Driftless Trout Anglers

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William Schlafer  
#1 Posted : Friday, December 8, 2017 6:03:16 PM(UTC)
William Schlafer
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Location: Sussex Wisconsin

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Holiday gift giving season is upon us. Here's some of my thoughts on ideas for great gifts for the fisherman.

Fishpond Cloudburst Gear Bag

I've had my eye of this one for awhile now. I've owned a number of Fishpond products and I can say that I'm always impressed with their quality and how well thought out their stuff is. The materials and construction are top shelf. Everything on this bag serves a purpose and does it well. Fill it up with your gear and toss it in the trunk. A bit pricey at $219, but a great value. I've seen it on sale for half that from time to time.

Cheeky Tyro Fly Reel

During a chance encounter with another fly fisherman last summer, he showed me his Cheeky fly reel and I've been lusting for one ever since. Perfectly machined and smooth as a German luxury car. No cheap plastic or sloppy construction - just a solid well designed reel. The Tyro 300 (2-4W) is perfect for Driftless small streams, and is surprisingly affordable at $130.

Cliff's Bugger Beast Fly Boxes

If you tie flies long enough, sooner or later you'll start tying bigger streamers patterns. The problem is that just a few of these will fill the biggest fly box in your vest. You'll need a place to store your collection, and the Bugger Beast is the perfect choice. Large enough to hold anything, including pike flies. Pro tip I got from a fly shop guide: if you take these with you on a boat of any kind, be sure to take advantage of the loop holes on the boxes and secure them with a line to the boat. That way, if if they go overboard you won't be thrashing downstream trying to catch up with them as they're being swept away in the current!

Fishpond Nomad Wading Nets

Another fine Fishpond product: these Carbon fiber nets are lightweight and large enough to land that 20" Trout you've been stalking. They float, are UV protected and the rubber bag material protects the fish. The Normad Hand Net is the perfect size for the small stream fisherman. A bit pricey at $129.95, but is likely the last net you'll ever need to own.

Orvis Dri-Release Long Sleeve Casting T Shirt

I picked up one of these on sale awhile ago, and I have to say I'm impressed. This lightweight synthetic blend shirt performs equally well in hot and cold conditions, wicking moisture away from your skin to keep you comfortable. The material feels great and washes up well. Much more comfortable than more expensive base layer shirts, and they don't stink like most synthetics. $59 at Orvis, but often on sale for much less.

Umpqua UPG LT Fly Boxes

Similar to the Sticky Fly Boxes that came out last year, these new Umpqua boxes come in flashy colors and have many of the same well thought out features like secure magnetic closure, see-through lid, and durable silicone inserts. I like the size too, clocking in at 7.5" x 4" and only 3/4" thick. $25 for the UPG LT, prices vary for other sizes.

Renzetti Clouser Traveler Vise

I've owned a Renzetti Traveler fly tying vise for a few years now and enjoy it. However, the higher end models certainly are better built and operate even smoother. When I'm ready to step up, I'll definitely be looking at the Renzetti Clouser 2200. I like the straight cam design which makes spinning for wrapping materials a snap, and is better suited for tying larger patterns. With tying vises, you get what you pay for and this one's a good value at $190.

Dr Slick 6" Clamp

Dr Slick is well known for quality fly tying scissors and other accessories. These 6" clamps are the prefect thing to hang on your vest for extracting flies from Trout, crimping split shot, or for any job where you need to get into small spaces. The finger loops are large enough to get even fat fingers like mine in them comfortably. The construction is first rate and the materials used are corrosion resistant. They come in many configurations and lengths. I've found that the straight 6" clamp works best in most situations. I've managed to lose a couple of these over the years along Driftless Area stream banks and now I always keep a back up in the trunk. $17.

So what's on your wish list?


Edited by user Friday, December 8, 2017 6:07:14 PM(UTC)  | Reason: damned typos!

“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
NE IA Drifter  
#2 Posted : Friday, December 8, 2017 10:24:40 PM(UTC)
NE IA Drifter
Rank: Caddis Fly

Joined: 7/9/2013(UTC)
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I'm thinking about the fishpond Wader bag as a place to store my boots and waders after they've dried. The gf doesn't seem to appreciate them hanging in our bathroom and now that she has a pair of waders I can get us both a set.

Anyone try or check out the new umpqua boxes? Look interesting and maybe better than the tacky boxes?

Edited by user Friday, December 8, 2017 10:25:46 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

stan b  
#3 Posted : Friday, December 8, 2017 10:45:51 PM(UTC)
stan b
Rank: Caddis Fly

Joined: 11/29/2016(UTC)
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I have a few Fishpond items now, including the mesh vest and net with magnet.
It's big enough for steelhead as well as browns.
I find the quality excellent and the pricing reasonable.

Top notch stuff!

Now that I think of it, that reel looks pretty nice too, Santa, are you there?


Stan b

Edited by user Friday, December 8, 2017 10:54:37 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Grammar

"So what is big is not always the Trout nor the Deer but the chance, the being there. And what is full is not necessarily the creel nor the freezer, but the memory." ~ Aldo Leopold
#4 Posted : Saturday, December 9, 2017 3:02:58 PM(UTC)
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I'll throw in a mention for Wolf Moon Nets. Made by hand smack dab in the middle of trout central in north-central WI. I bought 2 about 5 years ago and they're still going strong. Very well made and very functional. You can get them with fish-friendly rubber bags as well.


#5 Posted : Thursday, December 14, 2017 7:19:53 PM(UTC)
Rank: Caddis Fly

Joined: 3/7/2017(UTC)
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United States
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Cabela's has bunch of their lower-end fly rod/reel combos (Copper River, Wind River, Prestige, Three Forks, RLS+) on sale. I'm thinking about picking it up, so I added a couple of those to the wish list.
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