9 Fly Fishing Gear Picks for 2013

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Gink & Gasoline sees it as our duty to inform the community when we run across great fly fishing gear. With many of you having such busy work schedules, we know it can be awfully hard to keep up with all the new products being introduced. Below are 9 products we’ve heard great things about from our friends and tested out ourselves on the water. If they made the list you can feel confident they are quality products. Take a minute to check out the products that made the list.

1. Thomas & Thomas Light Presentation Series 4-piece


Thomas and Thomas has come out with over 25 new fly rods for 2013. One of my favorites, among all the new additions, is the LPS II 905-4. I’ve added two of these to my fly rod line up for the 2013 guiding season. T&T categorized the LPS II as a river fly rod but I think it works equally well for fishing on small to mid-size streams as well. The thing I love about the LPS II the most is how easy it is to feel the rod loading. It’s a true medium action fly rod that casts effortlessly, suited for anglers beginner and advanced. Despite it being a four-piece rod the LPS II casts and feels like a 2-piece. It’s a extremely responsive rod, perfect for technical fly fishing situations where you need accuracy and delicacy. That being said, it’s quite capable of fishing nymphs rigs and streamers when the conditions call for it. This USA manufactured premium fly rod is sure to impress anyone that takes the time to pick it up and cast it. The attention to detail is outstanding. Lay your eyes on it and there’s no doubt it’s some of the best craftsmanship out there. I fell in love with the LPS II the second I laid my hands on it. If you’re looking for a premium fly rod to add to your collection, do yourself a favor and check out the new Thomas and Thomas LPS II 9′ 4-piece four and five weight. I’ve cast a lot of trout rods the last couple of years and this one ranks at the very top of the list.

2. Orvis Guide Sling Pack


I’ve heard several fly fishing friends of mine ranting and raving about the new Orvis Guide Sling Pack. The 2013 Guide Sling Pack is larger than the original version and comes with a new digital camouflage design. I’ve yet to claim one of my own, but I have to say, it looks pretty impressive. Its roomy size is capable of holding lots of gear and the functional design looks like it would be a great substitute for anglers looking for an alternative to vests, waists and chest packs. It’s pretty rare to see a pack that has both an interior and exterior fly drying patch. I also dig the forceps sheath on the shoulder strap and the zinger attachment point that comes with a unique magnetic anchor point to keep your tools in place and out of the way. The sling pack also comes with a tippet spool holder and a beverage holder. If you’re looking for a fly fishing pack that’s large enough to store a wide range of gear and can be slung around your backside out of the way, we think the new Orvis Guide Sling Pack fits the bill. Right now, Orvis is offering a free slim fly box with the purchase of the Digi Camo Guide Sling Pack until 3/31/2013.

3. Redington Prospector 4-Piece Switch & Spey Rods


A couple weeks ago Louis got the opportunity to fish the New Redington Prospector 4-piece 10′ 9″ 4 wieght swtich rod. He called me up as soon he got off the water and told me he loved the rod and was blown away with how well it fished. He paired the rod up with a 275-grain Rio Scandi Short Versitip and he said it was butter. Louis went on to tell me that the Prospector was able to get him drifts and catch fish on sections of water that he was previously not able to reach. Being a rod builder himself, Louis knows a good fly rod when he fishes one. If you’re looking for a new switch or spey rod that’s priced economically, we suggest you take a look at the new Redington Prospector.

4. Simms Headwaters Day Pack & Chest Pack Combo


If you like hiking into remote fly fishing locations and doing overnighters we think the Simms Headwaters Day Pack and the Simms Headwaters Chest Pack is a perfect combo for killing two birds with one stone. The catch and release magnetic modular system allows you to connect the chest pack on the back of your headwater day pack for less fatigue and comfortable hiking. Then when you arrive at your fly fishing destination, all you have to do is quickly reposition your chest pack back to your front and you’re ready to fish. Several clients of mine have brought these packs with them on my guide trips and I’ve had the opportunity to wear them multiple times and try them out. I have to say I was impressed all around by the performance of the headwater series packs. The combo setup could be considered overkill for short outings but exactly what you’ll want if you plan on making remote fishing trips out in the elements for extended periods of time. And because the packs work great solo, they’re a great combo buy for the angler wanting to be ready for all types of fishing trips, both short and long. The day pack doubles as a great carry on for traveling as well.

