Bamboo, Fiberglass, Graphite and Carbon Silica Hybrid Custom Made Fly Rods.. Handcrafted Works Of Art…

In a world of mass produced products bombarding us from every side it’s great that there are still craftsman that still hold the art of building fly rods sacred. If you have spent any time at all on this site you know that I love handcrafted gear whether it be fly rods, leaders or even clothing.. I love products that are crafted by individuals that have a passion for what they are doing and putting out.

Today we are going to look at three of these individuals and show you their work.

  • JP Ross Fly Rods
  • Graywolf Products and Services
  • Custom Fly Rods by Chris Lantzy

First we are starting out with JP Ross of JP Ross Fly Rods and also owner of Rising Trout Outfitter Fly Shop. After spending a good amount of time on JP’s website and reading about him, his history in the business and what he does, all you can say is he is amazing. Truly amazing with what he has done by the age of 41 from opening a fly shop, starting a rod building business and also calling on his understanding of material and fly rod design to come up with his own blanks. This is a rare thing as you know.

JP specializes in Fiberglass Fly Rods and also has a line of Carbon Silica Hybrid Fly Rods which is what I want to focus on. Never heard of Carbon Silica? Well, here is what JP has on his website about what Carbon Silica is and the history of how he developed it.

Carbon Silica Hybrid – Carbon Silica technology came about because JP wanted to release something to the market that was extraordinary for the user and technology advanced.   What we have done is combined the feel of casting glass with the action and fiber of graphite.  By creating a new lamina that combines these materials, we have made a real “hybrid” fly rod.  A carbon-glass hybrid.  We also have incorporated the use of silica into our component process to increase the bond strength of our adhesion. At first we thought this would just be for small stream rods, but later found that it was extremely effective in other rod as well. We believe this is the next step towards the new standard in fly rods, and this technology is proprietary to JP Ross & Co.

With the technology and design figured out it is now time to introduce you to the rod that gets to use that technology – The Black Jack Carbon Silica Fiberglass Hybrid 8’6″ 5/6 Weight 5 Piece Custom Built Fly Rod

The Black Jack is a medium action 8’6″ 5/6 weight built with a fullwells grip, silver reel seat with Buckeye Burl wood insert and black jack fly engraving on the reel seat and on the cork.  Guides are wrapped in a translucent gunmetal gray.  All guides are single foot chrome and the strip guide is a large size 16 for shooting line with ease.  The rod comes with a rod bag and black on black case.  Custom inscription is available for free.

A custom made fly rod with cutting edge technology all for $499.00. If you look at the images above you can tell that JP puts a lot of passion into what he does and his attention to detail is truly fantastic. Very clean.

The Black Jack Carbon Silica Technology Explained – I won’t pretend to understand what JP has done but I can tell you he has done it perfectly. Below is an excerpt from his website explaining the technology behind his creation a little more.

When we designed the Black Jack Carbon Silica Hybrid fly rod, there were a few design attributes and factors we wanted to include in the design.  One in particular was the butt section diameter.  We wanted that diameter to not be too big, so that custom builders could use this blank with wood reel seats.  In conclusion of design and manufacturing the butt section diameter turned out to be  0.40inches or 10 millimeters,  a diameter very easily worked around as a builder. 

Aesthetically, we wanted the rod to be unique, not flashy, and somewhat nostalgic.  So we went with the clear matte finish and left the blank un-sanded, except for the ferrules which are sanded to insure proper fit.

The action however was something that needed technology in order to achieve what we wanted to achieve.  The rod had to be 5 pieces, very durable, not clunky, and seem effortless to cast like a high end bamboo rod might feel, but with a little more tip flex to keep the rod from the typical glass wobble that you get as the line exits the tip section. 

The reason that nice bamboo rods are fun to cast is because all you have to do is move the rod in its casting arc and the rod casts itself.  This is true because of a few physics principals. 

Momentum is actually a combination or product of mass and velocity. A fly rod that is light and thin does not have the natural momentum of a slightly heavier rod like glass or bamboo.  You have to push a stiff light rod to flex and cast because it has less mass.  We didn’t want this push or fast acceleration need.  We wanted the caster to just move their arm and have the rod cast itself, so we knew we needed a little weight in the rod like a bamboo rod, but not much. 

Inertia is the principal of an object in motion.  A larger mass in motion has more inertia than a lighter mass.  So our rod is balanced properly, and has the perfect combination of glass and carbon so that when that rod is in motion it stays in motion until you stop the tip at the end of the stroke.  Little effort is needed to cast this rod, yet the tip does not wobble.

If we made this rod completely out of graphite, the rod would have to be very thick in order to gain mass, and when you go thick in graphite, you get stiff.  We did not want stiff.  We wanted a medium to medium fast action. Medium fast with a 5 weight, and medium with a 6.

If we made the rod out of just glass, the rod would be too slow, too heavy and too big in diameter to be a 5 piece.  It also would have a terrible tip wobble.  We know this because we made prototypes of this same Black Jack in glass, and it did not work. 

So the Black Jack is a Carbon Silica Hybrid.  A mixture of glass and graphite.  2.2 ounces of it to be specific.  Just enough to give the right weight and feel so that the rod feels like it casts itself when in its zone or sweet spot.  This rod is made for floating line, weight forward, and non-weighted flies.  Dry flies, small streamers, and light nymph rigs is where this rod works best.  And when you do catch a fish on it, the feel is amazing.  Better than glass or graphite, and because the rod is a tad bit heavier than normal, more like conventional glass but a tad lighter; when a fish bends the rod and changes the balance point, the angler must counter act to fight the fish and the feel is remarkable even on small fish. 

As you can see JP is a pretty smart guy with his design and development of a truly unique fly rod material. How many people can say they have designed a fly rod material? Right.. not very many..

Check out JP Ross Fly Rods at their website of https://www.jprossflyrods.com/ or Instagram @jprossflyrods

Truly Fantastic Work!

Our next custom rods builder comes to us from Michigan – Shane Gray of Graywolf Products and Services. Shane is a full time rod builder focusing his time on truly awesome fiberglass and graphite fly rods. As I said he lives in Michigan and is obviously an avid fly fisherman focusing on Trout, Bass, Steelhead and Salmon. Shane is an incredibly personable guy and I would guarantee if you got him on the phone and asked about fly rods the guy could give you more information that you can image.

When looking over Shane’s website it doesn’t take long to see the kind of passion he has for what he does. He builds some amazing fly rods and like JP, Shane’s attention to detail is magnificent. Incredible to say the least.

Looking at the first few images above you can tell what Shane is all about. It doesn’t take much to be able to look at a picture of a Graywolf fly rod and see the amazing work Shane is putting out. They are just different and different in a good way.

Shane offers builds on multiple different fiberglass blanks. McFarland Yellow Glass, Swift Epic, Ijuin, Steffen Brothers, Kabuto, Tom Morgan and Trout Smiths. We will take a quick look at a couple of the blanks he builds on but for a full list please visit his website to see everything he can do.

McFarland Yellow Glass – These blanks are known as AMERIGLASS Classic and made in Pennsylvania of honey yellow E Glass. The tapers are smooth, deep flexing with a perfect balance of power from the tip to the butt.

  • Models Available
  • 6’8″ & 7’0″ 3wt 3 Piece
  • 7’6″, 7’9″ & 8’0″ 4wt 3 Piece
  • 8’0″ & 8’6″ 5wt 3 Piece
  • 8’0″ & 8’6″ 6wt 3 Piece
  • 8’6″ 5wt & 6wt 4 Piece
  • As you can see there are a lot of configurations so give Shane a call and he can make just about anything you want.
  • Signature Line – $625
  • Stream Line – $645
  • Perfection – $675

Ijuin Fiberglass – These blanks are soft, full flex, fun rods as Shane puts it. Tomo Ijuin’s tapers are made in Japan out of uni-directional E-Glass. The blanks are painted a wonderful bright green color with white spigot ferrules.

  • Models Available
  • 5’11” 3wt
  • 6’6″ 3wt
  • 7’0″ 3wt
  • 7’0″ 4wt
  • 7’3″ 4wt
  • 7’6″ 4wt
  • 7’11” 5wt
  • Signature Line $635
  • Stream Line $655
  • Perfection $675

As you can see that’s only a couple of the fiberglass options Shane offer so head over to his website and see the other lines of fiberglass fly rods he can build for you.

In addition Shane has a line of Fiberglass Ultra Light Spin Rods. The rod is made from a yellow E Glass and they were designed by Mike McFarland. The rod is a full flex action which makes this rod the perfect choice for your next light line, panfish or trout trip. All the hardware is hand made from nickle silver and all rods are 2 piece models.

