Category Archives: gear

Patagonia Danner Boots & Patagonia Middle Fork Packable Waders Review

Over the past 4 years at the shop, I’ve been blessed to try and use the best waders and boots offered by both Simms and Patagonia.

Since April, I’ve put a lot of time on the river wearing the Patagonia Middle Fork Packable Waders and taken them through dense brush and green brier, and they are holding up fine. They breath fantastically well on the hottest of days whilst having extra security from biters on your legs, particularly ticks, having dealt with Lyme disease before. I tend to wear waders even in July and August. The Durable Water Repellent Finish is really nice too; they are dry in no time after being in the water.

Patagonia Middle Fork Packable Waders

I’m currently in the River Salt Wading Boots from Danner and, like the waders, I’ve put these through their paces. I’ve tried them on rivers such as Penns Creek and the Little Juniata earlier this spring and the North Branch of the Potomac recently this summer. These rivers are well known for being a absolute chore for wading. With just two studs in the toe and two in the heel, I’ve never felt the level of traction and ankle support. They are better than any other other boot I’ve owned.

Patagonia River Salt Wading Boots

I also tend to walk a distance to get to lesser traveled areas and for this aspect also, they are incredibly comfortable. I know these are a hefty investment in wading boots, but if river fishing is important to you, you won’t be disappointed.

SPECIAL: Purchase a pair of these waders and boots and get a free Patagonia trucker hat!

North Branch Potomac Fly Fishing

 

Abel Maryland Flag Reel

Jayne, One of our loyal Backwater Angler regulars pitched the idea of a Abel Maryland Flag reel to us back in the early Spring. At the time, Abel only had a Colorado and Texas flag reel option under their custom finishes. The Maryland Flag falls between the 7 hour plus pricing and the Artist pricing and rightfully so-our state flag is easy to recognize but hard to paint! These are currently available at Backwater Angler in both the Super Series 4/5 and 5/6 sizes. Both come with a vibrant red aluminum handle. Please call us at 410-357-9557 for availability or Buy the new Abel Maryland Flag Super Series reel in size 4/5 or 5/6 from our online catalog.

Abel Super Series at Backwater Angler!

Using Abel’s classic cork drag system these are the most trustworthy reels on the planet. Relied on by anglers all over the world and renowned for their durability, performance and beautiful finish. 

For 2017 we have redesigned the original Super Series reel with an all new line of lighter weight sizes that feature a quick change spool system achieved by eliminating the previously removable locknut and drag knob.

The proven drag system is what makes the Super Series equally at home on the trout stream, the salt flats, and demanding deep blue water: It can be set light enough to protect the finest tippet, but can also be cranked to slow down the toughest Bluefin. No matter what species you prefer to chase, a Super Series reel is there to help you land it!

Abel Super Series Freshwater Sizes

 

Review of 4 weight fly rods

 

The Gunpowder River is an ideal river for 4 weight (wt.) fly rods. Some anglers have fun with 3 wts., and  a 5 wt. is understandable, but 4 wts. are the choice for many anglers. At Backwater Angler, we have an impressive range – regardless of your budget or experience level – of 4 wts. for your fishing adventures.

 

Entry level ($180 – $320)

St. Croix Mojo Trout – The 9’0 model provides fast action and some extra stretch for nymphing. An ideal rod to start one’s fly fishing life, the Mojo trout features a Kigan hook keeper, solid cork handle, aluminum reel seat, and smooth, black snake guides. This is a very reasonably priced rod.

St. Croix Imperial – The 4 piece 8’0 of this model is my favorite as it provides light, fast action. Growing up as a spin fisherman, I often used ultra light rods, and this model emulates that action well. Complete with slim-profile ferrules, Sea Guide snake guides, an uplocking reel seat, premium-grade cork handle, and a Kigan hook keeper, this rod is another ideal port of entry into small stream trout fishing. Landing some wild browns with this one should put a smile on any angler’s face.

Mid-level ($350 – $500)

Echo 3 – The 4 piece 8’6 and 9’0 versions of this medium-to-fast action rod are advanced, high-modulus graphite rods with modern resins, making it light and sensitive while maintaining backbone to go 10 rounds with an angry fish. It’s crisp on that 70′ cast, but not so fast you can’t feel the rod. These rods fish dries to nymphs, lakes to rivers, and various fish. The ECHO 3 is arguably the most well-rounded family of rods we offer. They also come with a lifetime warranty, which is hard to overlook.