5. Rio MaxCast Technology Fly Lines

With all the RIO fly line lovers out there, we wanted to share the new and exciting MaxCast technology by RIO for 2013. It’s available for the following fly lines: RIO Gold, RIO Grand and the Trout LT fly lines. The secret MaxCast Technology is in the coating’s advanced hydrophobic chemistry that actively pushes water away from the line, resulting in radically improved floatation, mending, distance and dirt adhesion. The entire process is a little complicated to explain. Check out the video above that breaks down and explains RIO’s quantum leap forward in fly line technology.

6. Echo Prime 1-Piece Fly Rod


Has the concept of fishing a one-piece fly rod bitten you like a bug? If the answers yes, and you’re looking for a one-piece rod capable of handling big game species for both fresh and salt, we very much like the economically priced Echo Prime. It’s an 8′ 10″ one-piece fly rod available in weights 8 thru 12. The Echo Prime proved to be a fantastic rod for a recent musky fishing trip and a good friend of ours says he’s spanked several big tarpon with it already this year, and it handled them with no problem. There’s only a couple companies out there that cover the big game one-piece fly rod market, and Echo has answered the call by building a rod that casts great and has the backbone to subdue hard fighting species like striper and tarpon. Give one a try if you’re in the market for a one-piece big game fly rod, we’re a believer.

7. TrueFlies Captiva Air-Light Pants & Shorts


The Captiva Air-Light pants and shorts may not be a truly new line for 2013 but I had to include them because that’s all I’ve been wearing lately for bottoms. They are super comfortable, well made and my choice whether I’m fishing or out with my lady. They come out of the dryer pretty much wrinkle free so you’re ready to go if you need to be presentable in a snap. By far they are my favorite fishing pants and shorts on the planet. If you haven’t tried them out, go to your nearest TrueFlies dealer and give them a shot, they’re comfortable as hell. Oh, and I’m not the only one that’s head over heals for these, I’ve got a number of friends that will back me up 100%. If you’re in the need for some new fishing pants or shorts that wear like a dream and have a little stretch in the waist, the TrueFlies Captiva Air-Light Pants & Shorts are my top pick.

8. Bauer MacKenzie CFX Spey Reel


John Bauer of Bauer Reels USA, introduced a rockin new spey reel for 2013. For those of you who spey fish, you know how important it is to have a reel that’s got a quality drag and balances out that long two handed rod in your hands. John Bauer accomplished just that by taking his award winning MacKenzie CFX V-arbor spool and drag and matching it up with a 100% bar stock aluminum and stainless steel, solid back frame. Look out spey bums, this reel is a dream come true. The MacKenzie CFX Spey is now available in two sizes for switch and spey rods and available in nine different anodized colored finishes.

9. Smith Creek Trash Fish


With all of us using so much fluorocarbon leaders and tippet these days which takes a gazillion years to degrade, I’m proud to endorse Smith Creek’s Trash Fish. This nifty product provides all of us a quick way to stowaway unwanted tippet and worn out leaders so they don’t end up in our precious watersheds. It’s a very simple product to use and small enough to fish in just about any pocket. This is a green product we endorse and we hope all anglers will go out and purchase one. Think how much trash we could keep of the water.

These are some of the fly fishing products for 2013 that have impressed us and to knock your socks off. I’m considering doing a post for my favorite 2013 fly patterns and/or list for favorite 2013 fly tying materials. Let me know if that’s something any of you would be interested in. As always, if you have suggestions for content please drop us a comment and we’ll do our best to put in the rotation. Thank you for continuing to follow and interacting on Gink & Gasoline.

Keep it Reel,

Kent Klewein
Gink & Gasoline
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29 thoughts on “9 Fly Fishing Gear Picks for 2013

  1. All of this stuff is pretty cool. I just got my hands of 3 new Rio lines and it’s obvious that they are putting an emphasis on floating higher in the water. The tip section of the lines have an extra coating of the max-float that is a different color (olive on my lines). I have to say that I own both the Headwaters Day Pack and the chest pack and they are great together on a long hike-in trip. Room for a hydration bladder, rain jacket, food, an extra rod/reel. The chest pack snaps into the straps of the pack so the chest pack isn’t pulling on your neck. That makes it super comfortable just like you described. The new Smith Creek stuff is pretty cool. Not just the trash fish, but the rod clip and the net holster looks really cool. I don’t own any of this stuff yet, but I plan on giving it a try. I wish I could have everything on this list!

  2. Great list and I love the Trash Fish. I have a Mono Minder thing and I find it a pain to use. But the Trash Fish looks quicker and smaller, a great option for keeping line out of the environment. I carry small plastic grocery or garbage bags with me in case I need to pick up old worm buckets, cigarette packs or other on stream garbage. Does anyone make a cool holder for those? Maybe a market niche….