Ultra Light Spin Rod Models

  • 5’6″ 2-6 lb
  • 5’9″ 2-6 lb
  • 6’0″ 2-6 lb
  • 6’6″ 2-6 lb
  • Stream Grade Pricing – $395 (For A Custom Spin Rod… Amazing)

And.. Shane also build custom graphite fly rods built on blanks from SAGE, Winston, Thomas and Thomas and Swift Epic. If interested in Graphite give Shane a call or drop him an email.

To wrap it up on Shane and Graywolf Fly Rods.. All you need to do is two things… (1) Pull up Shane’s website and look at the pictures.. Just pull up the pictures and really take a close look at your screen and I can guarantee you will see the incredible craftsmanship that goes into a Graywolf Fly or Spin rod. They are truly a work or art.. And (2) Call Shane.. Yep.. Just call him..

Shane and Graywolf Products and Services can be found at his website of https://www.graywolfrods.com/ or his Instagram page @graywolf_rods

And Last But Not Least!

Custom Fly Rods by Chris Lantzy – If you have followed this page for any time at all you have seen Chris’s name come up multiple times. That’s because Chris puts out amazing work and not only fly rods but truly fantastic leather items as well. I have gone over all the cool things Chris produces so check out some of the previous posts to see what he offers or head over to his website to see the full line. Yes.. I own 3 different pieces that Chris produces.. A fly waller, leader wallet and a small pack. All incredibly built. But.. that isn’t why we are here today. Today we are talking about Chris and the custom fly rods he puts out.

Chris is a jack of all trades when it comes to fly rods with a line of Split-Bamboo Fly Rods as well as Graphite and Fiberglass Fly Rods. We will touch on his fiberglass and graphite in a few minutes but it’s Chris’s bamboo fly rods that we are here today to talk about. WOW!! Now these are works or art and the amount of time spent making a bamboo fly rod is mind numbing. It’s a totally different process and Chris has it down to an art form. Below is a quick look at what Chris lists on his page about the process of crafting a custom bamboo fly rod.

Split-Bamboo Fly Rods – I hand craft each fly rod taking the time to split & plane the bamboo by hand. Often, I gently flame treat my bamboo so that the rod will be darker than a “blond” rod, but not as dark as a brown-toned rod. Only the best components available go on these rods. Let’s work together to make your custom fly rod.

I specialize in fly rods designed for trout & bass fishing of all different rod actions. I make the bamboo blanks from start to finish, taking the time to hand split & hand plane the bamboo. My split-bamboo rods are never built from mass produced factory made blanks. As an option I can hand make all the “snake”-style line guides from stainless steel wire that is extremely light, strong, & will not corrode (see below). I use Ferrules made from Nickle-Silver by Classic Sporting Enterprises. These are the finest ferrules available. The reel seats are all made in the USA & are the best in the world for appearance & function. All rod bags are made in house & to exacting standards of quality as well. All rods are traditional, six-sided rods. For every rod you purchase I offer a five day inspection period in which you can return the rod to me for a full refund -in unused condition- if you decide the rod is not for you. Purchase a custom fly rod from me without risk or worry. 

Let’s be clear.. Like I said. I own multiple items that Chris has produced (not a bamboo fly rod—-yet).. and I can tell you that 5 day inspection period really isn’t needed. I guarantee you won’t want to return it once you get it in the mail, open it and see the type of work Chris does. If you are the person that looks at the rod and returns it.. I would say you can’t be pleased. Plain and simple.

There are three different series of bamboo that he puts out so let’s take a look at them.

Prudential Series -For those of you who want a great casting split-bamboo fly rod, but at an economical price, a Prudential rod is just the rod for you. All rods in this line are 2 piece with 1 tip (2/1). They all feature snake style line guides, chrome stripping guides, & down locking reel seats with walnut spacers with high grade aluminum hardware. You can have any color of silk thread wraps you want. The rod shafts receive several coats of a hand rubbed oil-based finish. They are marked with a personal inscription of your choosing & the maker’s (my) name, rod length, line weight, & serial number. Each rod comes in a cotton flannel rod bag & a custom duck-cloth covered pvc rod tube. These rods are the perfect introduction to the world of bamboo for those of you who have been curious but don’t want to spend thousands of dollars. I warn you though, you may never go back to synthetic rods!!!
Prudential rods are available in any 2 piece length & line weight. The most popular are:
-6′ 5wt
-7′ 4wt
-7′-6″ 5wt
Price: $600 + $25 shipping & insurance

Classical Series

-All rod blanks are made from the same culm of bamboo. The tips are mirror-matched in node placement & nodes are spaced in the “3×3” method.

-Your choice of standard silk wrap colors of red, green, brown, or orange tipped in black. Other colors available at no extra charge.

-Hard chrome snake style line guides, chrome stripping guides & plain nickel-silver winding checks. 

-Top quality cork grip hand shaped in my shop from premium cork rings. All grips are standard cigar shape.

– Nickel-Silver “Super-Z” style ferrules made by Classic Sporting Enterprises. These are, in my opinion, the best quality ferrules available. 

– All standard reel seats are down locking & available in a slide-band or screw-locking style. The standard wood spacer is walnut. The hardware is made from high grade aluminum.

– All rods come in a cotton flannel rod bag & a custom duck-cloth covered pvc rod tube. As an upgrade option,your rod can also come in a traditional aluminum tube with brass end caps for a small additional cost.

– Every rod comes with a personal inscription. Each rod will have the maker’s (my) name, line weight & rod length, & a serial number on one side of the the rod. The other side will have your name or any personal inscription you choose.
All rods 5ft to 8ft in length are available in 2/2 (2 piece/ 2 tip) configuration. Rods 8”6″ to 9′ length are available in 3/2 (3 piece/ 2 tip) configurations.

Your options for rod length & line weight are many. I make rods from one piece 4′-4″ long to 3 piece 9′ in length & everything in between including all rod actions.

Base Pricing Without Upgrades

  • All 2/2 Rods – $865
  • All 3/2 Rods – $995

Custom Series

These are truly custom rods. Here, anything goes. You & I work together to make a rod that is truly unique to you. Every aspect of the rod is exactly what you want it to be. Each rod comes standard with everything listed for the Classical Series, with the following exceptions:

-Your choice of snake style line guides of hard chrome with standard twist or special hand twisted, stainless steel in a reverse “British” twist. (see below)

-Wraps in any color of silk thread you want. 

-All reel seat hardware is made from Nickel-Silver & are the finest reel seats available. You choose from many different wood spacers & styles of reel seats.

-The winding check is made from Nickel-Silver with finely detailed knurling around the edges. 

-Agate stripping guides are standard on all Custom series rods & you can choose between many different colors of stone.

-All Custom series rods come in a traditional aluminum rod tube with brass end caps.

-You can upgrade these rods with anything you want including custom engraving on the rod metal, custom reel seats, feather inlays, silk wrap colors, etc. With these rods we are limited only by our imagination. Contact me for other options.

Base Price Without Upgrades

  • All 2/2 Rods – $1,155
  • All 3/2 Rods – $1,270

As I said earlier Chris also produces a beautiful line of graphite fly rods as well. We aren’t going to go into a lot of detail so you can look over his website but the one thing that he says on his website that I think hits the nail on the head.

What’s The Difference?

So, what’s the difference between a graphite or fiberglass fly rod I make as apposed to one you can buy from a large store or catalog? Almost everything. First & foremost, every one of my rods are made in the U.S.A. With so many tackle manufactures moving their productions around the world for cheaper labor, I make all the rods myself, by hand, & with one thing in mind: quality.

Appearance – The first difference you’ll notice between my rods & the mass – produced ones are the look of my rods. I like to mix traditional elements with modern functionality. The many small differences of my rods add up to become a fly rod unlike any other you’ll use. For instance, many mass – produced rod’s guides are wrapped with nylon thread & coated very thick with epoxy that make for large, over-sized wraps that look out of place on a delicate fly rod. My guides are wrapped with a very fine silk thread & given a low-build spar varnish finish that results in smooth, elegant looking guide wraps. Also, many large tackle makers today are choosing guide wrap colors that are the same color as the rod shaft, & with no tipping wraps. That’s fine if that’s what you like, but when you purchase a rod from me you have many different choices when it comes to wrap colors, which can give your rod a very classy look. In addition, written on the rod shaft will be whatever inscription you want.

