OPST Commando Heads

I have been using a OPST skagit heads the past few months and I have to say its a really neat head. I am getting into the one handed spey casting world and this head is just perfect. They range from 12-15 feet! Very short and very powerful, they have the ability to be used on singlehanded rods from 3wt all the way to a 8wt. As well with using them on a switch rod!

mg_2748484x323
Color: Sauk Blue

Even a 12-15″ brown can’t resist a 3-4″sculpin or minnow pattern. Trout live in deep pools so using a fast sinking tip is half the battle. The real challenge comes when you are using a light rod, heavy tip, and heavy fly. A traditional Skagit head that is 23′ long can be tough to cast using a small rod. As the OPST head is made to be more compact, it becomes way more powerful and can be paired with a “true sink tip” not a versileader. Now stay with me here as this sounds crazy. The 12-15′ Commando heads when paired with a 10′ Rio MOW Tip becomes a 22-25′ shooting head, combine that with 5′ of fluorocarbon leader and you are fishing out to near 30′ how crazy does that sound? Me personally if I don’t see a hatch happening or its early in the season for hatches to start I am swinging big flies. Big flies mean big fish. mg_3967

Now these heads are great paired with a traditional running line. I am currently running a Airflow Ridge running line and love it paired with the OPST head. I am able to pull off some pretty good distance with that setup.

If your looking for a cool new resident trout setup and love to swing flies on light spey gear this is what your looking for. I highly recommend it.

 

Here is a chart outlining line weight, rod weight and sink tip type.

complete20line20chart

The Best Trout Area in Southern Ontario?

With the trout opening day only a couple of weeks away many anglers will be dusting off their rods and contemplating where they should go to make their first casts of the year.

Just under an hour west of Toronto is Orangeville which is in an area known to some as the Hills of the Headwaters. I’m told this area is one of the highest elevations in southern Ontario and is where I call home.

The many clear, cold springs of the area form the birthplace and feed 4 major river systems that all have trout and steelhead in them. It’s kind of a unique area when you consider where the 4 big rivers actually flow into. On one side of Orangeville you have the Grand River that flows a long way to Lake Erie. On the other side we have the Credit and Humber rivers that flow into Lake Ontario. Then just to the north there’s the Nottawasaga and its many tributaries that run into Georgian Bay. And if you’re willing to drive just a little west of the area you’ll find rivers and streams of the Saugeen watershed flowing into Lake Huron. Lots of great river systems and they all start right about here. With so many great rivers could this then be considered the best river fishing area in Ontario? Maybe!

High banks and waterfalls from the Niagara Escarpment surrounded by forests, meadows and farm fields make this a pretty awesome area to fish for trout. Cold streams are everywhere and as I’m told they almost all hold trout. Anglers have room to spread out here and it’s not uncommon to fish all day and not see another angler with the exception of opening week when the crowds come out. With all the cold springs it’s possible to have good fishing all summer but in general the months of late April, May and June are the best fishing.25268577832_e924a208cf_z

I guide 7 different streams less 30 minutes drive of Orangeville and I never seem to not have fishable water. When one river is high and muddy or not fishing well another can be just right. The hatches and fish activity can vary from river to river as can the type of water to fish but there always seems to be something going on somewhere. You’ve got fast rapids to slow meadow pools and everything in-between and all methods of fishing from spin fishing and centerpin fishing to fly fishing work here. Some rivers are large enough to make 60 foot casts and other streams can be jumped across without getting wet. There’s lots of variety for anglers with different preferences.

For anglers looking for a bigger river with trout I’d recommend the Grand River near Fergus and Elora which is probably the best brown trout fishery in Ontario. While there I recommend stopping in the local fly shop called Grand River Outfitting and Fly Shop for local intel on flies and water conditions. This river is heavily stocked with brown trout and has big and small trout with lots of great water to fish. About 30km of accessible brown trout water for anglers makes this a top destination for trout anglers locally and from visiting anglers. Please double check the fishing regulations as this river has special regulations that can be a bit confusing for some anglers. There are sections where it’s No Kill on trout and is single barbless hook only with no organic bait allowed. I spend a lot of time fishing and guiding on this river in May and June and once you learn its secrets hooking 20 inch brown trout almost daily is possible. There are the occasional lucky anglers that catch brown trout up to or even over 30 inches in this river.

