Tuesday, December 6, 2016

10 For Fall

It seems like these seasonal gear reviews always end up posting at the end of the season instead of at the beginning.  I've been planning this one for several months now but demo time and waiting for a couple late arriving pieces end lining up "10 For Fall" as a solid wish list for the holidays too.

Here's my favorite gear list for fall covering camp, home, river, and marsh.

When Marty Romeo announced that he was working on a taper design with Mike McFarland for a heavy line weight fiberglass fly rod it certainly perked my interest.  When he received the 8'4" 8/9 weight blanks and started putting the "Lowcounty Flats Glass" builds together I knew I had to demo one to see what this fly rod was all about.

I've put some time on the water with the Lowcounty Flats Glass and it excels in what it was made for in casting flies in the skinny water for roaming redfish.  Marty got it right when it kept this blank on the shorter end of things as this fly rod feels light in hand and can lay out various eight and nine weight fly lines with accuracy and ease.

Lastly, here's the thing about Marty Romeo, he flies more or less under the radar without a website (but be sure to follow shop news on Facebook and Instagram) and he's building some of the nicest fly rods out there right now either on his own blanks and he's the go to builder in my book for any build on the various James Green Fly Rod blanks.

Last year at IFTD I first saw the Fishpond Drifty Boat Caddie and definitely thought that it was a pretty cool idea.  Here's a decent sized gear bag that's been made to secure to a hard side boat with adjustable gunwale hooks or if you're confident in your drilling skills (Measure once.  Mark.  Measure three more times to make sure your first mark was right) into the front side of a premium cooler with TPU coated snaps.  The quick release of the four corner snaps allow the Drifty Boat Caddie to be removed from the cooler and use again with the hooks with ease.

The main compartment of the Drifty Boat Caddie is a great size to tuck a few fly boxes and there's also some space on the back wall with a couple pockets for leaders, sink tips, etc.  On the exterior there is the Fishpond signature molded zip-down fly bench so that you can load up the removable foam piece with flies and then Velcro it in place.  There is webbing and tool spots but the final genius of the Drifty Boat Caddie is the molded beverage holder that is just large enough to slide a brew of your choice in a Retro Fly Koozie.

The Drifty Boat Caddie is a great piece of kit from Fishpond and the perfect accessory for your cooler that's in and out of the boat, kayak, and back of your vehicle.

The one cooler that I was missing (maybe not according to my wife) was the perfect small hard cooler that wouldn't be too big to use as a seat in the Diablo Chupacabra SUP kayak and have some other use as a seat around the campfire or to carry out to the yard to stand on for casting practice.  In the end, I found the K2 Coolers Summit 20 which has hit all the right spots and it was the perfect size for adding the Drifty Boat Caddie as well.  Win win.

The Summit 20 is one-piece roto-molded with gasket lid and if you run the numbers of external size to internal size you'll see that there is several inches all the way around for SNOWblown insulation which goes a long way to retaining ice.  The nylon carry strap is a nice bonus for carrying this cooler around.

The last thing, and no doubt important, the Summit is priced at least a $100 less than other premium coolers in the same size category.  Save that extra cash for a couple sixers of your favorite brew.

I think I am getting old.  For years I've never really been able to stand wearing slipper around the house.  Now I'm in my early forties and with the weather turning something clicked in my brain that I needed some slippers to keep my feet warm.  

The Korkers BisonMoc arrived just as the leaves began falling to the ground and though these could be worn just about anywhere, I'm keeping these clean for just inside living.  The BisonMoc are built to last from premium bison leather and rubber bumper around the front of the shoe.  The Kling-On sole will mean that you'll never feel that biting pain of stepping on a Lego in the early morning on your way to the coffee pot.

Where slippers in the past have really been too warm to wear all the time, the BisonMoc shearling lining on the interior sides and top of the foot are paired with a cork foot bed which keeps things feeling mighty fine.  These are a limited edition offering and won't be around forever.

I've mentioned it before that I am a little bit (okay, a lot) OCD and though I had come to terms in my brain that swing flies work just fine in fleece lined wallets or zip lock bags, when I came across the Plan D Fishing Solutions fly boxes, I immediately saw a cure to any disorganization.

Plan D Fishing Solutions haven't been around long, and their boxes are getting little tweaks here and there to make them better, but the Pocket, Pack, and Boat give three great sizes to choose from to match your needs to keep flies and lures happily organized.  Small hooks anchored to the exterior of the boxes with slit foam for the hook makes for a very secure and orderly fit.

I sat down on a cold and rainy Sunday a couple weeks ago and while thinking of a Michigan steelhead trip (flashback HERE and HERE) last December with STM Outfitters, took my mess of swing flies (think Aqua Flies, Greg Senyo, and Red Spot Fly favorites) stashed in several wallets and gave them a new home, all organized and happy (oh, so happy) in these three fly boxes.