Components – The choice of components are another big difference in my rods. Most mass – market rods today sport long, skinny cork grips. I make my standard grips in a traditional cigar shape & the proper diameter for a comfortable rod you can fish all day long. Most mass – produced rods (especially the cheaper ones) don’t put enough line guides on their rods, or they use the wrong size guides in an effort to save production costs. All my rods come with quality line guides that are sized & spaced correctly for optimum rod performance. On many of the cheaper mass – produced rods you’ll also find rubber winding checks just above the grip. Not on my rods. I use quality checks of nickle-silver. Rubber will dry & break down in time. I build my rods to last for generations.

Performance – The biggest & most important difference you’ll notice between my rods & many of the mass – produced ones is the performance of the rod. Just the feel in hand tells you it’s a quality rod. The ease of the line shooting through the guides & the comfort of using it will be luxurious. A well made custom fly rod will be so much smoother in casting line than many mass – produced rods that you’ll never fall for those slick ads in the back of magazines again! All this mixed with classic, good looks that never go out of style & at a cheaper price than some of the large tackle maker’s prices. Contact me & tell me what you want in a rod, or let me help you decide. Together we’ll make you a rod we can both be proud of.

To put it simply.. Chris Lantzy puts out some beautiful fly rods. If you are looking for a true piece of usable art give him a call and talk to him about making you a true handcrafted bamboo fly rod and I can guarantee you that when you step on the stream, creek, river, lake or wherever you are your fly rod will stand out.

Custom Fly Fishing Rods by Chris Lantzy can be found on his website of https://flyrods.weebly.com/ or his Instagram page @customflyrods

That’s was a lot of information and if you made it this far you deserve a pat on the back. Trust me when I say there is a night and day difference between a big box retailer fly rod and a custom built fly rod by one of the three individuals I just introduced you to. Check our all three websites and one of them will be able to build you exactly what you need.

JP Ross Fly Rods – https://www.jprossflyrods.com/

Graywolf Products and Services – https://www.graywolfrods.com/

Custom Fly Rods by Chris Lantzy – https://flyrods.weebly.com/

A Day Throwing Flies On The Blue River With A Moonlit Lunar S-Glass Fly Rod…

Morning came and so did the two hour drive to get to the fishing spot for the day. Along the way my fishing partner Chris and I decided to forego the previous plan of fishing a certain section of the Blue River and opted to hike in to a more remote section of the river. As I got out of the car I had three rod tubes with me and knew I had to pick on as I didn’t want to haul multiple fly rods with me hiking in to our fishing location…. which neither of us had been.

So as I stood there I thought to myself which rods should I take since I get one shot at this. Do I take my Winston 5wt, my Blue Halo 4wt or this new rod I have.. A Moonlit Lunar S-Glass 4wt. Both the Winston and Blue Halo I have fished before so I know exactly what to expect but the Moonlit was new.. unused.. untested.. and unknown to me so a huge risk to pick one that I had zero experience with and especially on a day I couldn’t easily get back to the car and change rods. But.. my experience with the guys at Moonlit Fly Fishing and their incredibly handcrafted furled leaders told me it was a chance worth taking.

So off we went down a path toward the catch and release only section of the river which was far from the bucket brigade as a friend called it. We walked and walked for what seemed like 45 minutes until we finally saw the sign for the C&R Area. This is when we had to start the bushwacking thru all the trees, overgrown vines and thorns.. but we heard the river off to the west so we knew it was close.. Finally we broke thru the jungle and the river looked fantastic.. large pools, long short waterfalls, riffles, overhanging grass banks, rocks…. a perfect place to fish. Now it was time to fish and out came the Moonlit Lunar S-Glass Fly Rod… We will get back to the fishing part in a few minutes…

Looking at the Lunar fly rod its got a great look to it. The 4wt that I have is a bright cherry red color with a white pearlescent band with the Moonlit Fly Fishing logo. Lunar S-Glass with weight is in a white block lettering and looks sharp and clean. To the eye the rod looks great. And yes I know it’s a small thing but to have the dots to line up the sections is something I like and not all rod makers do it. Moonlit does it…..

Cast after cast the Moonlit rod did it’s job. Great presentation, finesse, was incredibly accurate, responsive and could delicately lay a fly where I wanted it on this small-ish water. And coming in at $179.99, I’m not sure there is a better deal out there. Yes there are handcrafted fiberglass rods that are close to a piece of art that demand 4-5 times what the Moonlit does and yes they are truly fantastic looking but the Moonlit Lunar S-Glass does exactly what you need it to do and for those of us that have to think about how we spend the Moonlit rods fit that mindset perfectly.

So Let’s look at Moonlit’s website and how they describe their rods.

Why Our Rods?

An Old Glass Feel with a Modern Twist
Our NEW Lunar Series of S-Glass rods have been designed to have an old glass feel but lighter weight with a bit faster action, we have been able to do this with today’s new age advanced fiberglass materials and the expertise of our rod designer.

Fast Recovering Tip
One thing we don’t like in many glass rods is an overly soft tip that robs your casting energy, and give you arm fatigue. We designed the Lunar rods to have a fast recovering tip that eliminates over oscillation so the rod’s casting energy goes straight into your line without the wobble.

Progressive Taper with Reserved Power
The progressive action allows you to make smooth accurate short to medium casts but it also has a lot of reserved power to bomb the line out there when needed.

Excellent Roll Casts
The Lunar rods with their deep rod flex are also excellent at performing accurate roll casts.

Great Hook Sets
The Lunar S-Glass rods are also stiff enough to give you a great hook set and has enough backbone to fight fish effectively but elastic enough to bend all the way into the handle if needed.

Compact 4 Piece Rods
All the Lunar rods are a 4 piece which compacts down great for traveling and backpacking.

Several Sizes to Choose From
The Lunar rods will come in sizes 2wt, 3wt, 4wt, 5wt, 6wt, 7wt, and 8wt giving you many options to fit your wants and needs. Each size will be a different color:

  • 8wt – 8ft 6in light blue
  • 7wt – 8ft 6in maroon
  • 6wt- 8ft 2in orange
  • 5wt – 8ft blue
  • 4wt – 7ft 6in red
  • 3wt – 6ft 8in light brown
  • 2wt – 6ft 6in green

Bold But Classy
These rods are bold colors like the glass rods people have loved with a nicely done white accent near the handle. The finish and classy wraps are about as good as it gets from a factory produced rod, we paid attention to the details. This is not just a rod that will love to use but a rod that well stand out visually.

Lifetime Warranty
One thing we do differently in the glass world is offer an easy lifetime warranty. Instead of making you ship your rod into us for repairs, for a $45 warranty fee we send the replacement parts right to you, so you are back to fishing faster.

Back to the fishing part..

Like I said the Moonlit Lunar did a fantastic job of placing flies in the exact spot I wanted them despite the howling wind we were fighting. Cast after cast the rod did it’s job and did it well. Fish after fish I was more impressed with the Moonlit Lunar S-Glass Fly Rod and you will be as well.

And lastly.. It’s late in the day. My fishing partner Chris has been standing near a small waterfall and in a pool below there is a nice rainbow.. thick and ready to be caught. He has thrown flies to it for almost 20 minutes to only have her snub him and put her nose up at his offerings. Chris called me over and told me to give her a try. At the time I had a mop fly on.. Yes a mop fly.. Not what I typically fish but they were working that day so I did it.. But this time the mop did’t work and neither did the next nine flies.. After ten flies I decide I am done after the next fly… So I go totally against everything that has worked the past two days and changed my set-up. I pulled off my mono leader and tied on a Moonlit Furled Leader – theDRIFTER Floating Dry Fly Furled Leader a piece of Moonlit 5x Fluorocarbon Tippet and an Elk Hair Caddis fly.. In the entire two days of fishing on the Blue River not a single person had told me they were using anything resembling a dry fly. It was all streamers, wooly boogers, mop flies, etc. Cast number 1 and she came up and totally missed the fly. Cast 2 she nailed it and the fight was on. Fast forward she was netted and released to fight another fisherman.

So when I tied on the new furled leader, tippet and caddis it was different. It’s hard to explain but throwing that set up was a feeling that was so different from the hundreds and hundreds of cast over the past two days. It was smooth and effortless. A thing of beauty. If you haven’t used a Moonlit furled leader you owe it to your self to give them a call or pick one up online. Let’s just say I’m not too far from totally moving away from Mono or Fluoro leaders and using Moonlit furled leaders 100% of the time. They are just that good.

As the sun starting going down the wind picked up and a little light rain started so we decided the fishing was done for the day. All in all it was a great day and I was happy with my decision to stray from what I knew and give the Moonlit rod the chance it deserved. No chance this rod ever leaves my collection…. It’s Just That Good….

You can check out the rods, furled leaders and everything else Moonlit Fly Fishing offers on their website of – https://moonlitflyfishing.com/ or their Instagram page @moonlitflyfishing. You won’t be disappointed.