Although not really in our areas the Conestogo River and Whitemans Creek are also tributaries to the Grand River worth exploring for trout.

25360700886_4323b15797_zA short trip west of Orangeville to the Saugeen River near Hanover puts you on another bigger river with lots of tributaries that have trout in them. The main Saugeen River has sections that hold rainbows, browns, brook trout and even smallmouth bass. It’s a bigger river and doesn’t give up its trout easy so patience and persistence is required. This river has resident rainbow trout and can produce large 28 inch or bigger brown trout and rainbows. The Lower River below Hanover also has runs of salmon and steelhead and has resident small mouth bass, musky and pike. There are many tributaries with good trout fishing. Using a map you can find the many parks and conservation areas for a starter point for access or visit the Saugeen River Conservation Authority website and look up their fishing map which shows you the many streams and what species is in them.

The upper Nottawasaga is almost completely private property and even the section of the 5th line is now posted private thanks to all those jerks that think littering is okay. Therefore I don’t recommend the upper Nottawasaga River to anglers that don’t have permission to fish on private lands. The lower Nottawasaga and its tributaries have steelhead and salmon that can make it to the upper sections as well.

Anglers willing to travel an 45 minutes to an hour further north west can find good resident trout, steelhead and salmon on the Beaver and the Bighead Rivers.

The Credit River and Humber Rivers should also be on your to do list as well as they both have brown trout and brook trout and have good access for anglers.

The Credit River has resident trout from Norval to Orangeville and has steelhead and salmon downstream of Norval. There are a number of parks along the Credit that anglers can access. There are also sections and tributaries of the Credit above the 2 falls that are only brook trout for anglers that want some good brook trout fishing. For anglers interested in checking out the Credit River please be aware that from Old Base Line road up to Orangeville there are special regulations which include “no organic bait, single barbless hook and it’s a no kill zone”.  A Rapala with 3 trebles can get you a fine of over $400 13987131466_1b21acbb52_zdollars in this section so be careful that whatever you decide to cast has only 1 single barbless point or be sure that you’re in the right sections where treble hooks are legal. If you want to fish bait and lures try between Terra Cotta and Norval.

The Humber River is like a slightly smaller version of the Credit but is still a really nice river. Anglers can access trout sections from Bolton up past Palgrave. The Humber doesn’t seem to have as many fish as the Credit and I’m sure the reason for less fish is that the Credit has a good “No Kill” zone and unfortunately too many anglers keep the bigger fish in the Humber River. Until anglers realize that keeping fish means future crappy fishing or our OMNR makes a mandatory catch and release section or implements a slot size zone for trout this river will never hit its potential. An OMNR five trout possession limit is also not doing this and others river any good. With that said it’s still a fun and pretty river to explore and fish and with persistence you may get a trophy trout or two. One warning on this river is watch out for sink holes. If you see a white cloud of water below your feet and it feels mushy back away quickly and find another way around. The holes are usually hidden under gravel and are made of soft clay which can be hollow below the surface and you can sink a leg or two quickly. The Lower Humber and the East Humber rivers offer other opportunities for migratory brown trout, steelhead and salmon. There are a few tribs to the Humber that also offer browns and brookies.

5953057654_ce6e0907d8_zAlthough this area around Orangeville can offer anglers lots of opportunities to fish, the rivers and streams that flow into Lake Ontario just east of Toronto can be worth exploring for trout and steelhead too. If you want a guided trip out that way we may be able to set you up there too. Some of the more popular rivers out east include Duffins Creek, Oshawa Creek, Bowmanville Creek, Wilmot Creek and Ganaraska River but there are more streams for those anglers looking to explore. Although these rivers are known for their salmon and steelhead runs there can be some good resident trout in the upper sections. For these rivers I recommend going in to see the guys at Drift Outfitters and Fly Shop. These guys are total river bums and know their stuff and can provide anglers with good local intel to fishing these eastern rivers.

