Category Archives: reviews

Simms G3 Wader, Vibram Guide Boot Review for the Holidays

Thanks to Mike for the glowing Simms product review. Christmas comes early in Virginia-or so I’ve heard.

…Thanks much, Theaux. I appreciate it. On another front, I christened the waders and boots today. Wow…great gear. Re the waders, air temp was 36F, and I imagine water temp was about the same. I had a pair of mid-weight Simms long johns (probably the predecessor to the current RiverTeks) and lightweight wading pants on under the waders…and I was quite comfortable, even a bit warm at times. As you may recall from my e-mail to you after I tried them on, I said that they were certainly a vast improvement over the originial G3 Guide stockingfoots, which I was replacing after 12 years. My initial evaluation was confirmed by today’s christening. I love them. The boots are great as well. With the star cleats installed, they outperform the Chota STLs with cleats substantially. I did have to slightly widen my wading stance for some reason–perhaps because I was still adjusting to the different feel–but I love them as well.
Highly recommend both products.
Thanks much.
Best,
North Fork Mike

G.Loomis NRX Rods In Maryland

G Loomis Fish Logo
The new NRX Rods from G.Loomis have arrived in the shop, and are available in line weights for fresh and salt water fishing. Short of rehashing industry terminology, the NRX rods are extremely light, yet powerful. We took them to the lawn in four, five, eight and nine weights (all 9 feet long) to test them out. The four weight was definitely not as fast as I expected (power often equates to stiffness) and loaded quickly. Surprisingly the rod worked with little effort at twenty feet, yet never lost power at three times that distance. The four and five weight rods worked at distances we fish locally, but had the extra stiffness in the butt section to handle heavy flies, or longer casts. The NRX rods in the eight and nine weight models paired with floating lines loaded in close with a few false casts. The eight weight could easily shoot forty to fifty of line in a few false casts with a well timed haul, which is ideal for flats fishing. The nine weight matched up with a 24 foot 300 grain sinking tip fly line was a great combination for effortlessly launching line at longer distances. We had a number of inquiries the past few weeks about these rods. For those interested in casting the latest offering from G.Loomis, we have a number of these rods in the rack. Another new addition in the shop is Fish Pimp indicators and accessories, including line cleaner and floatant. Fish Pimp indicators are a “football style” indicator which also allow right angle nymphing. They are sold in two sizes and are available in a variety of colors.

Gunpowder River Guide Trip Feedback

Wild Brown Fell for a Caddis
Thanks to Mark Noble for the nice stream report and photo from a guide trip with Backwater Angler guide Dave Smith.

Theaux,

I’m sorry I didn’t have a chance to stop by the shop when I was done fishing today. Although it’s not too surprising, I never can tear myself away from a river until it is absolutely necessary.

I really enjoyed fishing with Dave today. We did catch quite a few fish, but even better than that was fishing with someone who really knows the river and can offer tips on what you’re doing right and how to improve. I feel much more confident in my ability to create a drag free drift through cast placement and mending. I think over all we landed at least a dozen fish up to 9 or 10 inches or so. We did see some larger fish, one of which rose and bumped our caddis imitation with his nose and when it didn’t respond decided to have something else for lunch. We were hoping there would be a larger caddis hatch, but it never seemed to materialize while we were on the river. We only saw a few caddis every once in a while.

Thanks for the expert help as usual. I hope to make it back up soon,

Mark Noble

Patagonia Stormfront Pack In Maryland

Patagonia Stormfront Pack Upright
The Patatgonia Stormfront Pack pictured above is a fully waterproof back pack that has many uses for fly anglers. The obvious features are a fully waterproof zipper, and external strap for a rod tube. Included inside the bag is a removable gear divider perfect for reels, cameras or fly boxes. The back pack straps are also removable, and feature a mesh pocket for a hydration bladder. Inside the pack is a small zippered pocket perfect for preventing keys, sunglasses or other small items from getting lost inside. The pack has a number of D-rings for connecting items or securing the bag to a boat, roof rack, etc. Aside from being a great boat bag, this backpack is ideal for trips to the tropics, and keeps sand or water away from cameras or clothing. I’ve taken mine bonefishing a few times and the bag protected my cameras from sand, downpours, and kayaking out to flats miles from shore. I use the pack locally for floats, since my raft is self bailing and water may splash in at times. The shop has sold a number of these packs, and many are in high demand for anglers fishing locally or destination bound. A lot of people use the pack to store vests, small packs, fly boxes and anything else they want to keep organized in the trunk of a car. The Stormfront design has changed a little from the one pictured above, with the new pack featuring a 840-denier double polyurethane-coated nylon fabric. We like to highlight some of the best gear available, and this pack is great for anglers for a number of uses.