The Lightest Reel In It’s Class Without A Huge Price Tag – The Redington Zero Fly Reel

The Redington Zero line of reels have been around since 2015 so you have probably seen them in your local fly shop or while shopping online. If you haven’t you may need to get out more. In all seriousness these reels are sticking around for a few reasons… They are just good little reels that do exactly what you need them to do, weigh a crazy light 3 oz. and will set you back right at $100…. actually $99.99! And.. they come in multiple colors – Black, Sand, Teal, Dreamcicle and Avocado… I have two – a Black 2/3 and a 4/5 in that funky Dreamcicle color!

Let’s jump back to that weight topic.. The Zero weighs in at only 3 oz. and in all my research of lightweight reels I can only find one that “claims” to be lighter and that’s the Ross Colorado LT. There are multiple websites that say the Colorado weighs 2.9 oz. So for all intents and purposes they weigh the same thing. One of the main differences in these two reels is that the Zero has an Un-machinable, unique die-cast construction (from the Redington site) and the Colorado is a fully machined reel. The other main difference is the price with the Zero coming in at $99.99 and the Colorado at $295.00. Two different reels at two different price points. It’s really hard to compare the two of them except that they both get the job done for the most part the same way.

Being that the Zero has a click-pawl drag you know that it will have that ever popular clicking when line is being stripped out as well as when you are reeling it in. So for all you Fly Fisher Folk (FFF) that love the clicking sound you are in luck! Although this reel has one of the loudest clicking sounds I have heard it really doesn’t detract from the reel and I actually like it. The drag does exactly what it’s supposed to do which is give a little bit of tension and you do the rest yourself.

The Zero comes in a 2/3 or a 4/5 and in my opinion that makes them a great choice for your small stream fishing. So what are you really looking for when fishing a small stream for smallish fish? A kick butt sealed drag system that gives you a 10 pound drag pressure? Heck no you don’t need that. Can you buy it and be the king of the stream with your $600 reel, sure you can but is it needed… Once again no.. Speaking for myself what I need for small stream fishing is basic, dependable and a reel that holds line for me. And the Redington Zero fits that description perfectly. Pair the Zero with a great rod in the 2wt – 4wt range and you are in for a great time.

  • 2/3 Reel & 4/5 Reel
  • Colors – Black, Sand, Teal, Avocado and Dreamcicle
  • Reel Diameter – 3 inches on the 2/3 and 3.3 inches on the 4/5
  • Backing – 20 pound at 100 yards – Small stream fishing says you will hardly ever get to the backing….
  • Drag – Click/Pawl – Yes the beautiful sound of a click/pawl reel!
  • Construction – Un-machinable Unique Die-Cast Construction
  • Weight – 3 oz. – Super-Lightweight – Lightest Reel In It’s Class
  • Large Arbor Design helps reduce line memory
  • Converts from right hand retrieve to left hand easily.
  • Nylon Reel Case
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • $99.99 Reel
  • $49.99 Additional Spool

So to wrap it up.. If you fish small streams and absolutely love the sound of a reel clicking as line is going out, the Redington Zero might be the reel for you. Actually I would say the Redington Zero IS for you! And.. at $99.99 how can you go wrong giving one a try. I tried one out and bought a second one… I now need a third in that cool Avocado color….

Check out the Redington Zero at your local fly shop, just about anywhere online or Redington’s website – https://www.redington.com/fly-fishing-reels/zero

Custom Rod Builders – Bamboo / Graphite / Fiberglass – Sneak Peek – Coming Soon….

New post coming soon so check back.. We will be doing a spotlight on three custom rod builders with a focus on handcrafted rods that show the level of passion put into each rod by their maker. I am currently working to secure the third and final rod builder but right now we have the following: Bamboo – Custom Fly Fishing Rods by Chris Lantzy, Fiberglass – Graywolf Rods by Shane Gray and Graphite – I am working on identifying a graphite rod builder that would fall into the handcrafted area like the two others listed above but nothing set in stone yet. Check back. Below are a few images from the builders we are going to spotlight along with their website so you can browse how they build their rods.

Bamboo – Custom Fly Fishing Rods by Chris Lantzy – https://flyrods.weebly.com/

Fiberglass – Graywolf Rods by Shane Gray – https://www.graywolfrods.com/

Graphite – We Will See… ? ?

Device Charging With Wind Or Water – No Sun Needed – The WaterLily Turbine

Gone are the days of just heading out into the backcountry to backpack, hike, camp or fly fish with basic gear. Now everywhere you look people are attached to some type of electronic device with just about everyone needing a phone attached to them at all times. Now I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to have a cell phone with you at all times because they really can help with navigation, connecting with family, checking social media.. oh wait.. That’s not important…

As we all know phone batteries just don’t last long so what is the answer for power when you are hiking out on the trail or fly fishing next to a river or stream? External batteries… Portable Solar Panels and Chargers.. Yes there are options to keep you connected at all times but let’s look at those options.

  1. External batteries – these are fabulous and work great to keep all your electronics charged. But what happens once you deplete all the power from your external battery..
  2. Portable solar panels – just like external batteries these are great for charging all your devices. They are usually light, can be attached to your backpack, lay on a rock or ground or on the hood of your car. And yes they work great and charge everything you have with the power of the sun. Oh.. except when it’s cloudy, night, raining.. you get the picture. Yep they work great in ideal conditions but how often does that happen?

Just about everything you can find online is solar or battery related when it comes to charging your devices when you are away from an outlet. Until now..

The WaterLily Turbine is a solution to the backcountry charging issues you are having. The WaterLily Turbine works in three different ways. Water Power, Wind Power or Your Power. Let’s look at what this cool little device offers and how you can add it to your gear bag and have unlimited power.

Let’s look at the three ways you can get power using the WaterLily Turbine.

  1. Water Power – WaterLily is a portable charger that gets its power from rivers, streams, creeks, brooks or any type of moving water. If you have water that is moving and can drop this little turbine in it will give you power. Oh.. and it works when it’s cloudy, at night, 24 HOURS A DAY!! It’s truly an amazing little device. If the blades inside the turbine have water going thru them and they are spinning you will have power.
  2. Wind Power – set it up so that the wind is blowing on it and once again if the blades are moving you are getting power. It’s not a complicated concept. If it’s moving it’s working.
  3. The Power Of You – If for some reason you aren’t around running water or there is absolutely no wind there is a small attachment that allows you to hand crank which gives you power on demand. This is a great option for emergency situations.

Who wouldn’t want to wake up to fully charged devices after a night of this little turbine spinning in the river? Right.. Everyone wants that.

And.. The WaterLily Turbine can generate 360 watts of power in a day compared to a 14 watt solar panel pushing out 42 watts of power and if you jump up to a 100 watt solar panel it will produce 300 watts of power.. Yep.. once again on a sunny ideal day these are the best case scenario numbers you are going to get. Did I mention the turbine works when it’s cloudy or at night? Just a reminder…

Now we are going to dig into the features and 100% I heisted this off the WaterLily website. What’s the saying? Don’t ask for permission ask for forgiveness!! I have a feeling WaterLily won’t care that I am using their information and data. So here we go..

  1. Class Leading Blade Design – Blade design has been perfected from nearly 10 years of research and development.
  2. Frictionless Drive – Charge in water flows less than 1mph, or from strong gusts on windy days.
  3. 10 Foot Charge Cable (Not drawn to scale) – Keep your devices safe while charging with our abrasion resistant cable.
  4. 20% More Power – Upgraded circuitry and electrics means WaterLily pushes out 20% more power than the original turbine.
  5. Durable, Drop-Proof Housing – Throw it in! Built to keep the power going through the bumps and bruises of outdoor adventures.
  6. Removable Stainless Steel Lanyards – Set up and mounting options are limitless thanks to 4 flexible removable lanyards.
  7. Sealed Female USB Connector – Up to 15W when you need it, waterproof flaps to keep the USB port clean and dry when you don’t. (USB Output Option)
  8. Chainable SAE Connector – 14.6V of power through a versatile SAE connector. Daisy chain multiple turbines for more power. (12V Output Option)

There are two different options you can choose from when purchasing one of these turbines.

USB Output – WaterLily USA allows you to get unlimited power for your USB devices. You can charge your cell phones, USB batter packs, lights, speaker, camera and any other USB device you may have.

12V Output – WaterLily 12V can power lead acid batteries and portable power stations which is perfect for off the grid situations or you can use it as an emergency power supply.

Technical Information

USB Output – 5V regulated USB output, up tp 3A. Maximum Power 15W, USB 2.0 connector, 10 foot cord.

