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The 2012 Shopping issue


Florida Fly Fishing - The Shopping Issue 3

Florida Fly Fishing Magazine Only Florida - Only Fly Fishing A Bonefish & Tarpon Trust Conservation Blue Ribbon Sponsor

Florida Fly Fishing Magazine publishes articles about fly fishing in the Sunshine State. It is published on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico in Dunedin, Florida.

Editor & Publisher Edward C. Maurer Contributing Editors: Ken Morrow Robert Morselli Dusty Sprague Contact: (727) 798-2366 A publication of Edward Maurer Consulting, LLC. Copyright 2012 All rights reserved. Actions, activities, travel, techniques, etc. seen within are examples of what others do and participate in and should only be carried out by qualified individuals. The outcome of your activities remain your own responsibility. Properly wear and use all safety equipment. If you’re afraid of the water, stay away from it.

Florida Fly Fishing - The Shopping Issue

You may have noticed from the get-go that this issue is a little different than our normal bi-monthly magazine. At the close of the year coinciding with the holiday shopping season we thought you might enjoy some “wish list” items and some of our best product reviews of the past six issues. Of course, to enhance your reading pleasure we were able to include some more appealing photos less related purely to fly fishing but still well within the realm of reflecting a great Florida lifestyle. Our thanks to the companies that sent us their product information to help you choose something for under the tree or to leave as a reminder for the Santa in your life. We’d also like to thank contributing editors Ken Morrow and Robert Morselli for their compelling product reviews. And of course, we thank Pat Ford and the other fine photographers whose “lifestyle” photos add so much more to this issue, making it more than just your run of the mill shopping magazine. Without them the fly gear would hold its own but with them it’s just that more more appealing. Like our other issues, this one will always be available online. Of course, we can print issues too, so let us know which ones you would like. Each is only $10 plus shipping. tight loops!

The cover: Jennifer Mahaffely photo by Pat Ford 5


James Prosek’s Ocean Fishes: Capturing The Moment Robert Morselli

The great 19th century painter and naturalist, John James Audubon, knew the difference between striving for something and getting an image just right. Audubon routinely worked from dead specimens but understood the importance of capturing the subtle details of life in his paintings. Take some time leafing through Ocean

Fishes, and you’ll immediately realize that Prosek invested much time and effort to nail down those very details. Prosek painted his subjects as they emerged from the sea and rendered them with an objectivity that he has developed from years of participating in art, science – and the emotional experience of angling. The paintings 35 watercolors of the most pursued saltwater fish - are at once scrupulously accurate and manage to transcend the anatomical details that define the fish. In this regard, Prosek gives us a privileged place on the deck, a view ordinarily glimpsed only by fishermen, and brings us closer to seeing the fish than any of his contemporaries: he

Florida Fly Fishing - The Shopping Issue

literally ‘captures the moment’. Prosek states, “… as anyone who has spent time on the water knows: a fish is a dynamic, colourful, always-changing organism, lit by some internal light that that rapidly flickers out as the fish expires.” The Ocean Fishes project began when Prosek was a Yale University undergraduate and it announced his scope and ambition both as an artist and a natural historian. Prosek is also an experimentalist: phosphorescent effects were often called for when rendering fish scales, so he developed a way of working ground mica into the paint to help achieve them. The final result is a volume of faithfully reproduced images (along with accompanying scale indicators since all the fish, from a 14” porgy to a 12’8” blue marlin, were painted life-sized), that is both a reference guide as well as an art book that can find a home in any fishing library or on a

coffee table. If you’re searching for gift possibilities for the upcoming holiday season, Ocean Fishes is a no-brainer. pub. Rizzoli, New York $39.95 7

8000 PRO reel from Sage The 8000 PRO  series, based on the foundation of the 6000 series, gives anglers a new dimension in fish stopping power via an integrated secondary drag control system. Based on Sage’s proven Sealed Carbon System (SCS), the 8000 PRO features an innovative two-stage drag control. The primary drag knob adjusts in one revolution with 1-20 numbered settings, while the secondary drag knob fine-tunes drag resistance by 15 percent with each sequential adjustment as well as

prevents over-spooling when pulling line to cast. With settings A through E, there are a total of 195 individual drag combinations with a maximum setting that has 40 percent more drag than the 6000 series. Featuring a quick change spool mechanism, a broad concave palming rim and a grooved frame for securing line when not casting, this reel comes in Stealth and Storm colors in a 7/8, 9/10 and 11/12 line weights. MSRP: $750-$850

Florida Fly Fishing - The Shopping Issue

Bonefishing Quickshooter from RIO Available in WF7F – WF9F MSRP: $79.95 100-foot line Dual tone colors - Aqua Blue and Sand colors Front and Back loops AgentX Extreme Slickness technology  Ideal in 75-100 degrees This line is great for wading flats or in poor light conditions when short range casts are needed.  The short, easy casting head loads a rod quickly and delivers fast, accurate casts with ease. It has a great load carrying capacity to turn over big flies. It is also a great line for novice saltwater anglers.

Form Game Rod from Redington The Form Game Rod offers beginning and veteran fly casters alike a fun way to practice casting and improve form. The 50-inch graphite rod comes in two sections creating a very realistic feel and easy packing. Unlike any other practice rods on the market, the Form offers anglers a practice rod with a custom RIO® 30-foot fly line with integrated leader so anglers can learn the true feel of an actual rod loading. The end of the line is designated with a mock fly so the angler has even more of a true feel for a fly fishing scenario. Available in Lava Red or Wave Blue, this game rod comes in a convenient carrying case and includes easy-to-follow casting instructions and fun casting games for anglers of all abilities. It also includes a QR code for users to easily go to Redington’s website and watch casting and instruction videos as well as learn more about all aspects of fly fishing. The Form Game Rod will retail for $39.95. 9

Dunedin, Florida Properties by Deborah Scott The Gulf of Mexico, Tampa Bay and Orlando at your fingertips

Looking north with the 2008 No. 1 Beach in America, Caladesi Island, in the foreground with Honeymoon Island reaching toward the horizon. The Dunedin Marina is Central Florida’s Gateway to the St. Joseph Sound, the Gulf of Mexico and world-class fly fishing.

Located on the Gulf of Mexico between Homosassa and Boca Grande, Dunedin offers anglers the relaxed comfort of a top-rated small town combined with immediate access to the popular and highly productive St. Joseph Sound flats, tarpon-rich beaches of Honeymoon and Caladesi islands, fabulous Tampa Bay and the tournament-class lakes of Central Florida.

Deborah Scott

Realtor 727.204.0850 Van Hook Properties Inc. 949 Broadway Dunedin, FL 34698

Florida Fly Fishing - The Shopping Issue


Bonefish Fly Patterns

Far more than just another fly tying book, it can benefit your fly tying and fishing because each topic applies to every aspect of fly fishing By Ed Maurer, Publisher When I first learned Dick Brown had released a revised version of his popular book, Bonefish Fly Patterns, I knew I had to have it, even though I already have a pretty extensive library, but what the hell, never too many fly fishing books, right? When it arrived and I started flipping through it I quickly found that this is more than just another pattern book, this a study on bonefish and the flies that emulate their food source. Okay, I know that sounds pretty routine but…. The revised and updated Bonefish Fly Patterns is more of an analytical treatise on not only bonefish flies, but the prey bonefish feed upon, and the types and features required of an effective fly and how and where to fish it. Brown goes into a full analysis of what bones eat broken down into the percentages of prey they eat in the Bahamas and Florida. It’s almost like a diet book in the way each food source is listed by type Patrick Dorsey’s Kwan and percentage eaten, but also by what prey bonefish seem to prefer regardless of availability. It’s almost mind boggling, but much of what we do as fly anglers is, so this is right down our alley. Like freshwater trout anglers who become amateur entomologists in their own right, Brown has become something of a “crustanologist” for the bonefishing community, even though much of a bonefish’s diet in the Bahamas consists of clams, of all things. Yes, he depicts clam 11