Sometimes in Ontario the hardest part is finding areas to fish that are not private property but with a little leg work, mapping and exploring and you’ll find somewhere to fish on each of the rivers mentioned. Just check Google Maps and you may see where the parks and conservation areas are and that will give you a good starting point.

One thing I can’t stress enough on any waters, especially smaller streams is catch and release. Even if you only keep one fish remember there may be hundreds of other anglers before and after you that do the same and the numbers add up quickly in a small stream and that can make fishing tough for everyone.  Although not everyone shares my opinion on this I’ve spent a lot of time on Ontario Rivers over the last 33 years and I know there are many areas that seem almost empty of 12inch or bigger fish after opening day but only a short distance up or down river in private property there seems to be plenty of good sized fish that are untouched by anglers and that clearly shows that the lack of fish is100% due to anglers keeping fish in those public sections. Just something to think about!

It’s getting harder and harder to gain access in many of the upper rivers around here and after talking to many land owners over the years it’s mainly because of garbage. I carry a grocery bag and pick up other peoples garbage all the time but all it takes is a couple of ignorant anglers leaving their coffee cups or bait containers behind and then the land owners stop all entry, even for the good anglers that respect their lands. I don’t blame the land owners either, how would you feel if me and 5 other guys walked through your backyard and left litter there? Not leaving garbage and picking up garbage helps all of us who like to fish Ontario Rivers.

Many of the rivers in this area flow through private property. I recommend if it’s posted private property please do not enter. Anglers should be aware that in Ontario the high water mark rumor is not valid and does not apply. Also, some land owners actually do own the river bottom especially if the river is not navigatible. As my OPP police friends have said to me if you’re standing on dry land 6 inches from the river they’ll charge you but the river bottom may be ok unless the land owner can prove they own it. It’s a grey area so it’s better to just not go if you’re unsure.7252654760_9022f9be75_z

Don’t forget to that if you’ve got limited time or are just not having success on the rivers around Orangeville myself and some of the other local guides are here to offer help. So if you’re looking for somewhere new and different to fish this spring and summer consider the Hills of the Headwaters area and its many trout streams.

Best of luck guys!

Graham Bistrow

A Perfect Drift Guide Company

In The Strike Zone

It doesn’t matter if its spring, summer or fall there will always be times when anglers are faced with tough conditions and seemingly inactive fish.  Cold fronts, windy days, high sun, high pressure systems can make it feel like there’s no fish left in the river.  These are the days when the trout won’t come to the surface for a dry fly or chase a streamer or hit a wet fly being swung across a pool. But when faced with these conditions it doesn’t mean you have to go home skunked.

Changing to a nymphing set up when nothing else is working may mean plenty of trout and even some big ones by day’s end. There are times when a trout won’t move very far to eat and this is when it’s time to slow things down and get your fly closer to bottom and closer to their strike zone. But just getting the fly down is only part of effective nymphing.

When I’m guiding or teaching my Advanced Nymphing classes I always tell the guys that their goal in most nymphing situations is to get their fly down to the strike zone as fast as possible and then keep it there for as long as they can while still maintaining a natural speed.

Nymphing using weights or weighted flies can do the job of getting your fly down to the fish.  Adding and removing split shots according to the velocity of the flow or the depth of each spot is important for maintaining control and fishing effectively without catching too much bottom.

Where and how you land your fly is also important on how deep your fly goes. If you’re constantly hanging up on bottom you can either remove some weight, go to a lighter fly or simply cast and land your fly more straight out or downstream from you so it doesn’t have as much time to sink and get to deep.  If you’re not getting to the bottom enough you can try casting further up stream with a reach or tuck cast which will allow more time for the fly to reach bottom.

Mending your line can also make a big difference on how fast and deep the fly sinks.  Too much drag and your fly won’t sink as fast or as deep as it could. I personally believe effective mending is more important than adding and removing weights to reach bottom or to prevent hang ups.