12V Output – 14.6V DC, up to 2A, Maximum power 15W adn you can connect multiple turbines for more power, 2-pin SAE connector, 10 foot cord.

  • 2.85 lb (1.3 kg)
  • 7″ diameter × 3″ thick (180mm × 76mm)

Water Flow Speed

  • Minimum flow required: 0.7 mph (1 km/h, 0.5 kt)
  • Flow for peak power output (15 W): 7.2 mph (11.5 km/h, 6 kt)
  • Maximum water speed: 9 mph (15 km/h, 8 kt)

Charge Times

In an average river, WaterLily can charge most small electronics at the same rate as a wall-charger. The faster the water flow, the more power WaterLily can generate, up to 15 watts.

If your WaterLily has a 12V output, you can chain multiple turbines together to double, triple or further multiply your power output.

And lastly.. let’s quickly talk about accessories.

Hand Crank – Generate power when water and wind are not available. 10 minutes gets you 6 minutes of talk time. Great in emergency situations.  $24.99

Charging Bag – Keep your electronics dry and safe from splashes while charging. Perfect for charging on shore and in any weather. $34.99

Float – Use the WaterLily float to keep your WaterLily Turbine in the fastest flows! Great for low speed flows, Use for towing with a canoe, kayak or even a low drag sailboat. $19.99

And now to the last part.. How much do these things cost?

The WaterLily Turbine – USB Connector model is $159.99 and the 12V Connector model is $189.99.

So.. if you are backpacking across the Sahara Desert and have unlimited sun pick up a solar panel charger but if not take a look at the WaterLily Turbine chargers. In my opinion this is a really good option and at 2.85 lbs it’s really not bad for a solution to charge all of your devices so you can stay connected.

You can check out the WaterLily website at https://www.waterlilyturbine.com/

Big Y Fly Company – More Than A Massive Fly Offering

I’m sure if you are reading this and enjoy slinging a fly out onto the water you have heard of The Big Y Fly Company. Their fly offering is probably one of the largest I have ever seen. Everything from the Armored Car Beadhead to a Christmas Island Special.. they have it all. If you have ever been on their site you have probably clicked on Flies and you can easily bounce from fly to fly looking at the thousands of options. I’ve done this on countless occasions and it’s fun.. Just looking at flies.. BUT.. right below Flies on their website there is a section for GEAR.. and they have a fantastic offering of gear from Rods and reels to sunglasses and boats. It’s worth taking a look. And.. they have a large line of their own fly fishing gear and at prices that won’t break the bank like a lot of gear that’s out there right now.

Fly Rods – Big Y has four fly rod options

  1. The Big Y Nano Big Game Rod – A 9′ / 7wt / 4 piece IM 12 high modulus nano fly rod. Per their website – the filica nano material impregnated into the carbon fiber makes the rod both stronger and lighter. They have perfect balance, lightweight and have the cleanest and crispest actions. Snake guides, transparent blue finish and comes with a tube and sock. All for $199.95.
  2. Big Y Nano Fly Rod – Comes in 3wt/4wt/5wt and 6wt options. All rods are 4 piece and 9′ except for the 3wt which is an 8’4″. Same high modulus nano material like the Big Game Rod. Also at the same price point – $199.95.
  3. Big Y Nano Nymph Fly Rod – This is a 10′ / 3wt / 4 piece rod made from the same material as the previous two rods. This is a fast action rod. They made this rod a little stiffer than most nymph rods on the market to help get your flies out a little further.
  4. Big Y The Boss Fly Rod – This rod comes in 4wt/5wt and 6wt and all are 9′ 4 piece rods. Price on these is a little more than the other rods offered – $299.95. This rod is all Pacific Northwest made. The blanks are rolled, built and finished in Woodland, WA. Yep.. A local rod 100%. That’s a hard thing to come by anymore. This rod features Pac-Bay striping guides and hard chrome snake guides, rosewood reel seat with matte silver locking components, AAA reverse half wells cork and comes with a cordura rod tube and rod sock.
  5. ALL rods carry a lifetime warranty. What does that mean since everyone is using that term these days – It means call and let them know your rod is coming their way.. include a check for $50 and they will replace your broken rod with a rod of equal or greater value. Not bad if you ask me…..

The two Reel options from Big Y

  1. Big Y General Fly Reel – 5/6wt, 7/8wt and 9/10wt options available. Great reel for both the trout fisherman as well as being able to fish the salt water flats. This reel has a sealed drag system using a carbon disc. It’s machine but out of cold forged 6061-T6 Aluminum, oversized handles and drag knob, caged frame and includes a mesh reel pouch. I have this reel and it is 100% a workhorse. The drag could possibly stop a small steam locomotive. It’s impressive. The 5/6wt and 7/8wt are priced at $129.99 and the 9/10wt is $139.99. You can also pick up a spare spool for a fantastic price of $65.00. You honestly can’t go wrong. I love mine.
  2. Big Y Standard Fly Reel – Four options available on this reel. 3/4wt, 5/6wt, 7/8wt and 9/10wt. This reel is cut from 6061 aluminum and include precision needle bearings on a chrome alloy spindle which makes this thing smooth and handles great. Carbon disc drag and it comes with a neoprene pouch. And as their website states it is backed with their lifetime warranty, as long s you don’t intentionally break it they will take care of you. Can’t ask for more than that….

Moving on.. Next up is the huge Vests and Packs line-up from Big Y.. At eight different packs it far too extensive to write about each of them so here’s a quick peek into what they offer.

Big Y Day Sling – Priced at $44.95. Perfect size for a day on the water.

Big Y Minimalist Lumbar Pack – $29.95 – Designed to be worn as a chest or lumbar pack. It comes with neck and waist straps but the cool feature is it has wading belt loops on the back so you can wear directly on your wading belt.

Big Y Minimalist Pack – $19.95. Small check pack that gives you the ability to carry just the essentials that you will need for a day on the water. This pack will carry at least one fly box.. maybe a couple.

Big Y Minimalist Sling – $29.95. This is the smallest sling they offer but it has enough space to carry everything you would need including a fly box and a convenient place to carry a water bottle.

Big Y Sling – $54.95. Considerably higher priced sling compared to those listed so far but this is their lightest sling pack and has pockets and attachments to carry everything you need.. And the bonus.. this sling is made with waterproof fabric. Bonus !! So light and waterproof and still priced far below other sling and pack manufacturers.

Now we move out of the “sling and pack” types of bags to the larger vest style.

Big Y Solo Pack – $69.95. This thing has it all including a heavier nylon to make it more durable. The Solo Pack is a vest and backpack combo and you can see from the pictures below that it should be able to hold everything you would possibly need plus far more. This thing is cool and I might need to pick one up very soon.

Now a full blown traditional verst – The Big Y Venture Vest – $59.95. This is for those that fly fish and like the traditional look and feel of a vest. As like all their other packs this vest will hold whatever you need for a day on the stream or river. Numerous pockets and a mesh back help to keep you cool on hot days as well as a nice feature of hand warmer pockets to help out when you are standing in a freezing cold stream and your hands need a break. So this thing is great in any temperature.

And lastly.. The Deluxe Fishing Pack – $84.95. Features include – two main pockets on each side (one contains a removable fly patch), one chest pocket on each side, a back pack section and a hydro slot in the back pack, two coil zings, larger pockets, one additional zipper pocket on each side, multiple mesh pockets inside and out, and enough rings to attach every tool/accessory imaginable. Now that’s a great vest…

The last thing I want to go over is the Kabillion fly boxes Big Fly offers. No I am not going to list all of them but here are a few images and you get to visit their website (listed below) to see everything they offer. From the images below I think you can tell they carry of huge number of fly boxes… Whatever you want they probably have. Check them out!!

So that wraps up a quick overview of a few of the Big Y fly fishing items offered. I can tell you that I have been dealing with Amy at Big Y and she is truly one of the most responsive people I have worked with and full of useful information. If you haven’t checked out their website head over today and see what they are doing. BUT.. make sure to check out the gear before heading down the long and interesting path of the flies they offer.

As I typed that last paragraph I went to the Big Y Fly Company website and found something really cool.. HATCH CHARTS!! Tons of hatch charts for a lot of rivers and streams as well as lakes. A Match The Hatch chart and a Saltwater Fly Chart.. And lastly – links to commonly used flies in a number of states. Now that is a really cool page you need to visit. https://www.bigyflyco.com/HatchCharts.asp

Big Y Fly Company’s website is https://www.bigyflyco.com/

Check them out today. The amount of flies, gear and useful information is overwhelming.. It’s a great resource.