Jennifer Mahaffely photos by Pat Ford

Florida Fly Fishing - The Shopping Issue

flies (Craig Mathew’s Clam Vic Gaspeny’s Threadhead Before the Storm is one) in the book. Clams? Who knew? Reading like a story comprised of 197 vignettes of related characters, Bonefish Fly Patterns explains why bonefish eat what they do, where and when they eat it and how we should consider those habits when we select what flies to carry and try under certain conditions. Now, many already have the original edition of and wonder if this one’s worth the purchase. I’d say yes—absolutely—and here’s Brown’s comment why: “The new revised edition of Bonefish Fly Patterns contains 47 additional flies, an all-new chapter on fly design trends, and Why design a new fly? a new section on recent prey discoveries and new Last year ’s flies (and patterns to represent them. techniques) may not be “Some of the new flies are recent patterns good enough…. Fish that created by new flats anglers with fresh, inquisitive see our flies repeatedly eyes—like Victor Trodella’s killer Ghost tailing fly begin to recognize a threat and Omeko Glinton’s Meko Special. Others like for what it is. Each year, the Eric Peterson’s Spawning Shrimp, Vic Gaspeny’s ante goes up; each season, Threadhead, Rick Simonsen’s Simram, and Patrick angling techniques and fly Dorsy’s Kwan and Bone Slappa are creations of patterns must keep getting skilled flats veterans willing to pass along the better. Pg 1, BFP exact recipes of go-to favorites they’ve relied on for winning tournaments. “A few new creations, like the Toad and the Aaron Adam’s Bastard Crab Slinky Toad, were developed in response to the significant findings of recent bonefish feeding studies that have established the importance of newly discovered prey forms in the diet of Florida and Bahamian bonefish—especially the gulf toadfish. Four—the Bastard Crab, Big Ugly, Merkwan, and Bunny Crab—come from Bonefish & Tarpon Trust’s Aaron Adams, who is both a marine research scientist and an avid angler. And, several new entries, like the Skok/Boyle Reverend Laing fly, the Bevin’s Bully Special, and Trodella’s Ghost, were driven by new tying materials and new uses of existing materials, which have enabled tiers to find novel solutions to old 13

bonefish challenges like flash intensity and splash impact. Finally, a few are well-known classics that I simply could not get into the original book for one reason or another—like the Horror and the Mini-Puff, which have produced on flats around the world for decades. I had them in my other book, Fly Fishing for Bonefish, but Looking Like Food felt I had to get them into this definitive book. Bonefish eat just about anything “In addition I virtually rewrote the sections they can safely run down and on design trends to cover new skills like ingest without fear of attack…. loop-dubbed inner-glow-bodies, trailing-leg This is why bonefish are such & splayed-carapace designs, flats-agnostic perfect targets for “attractor” coloring, and application of bonefish-trigger patterns—flies that simply look traits and hot spots that today’s best tiers are like they should be something using to make flies more productive.” edible, whether or not they Chapter 1 addresses the characteristics that portray any specific creature make a “…good bonefish fly good.” Here he that lives on the flats. Pg 5, BFP writes about such important issues such as the Juan Roselione-Valdez’s Slutter noise a fly should, or should not, make when it enters the water— critical for spooky fish in shallow water of areas where they’ve become “educated”—sink rates, snag-proofing and castability. Issues we all address are things like the importance of how much a successful fly looks like food and how to judge whether it does by color, shape, size, sparkle and appendages. Sounds more and more like trout fishing and hatch-matching all the time. Following that initial study and coaching are profiles of 197 flies, including the 47 new ones for this edition. For each fly Brown has provided a beautiful color plate accompanied Tim Borski’s Slider by introductory information about the fly, its ingredients with tying notes as well as remarks on where and how to most effectively present the fly. He also adds information about what dinner item the fly represents (including taxonomy in most cases, for those of us who recall our biology classes) along with anecdotes regarding the fly’s

Florida Fly Fishing - The Shopping Issue

covers tying instructions for select Doc Hall’s Perfect Crab flies, design alternatives, materials and even sources where one can find those materials. Again, I’ve got a pretty damn good library, but Bonefish Fly Patterns takes the cake. It’s more than just another fly tying book; it’s more like a grad course on bonefishing and the flies that make it work. For the angler who doesn’t (yet) bonefish, Bonefish Fly Patterns can benefit any of your fly tying and fishing simply because each topic also applies to every aspect of fly fishing whether it be for red fish, trout, permit or any other species we chase. Many of the critters a bonefish eats are enjoyed by them as well. For my money, and yours, if you were to buy only one fly tying book this year, it would be Bonefish Fly Patterns. I’ve got mine, and no, you can’t borrow it.


Dozer Can we start by telling you how HUGE this fly reel is? You would have to be crazy to buy it, but that’s exactly what you are if you’re chasing shark, tuna or billfish on the fly.  And guess what?  We’re crazy too … crazy enough to design the Dozer 525 specifically for fly fishermen like you. Florida Fly Fishing - The Shopping Issue

With its massive 5.25 inch diameter, the Dozer 525 is designed to withstand battles against the ocean’s most ferocious beasts. At only 10.6 oz, this reel has an insane strength-to-weight ratio, and its MAX Arbor and 600+ yard backing capacity are critical for the blistering run of any ocean giant.  The Dozer 525 will give you the confidence you need in your blue water fly reel.  Features: Sealed Evo Synthetic disc drag MAX Arbor (5.25” diameter) B2 Channel Lightweight Design (10.6 oz) Quick Change Spool Simple L/R Retrieve Conversion  Reel: $460  Spare Spool: $175


Timbre Pringle with a Cheeky Ambush reel in Canada Florida Fly Fishing - The Shopping Issue


Thrash Almost nothing beats the hero shot after a long fought battle with a monster tarpon. Hell, you’ve earned it … stalking those behemoths is a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it.  Cobia, roosterfish?  It doesn’t get any easier, unless of course you’re fishing with a reel specifically designed for big game inshore fly fishing like the Thrash 475. The Thrash 475’s fully sealed Evo Synthetic disc drag system has the stopping power to reign in the fiercest permit, and its quick-change spool is perfect when you need to switch from 10 wt. sinking line to 12 wt. floating line.  At 4.75” in diameter and weighing only 9.6 oz, the Trash 475 sets the new standard among reels in its class. Florida Fly Fishing - The Shopping Issue

Features: Sealed Evo Synthetic disc drag MAX Arbor (4.75” diameter) B2 Channel Lightweight Design (9.6 oz) Quick Change Spool Simple L/R Retrieve Conversion Reel: $420 Spare Spool: $160 21

Smith Optics Chief Bifocal

You don’t have to be a leader of men to appreciate the respect you will command when you rock these premium shades. The Chief makes a powerful first impression, but dig deeper and you will recognize something more profound at play. In fact, beneath the luxurious Italian finishing and premium features you will find the hallmark quality, performance, and style of an authentic Smith sunglass. A boost for your eyes, these ready-to-wear polarized bifocal sunglasses are perfect for reading fine type or trying on a new fly. With +2.0 or +2.5 magnification options, each model has a magnifying segment that is 25mm wide and placed low in the lens to avoid impacting your long-range field of view. MSRP: $139 Lens Options: Polarized Brown, Polarized Copper. +2.00 and +2.50 magnification available in each. Bifocals+Readers/Chief+Bifocals/view/ Last year I reviewed two brands of Smiths--the Padre bifocals that I wear on the water and the Chiefs I wear everywhere else. Now that the Chiefs are offerd as bifocals they are a ‘must have’ item. Here’s that review:

A wowingly great pair of sunglasses

With the exception of fishing at night, almost all fly anglers can benefit from using a good pair of polarized sunglasses to cut glare and enhance colors. You’ve experienced this and know that even in Florida’s crystal clear waters, or those of a mountain trout stream, being able to see not only the fish but their habitat increases the opportunity to target your prey. I’ve always worn sunglasses and up until now, I’ve never had a pair that made me say “wow” when first putting them on. My two pairs of Smith Optics sunglasses did just that. The first pair I tried were their new Chiefs, a pair of cutting-edge sunglasses that have the most optically precise lenses available. The Techlite polarized glass helps you see your waters the way they should be seen—crisp, clear and precise. Cutting through glare is essential for good vision and my Chiefs do exactly that and do it extremely well. They even help cut through the slight

Florida Fly Fishing - The Shopping Issue

murkiness waters take on during the fist part of a tide change when the bottom gets stirred up a bit. Not something I can determine myself, the lenses are optically corrected using what’s called Tapered Lens Technology that eliminates distortion—which I can see for myself—utilizing a nine-layer construction that takes advantage of all available light to maximize clarity and lessen eye strain. Even during bright, overcast days when glare is at murderous levels my Chiefs provided not only immediately improve vision looking both in and out of the water but also helped my overstressed eyes relax. To add to their cutting-edgidness, the Chiefs have a multi-layer AntiReflective (AR) mirror coating that absorbs back light effects while a permanent hydroleophobic (hydro: water; oleo: oil; phobic: dislike) coating protects the lens and mirror coatings by repelling water, dirt, fingerprints, and grease. Water beads up on the lens and wipes away cleanly without leaving that slightly greasy film saltwater normally leaves behind. You can learn more about these great—wowingly great—sunglasses at Smith Optic’s Chiefs page.