16531200103_cfdd838468_zEven something as simple as the diameter of your leader and tippet can make a difference on how fast your fly sinks and how fast the fly travels down the river, both are important. Thicker line will drag more than thin line that cuts through the current better. As a fly fishing guide I use a combination of thin line, well placed casts, mends and weight adjustments to get my customers flies to the bottom quickly and control the speed of the drift.

Speed is something I don’t think most nymph anglers understand very well other than they know to try and achieve a drag free drift.  But what is a drag free drift really? Unfortunately I believe that speed is very important for finicky trout and the lack of speed control in your drift prevents most anglers from catching as many big trout or even steelhead as they should. What if your nymph goes zipping past a big trout down deep, does that unnaturally fast speed signal a trout to take caution and stop feeding like it does when you drift a dry fly to fast over a big fishes head?  Whether it does or not it’s not worth the risk so learning how to slow your presentation down to match the “bottom” current can be very important for catching more fish.  Teaching anglers how to slow things down to mach the bottom speed and not the surface speed is often one of the firsts thing I try to do. I would guess 90 percent of even more experienced anglers are guilty of drifting their flies unnaturally fast and that limits how many they catch.

Using an indicator to nymph is a good way for a beginner to start nymphing and is still by far the most common way to nymph by Ontario anglers. Adding an indicator and placing it at one and a half to two times the waters depth can insure you’re getting to the bottom while still detecting some strikes. Lowering or raising the indicator can also be a good way to get deeper or shallower.  An indicator can also help anglers determine proper drift speed and detect drag and strikes. Using the correct indicator is important as not all indicators do the job well.

Even though nymphing with an indicator is the most common method of nymphing in Ontario most anglers don’t realize that adding weight and increasing the length of the indicator or even just using an indicator can mean they will miss light takes or quick pick up and drop type hits due to excess slack in the line between the fly and the indicator or between the fly and the weight.  Underwater videos of trout feeding show trout picking up all kinds of debris and spitting it out in a second or two. This means if you’re slow and you have any slack below your indicator a trout could pick up your fly and spit it out before you’re indicator even moves.  I often wonder how many hits I get and other anglers get that we just never know about?  Therefore when guiding I always stress the importance of setting the hook fast and setting the hook on any pause or pull that looks different.  Because of the higher chance of missing fish with an indicator I almost always choose more advanced nymphing methods that don’t require indicators.

Covering the run or pool effectively will also mean more fish for an angler who knows how to do it properly. Moving your fly around and using visual signs like bubble lines, underwater rocks or even current seems to continuously adjust the path of your nymph can help an angler cover the water more effectively and catch more fish.

Changing flies can make the difference between catching a few trout and catching nothing at all. I routinely rotate through different fly patterns and different sizes until I find one that gets their attention.  Doing this has helped both my customers and I hook multiple 20 inch trout a day or be the reason we’ve netted 50 plus trout.  Finding the right fly doesn’t always mean matching the hatch either. Sometimes the total oddball fly will do the job better than a natural looking pattern.

Knowing where to nymph is also important and deep pools are not always the answer to more fish. Most anglers would not even think to fish in a foot or two feet of water but I’ve seen it many times when a 20+ inch brown trout will move out of the deeper part of a pool and slide right up to the top or bottom of the pool or into a shallow riffle and sit in a foot of water and feed.  Shallow water riffles can also provide more oxygen in the hot summer months. This Shallow water is where is gets tough for indicator anglers. Running a big indicator a foot over that shallow trout’s head could shut it down and the angler will miss their opportunity to catch that fish. Also running weights is almost useless in shallow water. This is when it’s time to consider another nymphing method that will be more effective.

I’ve been teaching 7 different nymphing methods in my Advanced Nymphing Classes because knowing multiple methods will help anglers fish more effectively in different situations and that means more fish landed. Even though many Ontario anglers will tell you they catch a lot of fish with indicators and are happy with their results in my opinion they are stuck in a rut and missing a lot of fish they don’t even know about.  Non-traditional or more modern nymphing methods include some of the European and competition nymphing methods which can often be way more productive if learned and used correctly.