For years I've been wrestling with our old dual fuel stove which has been prone to some issues that need some attention.  With several fall camping trips on the books I figured it was time to invest in a new camp stove and began the research on what I wanted next.  The stove that I kept coming back to was the Primus Kinjia Stove for it's solid steel powder coated construction and several smart design features.

The Kinjia features a handle that when flipped up unlocks the stove and otherwise it's handy for carry.  The griddle is easy to remove as well as the stainless steel drip tray that has been designed on an angle to pool anything that might come out of your cook pot or pan.  The hose and regulator tuck under the stove for storage.

When lit, the Kinjia has a deep blue flame with up to 7,000 BTU/h from each burner and uses a small propane cylinder for fuel.  Maybe not the hottest when compared to other camp stoves but certainly more than enough for any cooking that we do.  There is a lot of heat/flame control in the dial and this is a joy to cook on with a stable griddle that will support pans and pots of all sorts.

The Kinjia is on the upper end as far as cost in the camp stove range but the build, design, and features all win out on this cook stove that will certainly be a great camp companion in the years to come.

I know that many of you are waiting for new T.F.M. #glassisnotdead Knit Cap but certainly don't forget that there are quite a few solid choices from Rep Your Water for all your knit hat needs.

Along with looking great, the Rep Your Waters knit hats are oh so warm and comfortable.  This is a fall and winter must have.

I think of it often that I am so fortunate to live just ninety minutes or so from the Lowcounty and with that, there are still redfish to pursue even if they aren't tailing in the spartina grass.

The RIO Products Winter Redfish fly line is a great match for glass and perfect for turning over redfish flies and designed not to tangle on those cool days on the pointy end of the boat.  Dual color tone, front and back loop, and slick coating all come together for the perfect cold weather saltwater fly line for long accurate casts but a easy loading head for those short hop casts to fish that cruise up close.

When my wife and I started dating and I made my first trips to South Carolina, one thing that I noted was the large cast iron skillet that her mother did so much of her cooking with.  This smooth worn and seasoned skillet was and continues to be something special.

Cast iron cookery has had a recent renaissance and the Smithey Ironware Company from Charleston, South Carolina launched their company with the No. 10 Cast Iron Skillet and recently released the larger No. 12 Cast Iron Skillet as well.  

We have been cooking everything from fried eggs and bacon to fresh fruit desserts and the Smithey No. 10 has worked well on the camp stove, kitchen stove, and in the oven as well.  The Smithey skillet comes to temperature quickly and you barely need to turn the dial on the stove past LO to get it there.  The polished surface of the skillet is excellent to cook off of and this is a heirloom piece of kitchen ware that will certainly be passed on to our children and their children.

Looking back in the T.F.M. archives shows that I've been using Solitude fly reels for almost five years now.  These fly reels have been rock solid in function and I have several each of the Solitude 4 and Solitude 5 fly reels with extra spools always at the ready for a trip.

Solitude Reels are "Made In U.S.A." with beginnings in Michigan until the company was purchased and moved to the PNW where the design inside and out was refined a bit to be the fly reels they are today.  Available to cover line weights four through eleven and with Type II in pewter and gold and Type III hard anodize in black, Mid-Arbor or Large Arbor spool choices, and solid drag systems make these a great fly reel choice to consider.

When everyone else is cutting weight on their fly reels, Solitude Reels has kept their fly reels have enough weight that they balance glass fly rods, even heavy line weight glass, with excellence.  I've also been very impressed with the Type II and Type III anodize as these fly reels are still in great shape after years of abuse.  

These fly reels have tackled everything from carp to bass to steelhead to bonefish to redfish to NOT catching permit flawlessly.  Priced $270 to $400 make these fly reels a definite value for a stateside made fly reel that can handle anything that will eat a fly.

Well, that's my "10 For Fall" gear line up.  What are your fall essentials?

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. 


Unknown said...

Great list. I particularly like the Fishpond Drifter Boat Caddie and Korkers Bison Mocs. The Moc's are super comfy and look amazing! Thanks!

Feather Chucker said...

That stove is pretty cool. 7000 per burner is great.

Cameron Mortenson said...

Curt W... I can't get enough of the Korkers Bison Mocs. Now my dad wants a pair.

Kevin... Yep. Agreed.

engelcoolers said...

Portable Fridge Freezers,
Car Fridge,
Hard Coolers,
Soft Coolers,
Dry Boxes,
Live Bait Coolers,
12 Volt Fridge Freezers,
Kenny Chesney No Shoes Nation,

Cameron Mortenson said...

Engel Coolers... Interested in a possible T.F.M. review of your products? Please send an email to thefiberglassmanifesto@gmail.com to discuss. Thank you.