Chiefs Medium Fit/Med-Large Coverage Techlite Polarized Glass TLT Lenses Evolve Frame Material Anti-Reflective and Hydroleophobic Lens Coatings Hydrophilic Megol Nose and Temple Pads Stainless Steel Spring Hinges 8 Base Lens Curvature Frame Measurements 62-14-130


Florida Fly Fishing - The Shopping Issue

Jenna Williams photos by Pat Ford 25

Florida Fly Fishing - The Shopping Issue


Florida Fly Fishing - The Shopping Issue

Buy directly from Pat at


RISE LEVEL SERIES SALT WATER FLY RODS While other rod companies seem to focus on the bling factor of a rod or trying to build one that weighs less than a tippet, Rise Fishing Company builds a rod to catch fish. Their Level Series fly rods are simple, clean looking rods made to do one thing: work like a good rod’s supposed to. And they do it well. My Level Series. 4-piece, 9-foot 8 weight was the rod I used to cast the entire 90-foot Teeny Kayak line while seated in my kayak. Could I have done that with another rod? Maybe, but the smooth, fast action of the Rise made it seem like that line flowed through the guides like water. A couple design features I like on this rod are the ferrules marked with the rod model and size and an alignment mark. The other is the use of composite cork end caps protecting the grip and fighting butt. All in all this is a really good rod for a really good price. It’s as good as, if not better than, either of my other two, pricier and more widely advertised “big name” rods. As far as I’m concerned, for my money it’s hard to go wrong with a Rise. Ed Maurer The Rise Level Series Saltwater Fly Rods are made from IM-8 and IM-10 Graphite. This series got a slight makeover in 2012. The action that made these rods so popular stayed the same but there are a few cosmetic changes. The rods all have a black anodized saltwater safe seat with over sized lightweight chrome guides. The fighting butt and cork handle are made from super grade cork with composite cork accents. The color of the Rise Level series rods are a rich blue with black wraps. All Level Series Fly Rods are 4 piece and come with a case and lifetime warranty.

Florida Fly Fishing - The Shopping Issue


Gerber Flik Fish Multi-Pliers

A good, reasonably priced set of tools in one unit I tend to be a gear junkie. Yeah, I admit it, I like tools and gadgets and the latest, and even the oldest, gear and knives and all those sorts of things that make stuff happen. I often get a case of the “gotta-have-its” when I see a tool that may—MAY—mind you, have some use for some thing some day. That’s kind of sad in a way.... So, when I saw Gerber’s Flik Fish Multi-Plier I (you know), had to have it. What a great choice that turned out to be. The Flik Fish is, let’s see, one, two, three....oh, about a dozen or more tools in one tidy five-inch, six-and-a-half when fully open, package. I like that: a lot of versatility in a simple, easy to carry implement that doesn’t cost too

much. Right off the bat the Flik Fish is simply a good pair of stainless steel pliers that can remove a hook from most any fish we’re likely to catch. The jaws are narrow enough to fit well into a fish’s mouth without endangering the gills, which is important, and are grooved to ensure a good grip on the hook once you get there. Cut into the jaws are grooves in three diameters for crimping leader collars, as well as a larger serrated clamping area for gripping tight to nuts and bolt heads. Behind that is a wire-cutter that I found would snip, with some effort, a #2 hook. They also make an easy job of flattening barbs. A decent pair of scissors (why are they a pair of scissors when one part by itself would be a knife?) is on board and they are advertised to cut through 150# mono; I find they easily cut through fluorocarbon leader and 30# fluoro bite tippet. I’ve also used the scissors to trim up flies when on the water.

Florida Fly Fishing - The Shopping Issue

They’re large enough for most of those scissor-type tasks you might need when away from the house, but they fold up neatly and into the Flik Fish’s grip. A two-, no, three-task file has a light-to-medium file surface on one side and on the flip, an abrasive, carbide-coated surface with a hook groove for sharpening and putting an edge on hooks. Conveniently, the end of the file is notched for pushing hooks out of fish (or your partner) (or you) and has a slot should you need to pull them out (of your partner) (or you) instead. Tw o k n i f e blades are provided, one straight and the other serrated


for cutting boat lines and rope. Keep that in mind should you find a sea turtle or dolphin tangled in pot warp or netting. The blades, scissors and sharpener all lock into place so your fingers don’t bleed all over everything and make a mess that you’ll just end up having to clean. In addition to the larger tools, there are four smaller components that are pretty effective in spite of their small size. There are two screwdriver bits, one small blade and another for Phillips-type heads, a little larger blade point that is also a bottle opener (It’s noon when I’m writing this and it does open a beer, all for the sake of responsible reporting you know.) and even (this was a surprise) an opener that I thought was too small to open a beer (it was) but turns out to be a decent can opener (for you gourmets). These also lock in place, which is nice because too often these smaller tools just fold up on you in the middle of a job. The Flik Fish comes with a ballistic nylon sheath that, for me, isn’t quite what I need. The sheath holds the tool securely and is open at the bottom to make allowance for the pliers when they’re extended, but it’s not quite roomy enough to just drop the Flik Fish back into it. However, the sheath is well made and does the job it’s designed for; I just need something different. Oh, before I forget, I attached a cord and take-up reel to the pliers for when I miss the sheath or drop them, which I’ve done several times now in waistdeep water. You know. Yeah, so the Gerber Flik Fish Multi-Pliers turn out to be a good, reasonably priced set of tools without being too big, too heavy or too damn hard to use. I’d buy them again if the cord broke at the wrong time, or maybe even as a gift for a buddy who might need to de-hook himself just a little too often. Ed Maurer You can find the Gerber Flik Fish Multi-Pliers and more online at

Florida Fly Fishing - The Shopping Issue

Mystic’s Tremor Salt Water Rods: Versatile, Sensitive

Will easily win over even the most demanding salt water anglers By Robert Morselli My demands for an 8 weight fly rod: versatility in terms of what species I can bring in, enough backbone to rapidly and adequately get out a 4-to-6 inch needlefish pattern (or weighted crab or Clouser), a reasonable level of sensitivity and it should be comfortable to fish the entire day (something I wouldn’t expect from a 10 wt.). In addition is what I expect from all rods: a well-balanced and calibrated blank. Mystic fly rods have been in development for several years, but they’ve only been available since 2007. In the short time since then, Mystic Outdoors LLC has earned its rightful place among the big boys, and with good reason, the company owners are obsessive about their stable of products. Pull one from a rod tube for the first time and you’re likely to gawk – exclusive, stunning design and cosmetics abound. A quick glance tells you Mystic’s Tremor salt water rods are premium fishing instruments. Some rod specs include a higloss sapphire blue finish, multi-density cork endpiece, salt-resistant reel-seat that sports rubber o-rings on the up-locks, stainless steel stripper guides with matching blue ceramic inserts, color-matched wrappings and an ingeniously integrated hook-keep. I’ve mentioned in past articles that some manufacturers h ave been spending much effort in developing ideal, perfectly balanced rods by focusing on the middle of a blank. Let’s face it, every component of a rod has a direct bearing on overall performance, but what really completes a rod’s character is the midsection. It will dictate how effectively the rod carries the line weight, while also being responsible for much of the tip movement dynamics. The Tremor blank, which is an extra 3” over the usual 9-footer, is calibrated to have a wide appeal. The common pattern in salt water models is stiff butt accompanied by a stiff-to-moderately-stiff midsection and tip. The Tremors stand out primarily because the tip sections are a touch more supple than you’d expect in the standard salt water blank formula, and the midsection is a touch heavier than you’d expect, which may sound a little odd, but these variables line up perfectly and the result is an extremely sensitive yet powerful blank. Anglers often cite tip control as a problem and while a rod tip is a central component of a rod, it is in fact the 35

rod’s mid section that will have much bearing on the tip’s performance – a fact Mystic designers are fully aware of. An angler I lent the rod to (for about 20 minutes) found the tip just a little too supple, but conceded that it was an obvious plus for delicate deliveries and strike detection. Rather than losing needlefish patterns to small, roving barracudas (I did a little experimenting and decided not to use no stainless bite guards), I managed to detect the faintest of strikes and took in a couple before they could manage any serious chomping. Saltwater aficionados will appreciate the slightly oversized line guides (both the gauge and diameter) – however, bear in mind that this is a lightweight rod built to handle m o r e challenging small-to-midsize permit, bonefish, jack, barracuda and snapper. My #8 even took a little unexpected abuse when I was caught off guard and unintentionally hi-sticked a smallish jack which put a sharp bend in the rod. The rod survived, and I got a quick refresher on how not to handle a fly rod when fishing

Florida Fly Fishing - The Shopping Issue

Trusting Robert’s opinion, I picked up an 8wt Tremor Salt Water rod recently. While I haven’t had a chance to tangle with a large fish on it yet, the rod casts and otherwise behaves as Robert, and Mystic, said it would. I like the way it loads and carries line, its sensitive tip does telegraph pickups when fish lightly pick a fly off the bottom (it’s still imperative that the line have as little slack as possible) and it handles a fight very well. One of the attributes he didn’t mention are the alignment markings at the ferrules. Why don’t all rod companies do this?

