Patagonia Great Divider Review by Steve Schmidt

1mulN03oI7yxtQa9wvgHfWaG5MJT7wnjZsHJmgMrvmw,Aihs2ufry_wTAfSfn7p17EXiOT7r915J4VaJWfDCGcUWhen Patagonia first came out with the Great Divider I thought it had issues; the waterproof zipper and it’s price. I must not have been the only one because Patagonia dropped the bag for a year or two, however enough consumers must have liked it since Patagonia eventually brought it back.

Not much changed with it on its second go around, but during that time I’d been through a number of other boat bags supposedly designed to perform as the Patagonia Great Divider was intended to do, but they all failed so miserably that I finally bit the bullet and bought the Patagonia bag. That was a long time ago and it was a purchase well worth the investment.

One of the design features that bugged me was the waterproof zipper, yet after having cameras floating around in the bottom of the other bags and after having on a number of occasions to empty the contents of those other boat bags and dry everything out I understood that if your going to have a fly-fishing bag its going to be getting wet, yet the idea is it’s contents should remain dry and protected.

So I’ve gotten over the bulky zipper after I realized that it was a necessary evil and that it was a feature that made the bag truly waterproof, which for a boat bag is a necessity. In the latest version of this bag, I’m still sporting the original green one, the zipper is much easier to use, yet it performs well with a lot less effort and bulk.

After all the years and places I’ve traveled and used this bag I haven’t found another one that performs as well or is as durable as the Patagonia Great Divider. It’s adjustable compartments gives you a myriad of options for packing your reels, cameras, tablet, phone, flies, leaders, tippets, cigars, and articles of light clothing. It’s not only a great boat bag, but excellent for carryon when traveling, or storing your stuff in, between trips.

There’s a reason why just about everyone in the shop uses this bag. It’s a great bag and the Great Divider flawlessly does what it’s suppose to. If you’re looking for a boat bag that will serve you well for years, protect your valuable fly-fishing equipment and accessories Patagonia’s Great Divider will do just that.

To purchase or see other great fly fishing products visit our website here…

Simms G3 Guide Jacket Review by: Bryce Nichols

The Simms G3 jacket has been a staple in our shop since Simms came out with it many years ago. For fall 2015 Simms has launched it’s newest iteration of the G3 jacket. Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, they outdid themselves.

Steelhead SS 001 (36)With technology in Gore-Tex continually improving the G3 jacket is now 25% lighter weight than it’s previous version. Not to mention some key design features that are not only cool, but we feel enhance your fishing experience while wearing it. The new front layout is cleaned up, it has 2 built in retractors, vertical pockets (large enough to fit a fly box or two in), and a sweet hemo clip. Everything is very well hidden and tucked away where it’s easy to use, but clean enough to prevent line snags, which has been an issue in the past. For chilly days when you’re using it as a windbreaker you can tuck the hood away, which is a feature some of the earlier versions had, but in recent years wasn’t offered. The wrist seals are easy to use and extremely comfortable, which is as expected in this type of jacket.

One of the first trips I ever did to Alaska I had a typical lightweight packable rain shell, after the first 3 hours of fishing I was soaked, and still had 6 more rainy days of fishing. It wasn’t the most pleasant week I’ve had fishing due to being sopping wet the entire time. I always wondered why people would spend so much on a jacket, and after my experience in AK, it’s one of the best investments I’ve made. The first thing I ordered after returning home was a Simms G3 jacket, and for the last decade it’s all I use. We know they aren’t cheap, but when the weather gets nasty it’s worth every penny. In my experience they are extremely durable and last for years (based off how hard I am on gear if they last me for years, it’s usually a decade for most), which helps ease the pain of the initial hit when purchasing.

Now whether you’re fishing for a few hours on a local stream in some nasty conditions, or headed on an extended fishing trip; stay warm, dry, and comfortable in the Simms G3 guide jacket. Trust me, if you find yourself in those epic fishing situations that seems to present themselves mostly when the weather isn’t ideal you’ll be stoked you made this purchase.

Sage One Spey & Switch Rod Review by: Steve Schmidt

Steelhead SS 001 (33)I first got my hands on a Sage ONE Spey Rod on the Dean in August of 2011. Nothing like getting teased with something you can’t have. Sage fly rod Company along with other fine fly rod manufacturers have played an integral part in the development of today’s spey rods and their growing popularity. With the introduction of their new ONE Spey Rod they prove they are still an industry leader and have pushed the envelope in two handed fly rod technology and performance once again.

I remember my first spey rod, a Sage I purchased in the 90’s. Being an obsessed steelheader I was drawn early to the advantages of a two handed rod. Jim Vincent sent me some hand drawn stick figures on paper along with a formula for how to build a spey line and off to the park I went. Since then both Sage and I have come a long way in this game. Given today’s options in spey rods and lines if I had started my adventures today my learning experience would have been much easier. Looking back at my journey, however I have no regrets. After all, I didn’t get into fishing with flies because it was easy.