If You’ve Never Tried Furled Leaders – You May Be Missing Out

Flyfisher folk are a very loyal a fiercly loyal group of people. And by loyal I mean you will argue until you are blue in the face for your favorite brand of rod, reel, leaders and all the way down to nippers. I honestly had a guy at a TU meeting once try and argue with me that the nippers he uses are hands down the best. Yep… nipper war. With that loyalty also comes a passion and there are definiately people passionate about the world of leaders. And why shouldnt they… when fly fishing it is one of the very last things between you and the fish you are trying to catch.

Some have used furled leaders and some haven’t so let’s do a very brief run down of the history of furled leaders. Furled leaders have been around for well over 200 years and most say they were invented sometime in the 1700’s and were originally made from silk and horse hair but now furled leader makers have a wide varity of materials they can use – monofilament, fluorocarbon, polyester thread, nylon and many others. For those of you that are diehard tapered mono leaders folk you may be missing out. And… if you are solely using mono or fluoro leaders for dry fly fishing I know you are missing out… Trust Me On This One!!

If you have read any of my reviews you know that I have fly fished for about 20 years now and I have always been a mono tapered leader guy.. why.. becuase that’s what the people at the fly fishing store told me I needed to use. That’s the joy of being the type of person I am – you don’t always listen or believe what people are telling you and in my case that was a positive when it comes to leader selection.

For some time now I have been questioning that I don’t need to fish anything outside of the tapered mono leader so I started looking into furled leaders. I purchased a bunch of leaders from different makers and tried them out and I have to say I was sold.. if you are a furled leader person you know what I’m talking about – they are just different.. Am I saying you should 100% switch to furled leaders – No.. there are applications for furled and for tapered mono or fluoro leaders but I tend to use furled far more than I do the other now.

I started looking at furled leaders and purchased a good number of them from a lot of makers out there and some were good, some were bad and when I say bad I think my 12 year old could have done a better job of producing one. But.. When I purchase handcrafted gear of any kind whether it be a rod, flies, bags and leaders I like to talk to the person that has put what I think is their passion into producing what I am going to be using. I love handcrafted gear rather than mass produced gear made overseas. I like something that doesn’t look perfect because it was stamped out in a production line. I like stuff that has character and was made by a person that has a passion for what they are doing. That’s what I look for and I am willing to pay a little more for passion over conveyor belt production.

So when I started purchasing furled leaders from a good number of people online I would always email them and try to get to know them, how they started making furled leaders and get a feel for what they are doing. Shockingly the number of them that responded was shockingly low. Let’s be clear.. People that produce furled leaders are hamering out the volume like Rio, SA or all the other mass produced leader makers out there so you would think they would respond to a polite email inquiring about their business… once again sadly most didn’t. A few did but there was one and only one that responded in a way that said to me.. Yep this is the one I am going with. That person was Brandon Moon with Moonlit Fly Fishing. Hands down one of the best people I have ever dealt with. Love him.. He’s great and if you reach out to him I guarantee he will treat you the exact same way. So now.. The only furled leaders I use are Moonlit.. Why?? Becuase like I have said above I like people that has a passion for what they are doing and put their heart into their work and that is exactly what Brandon does.. He is truly an amazing person.

I deceided to do a write-up on furled leaders last week and shot Brandon an email asking for some information and he delivered. I asked him about the history of furled leaders, how he got started and a multitude of other questions bordering on probably being annoying but he answered everything I asked.

(1) Why furled leaders – A furled leader is constructed like a fine tapered rope. Because of this it is stronger and more durable. They last longer because you are simply replacing tippet rather than the whole leader.  It also has minimal memory. This allows the leader to lay straight, and transfer 100% of the energy to the fly. This gives you better turnover, presentation, and drift.

(2) Why Moonlit Furled Leaders – A few things about our leaders that make us unique are we like to mix materials to blend their properties. We incorporate a core of mono or FC in all our leaders to give them some stiffness to help hold form all the way through the cast, and cut through the wind better.  Our platinum leaders are constructed like a 3 strand rope. This gives you a tighter more compact furl with rounder cross sections. This makes it more aerodynamic and gives a softer presentation. Our Nirvana series is constructed of one of the strongest threads on the market, and has a lighter density than water. This allows the leader to float without any treatment.

(3) How did you start in this business – Moonlit Fly Fishing was created to share mine and my Grandpa Augers passion for fly fishing.  This company has helped me to connect with him in a way I was unable to while he was alive.  He had a passion for fly fishing and loved to share it with others, and by sharing that with you I am able to continue his legacy.  I take great pride in making sure our products are of the utmost quality, to help enhance your experience, and so you can feel the pride and craftsmanship that goes into every product.

That is passion in my opinion and this is the reason I use Moonlit Furled Leaders.. They are good.. plain and simple. Now I’m going to give you a little information about Moonlit and the leaders they offer.

The majority of the next few things were taken from the Moonlit website with the permission of Brandon.

Over the last few years we have seen furled leaders making a move back into the fly fishing community. With this you are seeing more and more options coming to the market. This is a great thing as it drives the manufactures of them to be not only competitive, but also innovative. We believe we shine in both these areas. With all the choices though it can be difficult to choose the right leader and set up for you and your needs. Here we will help you choose the most effective leader.

First let’s talk about the difference between a few leaders. We offer two different leader choices, our regular line up of leaders and Platinum Series. The difference between these two are significant. The regular leaders are constructed like your typical furled leader, and made like a two strand rope. Although still better than the other leaders on the market we felt like we should offer something better. The Platinum Series is constructed like a three strand rope, which gives it a tighter more compact furl. Along with this we also get a rounder cross section that helps make them more aerodynamic, cutting through the wind better. The tighter furl also gives them more power and line control, helping you cast longer tippet with greater ease.

Dry Fly (Feather Weight) – Let’s start off with your Dry Fly Leader. For fishing dries we want something that is going to give us both delicate presentation, line control, and drift. Our Featherweight leaders do just that for you. The regular Featherweight comes in 5′ for 0-3wt and 6′ length for 4wt plus, and will cast 5′ of tippet very well. The Platinum comes in 5′ for 0-3wt and 7′ length for 4wt plus, and casts up to 7′ of tippet for a long 14′ leader to fish those small dries to spooky fish. After much casting I’ve found that casting longer leaders from 10′ or more gives me better turnover and presentation. Our Featherweight comes with a core in the butt section to help stiffen the leader to cut through the wind better, and handle wind resistant dries. The Platinum goes on the end of my fly line every time to fish dries. Our favorite is the Hi Vis tip leaders to help us track and sight our small dries that can be difficult to see at times. We prefer using Tip Rings on these leaders for the quick change of tippet it provides, but a Shorb Loop would work just as good. If you choose to get a Shorb Loop simply tie a loop knot in your tippet and attach using a loop to loop connection. The Micro Swivel would be a great option if you are going to be casting bigger more wind resistant flies to help reduce any twisting.

Nymphing (Big Hog) – For fishing nymphs and or smaller streamers the Big Hog is the leader you should use. This leader just like the Featherweight comes in 5′ length for 0-3wt and 6′ for 4wt and above casting up to 5′ of tippet. The Platinum series comes at 5′ for 0-3wt and 7′ for 4wt plus casting up to 7′ of tippet, and casts two fly systems with ease. These leaders will work with Thingamabobber as well. Once again I like longer leaders and find better turnover and drift. This leader is constructed with a core of premium FC to help stiffen the body of the leader and transitions to a straight FC tip. This gives you the most punch for a nymph leader. We prefer to use ours with a Hi Vis butt section of a bright polyester thread about 12″ long. When treated this section floats acting as a strike indicator. If you put a mark using a black Sharpie every one to two inches you will get a segmented indicator helping you detect the more subtle strikes. We prefer using the Micro Swivel on these to help reduce some of the twisting you will get with heavier weighted flies. However you can still fish either the Tip Ring or Shorb Loop just as well.

Streamers/Sink Tip (Hogzilla) – For fishing large articulated streamers or sink tip lines the HOGzilla leader is the right tool for the job. This leader is constructed of only the finest most premium FC. It is a short compact leader at 3 1/2′ long, and will cast up to 5′ of tippet. This is for several reasons, first being that when casting larger and articulated streamers you need a shorter leader to help provide the power to turn it over. Second for sink lines you need to use a shorter leader so that your fly will sink more uniform with your line. The longer the leader the more variation you will see in the depth of your fly with your line. We prefer using the Micro Swivel on these to help reduce some of the twisting you will get with heavier weighted flies. However you can still fish either the Tip Ring or Shorb Loop just as well.

Now that you know about furled leaders as well as Brandon at Moonlit I wanted to give you a quick peek at what a furled leader jig looks like. Below are a couple of pictures of where Brandon produces all his leaders.