Instead of just a dot, Mystic annotates the rod length and size, which is a pretty handy guide for not only aligning the pieces but also when several rods are packed together without separate sleeves. (The Tremor comes in a hard, fabric covered case with built-in sleeves.) And oh, okay, it’s a pretty rod, too. This is a good saltwater rod that’s hard to beat in its price range. Ed.

from a dock. The #8 Tremor tested lists at a reasonable $479. Hardware/cosmetics are comparable to anything you’ll see on rods twice the price and the blank is superbly balanced, meaning that you’ll enjoy using it for a wide range of fishing applications. Two noteworthy bits of design and finishing: the beautiful anodization on the reel seat, which sports an ingeniously integrated hook keep via two slots

facing forward on the reel seat. The advantage for this style of hook keep is that it protects the hook point so that it doesn’t snag anything (or anybody). Rod designers and builders have been after the holy grail of rod dynamics for a long time: making that 4-piece feel and act like a one-piece. These days, several manufacturers have attained this goal, and Mystic is one of them. The Tremor SW (salt water) rods will easily win over even the most demanding salt water anglers. Pros: Light, responsive, balanced blank. Top-notch manufacturing, materials and hardware. Rates high on the quality/price scale. Excellent for small-tomedium sized salt water species. Con: None! See the entire line of Mystic Rods at


Saltwater Taper Made With Professional Capt. Bruce Chard

Capt. Bruce Chard’s signature grand slam taper

SA Introduces the first Mastery Textured Professional Taper developed with Professional Guide, Captain Bruce Chard. The new line taper was developed in the 2011/2012 season to answer the needs that Bruce had for the best all around line for catching Tarpon, Permit, and Bonefish. The line features an aggressive taper that turns over heavy flies on extremely long leaders. The head delivers enough energy to cut through rough winds that are often encountered in tropical environments. Bruce and our line developer, Tim Pommer, worked together to bring all of the features that Scientific Anglers has to offer and the knowledge that Bruce has with his years of experience guiding in the Keys. Sizes 7-8 ideal for Bonefish, 9-10 ideal for Permit, 10-12 ideal for Tarpon Short, powerful front taper for turning over heavy flies on long leaders Ideal line for presentations in strong winds Color change to show optimum loading point What Chard says: The demands for a great salt water fly presentation are high. The New Scientific Anglers Bruce Chard Salt Water Grand Slam Fly Line covers all the bases of a premium salt water fly line. This is why the Chard Line is superior in every way possible. Front Taper Salt water fly fishing with a heavy fly and/or with a long leader can make casting and slack-less presentations difficult to say the least. Especially if there is any wind to contend with. My line is designed with an extra short front

Florida Fly Fishing - The Shopping Issue

taper. This helps the energy to be aggressively transferred into the leader system, helping to roll out long leaders with heavier flies into the wind with ease. Having your leader and fly lay out straight is vital to a successful salt water fly presentation.

Belly Many times in the salt a quick short presentation is needed, especially if visibility is reduced. The Chard line is designed with a slightly over weighted belly helping to load your rod immediately for those quick short presentations. With many salt water fly rods these days designed with super fast tapers this line helps to load those rods quick and efficiently. Rear Taper Since it’s very difficult to transfer energy from a smaller diameter section of fly line (running line) into a larger diameter section of fly line (belly), it is critical to have a longer rear taper to help transfer that energy smoothly into the belly of the line. As long as your rod tip is connected to some part of the rear taper when casting, the transfer of energy from your rod into the belly of the line will be smooth and efficient. The Chard Grand Slam Line was designed with an extra long (twice as long as most other salt water fly lines on the market) rear taper to help carry and control more fly line in the air when casting, dramatically improving distance and accuracy casting, which is so important in salt water fly fishing. Running Line Shooting line and having some distance in your cast can be helpful when saltwater fly fishing. The Chard Line has been designed with a slightly smaller diameter running line helping to increase shoot-abilty there for adding distance all in one.


Flying Fisherman® Falcon is New For Master Angler Series Islamorada, Florida Keys – Get all the bells and whistles and full coverage too. Flying Fisherman®’s newest addition to its RhinoLens™ series of polarized eyewear is the Falcon…hard core styling for hard core anglers.  The extra tough, TR90 wrap around frames holds a pair of 66x35mm lenses made from virtually indestructible polycarbonate, which are polarized and feature the Flying Fisherman® AcuTint™ lens coloring system that eliminates glare, enhances color contrast and visual sharpness, without distorting natural colors.  The rest of the bells include comfort-grip nose pads and temples with extended padding for a stay put, non-slip fit.  They’re lightweight at only .9 ozs, and a good fit for medium to large faces, for both men and women that want quality eye protection while on the water.  Previously the Falcon’s were offered only as a bifocal reader sunglasses, and are now offered in a non-bifocal lens, as well. Frames are Matte Black with Acutint™ Amber or Smoke lenses. MSRP is $69.95.

Flying Fisherman® Introduces Cameroon Sunglasses for 2013

Master Angler Serie

The Cameroon is the latest new addition to the Flying Fisherman® line of polarized eyewear for 2013. The rimless, polycarbonate frame design offers lightweight, wrap around protection, with non-slip nose pads for a stay-put fit and all day comfort…and maximum performance on the water. “The Cameroon is extremely lightweight and comfortable, great looking and totally functional, making it our featured eyewear addition for 2013”, said Linda Sheldon, Flying Fisherman VP.

Available this fall, the Cameroon will be offered in four frame and lens color options – Matte Black/Smoke, Matte Black/Smoke-Blue Mirror, Matte Tortoise/

Florida Fly Fishing - The Shopping Issue


Amber and Matte Tortoise/Amber-Green Mirror – all with Flying Fisherman®’s Polarized, AcuTint™ lens coloring system that eliminates glare and enhances color contrast, without distorting natural colors. The enhanced visual sharpness and eye comfort adds to fishing productivity and maximizes the overall outdoors experience for anglers and water sports enthusiasts. MSRP is from $21.95 to $29.95.


s e s s a l g n u S

Flying Fisherman® New Caps Feature Fish Tails & Fins

A series of “Fish Tails & Fins” designs have been added to the Flying Fisherman® Head Gear collection for 2013. Extremely detailed embroidered artwork captures the image of each selected species, identifiable only by their tail.  Many anglers have had that heart pounding moment when tailing fish show up for the challenge, and this new series celebrates that opportunity. 

The low profile, pigment dyed caps in navy, cactus, khaki and stone feature a tattered look with a longer bill and a non-glare under visor, a Velcro® back enclosure for size adjustment, and a removable terry cloth sweatband -- an exclusive feature of all Flying Fisherman® headwear. “It hardly ever fails,” said company President Pat Sheldon, “when demonstrating how the Velcro® sweatband comes out of the hat lining, it makes that ripping sound... and the reaction from just about everyone is “Wow, what a great idea...a removable sweat band that can be washed!” I tell them it’s even better...there’s a free, spare sweatband included with every Flying Fisherman® hat or visor, that can be put on ice and swapped out on hot days for a pleasant cool shot.” MSRP is $15.95. More information on Flying Fisherman® products, along with testimonials, retail outlets and more are available at


Westwater Boat Bag from fishpond The Westwater Boat Bag is over 1400 cubic inches and has an adjustable Velcro® divider system and three clear interior zippered pouches to help keep everything organized. The signature Fishpond molded top and bottom provide a stable platform while making it easy to open and close. The fully adjustable s t r a p lengthens to carry over the shoulder yet tightens to secure the bag for easy hand-carry transport. Four heavy-duty boat lash tie down points means the contents will be safe no matter the water conditions. Rounding out the f e a t u r e s are dual hemostat, knife, accessory, and tippet attachment points for easy access to needed items. This bag will retail for $219.95.