Credence to Sage’s prowess in the spey rod game is their iconic TCX 7126-4, affectionately known by steelheaders as the “Death Star”. This rod really addresses today’s Skagit and Scandi style of casting and steelheading techniques that were pioneered by the likes of Ward, O’Donnell, McCune, Howell and others in the northwest. This rod is light, quick and can easily handle a variety of Skagit or Scandi lines, heavy sink tips and lead eyed flies. Even with this “one” series of Sage spey rods, the “Death Star’s” cult following will not see this rod go away anytime soon.

Steelhead SS 001 (2)So how does this new series of spey rods differ from some of the other rods that are out there?  Why are I and my staff so impressed with this Sage’s latest series of spey rod?  For starters it is light thanks to its boron carbon fiber blend. The markedly slim profile is also quite evident, yet amazingly these rods possess a thicker wall construction compared to other Sage spey rods. That doesn’t sound like much, but given the average length of today’s spey rod the narrow profile will allow for improved line speed and on those blustery fall steelhead days, make a significant difference in your ability to turn over a fly. All this is good on the water, but that said probably their most noticeable attribute thanks to Sage’s Konetic technology is the ability of these rods to track like few other rods we’ve had the pleasure of putting a line on.  Having now fished and cast most of these new spey rods, I find them to be consistently nice in the hand, smooth and throw a line rather effortlessly when matched with the appropriate line.

The prototype rod I was introduced to on the Dean was a 7130-4; a rod length that never made it to production. Personally I thought the tip was a little stiff. When I got an opportunity to cast a production rod, the 7136-4, the extra inches took care of that problem and made for a smooth, very light yet very responsive and powerful spey rod. The day this rod arrived I called all my steelhead buddies for an afternoon session in the park to get some feedback. Everyone was impressed with this rods versatility, weight, ease of casting, and ability to track a line. Given the variety of rods this crew owns and fishes: Berkheimer’s, Winston’s, T & T’s, Scotts, Meiser’s, Sage’s, their more than favorable appraisal of the new Sage ONE 7136 was fair testament to its broad appeal. We’ve found that to be true with most of these new rods, but especially the 7136-4 ONE  and 7126-4 ONE. Both meat and potato rods for the waters we fish in BC and the northwest.

There are a lot of good spey rods out there. These new Sage rods however are somewhat of a game changer. Again, when it comes to rods we recognize that we all have personal peculiarities when it comes to rods and even more so when it comes to spey rods.  That said, if you are in the market for a Skagit, Switch, Scandi, or more traditional line, whether it’s your first rod or one to fill a niche, your should test drive one of these new Sage ONE Spey Rods. They are impressive.

Scott Women’s A4 Rod Review

ImageFly rods have come a long way in the last decade and I’ve noticed that fly rod companies are now starting to pay attention to fly rods that need to be designed for women.  Of those companies, I recently picked up the women’s A4 905-4 fly rod.  The first thing that comes to mind with this rod is its extremely versatile!

To continue reading the full rod review click here…

Hatch Fly Reel Review by Steve Schmidt

ImageThe Hatch Fly Reel company is a relatively new fly reel manufacturer that has risen to the top of premium fly reel companies in a short period of time.  I remember distinctly when I first came across this company; they only offered one very fine fly fishing reel.  That was unique for a new reel manufacturer: just one reel, one size, one color.   For several years  I followed this new innovative reel company and watched them mature.  Not long after learning of Hatch Reels I bought one.  It was the first non-Hardy trout reel I’ve ever owned and used since opening Western Rivers 28 years ago.  I was so impressed that shortly after that we brought them in to the shop even though my crew was somewhat hesitant because of their price.  That hesitancy didn’t last long, however.  Since then just about everyone in the shop now owns and fishes a Hatch Reel amd they have become our best selling premium fly reel. To read the rest of the review click here…

Sage Aluminum Travel Rod Tube Review

ImageFly-fishing rod tubes have been around for a long time. Looking back, Sage has offered a variety of cases and rod tubes over the years. Until recently most rod tubes, including theirs are constructed of Cordura, are round and are structurally supported by a PVC lining. Like their great line of fly rods, Sage now offers what I think is the best bomber rod tubes available. Instead of finding a Cordura and PVC tube their new rod tubes are constructed of brushed aluminum and are rectangular in shape rather than round. The year they were introduced I thought they were one of the best new products at the annual Fly-Tackle Retailer show. Now after purchasing one and having trekked it across continent’s I know for a fact that for traveling and protecting your precious fly rods, these rod tubes have no superiors. To read the full reivew click here…

Simms Headwaters Guide Hip Pack Review

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In today’s fly fishing world there seems to be a million choices in hip and waist packs. After recently returning from a steelhead trip, hear what one of our guides have to say about the newly updated Simms guide pack.

“We all have our preferences on our favorite fly fishing pack system. Whether it’s a sling pack, backpack/vest combo, hip pack or chest pack we can all agree that a well designed piece is more comfortable while still making simple tasks on the water much quicker, easier and less of a headache. The 2014 Simms Headwaters Guide Hip Pack is one of our new favorite outfits for the angler who likes to come prepared for anything.” Click here to read the full review…