If nymphing hasn’t been your thing you’re probably not catching very many fish and you’re missing out on some really big fish. Switching to nymphing when the trout aren’t biting any other way can increase your catch rate and make a potentially bad day good. Give nymphing a try and see for yourself!

Written by: Graham Bristow

A Perfect Drift Guide Company

www.aperfectdrift.com

Spring Brown Trout Tactics

With Trout in our minds in the up coming weeks I would like to go over some tactics on spring time trout fishing. Here in Ontario trout opener is on the 4th Saturday in April. Spring time is loaded with the opportunity to fish many streams that remain low and very hard to fish throughout the remainder of the season. The heat of the summer tends to lessen water flow, raise water temperatures and makes fishing very difficult.

I find Brown Trout the most abundant species here in Southern Ontario. Brown Trout are not a native species of fish here in Ontario. They where stocked here I believe 30-40 years ago from a very good German strain of fish. As for what river system they came from I couldn’t tell you. The Grand River Tail Water known for its blue ribbon waters for Brown Trout is a completely stocked system, little to no spawning ever happens in the upper Grand River. The Upper Credit River offers an incredible Brown Trout fishery, the fish there are not stocked anymore so it is all self sustained population and in my opinion probably the best in southern Ontario.

In the early stages of Trout opener Brown Trout are pretty active feeders especially if they share waters with Rainbow Trout. Reason being the Rainbow Trout spawn in the spring and move into smaller streams making food more abundant and don’t have to compete with the Rainbows, if any exist in the stream your fishing.Brown 2

Water temperature still plays a big role in how fish are going to move and react to your fly when they see it. If you stream is hovering around the freezing mark still your fly is going to have to swing inches in front of the fish for a strike. The reason being is when water temperatures hover around the freezing mark fish become lethargic meaning they really won’t move from their wintering hole till the water warms to a more comfortable state Trout will usually be back to their normal selves when water reaches 10-15C 50-59F.

Flies in the early season before hatches start can be simple, using streamers and swinging or stripping it through slow moving pools can be effective. If your somebody who likes to nymph turn over a few rocks and see whats there. Fishing decent paced riffle water where Trout usually hold is pointless till hatches appear. It is very important to learn basic entomology with studying your streams hatch chart, if your able to find one online. If your fishing somewhere thats private, nothing appears online you really need to know your entomology. Learning where to find bugs and know what the Trout are keyed into during that day, week or month can really make your time on the water very productive. If your expecting to fish a hatch never arrive early morning before sunrise for it hatches take time to emerge and for fish to finally key into it. I have experienced many times where I arrived to early to fish a Hendrickson hatch in the early morning arriving to the water at 7am and not seeing anything hatching till 9 or sometimes 11am depending how the weather is.

I hope some the the tips I pointed out here make your time more productive and lands you more fish!

 

Tight Lines,

Great Lakes Steelhead Fishing Etiquette

Ontario offers some of Canada’s most incredible Steelhead fisheries, people come from all over to fish the great lakes for these most sought after fish. Most tributaries here in Ontario are not the biggest, but some are comparable to rivers out in British Columbia. And since trout opener is not far away I want to go though some proper etiquette

The first point I can give beginner or novice angler(s) is how to correctly approach a run that may have been just vacated by another angler. There are usually a few options you have depending on the size of the run  you plan to fish. When first approaching the run, especially on a river that is heavily fished on a daily basis during the season, scan the run from the top to the bottom for other anglers. If there is nobody in the run, I would recommend starting at the top and working your way down like you would normally fish a run, but if there is an angler working the stretch, watch and observe for a short period of time. If the angler is moving as he or she should, not hop in below. If the angler is not moving, observe for a short period of time and see how they are covering the water. When dealing with a large run, it might be possible to fish below angler, but always ask before you do that as some people don’t like it. If you just walk in from coming from the car and start to fish below somebody without asking, that is terrible etiquette. If you think the run is big enough to fish below somebody when you just came to the water again, always ask to fish below. The worst case, they will say no and if not, they just might say yes. Regardless of what happens, you and your buddy will know that the proper steps were taken, and are much less likely to stir up a conflict on the water.