Florida Fly Fishing - The Shopping Issue

Jennifer Reeves photo by Pat Ford 43



High quality, sensibly priced, made in America

Florida Fly Fishing - The Shopping Issue

The Waterworks - Lamson name has become synonymous with high quality fly reels at reasonable prices. In a market where even foreignmade reels are often priced higher than need be, Lamson continues to offer reels made in Boise, Idaho that have intelligent pricing. A case in point is Lamson’s new Velocity Nickel reel. Priced in the $250 $350 dollar range, the VN is a large arbor reel that demonstrates Lamson’s attention to function, quality and fair pricing. Lamson’s Velocity family has always represented value for money with large arbor, lightweight but durable reels that have excellent drag performance. With the introduction of Velocity Nickel, Lamson provides the discerning angler yet another first in this price range: a ported arbor to quicken line drying and produce the lightest Velocity ever. The Velocity Nickel is finished in the same beautiful Type 2 anodizing Lamson uses on its Guru. So you now have a choice in the Velocity line: Velocity Hard Alox for an incredibly tough finish, or the lighter and brighter Velocity Nickel. It is further accented with Lamson’s trademark burnt-orange anodized drag cassette. The Velocity Nickel maximizes the benefits of large arbor design by maximizing the arbor diameter-to-width ratio. The spool is large in circumference and wide so that line is stored in a shallow layer. The increased circumference provides a high retrieve rate and eliminates line coil memory. The wide, shallow line layer means there is little radius change as line is pulled from the reel resulting in constant drag torque during long runs, which eliminates the risk of The Velocity Nickel’s ported arbor quickens line tippets breaking due to drying and produces the lightest Velocity ever. drag force gain when a 45

large, fast fish first strikes or makes a sudden for the horizon. All the reels in the Velocity line share some important construction aspects that make these both extremely strong while being light weight. They seem to be designed more as an attempt at a hi-tech aerospace project than a fly reel. The first thing one notices before even picking up a VN is the great number of lightening holes in the spool. While holes seem to contradict strength, their presence contributes to stiffness because the edges of the holes create reinforcement perpendicular to the flat areas of the metal, much like that of ridges in a car body. These reinforcements add stability to the reel in all its planes and virtually eliminates flexing cause by the stress of a hard fight. If you’ve ever had a reel get out of round it’s because it failed materially and tried to collapse; it became less round. While the Velocity reels do have obvious “spokes” on their outer edges the need for such on the inner face is eliminated by these holes. A n o t h e r important aspect of all Lamson reels is their proprietary drag system comprised of a drag cone that rotates with the spool that presses into a stationary cone within the reel housing. This system provides several advantages: -This is a sealed drag systems that is impervious to water, salt and grit. Unlike typical reels, the Lamsons drags won’t be harmed by using them in less than pristine conditions. -The mass of these conical drag elements is centralized which makes the spool’s rotating mass much lower and makes the reel more responsive to light drag settings. -Because the average radius of the contact surface is much smaller (being conical rather than disk-shaped), start-up torque is too low to measure. With other reels using flat drag surfaces it’s this start-up torque that contributes to breakoffs during hard, fast strikes. The Velocity’s clutch is also different than that of other reels. While most other premium reels rely on a pawl type clutch mechanism, these are often vulnerable to stress related failure, contamination and wear. All of Lamson’s reels employ a Torrington zero-lash roller clutch. This mechanism relies on the locking effect of a number of ramps and rollers to achieve torque transmission. There are no “teeth” or “steps” to break off or wear out. And the zero-lash

Florida Fly Fishing - The Shopping Issue

feature means instant engagement. This improves feel and eliminates “spike” that the reel, line and leader experience when a typical pawl clutch hooks up. What results from this dance of technology and style is a reel that weighs

No worries--it’s a Lamson!

Lamsons can handle being immersed in salt water or laid in the sand. With a completely sealed drag system, Lamson reels are impervious to water, salt and grit. little (less than seven ounces for the Velocity 4 for 10/11 weights), functions flawlessly, is sealed against the environment, according to real-time reports seems to be highly bullet resistant if not actually bullet proof, is priced right and made in the USA. Let’s not forget it’s also a great looking reel with a soft pewter-like finish that will wear like iron.

See the entire Waterworks-Lamson line at 47


the new Arx reel

Arx is a reel built with purpose; for casting a variety of lines with maximum line control and reliability. The continuing evolution of Spey and Scandi lines, shooting heads, flat mono, etc. demand a reel that can help prevent line snags while retaining the high performance you’ve come to expect from Waterworks Lamson.

Arx has a full cage frame that encapsulates the spool to prevent line from escaping or snagging in critical areas. Normally a configuration like this would do a good job at preventing line fouling, but would preclude palming the reel. Arx is carefully milled on the bottom third of the reel to expose a functional palming section. Even the drag knob has been designed to provide optimal grip without exposing a portion of the reel to line fouling. Whether you are two handed fishing or in the saltwater navigating big winds and fat fish the Arx delivers. Mark Farris, Waterworks-Lamson designer says, “There is nothing worse than getting ready to mend your line only to see the last loop of your shooting line drop into the gap between the frame and the spool. Arx was intended for moments like this. No gap, no problem.” Sizes start at the 3+ Pricing is: 3+ at $439, 3.5+ at $469 and 4+ at $499.

Florida Fly Fishing - The Shopping Issue


The New Speedster Reel

Making a good thing better is what our company is about. The Speedster is a super-high retrieve rate reel with a narrower spool, inboard mounted handle and an outer diameter significantly larger than our highest performing reels. The narrow spool prevents line barreling, the added circumference and inboard handle improve retrieve rate. Mate these features with our time tested smooth as silk, maintenance free drag system, Classic Waterworks Lamson styling and attention to detail, and you have what the name implies: A Hotrod of a reel. This reel covers a rod range from trout to saltwater. Sizes are: 3 weight to an 11 weight. Price starts at $279 for a 3,4 weight to $399 for an 10,11 weight.

Ryan Harrison, managing partner says,� The spool design satisfies the objective of creating a larger overall diameter per line weight with narrower spool format; and the single arm-style spoke evokes our original Waterworks design from 1997. Simplicity and elegance was the aesthetic objective.� 49

Jennifer Mahaffey by Pat Ford Florida Fly Fishing - The Shopping Issue

Attention Bonefishermen!

Wade the bank at dawn with crystal clear waters, and later experience the West Blue Hole where the 10 pounders lurk.... Only 50 miles from Ft. Lauderdale, 30 minutes from Freeport International and downtown Freeport and Lucaya.

Patricia Roseboom, PA, SFR, Realtor, Lang Realty Cell 561-921-5409

Free furniture rental package with your purchase! We put your property in the rental pool for income back to you and a vacation spot when you want to come back, or opt for a guarantee rental return package. Inspection trips are available for buyers or investors and count towards discounts when you buy one of our homes starting in the low $200’s.

This information is believed to be accurate but is not warranted.


Rajeff Echo Prime Rods for 2013 When designing the new Echo Prime family of rods Tim Rajeff worked to create a rod that’s so light and responsive it makes your fingers tingle. The use of the latest material combined with a fast action, and of course the one piece blank, help create loops so tight they disappear and then reappear 100 feet later. The rods are 8 feet 10 inches long which helps the caster come through the stroke quicker than a nine foot rod. It’s kind of like a batter choking up on the bat to hit a fast ball. The shorter length also allows you to quickly go from fly in the hand to hitting the nose of a Permit at 75 feet. Sneaking up on a Permit or Tarpon is tough so having a rod that helps you get the fly to the fish can often be the difference between holding the tail of your first Permit or Tarpon, or yet another story about the fish you missed. If it swims in saltwater it is a Prime target. Guaranteed to not come apart when you are casting to the fish of a lifetime.