Scott Flex – These 4 piece 8’6 and 9’0 rods are light and handcrafted and excellent for generating line speed and effortless tight loops. The strong butt section is ideal for strong hook sets, and the 9’0 model gives an extra stretch for nymphing. I prefer the 8’6 model myself, but the 9’0 is equally effective and feels more like a 4/5, which depending on your preference could be a real advantage.

St. Croix Legend Elite – This 4 piece 9’0 rod is slightly higher-end for this category, but is a rod that will cover a lot of fishing for a long time. Its gorgeous finish and incredible balance impress. With the first cast you’ll revel in the smoothness and deceptive power of the crisp SCV graphite blank with Advanced Reinforcing Technology and Integrated Poly Curve technologies. The rod feels like a one piece but is a four. 

Higher-end ($745 – $795)

G. Loomis NRX – The NRX is perfect for the Gunpowder, with the high modulus carbon and a softer tip than the original NRX, which allows for delicate presentation with protection on fine tippet. This rod feels lighter and active, ideal for dries yet strong enough for streamers, yet at 9’0 allows for that extra stretch when nymphing too. This is a versatile rod that covers lots of bases for the novice to experienced fly angler.

Scott Radian – The greatest strength of the 4 piece 9’0 and 10’0 Radians, arguably, is their blend of power, line speed, touch, feel, and accuracy. It’s hard to find rods that combine those elements, but the Radian has them all. The React technology brings together X-Core with new complex materials and a taper system to dramatically increase recovery speed. Meanwhile, the X-Core technology offers an enhanced feel, incredible stability, and unparalleled performance. Fiberuse resin provides stronger bonds between fibers, and the Advanced Reinforced Carbon technology reduces torque and increases rod strength.

Fresh Abel Reels in Stock!

Abel represents the pinnacle of fly reel craftsmanship, uncompromising build quality and eye-catching paint jobs ensure they’re some of the most respected pieces of gear by anglers everywhere. If your looking to treat yourself or a loved one to something that will last a lifetime our selection of Abel reels are the perfect choice.

The return of a classic. The new Abel TR stays true to the roots of the original, but with a striking modern design and feel. The partial porting of the frame draws from the Abel lineage, and its unique features are as inventive as anything Abel has ever produced.

Abel TR Solid Finish

 

– Stefan

 

 

 

Scott Rods Demo Day at Backwater Angler

Fished and cherished by anglers all over the world, Scott Fly Rods have set the bar as one of the premium US fly rod manufacturers for over 40 years.  Hand made from start to finish in Colorado.

On Saturday June the 8th, Scott Rep Ken Lagerveld will be hosting a rod demo day at the shop from 11 – 2. Please stop by, talk fishing and cast some rods!

Along with Scott, Ken also represents Ross & Abel Reels, Echo Fly Rods and Airflo lines. Stop by to see what’s new with these brands and what sets them apart from the rest.

Scientific Anglers Amplitude Fly Lines

Made in Midland, Michigan. For almost 75 years Scientific Anglers have been internationally recognized as a leader in fly line manufacturing. Their Lines in the Amplitude Series are setting a new standard in fly line slickness which maximizes performance and ease of casting.

Excerpt from Scientific Anglers:

“We enjoy the dynamic struggle between old school, new school, and the evolution of customer and industry demands. What lies between the fish slime and truth is where we flourish. Scientific Anglers rejects the happy medians, the good enoughs, the that’ll do’s, and the status quo.Welcome to the next page in an evolving history of Scientific Anglers and welcome to the future of our sport.”

Check them out and buy them using our online catalog!

 

10 Foot Fly Rod Review

As ‘Euro-Nymphing’ has grown in popularity here in the states over the past few years, longer 10’ and even 10’6’’ and 11’ rods have become increasingly popular as well. Typically, these rods have an extremely sensitive tip section and a stronger backbone in the mid and lower sections of the rod.  The sensitivity in the tip section allows the angler to feel their nymphs/weight/shot throughout the drift. One often over looked benefit of a 10’ rod for dry fly fishing and indicator nymphing is the ability to manage line across different seams in the river. The longer rods make reaching tough to reach areas much easier than traditional 9’ fly rods. We currently have the following 10’ rods in stock in the shop:

Echo Shadow II 10’ 2WT

Echo Shadow II 10’6 4WT

Echo Shadow X 10’ 3WT

Echo Shadow X 11’ 3WT

Scott Radian 10’ 4WT

Winston BIIIX Super 10’ 4WT

A personal favorite of mine for fishing the Gunpowder is the Echo Shadow II 10’ 2WT.  Not only is this an excellent euro-nymph rod, I also find it delivers dry fly’s at short to medium ranges pretty well.