Along with standard etiquette comes with participating in proper fish handling and releasing skills.  For quick photos and releasing of Steelhead, it is always necessary to put yourself in a position of landing the fish without causing any harm or damage to the fish. If you desire a photo fish your catch, make sure the person taking the phone is setup and ready to shoot 11162516_351052695099643_1551462788509758668_nbefore you remove the fish from the water. The fish should not be out of the water for more than a couple of seconds better if not all. If you are having a hard time and struggling with the fish, it is always a better idea to keep the fish in the water and take a photo that way before you plan to release it back into the current.

So the next time you plan to venture out the river, practice your  etiquette and help a fellow angler out that may be new to the sport or tributary, or may not know correct etiquette. If you happen to find yourself having an issue with another person on the river, it is always a better idea to educate them or maybe they will educate you than to start a confrontation. There’s been days where I have seen people yelling at each other about not having proper respect for the fish in handing and or releasing as well with not having the proper etiquette of respecting each other on the river. Every year more and more people are coming out to fish these amazing fish and at the end of the day can’t we all just get along for future generations to enjoy this beauty.

 

Tight lines.

 

Tacky Fly Boxes

We got into the Tacky scene this past summer because of the amazing reviews we heard from their boxes they put out. So I had to get my hands on a few of them!

I reached out to them one day and we received our boxes a few weeks later and I have to say I was honestly impressed! These boxes are amazing to say the least. A silcone insert, instead of cork or foam.  Cork and foam hold moisture, makes your hooks rust and overall makes your fly box have rust stains along with chunks missing from barbed flies.

The Tacky box pretty much eliminates this issue. You poke your flies into the box and the water instantly gets pushed off the hook and any excess water on the fly sits in the box so just shake it out or blow the fly off to dry the materials. So your flies won’t rust and the silicone does not get torn up from barbed hooks. I have literally spent some time getting a big 1/0 salmon hook with a barb and poked the silicone 50 times and there literally wasn’t much wear from doing it, try that with cork or a foam fly box.

The box itself is make from polycarbonate, very durable. The front is clear so you don’t have to open the box to see what flies you have. The box also features pretty strong magnetic closure. Tacky has three different boxes to choose from. The Original, The Day Pack and the Big Bug Box. I will elaborate on the three different sizes.

The Original:

The Original Box

This was their first box they released. Its a pretty slim box at 3/4″ thick its not the ideal box for pike or bass flies I would say its more for trout flies, nymphs and smaller flies like buggers little streamers etc.

The Day Pack:

The Day Box

This is a very compact fly box! If your a person who wears just Simms Guide series clothing with huge pockets this box is for you. It is only 5″ long by 3″ wide. If your the type of person who only does a quick hour or two fish can carry half dry flies and half nymphs. I tend to use mine for Salmon flies as it can hold about 8 1/0 hook size flies.

 

The Big Bug Box:

Big Bug Box

Just as the box is called this is a 1.125″ thick box I tend to use this for foam hoppers, big bass and pike flies Anything that has a ton of material tied to a hook they go in this box. Tacky also made the silicone mat in this box have more spacing for bigger flies.

 

All in all these boxes are worth every cent. I am sure they will last for years to come and I know I surely won’t be purchasing any other fly boxes in my fishing career. These have everything and more that the fly angler wants.

Purchase your boxes and clothing at the link below.

Tacky Fly Fishing

Korkers: K-5 Bomber

Being apart of the Korkers ambassador team I have had the
opportunity to be wearing the K-5 Bomber boots the past several months and I love them! Honestly best boot I’ve worn yet!

These boots are everything you want in a wading boot! I haven’t found a single flaw about them.


 

Heres what they feature:
Traction: OmniTrax® Interchangeable Sole System 
adapts your traction to any fishing condition. 

Support: 5-Ply Fit System locks foot in place for a 
comfortable and secure fit. 

Fit: Combination of friction-free rolling lace guides and 
locking lace cleat provide a customized bi-zonal fit. 

Fast Drying: Hydrophobic materials = faster dry times 
which lessen the chance of spreading invasive species. 

