Category Archives: reviews

Patagonia River Salt Wading Jacket Review

Patagonia River Salt Jacket
Thanks to Josh Reider for the photos and gear review of his lucky Patagonia River Salt Jacket. We have a ready supply of these waterproof, breathable and durable wading jackets in stock ready to ship.

After fishing today in the freezing rain I found out two things: One, fish don’t care how miserable the weather is; and two, a nice rain jacket is a must. A friend and I fished in the dismal weather for 3 hours and were able to pick up close to 10 fish; hooking nearly twice that. We landed a few nice fish and a lot in the smaller 8-12 inch range. Fishing the Gunpowder this time of year is very productive and can be a lot of fun if you’re dressed properly. We were nymphing small pheasant tails and zebra midges with the most success. I switched to a streamer later in the day and had some fish chase it but none would commit.
My Patagonia Riversalt jacket kept me dry and warm in the miserable weather. I’ve had it nearly a year now and it works just as well as when I took it out of the box. It is great length, the cuffs work and because it is longer than most wading jackets it can be worn as a normal rain jacket. I use it whenever I fish and recommend it to anyone serious about staying comfortable fly fishing in a host of conditions.

Wild Trout in Maryalnd

Abel Fish Graphic Fly Reels

Abel Fish Graphic and Engraved Reels
Thoughts of Abel engraved and Fish Graphic reels might just be the ticket to keeping warm this time of year. Especially if the idea of a (clockwise) Blue #3 engraved Grand Slam super 9-10N, Bonefish Super 7-8N and Tarpon Super 11-12N help to transport one’s mental state to more southerly climes. Other examples of this California handiwork are exhibited by the other Abel reels in the new display case at Backwater Angler including (clockwise) the 25th anniversary De Young Super 6N, the Tribal Fish in 7-8N and a Brown Trout Super 3N. These beautiful reels are testament that you don’t need a lot of fly reels-just the “right” ones.

I’m still fishing an original 3N in artistic blue/black camo that I bought when Backwater Angler opened in 2001. It’s helped me land Atlantic salmon, albies, rockfish, blues, bonefish and redfish and has never let me down.

Abel Artistic and Fish Graphic Reels

Patagonia Ultralight Sticky Wading Boot Review

We have a full size run of these Patagonia Ultralight Wading Boots in stock at Backwater Angler. We’ve waited most of the Spring Season for these but did not want to bring them in until Josh, Jennie and Jeff put them through the paces on the upper and lower stretches of the Gunpowder River. This week, after reading Josh’s review I even picked up a pair of the new sticky shoes. So far I’ve been in mine for an evening fish, during two fly fishing schools and a guide trip in the canyon stretch of the Gunpowder in just the past week and have been impressed.

Thanks to Josh Reider for the Gear Review:

I have worked in a fly shop the past five years and have used about every rubber-soled wading boot under the sun. Up until Patagonia came out with this boot I used Simms Guide-Boot which at the time seemed great. The Patagonia Ultralight Wading Boot is significantly lighter and WAY MORE COMFORTABLE. When in the water I feel just as safe as any other top boot on the market. I have been using the boot hard for the last month (I fish about 3-4 days a week) and have had no problems with them! It is a great product design and look forward to using them in the future!

Labrador Brook Trout, Boron IIIX Fly Rods and Bauer CFX Reels Gear Review

Labrador Fly Fishing
Thanks to Neil Jacobs who just returned from a recent fly fishing trip for Brook Trout in Labrador for the pics, gear review of the Winston BIIIX and Bauer CFX series reels, and kind words:

Theaux & Jennie,
Thanks for moving me towards the Winston Boron IIIX rods–6 and 7 weights as well as the Bauer reels. In Labrador the 6wt landed 6 lb brook trout in very heavy water. But for me the best feature of the Borons was line management and line handling ability-particularly hitting small pockets in heavy water. The CFX3 Bauer reel never missed a beat when I landed a 18 lb lake trout on the 7 weight.This equipment has been a good match up for my skill level. Thanks for all your help and great service.
Labrador Brook Trout

Rodmounts Sumo Magnet Review

Rodmounts Sumo MagnetHow many of us wish we could step out of the car or truck and just go fishing without having to lose time rigging up in the parking lot? The answer is the Sumo Magnet Rod Mount which easily fits under the back seat of vehicle when not in use. The kit is priced at $149.95 and will hold up to 6 flyrods-perfect if you’re fishing with a bunch of friends or checking out a few access points throughout the day. At first I was hesitant of the design and unsure of how well it would hold up during harsh conditions. After using it this winter, I’ve found it to be a great tool that has helped me spend more time fishing.

Scientific Anglers VPT Fly Line Review

Scientific Anglers VPT Fly Line
Thanks to John for the Review of the Sci Angler VPT Fly Line.

