Thursday, August 6, 2015

10 For Summer

I don't know how your summer has been but I could have easily titled this season's post as "Ten for Hell" and not been that far off.  South Carolina is known for hot and humid summers but this one started off with temperatures over 100 degrees in early June and it really hasn't let up for several months now. 

That's not to say the heat has kept me off the water.  The family pond is just through the woods from the house and even if the water gets all warm and greasy feeling the bass and bluegill are still found where they are supposed to be.   I also have a couple flood tide redfish trips to Charleston planned before summer ends as well. 

Here's whats in the gear mix for summer...

Summer means starting early and staying late.  It means mousing and hexing after dark.  That means you need light to see what you're doing and a headlamp keeps hands free to work around the boat and check and tie knots.  I always have a headlamp in my gear bag and when mine went missing, thanks to a sticky fingers son who wanted one for his gear stash, I figured it was time to replace mine which was eight years old and step up to something new.

Criteria for the new headlamp was for it to be bright light LED with a red LED light option, waterproof, and easy to use.  The Black Diamond Storm Headlamp was all that and more with 160 lumens LED for brightness, easy to adjust settings, red LED light, waterproof, and packaged in a burly housing.  I went with orange just to make it that much easier to find too. 

Danny Reed of Crooked Creek Holler went to Pyramid Lake with a group of us earlier this year and we had a conversation on the trip on how he was going to do just a couple more pieces for the spring/summer line up and then take a break.  Well, that hasn't worked out to good and this summer his online store has been busting wide open with new hat and t-shirt offerings that cover the bases from trout to smallmouth bass to largemouth bass and there's more in line for fall.  

Without a doubt, you need some Crooked Creek Holler in your life.

Something else that is always tucked in the gear bag is an extra neck gaiter.  I must have a dozen or more of them around since I'm kind of a priss and like to start with a fresh one every day that I am on the water.  No need to smell like old sweat and sun screen all day in the heat.

A few favorite neck gaiter I picked up was on the trip to IFTD from Fincognito which features the brook trout flank artwork of A.D. Maddox.  These neck gaiters are made of a high quality polyester fiber that has stitched seams on both ends and do a fine job of wicking away moisture when worn.  The bright crisp fish skin prints are sharp and this is a quality neck gaiter.

Not familiar with Fincognito?  Check out there website which has a long list of fish skin printed products from shirts to hoodies to baselayers to many accessories.

Summertime means sandals and flip flops every day and there might not be a better made pair of either than by Chaco.  I have a pair of hard worn Chaco sandals that I bought while living in Colorado years ago that are still a favorite for wet wading, kayaking, and beach trips.

New for this year is a collaboration with Fishpond with the co-branded Chaco Z/2 Sandals and Chaco Flips that with each purchase includes a donation made to the Western Rivers Conservancy.

The Z/2 Sandals feature great arch support, a wrap around toe loop, VIBRAM Megagrip soles, and full adjustable straps for the perfect fit.  The Flips also feature the VIBRAM Megagrip soles in a comfortable and lightweight flip flop.

Sandals and Flips for a cause is a damn good idea.

I don't know what your fly boxes look like for summer but more than one of mine are full of foam, spun deer hair, hoppers of all sorts, and anything else that looks big, buggy and tasty.

If you're the tying kind then the Modern Terrestrials book by Rick Takahashi and Jerry Hubka is an absolute must for the library.  This book includes over 600 patterns and is well laid out with excellent photography, illustrations, and instruction.

Your big bug boxes will be looking right after a few sessions following the advise and patterns in this book.

This is a new company out of Jackson Hole, Wyoming that has a great take on outdoor apparel and the Stio Eddy Check Shirt is a favorite.  These shirts are just about sold out on the Stio website and for good reason as this is just a unbelievably comfortable shirt that features a nylon/poly fabric with a UPF 50+ rating, pearl snaps, two chest pockets, and a regular cut fit.

The Stio Eddy Check Shirt is available in a long sleeve version as well.   

This is one of the very rare times that you'll see a company mentioned in two seasonal reviews in a row but the Tacky Big Box Box is so legit it definitely gets a mention both in "10 For Spring" for The Original and The Day Pack fly boxes and then in this review as well.

The Big Bug Box is a little bit thicker than the other two fly boxes to accommodate larger flies but the real genius is in the newly designed silicone floor layout that makes it easy to stuff it full of big flies.  Get yourself one but you'll likely order a second or third one too.

This Big Bug Box is filled with hoppers and poppers from American Made Flies and J&M Flies.  If you're filling up a warmwater or trout box and want to support a couple artisan tiers then give them a shout with an order.

I don't know how your summertime family trips go but ours typically mean that I leave the fly fishing gear home.  An exception is when I covertly tuck a tenkara rod, line holder, tippet spool, and a few flies in my duffel for those just in case scenarios.

The Tenkara USA Rhodo is one of their newer "Triple-Zoom" offerings and can be adjusted to three different lengths of 8'10", 9'9", or 10'6" to cover a lot of angling situations all with one rod.  These rod cast wonderfully and if you've never tried tenkara then you very well should.  If you have then give the Rhodo a look since this rod gives you a lot of options.

While you're putting your tenkara outfit together, add the Tenkara USA The Keeper to the cart as it's perfect for carrying multiple tenkara lines or tippet lengths and even has a small fly keeper in it as well.

I have a soft spot for gear bags and the Topo Designs Field Bag is one of my favorites as one that is the perfect size to toss in a couple of fly boxes, DSLR camera with an extra lens, and few other odds and ends for a few hours on the water.  

The Field Bag is "Made In Colorado" of 1000d Cordura, has sturdy YKK zippers, a removable divider, and heavy duty plastic hardware.  There are side pockets on both ends (think water bottle on one end and favorite brew on the other) of the Field Bag with a wide padded shoulder strap and removable waist straps.  I really like how easy it is to get in and out of the Field Bag with a large flap opening.

The Field Bag is available in several different color options and there is even a Topo X Howler version though it's on backorder right now.

When the YETI Hopper was released last fall I figured that this premium cooler could be a game changer of sorts if it worked as advertised.  Where their Tundra coolers were heavy and not always easy to carry when loaded down, the lightweight but sturdy Hopper can be slung over a shoulder and tossed in a kayak, raft, or the back of the car when off on the next adventure.

The game changer part of this is the Hopper has so many applications outside of angling and hunting with parents who spend weeknights and weekends at their children's sports practice and tournaments, afternoon concerts in the park, road trips, and anytime else you need to keep drinks, snacks, and meals cold.  Like cold for days cold.

The Hopper features a heavy duty DRYHIDE Shell, Hyrdolok Zipper, and ColdCell Insulation.  This soft sided cooler is durable and up for just about anything.

How much do I believe in the YETI Hopper?  So far I've bought three of them (at full price) with one going to a guide in Montana who hosted me for the week, one to our wonderful child care friend, and then yet another last week for my dad since I've been promising him a YETI Cooler forever.

I tend to like the Hopper 20QT size best but it is also available in the Hopper 30QT size for those who need the extra capacity.

What's on your list of essentials for summer?

NOTICE - You may have noticed that on a handful of links within this post are directed to Trouts Fly Fishing in Denver, Colorado.  These are affiliate links and if you're looking for a way to support The Fiberglass Manifesto then please place an order through this excellent fly shop.  I am certainly not expecting a windfall through this but every little bit helps keeps things going around here.  I appreciate the support.

DISCLAIMER - Items for this post were either purchased at full retail price, on an industry discount, or provided free of charge to demo and review by the respective company.  It should be known that any product that is reviewed on this website is one that I have used and would recommend for others to use as well.

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