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Friday, June 28, 2013

Incredible Value and Great Looks: Wilderness Pro Nets

Wilderness Pro South Island Net - $40

Small local creeks, big westside water, eastside lakes and trips out to Idaho and Montana this summer all have one thing in common when you're fly fishing for trout - the need for a good net.

We've brought in a couple different Wilderness Pro Nets this summer, you'll find them on the wall to the right when you walk in the shop. The first thing you'll notice about these nets are their dapper good looks. The wood finish is smooth and pleasing to the touch, and the clear netting on the South Island and the Guide Net (not pictured, more below) really make the colors of netted fish stand out. They come with a clip you can attach to a D-rings and net retractors.

Wilderness Pro South Island -$40

Sized for large fish in fast waters, the South Island is an ideal net to keep strapped to your vest when wading a big river. Clear netting adds a stealth effect, and wood handle classes things up.

Wilderness Pro Guide Net - $54 (not pictured)

This one is the same as the South Island model, just with a longer handle so you stretch out on the net on that toad from your pontoon or drift boat, get it in for a quick shot, and release unharmed.

Wilderness Pro C&R Net - $30

Wilderness Pro C&R Net - $30.00
Small creeks and delicate dries on a 3 weight rod this summer? Check out the Wilderness Pro C&R Net. Soft netting is easy on trout, and small weave makes it easy to remove an Elk Hair Caddis from the mouth of an over-zealous Middle Fork bow. Hint, this one also works for the big fish.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Product Review: Hatch Reels

The first thing that comes to mind when you take a gander at the Hatch reels sitting in our reel case is "wow, what's that?" With the sleek lines and good looks of a race car, they don't quite look like anything else in the case. Pick one up and you'll immediately notice the light weight. Crank down the drag and you'll feel the smoothness of the multi-surface engagement. These aren't the heirloom quality reels of the past. With a healthy dose of tech, Hatch reels are a new breed, and after 10 years in the industry, the verdict is out: Hatch reels are bombproof and here to stay.

Here are a couple of cool features you'll appreciate as the fish of a lifetime takes off towards the horizon:

  • Multi-disc drag uses multiple Rulon and stainless-steel laser cut discs to apply braking pressure and disperse heat instead of a single surface on most drag systems (metal to cork or metal to plastic). This multi-disc setup reduces the momentum needed to get the reel spinning when a fish takes line, a.k.a. start-up intertia, and virtually eliminates problems with the drag slipping and sticking.
  • Cassette-style drag system is completely sealed, safe for salt water use
  • It's easy to remove the spool, all you have to do is undo the spool tension nut and and the spool comes out without a hitch. There are no pieces to lose or drop in the river
  • Hook guard in the bottom of the reel offers a place to keep your hooks tucked into the reel and out of the way

We can order you any size, and they come in mid-arbor and large-arbor sizes, but here's a gloss of the couple reels we currently have in the case (mid arbor only):

1 Plus Finatic - $350
Small creek finesse and an incredible feel. Think forks of the Snoqualmie with a 0 - 2 weight rod, mountain creeks with summertime dries and any other time you are chasing small but mighty fish.

5 Plus Finatic - $500
The do-it-all workhorse. From 5 - 7 weight applications. Around these parts, thats sea-run cutthroat off Seattle beaches, big streamers on the Yakima, and chasing pink salmon in summertime flows.

9 Plus Finatic - $750
Destined to land your hottest fish in warm-water destinations, the 9 Plus Finatic handles 9 - 12 weight lines. Also doubles as a nice spey reel with the light weight to balance today's 11.5 - 13 foot rods.
This older version of the Monsoon 7 Plus, which put the brakes on many a Bahamian bonefish.
More info here:

Come on in and check 'em out!

Product Review: Spirit River UV2 Tying Materials

Spirit River UV2 Multi Spectrum Dubbing
One of the coolest ideas to come out of fly tying materials recently, Spirit River UV2 materials reflect ultraviolet light to catch more fish. We've got dubbing, rabbit strips, grizzly barred soft hackles, marabou and schlappen in a variety of colors to try. Spice up steelhead patterns, tie up a UV reflective zonker, or dub up an irresistible nymph thorax. The sky is the limit!
UV2 materials enhance both the UVF and the UVR spectrum of reflected light. UVF is the fluorescent wavelength in bright colors, and it boosts the visibility of flies at distance. Basically it makes otherwise bright colors pop above and beyond what's normal.

Not readily detectable by human eyes, UVR is a spectrum of light that fish can see. Naturally occurring signatures of UVR light help mayflies find their mates, help bees find flowers and help fish target prey. By incorporating the UVR spectrum into tying materials, you're tapping into a dimension of fly design that goes beyond size, shape, color and movement! Try 'em out!

In order top to bottom: Schlappen, Marabou, Grizzly Soft Hackle, Dubbing, Rabbit Strips on Side
Spirit River recommends always tying in a base of pearl or silver Mylar or white thread to enhance the reflectivity of the patterns.

We're really looking forward to trying out these materials in lakes and the Sound. Dredging streamer patterns down deep in Pass Lake, enticing agro SRCs and unlocking the secret to lock-jawed coho perhaps? Only time will tell!

Brita's UV2 Sculpin Helmet Minnow Under The Blacklight

Materials and Knowhow for Puget Sound Flatwings

One of the best-kept secrets in Washington fisheries, the beaches of Puget Sound have a lot to offer local anglers. Fishable year-round, your local beach offers opportunities to chase sea-run cutthroat and a variety of migratory salmon including, most notably, the coho and pink salmon that will be off our beaches starting in the late summer months.

Some of Ben's Sculpin Flatwings and a Flatwing Minnow

Some of Joel's Puget Sound Flatwings

Lots of bait means lots of food-forms for our local fish to eat. Season in, season out, we’ve found that one of the keys to success is using flies with a profile that matches the prevailing bait in the water. One of the best flies is the Puget Sound Flatwing. This isn’t a pattern that you’ll find in our bins, and it’s not one that you’ll find tied by commercial companies, at least not yet. It’s a style of fly developed and popularized by east-coast fly tyer and artist Kenny Abrames, who needed a unique fly for stripers. The defining technique uses various colors of saddle hackles tied in lengthwise on top of the hook shank to create a unique combination of color and movement that looks, and performs, unlike any other fly out there.
We learned this style of tying, characterized by minimal use of materials and blending of different colors to achieve a unique effect, from the former manager of the Avid Angler, Nathan Keen. While teaching at striper school back east, Nathan adopted these tying techniques and subsequently brought them back to the Puget Sound. He adapted them to the food forms in our local waters, including sculpin, sand lance and pacific herring, and he taught the entire staff how to tie these elegant and effective patterns. To this day, you’ll find flatwings in varying sizes in all of our boxes; we love to fish them, and we love to tie them.

We’ve got a variety of saddles with colors you won't easily find anywhere else, and they’re the perfect length for the baitfish patterns in our waters. We also have upcoming classes to offer instruction in both tying instruction and fishing the Puget Sound. Come on in, check it out.