Hey man it’s John,
Got in last night and figure I could write you up a quick note about the SA VPT line.
First off the tri-colored line is actually pretty smart, pale off-white tip with the orange belly turning back into a pale running line makes sense to me as the view from underwater is pretty stealthy. Secondly unlike Rio there is only one loop, at the tip. I kinda like Rio and Cortland’s plan of making loop to loop connections from backing to fly line as it does run through guides smoother and makes changing line easier. Finally casting performance; it is easy to see in the first fifteen minutes of fishing that the team designing this line was obviously a bunch of dry fly addicts. I spent a good portion of my time cating 12-18′ leaders ending in 6 and 7X tippets with flies ranging from size 16 to 26. Turnover and castability were easy to get dialed back in with this line. 60-70 foot casts were accomplished which is further than most people would ever cast for trout, still good to know it is easily done. The wind beating power was not spectacular I must admit, but adequate for a line designed for all around trout fishing. When nymphing the line did have some trouble turning over indicators but nothing that a little casting compensation couldn’t overcome. All in all this line does exactly what it set out to do, I would actually rate it higher than the Rio Gold line for now. A few seasons down the road should tell who the real winner is, but SA has one here. Two Thumbs up.

Frying Pan River Stream Report

Frying Pan River Fly Fishing
Thanks to Mike for the stream report, gear review and pics.

Hey Theaux,
It was great to talk with you today. I look forward to getting the three sets of the Simms HardBite star cleats for the Guide wading shoes…once again, you’ve pointed me in the right direction. They are awesome–both the shoes and the cleats. As to the Airflo Ridge Trout line with the loop, as I mentioned, when fishing on the Fryingpan below Reudi Reservoir (as I’m sure Jason knows, that’s a hog lot if there ever was one), after hooking and playing 5 or 6 22″+ fish, I noticed that the loop on my leader had almost cut through the loop on the line. Not good. So I had the local fly shop (Fryingpan Anglers–great shop, once owned by John Gierach’s friend Roy Palm) cut the loop off and nail knot a piece of heavy mono to the end of the line and tie a perfection loop on to that. Just wanted you to know that the factory loop isn’t as robust as you and I might like it to be. I absolutely love the line, and would buy it again in a heartbeat…just wouldn’t use the loop.Attached are pics of the 22″ bow I mentioned–6X fluorcarbon tippet and a #20 flashback baetis nymph, as well as the uniquely (IMO) colored brown I mentioned. Thanks so much for the hat and the brook trout shirt you’re sending. I really appreciate it. Hope you have a good trip.

Mike Fitzhugh

Frying Pan River Rainbow

Simms Windstopper Gloves, Hats and a Fishing Report

Simms Windstopper Gloves and Hats

The Gunpowder river is flowing at 30 Cfs, is 37 F and clear. Until the wind knocks down, try swinging small stonefly nymphs toward the banks. Traditional streamers are also worth a shot. Try dead-drifting them in the log jams. The river has been low since early fall so one will find fish along edges in leaf litter and tucked in the deepest slots they can find. Now would be a good time to explore the lower river between Bluemount Rd. and Upper Glencoe Rd. It’s a big area, the fish are spread out, and hiking the NCR trail will allow you to warm up between likely spots and check out some scenery along the way. In the catch and release area, access points that allow one to fish the river where it narrows a bit might be more productive than the flats from Masemore to Bunkerhill. There are still quite a few Redds out there so watch your step and use the trails to get to the areas you’d like to cover. It’s cold out there! During sweltering summers down south we say it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity. For the better part of the this December we’ve been saying it’s not the cold, it’s the wind along the river. To that end we now have Simms Windstopper® Fold-Over mitts and Freestone fleece fold-over mitts in stock. We’ve also added some Merino wool wading socks from Simms. A recent fishing report from earlier in the week is pointing to stoneflies on the horizon.
Thanks to Jeremy for the fishing report and Simms gear review;

Good to see you yesterday and how great it was to finally wet a line. After a long week of moving into our new home, a day on the Gunpowder was exactly what I needed. My favorite thing about winter fishing is that it keeps most other people away, allowing a rare time to be truly alone on the water. It was cold and windy, whereas my purchases of the Simms windproof fleece hat and gloves were validated, as they both did a great job keeping me toasty. Two nymphs, two and a half hours, and 3 fish later I called the day a success and left to return some feeling to my extremities. All three came from nymphing small black stones through deeper riffles. A beautiful twelve inch brook trout really made my day and made the effort worthwhile. I sometimes wonder why more people don’t fish in the winter. I mean, fish don’t hibernate, but some people sure seem to. All the better though for some as well.

See you soon!
Jeremy Meyers

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.
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.