Tuesday, February 24, 2015

10 For Winter

A "wintery mix" (think light snow, sleet, and freezing rain) is moving through our area this morning and I figured this to be a good time to highlight essential gear items for the season.  We don't get a lot of weather like this so it'll be good for a mess of cancellations and delays this morning.  This might be our last cold snap before things start turning around so I'm going to enjoy it.

My momma always told me that if your head (and feet) stay warm, then your whole body stays warm too and I can't tell you how many times my Polar Reversible Bug Slinger Buff has saved me from the cold while fly fishing, skiing, working, and just spending time outdoors. 

Over the last several years Buff has increased the offerings in this category to include the Neckwarmer Knitted Polar Buff for the ladies and this is a winter essential for the whole family now.

If it's cold outside then one of these is around my neck and typically snugged up over my face. 

I don't know if there has been more interest and excitement over the upcoming release of a fly rod series more than the ECHO Glass Switch and Spey rods.  Now, ECHO Fly Fishing did do a good job of teasing us along the way but these fly rods hit the sweet spot for a several reasons.  First, they are offered in all the right lengths and line weights that someone looking for a glass two hander fix would want and second, priced from $279.99 to $299.99 they don't break the piggy pank.

Tim Rajeff, along with the ECHO Fly Fishing crew, spent a lot of time developing these series of two handers and the response I've heard has been nothing but positive for those that have gotten their hands on them early.

I have a couple demos and looking forward to carrying the 11' seven weight Glass Switch with me to Pyramid Lake at the end of next month.

Plastic fly boxes might be handy but there really isn't anything as cool as a fly wallet made of fabric, leather, and thick shearling, especially for streamers and steelhead flies.

The Streamer Wallet from Finn is made from heavyweight materials that will last for decades of hard use and will certainly be something to pass along to the next generation hopefully stuffed full of flies with stories to tell.

Our day starts early (typically around 4:30 a.m. or so) and the first thing that my wife or I do is make a pot of coffee.  It fuels the T.F.M. stoke... 

Lately we've been trying the coffee beans from Fox Coffee Roasters out of Denver, Colorado and found that they make a very tasty pot of coffee.  What is also a neat plus from ordering coffee from Fox Coffee Roasters is that they give a portion of their profits to Colorado Trout Unlimited.  How cool is that, eh?

As a side note, good coffee deserves a good mug and I've gotten a lot of miles out of my Western Rise enamelware mug.  Check out the website and sign up for updates as they have some very cool gear items in the mix for the coming season.

Bluntly put, these sole spikes saved my ass last winter at work during a couple days storm that laid down hard ice everywhere.  I've also found they have come in handy on the water as well. 

For work, for the water, for the trail, Goat Head Spikes are invaluable to have in your soles.

If Kast Gear decided to sell nothing else, then my suggestion would be to put all the effort behind their Steelhead Gloves and Raptor Trigger Gloves.  These gloves are the standard that a lot of other companies are trying to match and they still have a long way to go. 

The Steelhead Glove is the ultimate for keeping hands dry and warm even after you've put your hands under the water.  The OutDry technology incorporated into these gloves makes them breathable, waterproof, and submersible.

The Raptor Trigger Glove are not waterproof but are still a great choice for a windproof technical glove.  I like the exposed point finger and thumb for holding fly line, picking out flies, and when not on the water working my iPhone with hands staying warm.

If there is one thing that you can bet on during the winter, it's that you (and your gear) is going to get wet by rain or snow.  The Stormfront Sling is the perfect choice for loading all your fly fishing and camera gear in a completely waterproof pack with zero worry that water is going to seep in.  The TIZIP zipper is money and this is a comfortable pack to wear all day long.  I've also found that it works great in the boat sitting on it's side with easy access to the main compartment and exterior (not waterproof) pocket.

This sling pack is just one part of an impressive Patagonia Stormfront line up.  If you are looking for a pack that is truly waterproof then these are the standard that many others are trying to buid to.

Everyone has a favorite winter cap and mine is from Stormy Kormer.  I give this company bonus points for making a warm cap in the U.S.A. (Ironwood, Michigan in fact) with unique styling that is functional as well as looking good.

I've been wearing the limited edition Carhartt X SK cap all winter though you can't go wrong with the Original Stormy Kromer Cap either.  There are some Women Cap choices for you as well so that the whole family can wear Stormy Kromer if they wish.

I know that this year is supposed to be all about click and pawl fly reels but I've been using the Arx for several years now and this is just a badass fly reel for the two hander fly rod in your life.

This spey/switch specific full cage fly reel is available in three sizes and made from 6061 aluminum and stainless steel with hard alox finish.  Large arbor spools can handle all the backing, running line, and various heads with ease.

Everything in the design and construction of this fly reel bleeds "Made In U.S.A." quality and it's a great choice for that glass two hander you've been thinking about.

I've mentioned it before but winter is when a few weekends of mine are spent in the woods that surround our property tearing down and removing vines and brush that grows endlessly.  I've used a lot of different tools but the Woodman's Pal and Utility Axe may be the ultimate tools for this type of work.

From a fly fishing perspective these tools can come in handy for the downed tree crossing a stream or trail.  I could see quite a few guides, along with those that spend a lot of time on the water, finding these tools essential and easy to carry along in the pack or gear box in a boat.

Well, that's my "10 For Winter".  What's yours? 


joshua citrak said...

the echo switch 4wt I casted at the Pleasanton FF show this past weekend was pretty nice. supple, sensitive tip. the huge problem I have with it is that it's made it China. I didn't buy it even though it was everything I wanted. I try to buy American and sadly, sometimes that means going without. I'm sure instead of buying another rod I don't really need, I can donate those funds to a TU or the like and they can out it to good use.

Cameron Mortenson said...

Joshua...I can understand that kind of deal breaker but you've still got options with the Epic DH and Seele Fly Rods.

Jay said...

I don't understand reels with spare spools costing $200+...

joshua citrak said...

You're right, Cameron, but the Seele and Epic's don't come in 4-5 wts, which is really what I want. Switch rods aren't spey rods. They should come in lighter sizes. Leave the larger grained lines and typical spey prey to spey rods.

Unknown said...


I think that you just wanted to show us what a gear hound you are.

DJ said...

You're gonna need a thermos to keep that coffee hot. An old (older than me) Stanley is a winter necessity for me.

Cameron Mortenson said...

Jay...that is a tough pill to swallow, eh?

Joshua...I bet Seele Fly Rods will surprise you with something you'll like soon.

Robert...you think? HA...

DJ...yep, Stanley would have been a good choice in this mix too.

RW Van Brunt said...

Love my Woodsman pal, and have goathead spikes on my wading boots and hippers

Cameron Mortenson said...

RWVB... Yep. The Woodman's Pal is a keeper.