We are now at the end.. If you have always been told you need to be using Mono/Fluoro tapered leaders, maybe just maybe you now will have an open mind and give furled leaders a try. I did a while back and I can honesly tell you.. I absolutely love the presentation of the fly on the water with furled leaders. It’s hard to explain but it is just different.. It’s delicate, better drift and furled leaders have no memory…. plain and simple – You should at least give them a try if you haven’t and if you are a fan of furled leaders you definitely should drop Brandon a line. Like I say in most of my posts about handcrafted products – YOU WON’T BE DISAPPOINTED.

You can find Brandon and Moonlit Fly Fishing at https://moonlitflyfishing.com/ or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/moonlitflyfishing/ or Instagram at @moonlitflyfishing

Why Buy Mass Produced When You Can Buy An Heirloom Quality Knife? The Creek Hopper By Phil Seeley

I deal with a large number of people everyday and it isn’t often that I run into someone like Phil Seeley – a true artist with a passion for his work and people. A while back I started conversations with Phil and I’m not sure I have met many people in my many years on this earth that are more passionate and full of life than Phil. The guy loves what he does… plain and simple.

When looking over his website the products he is putting out is truly fantastic and the one thing that caught my eye was the Creek Hopper. A fixed blade knife that would be awesome out on the water, at camp or anytime you need to call upon a knife. These things are truly beautiful works of art!

One day I was messaging back and forth with Phil and I asked him where the inspiration came from for the Creek Hopper And his knives in general. His response was cool…. “My dad used to take me into a gas station in town where all the guys would hang out and drink coffee. Back when they had jack knives behind the counter. I remember falling in love with their shape and unique colors and couldn’t wait until I was old enough to get one. They were those old swoop looking fishing knives and the Creek Hopper resembles that shape to me. The Creek Hopper is my favorite knife and as of right now it’s the most popular. It is 100% my own design and it took me a while to get it how I wanted it so I’m proud of this style.”

And that’s how the Creek Hopper was born.. from the early beginnings of a young boy hanging out with his dad in a gas station. That’s pretty cool in my opinion. Currently Phil is selling the Creek Hopper for $190 which is a great deal for a knife of this quality and the attention to detail is remarkable to say the least.

You can check out his work either on his Instagram page @barnandbrooksupplyco or his website http://www.barnandbrooksupplyco.com

Phil is a great guy that loves people and I’m sure he would love to hear from you so drop him a line. You won’t be disappointed.

When You Just Don’t Need Full Chest Waders You Reach For Your Trusty Wading Pants – The Scoop On 11 Good Options

There are times when you are out on the river or stream and it’s either too warm outside, shallow water (but still cold), slow moving water or a multitude of other conditions that don’t require you to wear full chest waders. At this point you can either decide to wet wade but if the water is too cold just reach for your trusty waist high wading pants instead. In my experience wading pants are more comfortable than chest waders and far easier to get in and out of especially when nature calls but they have a very specific time they are needed. Today we are going to look at eleven pair of wading pants or as some call them waist high waders. So.. here we go.

Patagonia Gunnison Gorge Wading Pants – $299.00

If you haven’t heard of Patagonia and you fly fish there’s something wrong. Patagonia produces some of the finest quality gear known to man and does it in an environmentally conscious way. As they state on their website – “We promote fair labor practices, safe working conditions and environmental responsibility throughout the Patagonia supply chain.” For some this means a lot and why Patagonia is a fan favorite in the outdoor and fly fishing arena.

When looking at the Patagonia Gunnison Gorge wading Pants it doesn’t take long to see that the attention to detail and quality are one of the best in the business. They are just a solid and well made pair of wading pants. Below are the features listed on the Patagonia page.

Features

  • H2No® Performance Standard polyester microfiber shell with proprietary waterproof/breathable barrier and a DWR (durable water repellent) finish
  • Innovative SSC (single-seam construction) seaming eliminates seams from highest-wear points on inside of legs
  • Self-fabric belt loops; full elastic belt; interior center-back hanger loop for easy drying
  • Side gusset for easy on/off and a clean, tailored fit at the waist
  • Articulated legs
  • Anatomical left and right booties have lower volume and a more sock-like fit; resilient 4mm neoprene resists compaction for greater durability
  • Streamlined flat-panel gravel guards drain water faster and are more resistant to abrasion and wear
  • 887 g (31.3 oz)

The Gunnison come in a multitude of sizes so they should have something that should fit every body shape known to man.

Regular comes in XS / S / M / LM / L / XL / XXL / XLM

Short comes in XS / S / M / LM / XL / XLM

Color is Feather Grey and if you don’t like Feather Grey you are out of luck! This is a solid choice for a pair of wading pants. At $300 they are a little pricey but with Patagonia you know what you are getting and that’s amazing quality and manufactured in an environmentally responsible way. You can’t go wrong with Patagonia.

SIMMS G3 Guide Wading Pants – $499.95 & Freestone Wading Pants – $249.95

Next up is another top name in the business, SIMMS. Once again if you are a fly fisherman or fisherwoman and you haven’t heard of SIMMS please put your hands in front of you, push the rock out of the way and climb out from under it. Yes you are living under a rock. SIMMS is one of the most respected names in fly fishing and rightfully so. SIMMS produces amazing products and their quality is right up there with the likes of Patagonia and other high end manufacturers. Some would say they are at the top in the business.

Just like the Patagonia Gunnison the SIMMS G3 Guide Wading Pants are remarkably built to say the least and should be with a price tag that far exceeds any other wading pants we are going to look at today – $500. OUCH!! But you get what you pay for. Now are the G3 $200 better than the Gunnison put out by Patagonia? Maybe but you will have to take a look at both and decide. I have talked to a lot of people that swear by the G3 line put out by SIMMS and they describe both the wading pants and chest waders as fantastic, best ever, remarkable, durable and highly recommended. So I guess they are doing something right and they can demand the $500 price tag for these. Below are a few of the points SIMMS lists about their G3 Guide Pants.

  • Durable, breathable, & comfortable 4-layer GORE-TEX® Pro Shell upper & lower
  • Double snap closure with TIZIP® waterproof fly zipper
  • Built-in low-profile belt loops with 2 in. stretch wading belt included
  • Patented front & back leg seams deliver articulated fit, improved mobility & increased durability
  • Patented abrasion-resistant built-in Gravel Guards with boot hooks
  • Anatomically engineered neoprene stockingfeet with anti-microbial finish

Multiple sizes are available with in the G3

Regular – Small / S King / Medium / M King / Large / L King / XL / XL King / XXL

Short – Medium / Large

Long – Medium / LG 9-11 / XL

SIMMS also has a huge sizing chart on their website to make sure you get the exact size you need.

And for those that don’t have $500 to throw at a pair of wading pants SIMMS was nice enough to offer the rest of us another less expensive option. The SIMMS Freestone Wading Pants. The Freestone option is priced at $249.95 which is half of the G3 model but the quality and attention to detail is still outstanding. The size offering is much smaller than the G3 as well.

Sizes available – Small / Medium / Large 9-11 Foot / XL / 2XL

But.. when coming in at half of their other wading pant offering you probably can’t expect a huge range of sizes. You get what you get. Once again these are still SIMMS wading pants and are also better quality than most of the wading pants in this review so feel confident if purchasing these that you are getting a great quality wading pant from one of the top names in the business.

DRYFT Session Wading Pants – $239.00 & Session Lite Wading Pants – $199.00

In walks DRYFT.. A company that has an edge and doesn’t have your grandfather’s stuffy fly fishing type of feel. These people are putting out some great gear and clothing but with a little attitude. I love their stuff and so do a lot of other people and it doesn’t take long to see why. They are truly making a big splash in the fly fishing world – no pun intended. If you look at the pics of the DRYFT Session Wading Pants they just look different. And for that matter look at any of their gear… it’s just got a different look and feel. It’s just fun stuff. They are hip, have a splash of color unlike the others we have talked about and seem to be targeting a different type of audience. For me, I love it and these pants look absolutely great. I have seen them up close and they are made just as well as the high end names with a price tag below anything they are putting out. Now… Have I tried them on – No / Do I want a pair? – HECK YES.. Check out their website and just watch the video about the pants and you will see what I’m talking about.. A totally different feel to this company. I love it!

Up first is the Session Wading Pants

Features

– Quality 100% waterproof high-grade breathable 5 layer DWR (Durable Water Repellent) coated fabric technology.

– Durable full five-layer fabric construction including legs, knees and seat.

– Single vertical seam design on the outside of the legs eliminates abrasion from walking.

– Includes a black adjustable semi-stretch Comfortflex™ Wading belt with a Duraflex® buckle for safe and secure wading.