  3. re: the Orvis Guide Sling Pack. it’s an absolutely great product that suits a flats angler well, in either the original or larger Guide version. p.s. the forceps sheath isn’t velcro, it’s magnetic and works flawlessly with one handed access. no fighting with velcro necessary.

  4. Love the Smith Creek Trash Fish idea. Much like Billy have always carried a plastic bag with me for disposal of small items. Looks like a great product and will have to get my hands on one!

    The Orvis Guide Sling Pack looks very similar to the Patagonia Stealth Atom Sling pack. Other than the color scheme looks like both brands have the same idea and product. Would be interesting to get a side by side comparison of the two and to see if Orvis’ is truly a $50 more superior product.

      • Kent,
        I’m looking at those two packs and it looks like you may have handled both Could you be more specific about the differences?

        • Bobby,

          The question is do you want a sling pack that’s big enough to handle all the gear you’ll need for a one day outing or do you want a larger combo pack that’s good for overnighter’s or for single days? I like both the Orvis sling pack and the Simms Headwaters Series. I can’t pick for you, but I can tell you that they both are solid packs.


  5. I have the guide sling pack too, I love it. Carried a tiny backpack for the last 5 years and got tired of having to dig everything out to get stuff that had fallen to the bottom. The access is gigantic. I always carry way more stuff than I need, so the capacity is great. With my old pack, I could put a1 liter water bottle and 3 fly boxes in it, along with shot and spare tippet and indicators and my sink tip wallet. It was not a fishing pack, so there weren’t good lash points for tools. The guide sling will hold 4 or 5 boxes, two 1 liter bottles inside, all the sundry junk I carry and a hoodie or light jacket, plus the bottle holder on the outside, the pliers holster, the tippet mounting points, the magnetic tool keeper next to the zinger strip. The strap is nicely padded and wide so it almost disappears on your shoulder, even packed with stuff like I usually carry it. I tried on a few other sling packs at another store after throwing random stuff in them to get a sense of what they felt like in use and this one is definitely better. The torso strap that comes up under your right arm and clips to the chest/shoulder strap is a nice addition too, this pack is just about as stable as a backpack and easier to get in to. Also, entirely unrelated to function, I think it looks pretty sweet. multiple thumbs up from me

    • wow, I shouldn’t drink and write reviews of stuff online. I sound like a corporate shill. I do really like the pack though

      • Patrick,

        We keep it reel here. I’m grateful you took the time to give us your two cents on the guide sling pack. I’m sure there’s several people that found your comments helpful who may be considering purchasing one. Honest feedback from people that own the product is the best. Thanks for your comment. Cheers!


  6. I have an original sling pack and was looking to upgrade to the Guide. But I have always had a problem with where to put the net. I’ve tried multiple attachments but they are all less than ideal. So far, I have settled on best option and deal with it. Anyone have the solution?

    • I have the original as well. I wedge the net between my back and the sling pack. It isn’t optimal, but seems to work best for me. As a result I often do not carry a net when I use the sling.

      • Blue and others,

        I suggest for you guys having problems storing your net to use your wading belt that comes with waders. I slide the handle of my net threw my wading belt and it works great.


    • I attached the net end with a magnet like I did on a vest, right behind my neck. I have the handle end on a piece of elastic hooked to my wader belt. The net is out of the way and still easy to hook back up.

  7. thx for covering new stuff. the pants/shorts got a mention but what about a shirt? tried to get objective opinion re columbia omni-freeze zero and no luck. ordered 1 anyway but i like user review before having to experiment myself. any other hot weather shirts to recommend?

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  11. I have been using the old style Orvis Sling Pack for some time, and I am glad to see that they have changed the shape to a more rectangular version with a larger outer pocket. The old triangular shape didn’t really fit well with rectangular fly boxes and round reels or spare spools, which sort of jumbled up together. I also like the way the tippets can be rigged. I will be seriously looking at this one, next time I am in the shop.

  12. Re carrying a trout (not salmon/steelhead) net, I sewed some nylon pack cloth into a simple net-size pouch with one top edge folded over for a tunnel belt loop. It slides onto my wader belt. When people admire it, I remind them that people have been carrying things in belt pouches for thousands of years.

    For trash bags, I carry a supply in a side pocket of my fishing duffle. One takes up almost no room in a wader pocket, etc.

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