Technology is a wonderful thing. It has made our phones, computers, and cars better albeit more expensive. Fly fishing is no exception. Technology has made the best fly gear much better. The sealed drag reels, fast action rods, and braided core lines are ideas our predecessors could only dream of. We’ve come a long way from fiberglass “Wonder rods” and “Fin-Nor Wedding Cake” reels! Of course this all comes at a price.
The good news is all of this technology, R&D, and design has helped create some wonderful, price conscious gear. Here are a few of our favorites, just in time for our local fishing season to begin:
St. Croix has always been our pick for mid-price rods. They do a great job producing U.S. manufactured rods for a variety of uses. We teach our schools using the St. Croix Imperial ($250 for a 9′ #6). This is a medium action rod with plenty of finesse in the lower weights for trout fishing and enough backbone in 6 weights and up for any kind of warm-water fishing. As you can tell from the picture below, this rod comes about anyway you want it.
When we picked up Scott rods a few years ago, we certainly were thinking of their premium rods, but have been pleasantly surprised by their more price conscious and U.S. manufactured offerings.
The A4 ($395 for a 9′ #6) has been around for a while. Scott introduces it as a medium-fast freshwater rod. We think it is a great rod for the trout fisherman who encounters bass and other warm-water species occasionally.
Scott introduced the Tidal ($495 for a 9′ #6) a few years ago as a price-conscious saltwater rod. In addition to the reduced price tag, Scott also realized some beginner saltwater fishermen may not be comfortable with today’s fast and super-fast salt rods. They made this one a bit more approachable. We immediately saw the local possibilities and have been very pleased with this rod. Locally, we have enjoyed using this rod for streamer fishing, smallmouth and hybrids.
If you’re in the market for a new fly line, but not sure how much use your line will get or if you’re a bit hard on fly lines, there are some great new options for mid-priced lines.
Scientific Anglers Frequency Boost ($49.95 for a WF-F #6) is built a half size heavy to help fishermen
load rods quickly and turn over flies. It is a basic line without too many bells or whistles. Just a great fly line for everyday fishing, especially smallmouth and farm pond fishing. Also this line is made in the U.S.!
Rio introduced their Trout Mainstream ($39.95 for a WF-F #6) a little while back. These lines are made with a slightly shorter and heavier head to help novice and intermediate anglers load rods and cast effectively. Like all of Rios’ fly lines, these are made in Idaho under the same rigorous standards as everything else.
Reels especially have benefited from new technology. Here are two great examples:
Scientific Anglers’ Amphere II ($89.95 in a #4-6 wt) is a lightweight cast aluminum reel. You might give up a bit of durability, but no one ever suggested this reel was bullet proof. It is a great fishing reel though. The Rulon disc drag is durable and will surely slow down anything you’d use a #4-6 on. We just received our first one the other day. The guys in the shop were impressed with the drag since we don’t usually see this kind of drag on intro reels.
The Lamson Remix ($159.95 in a #5-6 wt. model) represents a new hybrid trend we are seeing in reels. Lamson has designed this reel with a CNC machined aluminum frame for durability and strength where you need it the most and a cast aluminum spool where less strength is needed. Lamson has always used a great drag system in their reels and the same is true here. This reel features the same drag mechanism you’ll find in Lamsons’ more expensive reels. Lamson manufactures all of their reels right in Boise, Idaho, including this reel.
We look forward to helping you enjoy the fishing season this year. Hopefully this post gets you dreaming of hitting the water and maybe a new piece of gear or two. If you have any questions or would like to take a closer look at any of this gear, please don’t hesitate to give us a call or stop by.