– Multiple belt loops

– Inside flip-out zippered pocket.

– Outer pocket with Hyper Green YKK® water resistant zipper.

– Rubber DRYFT tread on soles.

– NoLeak™ taped seams for ultimate protection against leaks.

– DWR (Durable Water Repellent) coating.

– High density 4.0MM ergonomically shaped neoprene sock feet.

– YKK® Water Resistant Zippers.

– Gravel guards with boot lace hook and outer gravel guard cover for extra durability and aesthetics.

– Mesh carrying bag.

– Imported.

– Backed by the DRYFT warranty.

Sizes – Small / Medium / Medium-Long / Large-Short / Large / Large-Long / XL-Short / X-Large / 2XL

Next up – Session Lite Wading Pants

Grabbed this from the DRYFT website – Based on the popular Session wading pants the new lightweight Session Lite wading pants are your new go-to option for your next quick and dirty fishing mission. The DRYFT Session Lite wading pant features lightweight breathable three-layer 100% waterproof and DWR (Durable Water Repellent) coated nylon fabric, a minimalist design and the style to take you a notch above the rest.

From what I can tell the difference between the Session and the Session Lite is the Lite is a 3 season (Spring, Summer and Fall) wading pant and is made from 100% waterproof high-grade breathable 3 layer nylon DWR (Durable Water Repellent) coated fabric technology while the Session Wading Pants are made from 5 layer fabric making them more of a 4 season wading pant. Either way you go you win.. it just depends on what kind of temperatures you will be wading.

If you want a wading pant from a company that has a little edge to them, look no further than DRYFT. Great pant and great quality. BOOM!

I have spent an extensive amount of time on the DRYFT website and these folk are just plain different than what you have seen before. It’s just little things like a video of someone fishing in a werewolf mask to a wader pic and you can see a can of Coors Light stuffed in a pocket.. and what really sums it up for me is this line describing a jacket – “If Chuck Norris was a fishing jacket, this would be it.” – Get you some DRYFT…….. Mic Drop….

We now start our trek down the wading pant path of the less expensive pants but still good quality. Let’s be honest.. the amount of time you use wading pants is dependant on if you fish small water most of the time or in a warmer climate. If that’s the case grab a pair of the high end pants… but if you are only going to use them a small amount of the time you may not be able to justify the cost of some of the high end offerings. If you are in that boat these next few options might be for you.

Redington Escape Wading Pants – $169.99

I have seen these wading pants in person just like all the others in the review but I haven’t worn them. They are a good pant but definitely not at the level of the others listed previously. Redington is a good name in the fly fishing world and they put out good quality products but they tend to steer more toward the average person and not try to go after the high end stuff like other brands. Once again these are good quality pants and will serve you well.

Product Features

  • 4-layer waterproof breathable material for mobility and durability
  • Ergonomic 3mm neoprene booties for comfort and increased puncture resistance
  • Hip Pockets for storing smaller items
  • Adjustable hook and loop waist belt for a comfortable, fine-tuned fit
  • Integrated gravel guards with lace hook

Sizes – Medium / Large / X-Large / 2 X-Large

Compass360 Point Guide Waist High Wader – $169.95 & Deadfall Breathable Stft Guide Pant – $99.95

Up first is the Point Guide Waist High Wader. These are once again a lower price point than the higher end brands we have shown earlier but not a bad option like the Redington for those that first don’t want to spend $500 on wading pants or will be using them a limited amount of time.

From the Compass360 wesbite – The Point Guide 2 Waist High pant wader by Compass 360 is the top of the line waist high offered by Compass 360. Built with a tough 4-ply nylon upper and a 6-ply reinforced full wrap lower legs the Point Guide 2 is unstoppable. The 6-ply nylon reinforced lower offers a butt pad along with a single seam crotch to eliminate seam chafe. This Stockingfoot Breathable waist high competes with other pant waders at twice the price. Guaranteed 100% waterproof, made in South Korea, the Point Guide 2 Waist High is a must have for any angler who doesn’t need a full chest wader. The Compass 360 warranty and repair program gives you the peace of mind that you are covered.

Features

  • Guaranteed 100% Waterproof and Breathable
  • Dual zippered waist high pockets
  • 6-Ply nylon lower leg and butt reinforcement
  • Full wrap legs with single seam crotch
  • Durable webbing wader belt with wide belt loops
  • Attached Duraspan nylon gravel guards w/ no rust lace hook
  • Foot fit ergonomic double taped, 4mm neoprene booties
  • Comes with Compass 360, 1 year warranty and repair program

Sizes – Small / Medium / Large / X-Large / XX-Large

Second option from Compass360 is the $99.95 option – Deadfall Breathable Stft Guide Pant . I haven’t seen these in person but the reviews are mixed. Some like them and some don’t. But at $100 you probably get what you pay for. They aren’t going to be incredible quality but as long as they don’t leak they are a good option for some.

From their website – The DEADFALL Breathable Guide Pant is one of the most tried and true, classically functional pant waders in the market today. Constructed with tough, durable 4-ply nylon, The DEADFALL offers outstanding performance at a terrific Value.

  • Attached 4ply nylon Gravel guards
  • Foot Fit, double taped, 4mm, 100% Chloroprene booties
  • Fully adjustable & durable web wading belt w/quick release buckle
  • Comfort fitting Elastic back

Sizes – Not sure exactly what the full size offering is but their website shows Small and X-Large. I’m sure those are the only sizes available as that wouldn’t hit a large number of people. But.. I’m not sure at this point.

Adamsbuilt Green River Waist Wader – $289.95

I have to be honest.. I have never heard of this wading pant but ran across it when I was looking at different wading pant options. So.. I decided to add it. It’s a fairly expensive option coming in just under $300 but the reviews are all 5 star not only on the Adamsbuilt website but everywhere I looked. They must be built pretty well so here you go for another higher end model. But being that I haven’t actually seen these in person I can’t say much about them outside of what is on the website. I would urge you to consider this wading pant strictly from all the reviews I have read. They are outstanding to say the least.

From the Adamsbuilt website

Ultra-Premium Micro fiber Material
• Pore-Techtm Mil-Spec. Breathable
  Membrane
• Dupont Teflon DWR And Ultra-fresh
  Anti-Microbial Treatment
• Inside Stitching For Added Strength
  And Durability
• Five Layer Reinforced Lower Section
  with ergonomic front seam for
  increased durability
• Front pockets with water resistant
  zippers (not waterproof)
• Quick-Release Belt
• Attached 3.5mm Neoprene Gravel
  Guards with Lace Hook
• 4mm Neoprene Booties with
  Ergonomic Right and Left Feet
• Available In Standard Sizes XS
  Through XL

Frogg Toggs Pilot II Stockingfoot Breathable Guide Pants – $179.99 & Hellbender Stockingfoot Breathable Guide Pant – $139.99

And last but not least.. The two options put out by the popular Frogg Toggs brand.

First up is the $179.99 option – The Pilot II Stockingfoot Breathable Guide Pants. A good mid-market option like some of the other offerings we have gone over already. These are in line with the Redington on quality in my opinion. I have seen these up close and they are a good pant to use out on the water. Are they a Patagonia or a SIMMS – No.. but you are also not paying the price tag of those two brands. Do they work well – absolutely. So once again confidence that these wading pants will do whatever you need and do it just fine.

Details

• Single-seam straddle design reduces wear
• 4-ply nylon upper with reinforced knees and legs
• Zippered waist pockets
• Adjustable belt with daisy-chain accessory loops
• Attached gravel guards with non-slip elastic openings and lace hooks

Sizes – Per the Frogg Toggs website – Medium / Large / X-Large / XX-Large – I’m sure there is a Small option but not listed on the available sizes.

Second option from Frogg Toggs is the Hellbender™ Stockingfoot Breathable Guide Pant. This is a decent option although I have read mixed reviews. Some say they are good and some say average at best. Do your research and make your decision. At a difference of only $40 between their two models it may not be a horrible decision to go with the Pilot II as the reviews are much better.

From the website:

• 4-ply nylon upper
• Adjustable wading belt
• Attached gravel guards with no-slip grips and integral lace hook
• 4 mm double-taped neoprene booties

Sizes listed on Frogg Toggs website – Small / Medium / X-Large / XX-Large – Once again one size is missing (Large) and there is no way they don’t produce a Large so those must be the sizes available at the time this was written.

That’s it.. Are there other options out there – Yes so do your homework and make sure you are purchasing what suits your needs best. Whether it is a $500 pair of SIMMS G3 wading pants or a more economical option like the Redington or Frogg Toggs I am sure you will get something that works great for you. Don’t overthink it and get out and do some fishing!