Line Weights 8 -12; Single Piece 8’ 10”; Fast Action; $449.99 Echo Prime rods feature: • High modulus slim profile blanks • Premium grade cork handle and butt • Twilight blue gloss blank • Black wraps with metallic silver trim • Low maintenance black metal reel seat • Oversized Titanium coated SIC stripper guides • Titanium coated snake guides and tip top • Cloth rod sock with rod size label • Cordura covered triangle full length rod tube • Special “one piece” lifetime warranty

Florida Fly Fishing - The Shopping Issue

Airflo Tropical Sniper Lines 2013 When you need a cast to hit the target quickly in tough conditions reach for the new Airflo Tropical Sniper. With a combination of an unusually aggressive front taper and compact length, the Tropical Sniper is the line of choice for people looking for easier distance with larger files. With its ridged construction and low stretch braided core, Airflo lines resist tangling and set the hook better than any other lines on the planet. Ridge lines resist UV and chemicals making them more durable than lines made from PVC or other materials. Looped at both ends and clad in Ghost Grey to make the line disappear to the fish while allowing you to see it clearly against color of the water.


• • • • •

New one piece design Color change at the head junction for easy loading point reference. Slim profile welded loops at both ends Ridged construction to lessen friction while casting Low tangle design – line won’t roll across itself on the boat deck due to the ridges • Low stretch power core for solid hook set at any distance • Low stretch power core helps stabilize the line during casting • Retail: $79.99

Jeff Harrell photo


Florida Fly Fishing - The Shopping Issue

After all ...the Florida lifestyle is worth experiencing....


Columbia Men’s Powerdrain shoe They’re light, extraordinarily light Robert Morselli

As per the manufacturer: “This powered-up version of our original Drainmaker offers great fit and support. When your day takes you in and out of the water, you want a shoe that can tackle surf and turf equally well… The amphibious Powerdrain does just that with a fully drainable design that features a quick-pull bungee cord on the upper for great fit and side welds for great foot lockdown. Our new 3-layer system allows water and air to move easily through the shoe for quick-dry, barefoot comfort, while the Omni-Grip® wet grip rubber outsole delivers outstanding traction on slick surfaces. “ Unboxing these shoes was an odd experience. I thought for a moment that the box might be empty, but no, the shoes were in there, both of them, and they’re light. Extraordinarily light. I couldn’t resist weighing them on my kitchen scale. My size 11s came in at an astounding 262 grams per shoe. T h e r e ’s s o m e t h i n g to be said for rapidly e vo l v i n g m a t e r i a l s technologies… The first issue that crosses my mind whenever feather-lite items are concerned is durability. While I haven’t tested the shoe over the long term, all of the product reviews I read mentioned nothing about deterioration, and some reviewers have been using the shoe for as long as 5 months. On the foot they

Florida Fly Fishing - The Shopping Issue

feel light, very comfortable – and solid. The Powerdrains feature three-layer construction and come with a reinforced toe cap and heel cup (they’re actually a beefier reincarnation of Columbia’s Drainmaker shoes). These are extremely versatile shoes. The Techlite and Omni-Grip materials, for shock absorption and griping ability in wet conditions, work exceptionally well on boat decks and equally well on smooth cement approaches and boat ramps. If you’re kayaking / rafting / canoeing / out on the skiff, you may want to give the Powerdrains serious consideration. They also perform well while wading and negotiating slick rocks or rocky shorelines. The entire shoe is ported like a premium fly reel, so water shedding is near-instantaneous – no sloshing when exiting the water. Three-layer construction means dry time isn’t optimal (overnight normally works), but considering the shoe’s overall comfort and grip features, this is still an optimal product - you’ll want to keep your Powerdrains on the entire day. Powerdrains sport a bungee lacing system: shoe on (or off) is lightningquick - no need for laces in a water shoe. Bonus: although not technically running gear, these shoes track really well on sand and pavement, and offer up a surprising level of lateral support. Like many other Columbia products, this shoe is eco-friendly: Waterproof Techlite is made with a molding process that reduces waste, keeping excess material out of landfills. Highly recommended. FEATURES • Combination mesh, TPU and EVA upper with a TPU toe cap • Techlite® midsole with drainage ports in heel and forefoot • Fully drainable footbed • Omni-Grip wet grip rubber with traction lugs Columbia Men’s Powerdrain shoe: $95.00



St. Croix Bank Robber Sexy reel seat and all

If streamer fishing makes up part of your fishing schedule, then take note, there’s a new implement in the toolbox that’s designed and built just for you: St. Croix’s Bank Robber series, which comes in a #5, 6 or 7 - all models are 4-piece configuration. One of the tags that comes with this St. Croix rod reads “technology meets craftsmanship” – succinctly put, and a claim that bears out with each use. I normally dispense with the tech talk when writing about rods because (a) it’s boring and (b) tech specs are readily obtainable on the manufacturer’s website and literature included with the rod purchase. It is worth noting, however, that Bank Robbers are packed with new and improved technology essential for this type of product: 3M NSi nano silica resin (to better bind the carbon fibers that comprise the blank), high-strain graphite/carbon-matte scrim, the list goes on… and on… [definitely worth a visit to the St. Croix website if this is the kind of stuff that excites you] One cool bit of tech worth mentioning is the REC recoil guides, which flex considerably, yet retain their memory. According to the manufacturer literature, they’re up to 3 times lighter than regular guides, absolutely rustproof, and highly appreciated by anglers like me, who snag rods while traveling through wooded areas. Tech aside, the Bank Robber is a pleasure to cast due to its impeccably calibrated and balanced blank. The middle third of the blank provides just enough heft to cast large streamers without having to resort to those extended, ‘bonefish-style’ casts and yet still feels light, even after hours of non-stop

Florida Fly Fishing - The Shopping Issue

use. The market has been flooded with hi-powered sticks that will cast a bug one zip code over, except that most of these rods take the fun out of playing a fish. This isn’t one of those rods: it does have the horse-power to get big streamers out at a very wide range of distances, but the real highlight comes from the action imparted when striking and landing a fish – there’s a impressive degree of subtlety in the tip section, giving you the confidence to put a bend in the rod without fear of losing that bass, coupled with enough power in the lower 2/3 of the blank to pressure a stubborn customer. I even took this #6 out for some light-saltwater action - sorry, St. Croix - the rod performed beautifully under some high strain (the jacks didn’t seem to mind). There’s always that moment while you’re trying to persuade a tough fish to comply with orders and you hope your gear can handle the pressure – this rod will relegate that moment to a distant memory. I initially had my reservations about the tip section, feeling that it was too supple for the overall package, but by the end of day one, I realized that I had taken in more than one fish because of the enhanced strike detection. If you’re mostly used to new generation, super-fast rods, I suggest that you relax and slow down your cast when first using the Bank Robber and the rod’s characteristics will shine right through: distance and accuracy attained, with ease. Even small bass are notorious for break-offs, the supple tip section goes a long way in protecting tippets and leaders. Fewer break-offs… more landings. Anodized, machined-aluminum reel seat with built-in hook-keeper, super-premium grade cork handle and Flex Coat slow-cure finish (2 coats) are among the top-tier components featured in the rod series. For those interested in the rod’s lineage, St. Croix asked master angler Kelly Galloup to design the Bank Robber. Judging from his web comments, St. Croix delivered exactly what he asked for. Final note: kudos to the cosmetic surgeons for producing the sexiest, see-thru reel seat - ever. Comes with a rugged rod case and limited lifetime warranty. Highly recommended. Tested with Scientific Anglers Sharkskin GPX WF6F



Sea Level Tempest Reels

Smooth and ruggedly dependable Lay into a twenty pound Striper on a fly rod and you’ve got a fight on your hands, right? Fly fishermen along the central and upper East Coast and out on the West Coast of the US have a reputation for being a hearty lot who demand rugged performance and durability from their tackle and gear. Rocky coastlines, rough weather conditions, hard-fighting fish, and barnacle-encrusted structures that place extreme demands on leaders and reel drags are the norm for saltwater anglers from these regions of the country.  From the original Korkers crampon-style sandals

developed for jetty anglers in the Pacific Northwest to the best foul weather gear, many products in the history of American fishing trace their roots to the parts of the country where anglers head to the salt in pursuit of Striped Bass and Salmon. One of the bright spots in our move to Savannah was the prospect of immediate access to a coastal Striper fishery.  Georgia’s coast occupies a unique location in the Atlantic marine ecosystem.  The southernmost saltwater Striper fishery exists here alongside the northern range of good numbers of migrating Tarpon and even Manatees.  You could rightly say it is where cool meets warm.  This geographical reality sent me looking for some new fly tackle.  I