Internal Drainage: Water flows thru internal channels
then out midsole ports, removing excess water 
and weight. 

Durability: Enhanced midsole, triple layer synthetic 
upper, protected stitching, 3D molded toe and heel cap.


 

The ankle support is unbelievable! These boots have saved me more then one time on occasion from rolling an ankle or bashing your toes on rocks.  For added comfort go a size or two up with your stocking foot waders. If they are the same size as your regular foot you will find that there is some comfort issues with the stocking foot all pushed up to the front or rear of the boot.

The water also literally drains out of the boot when you leave the water, like you were never in the water.  In a way in my mind it feels like a normal light weight hiking boot again.

All the stitching on the boot is protected by being flush with the rubber on the outside of the boot. The laces are pretty robust, still haven’t started to fray but I am sure they will in the future. As all laces eventually do.

I also have to say if you have back problems or your feet tire out quickly from a few hour fishing trip these boots should diminish that. Before I used a low brand wading boot that didn’t last me a year. My feet hurt and my lower back gave me some issues. When I started using Korkers full time, the pain was literally gone. I am not saying this will help for everyone but it surely did for me.


After wearing these at least twice a week for the past 5-6 months I will never go back to wearing anything else when I am wading anything in water.

Get yours here! You won’t be disappointed.

Korkers K-5 Bomber

If you live in Southern Ontario, Canada the following shops carry Korkers.

Natural Sports

First Cast Fly Shop

Kingsway Sports

Orvis Safe Passage Hip Pack

I have always been a huge fan of Orvis gear because of how well made it is and they are always adding or experimenting with new ideas to make you more comfortable carrying  lots of gear.  A hip pack really is designed if you wading shallower rivers or if you just like your gear on your waist. Since I am becoming more of a all around spey caster a hip pack is ideal instead of say a chest pack as line can get tangled when your line is shooting fast though the guides.

The pack itself is pretty robust id have to say. double and triple stitched seams. Holds everything you want to bring on your trip. Holds two bottles of water on each outside pocket. The main compartment can hold four big Tacky Fly boxes along with other small gear like pliers snips, leader wallet and what have you. The front smaller pocket is great for tapered leaders, indicators, tippet (if you don’t use a tippet holder) swivels, bare hooks and really just smaller gear.

The back of the bag has ported airways so in the summer doing wet wading your comfortable. My bag is loaded with gear and with the shoulder strap it really feels almost like I am not wearing anything at all. You can also covert this pack to a chest pack. If your spending a half day guiding a client this is a killer bag for it. 

The only down side about this bag is it is not waterproof. Theres times where I had to wade deep to cross a river and some of the contents in the bag got soaked. It does have big holes in the bottom to drain out access water if it did get wet.

But I wouldn’t recommend to put your cell phone or wallet in there unless you know your not wading anymore then knee to thigh deep.

Overall this is an excellent bag for the price $109.00 and will last you for years to come and the ability this bag has to be changed back and forth from hip to chest is great.

Buy Here

Beating the Heat

Well summer is here in full swing now. Especially this week. we have temps approaching 40 degrees celsius with humidity. Yea, not fun for most of us. We had a bit of ups and downs in the past couple of months with rain and cooler temperature masses moving in and out but there’s no fooling around anymore.

There’s a good chance if you’ve gone out in the past couple of days unprotected you came back redder then a snapper on unprotected areas. Everyone looks good in a tan but a lot of harm can come from the sun too. The prevalence of skin cancer these days and the pain/scarring from a serious burn is nothing to play around with.

Good thing is fishing apparel products have caught up with the threat and there is a lot of stuff out there to keep you cool, comfortable and most importantly protected from the harsh sun.

We’ve all seen the magazine shots of guys creeping the flats down south all wrapped up like a mummy. It might look ridiculous but let me tell you at the end of a long day that guy takes off his gear and is as good as if he never went out, while t-shirt and shorts guy is probably going to be benched for a few days nursing a burn.