Large Selection Of Caddis and Mayfly Patterns In Maryland

Caddis Patterns
The shop has a wide selection of both caddis and mayfly nymph patterns to help fool those wary, wild brown trout. Large shipments of new patterns hand picked for our local hatches arrived in the shop the past week. I used many of these patterns successfully last season on the more heavily fished sections of the Gunpowder. Trout never grow tired of pheasant tails, hares ears, and other common nymphs, but these new patterns tend to trick those larger browns. In Maryland the rivers provide caddis hatches through the Spring, Summer and Fall, long after the bigger mayflies have hatched. It’s surprising how many anglers have so few subsurface caddis patterns in their boxes. The picture above features Horodysky’s Nitro Caddis, Lawson’s Electric Caddis, Barrs Uncased Caddis, Fox’s Caddis Poopah, Mercer’s Z-Wing Caddis and Nori’s Caddis Pupa. Many of these patterns are available in numerous sizes and colors, and are great to swing or dead drift through the riffles. The dry fly anglers looking for more of a traditional mayfly pattern should check out some of Mike’s latest hendrickson patterns to arrive at the shop. This shipment of flies features both male and female patterns tied Catskill style, perfect for pocket water and choppy riffles. These patterns are great for skating in riffles in late afternoon.

Hendrickson Male and Female

Custom Dry Fly Patterns and Accessories in Maryland

Dry Fly Supplies
We have a wide assortment of dry flies in the shop tied by Mike Bachkosky to match our Maryland hatches. There are quill bodied parachute patterns great for spinners, which can even be used as cripple/dun patterns in flat water areas. In the photo above are snow shoe winged Unusuals for midges, PMDs, olives, light cahills, hendricksons and sulphurs. The mayfly hatches are just starting, and the muffin tins are loaded in preparation for the next months ahead. These patterns are not just generic flies found in most catalogs, but are tied in the sizes and colors we see in Maryland. Mike is always willing to gather input and alter the patterns he ties for the Delaware, for use on our local waters. Another reason we get so excited about these flies is they are unsinkable when used with the products pictured above. The Dry Magic pen is a special gel designed for snow shoe rabbit fur and CDC feathers, which both utilize natural oils to repel water. Gink is great for hair wing and hackled patterns, but can actually counteract the natural oils and sink CDC or snow shoe patterns. Dry Shake is another popular alternative to gels and coats small flies with a white dust, making them easy to see on the water. Dry Shake Primer rubbed on the fly, is a wax that greatly enhances the effectiveness of the Dry Shake powder, by allowing the powder to adhere to the fly longer. “Priming and shaking” the fly often will allow the fly to ride higher, longer and be much more visible than using only gel based products. We have the patterns and accessories that can make the hatch fishing experience much more productive and enjoyable.

Scott Fibertouch Fly Rod, Small Water And Big Brown Trout In Maryland

Silty Bottom Brown Trout
I recently hit the road in search of some water I only fish a couple times a year. I rigged up my Scott Fibertouch six foot one weight fly rod. This particular Scott Fiberglass rod works great on the smallest of native brook trout streams in Western Maryland, and the smaller wild brown trout streams across the state. I spent the afternoon sneaking and crouching, threading casts through tight cover onto small pockets and pools. The wild browns were aggressive, taking dries on the first drift in each piece of new water. A light rod is great because most trout in these streams are a few inches bigger or smaller than the trout in the pic above. I now use the term “most” loosely, as the pic below shows a brown quite a bit larger than I expected from this stream. I switched to swinging a small streamer on my walk back out, and drew a half dozen strikes. Near the car I tried one last cast into a nice hole, and was shocked by the hard take and subsequent head shaking. When I laid eyes on the fish I never expected to bring it to hand using such a light rod and tippet. The rod was seriously overmatched, but the soft fiberglass may have helped save the 5X tippet numerous times. The brown tried every trick in the book to get off, but quickly surrendered for a picture. I never put a tape to the brown, but it was easily approaching the twenty inch mark.

Big Wild Brown Trout
Bamboo rods are certainly growing in popularity, but few anglers realize many of the fiberglass rods have similar slow actions, without the four figure price tag. Scott makes a number of models perfect for small stream brookie/brown fishing found across the state. These rods are available up to a four weight model perfect for fishing the Gunpowder, Savage or larger streams with small dry flies. A few Fibertouch rods are scheduled to arrive in the shop this Spring. These extremely soft rods are fun on trout streams of all sizes and can also handle big trout, especially when you least expect them.