Florida Fly Fishing - The Shopping Issue

needed some light Tarpon and Striper tackle that would handle both the one hundred pound class Tarpon we get here in the summer months and the thirty pound class Stripers anglers catch here in the winter months. A good reel would be critical. I always do a lot of research before making a major purchase.  To me, a good fly reel is a major purchase.  Anything that is going to cost me more than $200 is worth doing my homework for before I spend money.  I want to avoid trialand-error if at all possible, and I hedge my bets against the odds by pouring over tons of literature and product reviews, talking to both amateur and professional anglers whom I trust, getting my hands on as many of the products I’m interested in as I can, and comparison shopping for price via Sea Level Tempest III Fly Reels come in glossy black, the Internet.  My budget for a reel gold, and a beautiful blue. was $300, and I knew enough about fly reels to know that I was going to have to squeeze the market like crazy to get what I needed on that budget.   However, recent advances in production technology and changing attitudes toward outsourcing in the fly reel sector have put some high quality reels just within reach.  I still thought I might end up buying a used reel. A couple of months before the Striper season began, I stumbled upon a review of a reel that caught my attention.  The review was from an amateur angler with decades of Striper fishing experience in New England.   It was followed by comments from a few Striper enthusiasts out on the West Coast who were fans of Dan Blanton’s.  They were all speaking very highly of a reel they all owned or had owned and wanted to purchase again - a reel that had just been reintroduced to the market by a new company with which I was a bit familiar.  One of my good friends and top gun Boca Grande Tarpon guide, Captain Al White, had introduced me to Sea Level the last time we were Tarpon fishing together via his new stripping bucket.  The bucket was a high quality and very handy large stripping bucket of foam construction, but these men were talking about the Sea Level Tempest III fly reel - a reincarnation of the former Albright Tempest, a staple among budget-conscious Striper fishermen.  These guys swore by them and were apparently glad to see that Ray Hutcherson, the owner of Sea Level, had bought all the rights to the Tempest reel and 61

reintroduced it to the market. I ran a Google search for the Sea Level Tempest reel and found more reviews, Internet chatter, and the Sea Level website. Then I ran another search for Albright Tempest and got a lot more background on the reel.  The reviews were virtually unanimously impressive:  an economical workhorse more than capable for Stripers, salmon, and most anything else you wanted to throw at it.  Many people were still using their old Albright versions on a regular basis with no problems and only routine maintenance.  Folks told stories of dropping them down the rocks, backing over them with their pickup trucks, and other things you hope never to do to your fly reels, and picking them up and going fishing with them.  They spoke of the huge fish they landed on them.  They all spoke of the high value for the dollar spent, claiming the reel was comparable to reels sold for twice and three times the price. Going back to the Sea Level website, I found that the Sea Level Tempest III sells for $250...within my $300 budget.  The Tempest III is a 9/10 weight fly reel machined from 6061 barstock aluminum with huge cork and draw bar adjustable disc drag.  It is a large arbor design with spool dimensions of 3 3/8” x 1” and frame dimensions of 3 3/4” x 1 5/8”.   The Sea Level Tempest III weighs 9.2 ounces and holds 200 yards of 30 pound Dacron backing according to the manufacturer’s specifications.   However, I was able to put about 230 yards of 30 pound Dacron backing on with two different 10 weight floating lines and 250 yards with an Airflo Intermediate Tarpon 10 weight line without coming close to binding the line inside the frame.   The Tempest III comes in black, blue, or gold hard anodized coating with an all-stainless steel internal construction.  It has a very easy right/left hand adjustment that requires no disassembly.  The reel also comes with a very nice neoprene reel case.   Each Sea Level Tempest III fly reel is laser etched with a good looking picture of a Striper on the frame. I ordered my Sea Level Tempest reel in black.  I use it with my TFO BVK 9 and 10 weight fly rods, and I considered getting it in gold.  It would look good, but it would also flash in the sun on bright days.  I just don’t like that kind of stuff.  So common sense got the best of me (as usual) and I went with

Florida Fly Fishing - The Shopping Issue

function over form. The black anodized finish is very slick and glossy.  The reel is far more handsome than I anticipated.  I came into a little birthday money, so I also ordered an extra spool.  Spools for the Tempest III sell for $125.00 each.   Have you ever bought a reel... especially a “bargain price” reel...where the spare spools just didn’t quite feel the same as the original spool when you swapped them out?   Maybe they didn’t slide on/off the spindle quite as smoothly, or there was something else just a bit hinky about how it sounded or felt compared to the spool that came on the reel.  I’ve experienced this a few times.  This didn’t happen with the Sea Level Tempest III.  The spools fit and function identically. The Tempest III’s bearings are butter smooth, construction is rock solid, tolerances are plenty tight, and the drag is almost infinitely adjustable.   I was extremely impressed - right out of the box.   By the time I had both spools rigged with backing and fly lines I could not wait to put this reel to the test! Before I could get out and chase  Savannah’s Stripers  I would put it to a test on a different species altogether.  I do a lot of inshore fishing for Redfish and Sea Trout.  So I kept the rod rigged and ready.  Eventually, I got my shot and hooked up with a Jack Crevalle over ten pounds.   He took off on a bruising run and put up a tremendous fight for his size, but he was no match for a 10 weight fly rod and the Sea Level Tempest III.  He wore out quickly and I brought him alongside the boat.  However, he had chewed through the 20 lb. leader and I lost the fly right at the boat, so I don’t have a nice grip-n-grin picture of me, the fish, and the rod-n-reel to show you.  The best made plans... Getting back to Florida in March, I had the opportunity to spend some time with Captain Al White, one of the best Tarpon fly fishing guides in Boca Grande, about Sea Level reels. Captain Al is one of the most experienced and knowledgeable big game fly anglers I know. He is also close friends with Captain Pete Greenan, another world-class Boca Grande Tarpon guide and 63

member of the FFF Casting Instructors’ Board of Governors, and Dusty Sprague, another renowned saltwater angler who lives in the area and who has served on the FFF Casting Instructors’ Board of Governors. Captain White spends most of his waking hours chasing everything from Tarpon to Wahoo and Yellowfin Tuna on fly tackle, and has since the late 1950s. There isn’t a big game rod or reel made that he hasn’t used, and few that he hasn’t seen wrecked by a fish. He likes to say, “Not every fish you hook can be caught.” Captain Al uses Sea Level’s entire line of reels, of which the Tempest III is the “baby.” His Tarpon rods are outfitted with Tempest IV “Tarpon” reels during Boca’s world famous Tarpon fishing season. He told me that Captain Pete Greenan has begun to convert his reel supply to Tempest reels, too. He said that Dusty Sprague has at least one already, and he rattled off several other members of the who’s who of Florida saltwater fly fishing who had recently purchased Sea Level reels. Then we decided to put them to a side-by-side field test on a night Snook fishing trip. Captain Al had been hooking up to some massive Snook recently; the kind of Snook that you get locked into a tug-o-war with and the fish slowly pulls his way back under the dock or bridge you just pulled him out of as you The Sea Level Tempest III mounted on a Sea Level Seven Eleven bear down with all you have saltwater! and watch the reel grudgingly give up line in slow motion. These are the kind of Snook whose gill plates will cut 40 lb test leaders in the blink of an eye. These are the kind of Snook that can pull a boat around for awhile. He wanted me to have a go at them with my TFO 8-10 Mini-mag with a Sea Level Tempest III and a competitor’s reel in the same price category. Both reels are designed for 9 and 10 weight fly lines.