The fact is if you like to get out as much as we do, you need to protect your biggest investment. Yourself. All the rods and tackle in the world won’t get you out there if you’ve got a bubbling burn going. So lets go over a few things you can do to keep cool and comfy during these dog days of summer. And hopefully keep the wheels turning on your life adventure, even if the heat is trying its best to stop you.

Lets start with the eyes. Most of us go out with a decent pair of polarized glasses. That’s a good start but you should try to find some that are photochromic, so they adjust to how bright the ambient light levels are. This is important because your average 20$ pair of shades isn’t going to properly adjust to a bright day that suddenly turns cloudy, or vice versa. Your eyes are arguably the most sensitive thing when it comes to direct sunlight and we all want to be able to continue seeing clearly.

Next we move to the head. In general your hair provides a decent layer of cover depending how long it is but often it doesn’t cover the ears or neck, unless you’ve got a serious mane going. I can confidently say my neck gets burned more then any other part on a hot day when I’m not prepared. For this area the best bet is a 2 piece setup with a hat that has a visor/rim to cover the area around your head with shade, combined with a buff or bandana around the neck.11709653_390832467788332_885233118991967989_n

I cant speak enough of how valuable a buff is. You can rock it around your neck just to keep that area from burning. If you have a wide brim hat you’ll probably be good with just that. But say you are wearing a baseball cap. Your ears and the back of your neck are exposed. But just pull the buff up around the back of your hat and over your ears and you are now protected almost 100% for your neck, ears and face.

Orvis Trout Bum Line

Now for the rest of your body its important to find clothes that cover and protect from uvrays. You might think that wearing a long sleeve in a hot day is madness but the new clothing out there built for this kind of activity has your concerns taken care of. From quick drying materials that displace moisture to the vented underarm/capes that are built in, you’ll often find that you are more cool wearing one of these then sitting in the shade. Its also nice that they have good sturdy pockets and a couple of tool loops so you can cut down on the amount of kit you need to carry. Some things to look for specifically is a tool loop, sleeves that roll up and have a button to keep them rolled up. Also look for plenty of ventilation and pockets big enough to hold your basics. A nice light shirt isn’t going to do much if you still have to wear a vest or pack over it, cutting down the airflow.

Now down to the legs. Wearing waders is fine for some, but they quickly turn into an oven in the warmer days. I’m a big fan of shorts but have had my fair share of burns just under the knee if the waters I’m wading in isn’t that deep. There is now adjustable pants made of the same venting, quick-dry material as the shirts. You can convert them into shorts if you desire or wear them full. When you get out of the water they dry within 5 minutes. This is very important for some rivers/lakes. First, the quick drying material cuts down on the amount of micro organisms staying alive on your gear as you move between rivers. As well, there is many plants you don’t want rubbing on your bare skin, or bugs such as fire ants. the long quick-dry pants solves all these problems while keeping you cool and comfy. and most of them can be converted into shorts for when you actually reach the water and take the plunge.

As for footwear, there are many possibilities. Me personally I just throw on some wool socks with my regular wading boots. They drain water and support the ankle just as good as anything  and I feel confident with my grip on the bottom. Especially if you can swap soles for the conditions such as with Korkers Footwear. There are several companies that have shoes made for wading and even wading sandals. These are all great and if you want some footwear specifically made for the summer wet wader, they have you covered and usually provide some extra protection on the toes and sides of your feet that regular sandals won’t.

What no sunblock? Yes. While some may be fine going out with sunblock and a t-shirt, it’s not for me. I would rather have clothing that does the job, keeps me vented and cool and not have that feeling of greasy residue all over my skin from lotion. When my days done I just change into some regular clothes and its like I didn’t just spend 10 hours in the sun. also I have found that sunblock and bug spray don’t work well together. Also sunblock alone might even attract more bugs, depending on the ingredients. It also leaves oil slick trails in the water which cant be good for the water. Don’t be fooled by the water proof labelled types either. they might last a bit longer but it still comes off, particularly in moving water/salt water.

I hope you all are enjoying your summer and staying cool and safe from the heat and sun.

There’s plenty of warm-water species out there waiting for you, will you be ready?

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