A short description from Echo on the Shadow II series: “Light and fast, the Shadow II offers critical line feel and control with an action that will also toss a loop when the bugs start flying.”

At the Shadow II’s price point ($249.99), I think you will be very pleased with its feel and performance. With that said, the 10’ 3WT’s and 4WT’s we have in stock will be far more versatile.  The 3WT and 4WT rods will allow you to fish larger rivers through heavier water and offer more fish fighting control.

If you enjoy fishing the waters of Western MD and up in to Pennsylvania, the Echo Shadow X and G. Loomis NRX Nymph would be my choice.  The Shadow X is 20% lighter than the Shadow II leading to reduced fatigue while nymphing. Both the Shadow X and NRX Nymph are extremely sensitive while maintaining a relatively stiff backbone for positive hooksets on fish.

The Winston BIIIX Super 10’ and the Scott Radian are my favorite rods aesthetically and I feel they are the most versatile if you are routinely fishing water larger than the Gunpowder. Both of these rods are truly crafts of art and built with the quality we have come to expect from Winston and Scott.  If I were to choose between the two, I would choose the Radian if I were looking for an all around performance rod, and the Super 10 if I were looking for a more dedicated nymph rod.  The Super 10 has a softer tip and is a bit heavier than the Radian.  Winston added a 2’’ fighting cork to reduce arm fatigue.

I picked up a Scott Radian 10’ 5WT expecting to fish Colorado run-off last June.  Turns out, it was one of the lowest snowpack’s in Colorado history last season and rivers were flowing well below normal. I still fished the 10’ 5WT and was not disappointed at all in the rods ability to cast size 16 and 18 dry fly’s at rising fish.  This rod is incredibly accurate at long distances.

All of these 10’ rods will help you manage line on the water and perfect your drift whether you are tight-line nymphing, indicator nymphing, or dry fly fishing.  Swing by the shop and give one of these rods a cast!

Patagonia Wading Boots built by Danner in-stock in Maryland

Danner’s reputation for building the best boots is unrivaled the world over. So much so the US Military has been using Danner Boots for years. Now they have partnered with Patagonia Fly Fishing to create a revolutionary wading boot that is not only comfortable, supportive with excellent traction but also the last pair you’ll need to own. As is with all soft goods that are put to good use, the original stitching and the sole won’t last forever but these boots are made to be completely recraftable and resoleable in house, by hand in Danner’s factory in Portland, Oregon.

We have a size run of both the River Salt & Foot Tractor (rubber sole) boots here at Backwater Angler.

Stop by the shop – have a look, try them on & see for yourself what all the hype is about.

I was able to try the Foot Tractors last June for 2 weeks both on the Delaware & the Gunpowder and I was amazed by the level of comfort & traction. They’re in a different league from any other wading boot I’ve worn. Having broken through other boots in the $180 range in less than a season and then having no further use with them. Just knowing that these won’t end up in a landfill makes sense in what is undoubtedly an investment in comfort and safety whilst enjoying your time out fishing.

Patagonia River Salt Wading Boots

Patagonia Foot Tractor Boots – Sticky Rubber (Made by Danner)

 

The Gunpowder is Blown Out! Let us help you prepare for the upcoming season this weekend.

After almost an inch and a half of rain yesterday through last night resulted in the Gunpowder cresting at 1700 cfs at Falls Road. It’s now at 1500 cfs, slowly dropping and heavily stained. Best put off fishing for a while until it drops to a safer level. Streamer fishing from the bank can be productive at around 400 cfs but I wading is not recommended until it’s under 300 cfs. Remember all of Little Falls is closed from any forms of fishing until Sunday March 31st.

The wet weather trend of last year looks like it isn’t leaving anytime soon! So we have a great selection of fully waterproof, submersible packs from both Fishpond and Patagonia. Be ready for rain when you’re out on the water this season & keep your valuables nice and dry.