Discontinued Abel Super 4 Reel in Brown Trout Finish

Abel Super 4 in Brown Trout Fish Graphic
At the Backwater Angler fly shop we get a chance to look at and demo tons of reels, lines and rods from the top manufacturers in the fly fishing industry. We all have our own personal tastes in gear, and either gravitate from a purely functional point of view to something beyond eye catching that we just have to own. It’s no surprise when Abel started producing the fish graphic series at pro-deal prices, that I coughed up the cash for a new trout reel in the brown trout finish. The purchase was more fueled by the past experiences I’ve had using Abels than the fancy fish colors. I used an Abel reel when I caught my first Bonefish in Hawaii, my first Atlantic Salmon in Quebec, my first Permit in the Bahamas, and has survived years of both warm and cold saltwater use. I figured based on the performance and durability in the corrosive saltwater applications, I’d have this Abel Super 4 for trout fishing for the rest of my life. It’s a good thing too, because Abel will no longer make this size reel in this series, and is offering a heavy 25% discount on Super Series size 2, 4, 6 and 12 reels. I pulled this information below from Abel’s website:

In an effort to constantly improve products, we continuously evaluate our line. The newer designed reels which include the Super Series 3N and 5N have replaced some of the classic reels due to their narrow profile, increased arbor for better pickup and reduced weight.
The latest Super Series reel to be discontinued is the Super 4 large arbor, excellent for 4-5 weight applications and designed for trout fishing. The standard arbor version of the Super 4, (formally the Big Game 1 model) was once our most popular selling saltwater reel. The width of the reel is at .800, one of the narrowest Super Series in our lineup and had excellent line pickup due to its narrow profile.

Backwater Angler currently has a Super Series 4 brown trout reel in stock, which retails for $700.00, but is currently available for $490.00.

Mardi Gras Book Review: Carnival in New Orleans, A Fantasy

Mardi Gras Souvenir Book
Search “New Orleans Snow” on the internet and a blizzard is not the first entry. Instead you’ll find SnoWizard. A company that has brought fine fluffy shaved snow to residents of the Big Easy since 1936. But now it seems, they’re gettin’ snow from the sky Cher!–and it’s making a mess of Mardi Gras. According to the latest Mardi Gras Update, Chaos is cancelled in New Orleans. Babylon and Muses will be postponed to run sometime after Morpheus and at present, no one is manning the ladders on St. Charles Ave.

The party in Lousiana started on twelth night and won’t end until the wee hours of Mardi Gras. Remember that the colors of Mardi Gras are telling: purple represents justice, green represents faith and gold represents power.

If you can’t make it down to Carnival this season for the real party, try the next best thing, Carnival in New Orleans, A Fantasy. With text and poems by mon pere , Maurice Le Gardeur, illustrations, Mardi Gras etchings and recipes for Gumbo, Shrimp Creole, Red Beans and Rice, Bananas Foster, Oysters Rockefeller and Pralines by Robert Seago and a CD full of New Mardi Gras Classics by John Preble. At $29.95, it’s cheaper than bail, and one can read it next to a roaring fire on a snowy February day without being harrangued by drunken parade goers.

From the Author,

This book is a work of fiction probably stimulated by a slice of stilton or a generous shot of brandy in my cafe brulot.

From Arthur Hardy, Publisher of The Mardi Gras Guide:

Maurice Le Gardeur’s irreverent wit combined with Robert Seago’s elegant Mardi Gras art, make this carnival collection lovely to look at and fun to read.

From Jeremy Deibel, writer, musician, former OffBeat columnist

Finally, a Mardi Gras tome that captures the jovial spirit of Carnival in New Orleans! Le Gardeur’s hilarious stream-of-consciousness writing blends with Bob Seago’s lush artwork to create an endlessly re-readable, decidedly local take on the season. The footnotes, ‘toenotes,’ and ‘nailnotes’ are just the icing on this literary king cake. And the included CD of New Mardi Gras Classics transforms it all into an irresistible multi-sensory celebration!

Mardi Gras Gift Book

Need a copy for your cherie for Valentine’s day?
Three ways to play:
Call the shop at 410-357-9557.
Order it on the BACKWATERANGLER.COM
Try ARTCARDSNOLA for the book, (also check out the free preview including downloadable Mardi Gras Music samples) and Louisiana art postcards

Related Posts:
It’s Christmas Time in New Orleans…Bwo’s along the Gunpowder

Simms Headwaters Vibram Rubber Boot Review

Thanks to Mike Feldman for the Simms Vibram Boot Review and Stream report.

Theaux,
Spent Friday morning and Saturday mid-day on the GP. After some decent success Friday on the upper section near the dam I stopped in to the store. After trying on two pairs of rubber soled boots, decided on the Simms. Wore them on Saturday and they were great! Extremely comfortable right away, lightweight and grippy! In addition a short converstation with guide Jeff Lewatowski who gave me some great tips! Nymphed with a March Brown and a prince dropper with 2 small weights in the pools near Whale Rock. Caught about 6 decent size browns in 2 hours, and missed strikes on several more. Barely a cast,, caught them all within 10 feet of where I was standing using a technique I certainly knew, but had forgotten until Jeff made me think!!!! I suspect it would be well worth a 1/2 day of being guided even for reasonably experienced anglers like myself who get into the same old habits. Thanks for the shoes and the tips Theaux/Jeff.

Regards,
Mike