Bauer Rogue Classic – A spey reel with incredible guts.

DSC_0242Bauer Reels are made locally in Ashland, Oregon by a small group of dedicated makers. They were the first to introduce the large arbor design you see on most modern fly reels and haven’t stopped being one of the best reels around. All reels now feature a carbon fiber composite disc drag that is smooth and reliable. The engagement is instant and has no start-up inertia as a result of there patented clutch system. The Rogue series reels also have a V machined into the arbor to store excess backing while still maintaining a large arbor for maximum line retrieval rate.  A recent addition to their lineup was the Rogue Classic, which features a non-ported back to properly balance spey and switch. They also happen to look incredibly sexy, especially in all black.

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Scientific Anglers Skagit Extreme Intermediate Shooting Head Review

image-22-e1360952584416Intermediate Skagit Heads are a relatively new product to the fly fishing world and have created a stir in the spey fishing scene. Rather than a traditional full floating shooting head, these heads sink at an intermediate rate. This allows the angler to achieve a slow, deep swing that keeps the fly in the “ZONE” for a longer period of time.  The sinking nature of this Intermediate head enables you to break heavy surface tension, and maintain consistent depth throughout your swing. When coupled with a Type 3 or Intermediate sink tip you have the ability to fish shallow tail-outs and riffles. On the flipside, the short length of this head allows the heaviest tips to be turned over with extreme ease, allowing you to dig deep and cast the largest flies in your box. This shooting head really shines in the high water, winter steelhead scene where the fish are holding in slow, deep “tanks” as well as choppy water with heavy surface tension. This head produces a much slower presentation than your floating shooting heads because it travels lower in the water column, instead of on top of the water.

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Total head length is no longer than 29ft on the heaviest 800 grain head.  You can expect the same quality welded loops that SA produces, as well as a labeling system on the head determining front/back a grain weight. The only downside to this line, in my opinion, is at the end of your swing a downstream roll cast is required to break surface tension and bring your head to the surface. Overall I was very happy with the performance of this head.

iMOW / MOW tips

image-2MOW tips are a relatively new offering in the fly fishing world.  They consist of a section of floating line welded to a section of sinking line.  Most are ten feet long and come in a variety of styles with a popular choice being the “five- five” or five feet of floating and fivefeet of sinking line.  From a casting perspective, these tips cast very similarly and enable the angler to change casting stroke little between tip changes.  From a fishing standpoint, MOW tips allow the angler to change sink tips less often when fishing different water types throughout the day.  They do this by reducing the amount of line in the water column and by creating a straighter, more vertical angle from the floating line to the fly.  This means it is easier to keep your fly in the fish zone when there are boulders and other fish-holding structure in the way of a clean swing.

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Winter Layering 101

When you’re on the water this winter being comfortable and staying dry is just as important as which fly you use, or what system you are fishing on. Here a few things to keep in mind when layering, as well as a few of our favorite layers.

Warm hands, feet, and head make for a warm body

The unprotected and often the first part of your body to get cold when fishing in cold weather are your hands, feet and head. Always bring a beanie with you for winter fishing, even if you don’t wear it all the time. If you feel your body temp dropping, throw your beanie on and keep that precious heat in your dome. Next would be hands, most anglers can’t stand fishing in gloves, so bring a pair along and wear them between runs or when you are rowing down river. We prefer the Simms Windstopper Fold-over mitt, and the Simms Wool Half-Finger gloves. Even wearing them for short stints will help keep your hands warm throughout the day. Finally we get to your feet, this one is simple. Wear a single pair of thick insulating socks, such as the Simms Exstream Wading sock. In the most brutal conditions you can wear two pairs of sock, but keep in mind sweaty feet will be cold feet. Most times a single pair is all you need. Also, make sure your boots are not too tight. If they are they will cut down on circulation and make your feet much colder!

No Cotton Allowed

When layering your upper and lower body keep any and all cotton out of the equation. The key to stay warm during the coldest days, especially the wet and cold days, is to wear warm, breathable non-cotton layers. As you hike and move around you will sweat and if you are wearing something absorbent such as cotton, the fabric will hold that sweat creating a brutal chill factor that will send your body temps plummeting. The fix for this is easy, wear a comfortable poly-layer against you skin such as Simms Wader-wick Crew Neck on top and Simms Wader-wick Crew Pants on bottom. Follow those up with a warm fleece layer such as the Wader wick Thermal Top and Bottoms, or The Simms Guide Fleece pants down low. These will keep you much warmer after you take a digger trying to cross that “shallow” looking tailout.

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