Southeastern trout.
Originally from Pennsylvania, Vanderpool has been fishing the rivers and streams of Western North Carolina since 2007 when he settled down in the town of Franklin to start his guiding service Turning Stone Anglers.
He’s helped hundreds of anglers hook into big fish on the Nantahala and Cullasaja Rivers, the Raven Fork trophy waters, the Tuckaseegee River, and the Little Tennessee and enjoys mentoring budding anglers as an assistant coach of the USA Youth Fly Fishing Team.
We caught up with Gordon—no easy task when you’re dealing with a guy who spends just about every day on remote stretches of trout water with little to no cell phone reception—to discover his go-to gear for guiding on southern trout waters.
“This pack is essential to my success. It keeps me organized, holds everything I need, and lets me spend less time fumbling through gear and more time reading the water.”
Fishpond Nomad Hand Net ($115)
“A net is a net, but this one features some of the best technology out there today. I like it because it’s durable, the hollow core carbon fiber design is super lightweight, it’s weather resistant, and it floats.”
RIO Perception Floating Fly Line ($89.95)
“Rio makes some of the best fly line, leader, and tippet in the business, and the perception floating line might be their best product yet. My favorite feature is the no-stretch core. Unlike other fly lines, it doesn’t stretch when you go to set the hook. This allows me to land more fish and improves accuracy and control when casting.”
“This company comes out of American Fork, Utah, and they’re making the most innovative and durable fly boxes I’ve seen come along since I started fly fishing. The secret is the silicon holding mat that doesn’t break down like traditional foam.”
Simms Hyalite Rain Shell ($150)
“I can’t tell you how many rain soaked outings have been saved by this rain shell. It’s never failed to keep me dry in even the harshest of conditions, and I won’t leave home without it.”
Fishing shirts are a dime a dozen these days, but Howler Brothers has outdone themselves with the Matagorda Tech Shirt, the newest in an apparel lineup that is being heralded by industry pros and weekend warriors alike. The key to the Matagorda’s functionality is its streamlined simplicity. The design is clean and focused and the breathable nylon fabric is engineered for extreme flexibility.
We tested these waders in the high mountain streams and rivers of Western North Carolina in the heart of winter when trout were lethargic and water temps hovered just above freezing. Each time they met and exceeded our expectations. Key features include durability, insulation, breathability, and all around comfort.
Simms Freestone Wading Boots ($150)
The Bozeman, Montana-based company’s best selling boot utilizes Vibram’s signature StreamTread rubber outsole, giving you a solid foothold in places you may have never thought possible.
(Reel $200, Rod $425)
This rod-reel combo is tailor-made for fishing the streams and rivers of the Southern Appalachians. The feel, accuracy, and durability of the Recon 5 weight proved lethal on multiple outings.
Costa Polarized Sunglasses ($229)
New in 2016, the Rafael frames offer optimum comfort, style, and durability while the copper shaded 580 p glass lenses are perfectly calibrated to the mountain trout streams of the Blue Ridge.
Cablz FLYZ Eyewear Retainer ($10.99)
This low Profile eyewear retainer is made from ultra durable recycled fly line. Just think of all the tangled up bunches of old fly line you’ll be saving from America’s landfills.