Category Archives: reviews

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.

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.


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