Florida Fly Fishing - The Shopping Issue

When one designs a reel for 9 and 10 weight fly lines, a certain amount of “guts” is implicit in the requirements. Nobody uses a 10 weight fly rod to catch Bluegills or 12 inch trout. No reel used for a 10 weight fly line should have anything short of a true big game fishing drag in it. It has to stand up to large salmon, Pike and Musky, 100 pound class Tarpon, Cobia, Barracuda, and…yep…huge Snook. Captain Al and I took an impartial third party along named Dick, an amiable fellow who fished with a TFO BVK and…eh-hmmmm…Sea Level Tempest reel. He had lost one of these brutes a few nights before with Captain Al, and was quick to tell me that he guessed that fish had to be over thirty pounds. Conditions were perfect for hooking up to very big Snook. There was a very heavy tidal flow ripping through the docks and the bridge we intended to fish. A lot of dock lights were on. The night was pleasant. And we had heavy flies and fast sinking lines. To summarize, Captain Al and I both hooked up with three massive Snook. I hit two under docks and one at the bridge. He hit all three under docks. We didn’t land any of those six. The largest Snook landed was by Dick, and came in around ten Bass Rod – because not all of Florida’s famous game fish live in pounds. But let’s talk about the reels. The Sea Level Tempest IIIs, smooth and ruggedly dependable as you can imagine a reel to be, performed flawlessly. Under the enormous strain of these Leviathan Snook, they gave up line in slow motion – inch by inch – as smooth as butter. The drag control knob on the Sea Level reels is the nicest I’ve ever seen on any fly reel. It feels and works the way a good knob on a quality piece of equipment should. It’s not some under-engineered after65

thought, the way it seems to be on so many fly reels. The blue Sea Level Tempest is just stunningly good looking by comparison to the blue used by most reel makers. It is a richer, deeper shade of blue that “pops” out at you. The reels are virtually silent. “Brand X’s” 9-11 weight large arbor competitor is flat black with a tiny drag adjustment knob you have to operate with two fingertips and the tip of your thumb. It is quite awkward. I had babied this reel after its few exposures to saltwater, and it had never had the drag tested by a fish of any significant size. It was 3 years old and had just been thoroughly cleaned, oiled, and checked before the trip. The drag was tightened all the way down and backed off one full turn of the knob…just like the other reels used that night. The first of the three big fish that I tangled with seized up the drag on that reel while we were locked in that “no one’s budging” phase of the tug-owar. The huge fish gave a bit of ground and I took up a few turns on the reel. Then it pulled again, and the reel didn’t give back. The great fish’s lip stretched and he spit out the barbless hook. Even taking the reel apart afforded us no opportunity to free the drag. This image has nothing to do with Ken’s review.

Florida Fly Fishing - The Shopping Issue

Now, this might not be your typical gear review. I didn’t write something along the lines of, “Buy this reel and land more and larger fish!” In fact, this article doesn’t contain a single example of a fish being caught attributed to the reel. Nonetheless, I think y’all get the point. I shoot straight. No reel, no rod, no fly line is going to magically make you catch more and bigger fish. Equipment selection is about playing the odds. You want to minimize the chances of failure and maximize your chances of success. But the role that tackle choice plays (rod A vs. rod B, reel X vs. reel Y, etc.) is perhaps 10-20% of the equation. The other 80-90% is you – knowledge, skills, and your ability to apply them well. But it is hard to sell stuff by telling you that. You can see the full line of Sea Level products (there’s a LOT more than just reels) at http://sealevelflyfish. com or you can call 877.616.0329 for more information!

But it was taken at sea level.....


h c t a c t a e r g a Dr. Randi Ward

Florida Fly Fishing - The Shopping Issue

o d phot Pat For


PFG?... You bet! Robert Morselli

Task-specific clothing is stuff that should work for you. They’re items that allow you to comfortably carry out a task and, ideally, increase your performance without worrying that they’ll break down somehow and impede your play/work-flow. Columbia graciously provided me with an array of PFG (Performance Fishing Gear) items to put through the paces. My observations follow. Columbia Bonehead PFG shirt ($43) 100% cotton shirt that’s made really large, so no worries about restricted motion (although considerable flap when your zipping along on your skiff). Features a corresponding large, rear vent with a coarse mesh underlay –

which goes a long way in keeping you cool even in just a slight breeze. I have a preference for cotton items, but cotton quality can vary greatly, Columbia

Florida Fly Fishing - The Shopping Issue

selected a hi-quality cotton (along with a perfect weave) for the Bonehead: offers excellent breathability, and dries quickly. No shortage of pockets (4, in various sizes, with Velcro closures) and loops aplenty for attaching light tools.

If you’re sporting this shirt in a freshwater environment, you can seriously consider leaving your vest at home. With one minor tweak (fining up that rear mesh in order to keep bugs out), this could easily be transformed into an ideal freshwater shirt. Are you listening, Columbia? (Mother Boyle???) Also features a collar that locks down via Velcro, instead of those annoying tiny buttons (nice touch). And there’s a Velcro rod holder. Excellent value. Highly recommended.


Columbia Men’s Cool Creek shorts ($55) I like everything about the minimalist aesthetic, to the extent that I’m envious of those that travel, and fish, using only the bare essentials. If that’s your mode (or the mode that you aspire to), then Columbia’s Cool Creek shorts are for you.

Packed with intelligent features like close-to-the-body tailoring that’s coupled with comfort-stretch fabric, waterproof waist snap, rear Velcro pockets and one large zippered side pocket that can hold a medium sized fly-box. Poly-blend features Columbia omni-wick advanced evaporation tech, so dries lightning quick, and probably the snazziest shorts you’re likely to see on the water. Fashion conscious?... sport these and you won’t have to change into your ‘fancy pants’ before heading out to the bar. One minor flaw: coarse mesh pockets in lieu of drainage holes are OK, but not suitable for keys or small implements as they tend to get caught in the mesh. Recommended for minimalists.

Florida Fly Fishing - The Shopping Issue

Bill Horn’s Seasons on the Flats I truly enjoyed Bill’s beautiful book about year-’round fly fishing in the Florida Keys. So much so I don’t believe I can do it justice other than to reprint what other reviewers have said about it and to encourage you to buy a copy for yourself, or a very close friend. Ed “This unique and delightful book is surely the classic portrayal of the Florida Keys -- their history, their always fascinating guides and sportsmen and especially (giving the lie to the one season reputation of this remarkable place) the diverse and plentiful fishing opportunities in all seasons.” Nick Lyons, eminence grise of fly fishing literature “Seasons on the Flats magnificently profiles the vast kaleidoscope of the Florida Keys its fish, and the people who chase them!” Andy Mill, author of “A Passion for Tarpon” and star of the “Chasing Silver” DVD’s “Complete with historical and ecological notes, this fondly written book explains in great detail all seasons of the Keys fishery. Highly recommended.” David Dalu, winner of the Gold Cup, Hawley, and Golden Fly Keys Tarpon Tournaments “I’ve been fishing in the Keys for at least 30 years yet I know very little about what goes on throughout the year. Seasons provides an awesome perspective of the fishing along with the other things that make the Florida Keys such a a special place.” Mike Lawson, author of “Spring Creeks” and “The Guide to Fishing the Henry’s Fork” 73

Howler Brothers Horizon Hybrid Pants

Like the Horizon Hybrid Shorts, the H2 Pants- as they’ve come to be called around Howler HQ- are prepared to take on the elements of both land and sea. The pants feature the same simple pocket configuration, belt loops, and ripstop nylon construction as the shorts, but add in the bonus of below-the-knee protection to ward off wind, cool mornings, and unexpected airport delays. Available i n Fat i g u e a n d Phantom Grey. Retail Price: $75 Product link: http:// howlerbros. com/products/ horizonhybrid-pants

Aransas Longsleeve

By popular demand, Howler now makes their super popular Aransas shirt with long sleeves. Like its shortsleeved older bro, the Aransas Longsleeve is made of quick drying poly-cotton and features two button front pockets along with the Howler original sunglass cleaning pocket at left chest. Availabe in Foursquare Plaid: Firehole and Dolphin Blue Microcheck. Retail Price: $75 Product link:

Florida Fly Fishing - The Shopping Issue

Bonefishing is very popular here in Florida. Contact us for information about guides at


Columbia Axel Hauler™ 22” I got one of these for my summer fly fishing trip to England this year and have to say it is a great piece of “kit.” It’s roomy, touch as nails...can stand up to an entire grande cup of spilled coffee...and has all sorts of compartments, pockets and other areas for my electronics, passport, spare clothes and my wife’s extra shoes for the airplane. (Don’t ask.) Anyway, this is a real good piece of gear that rides fine on top of my large rollaway or on its own rollers for train trips. Here’s some more info: Super-beefy, premium-quality wheels are at once rugged and smooth rolling. Reinforced framing allows the Axle to stand up vertically so you can access contents like a locker, but the frame is collapsible so you easily can store the bag in closets and other tight spaces. The exterior features Omni-Shield® advanced repellency to protect the bag’s cargo from the elements. A removable toiletry bag combines with mesh organizers and ample stash spots like the front zippered security pocket to keep all your small items secure. The two-stage telescoping handle features a nice rubber grip for comfort. Compression straps allow you to tighten down your load. FEATURES: • Fabric: 600D Tarmaq®, 600D junior ballistic polyester • Omni-Shield advanced repellency • Internal zippered pocket • Beefy rolling wheels with exceptional clearance • Removable toiletry pouch • Dimensions: 22” x 14” x 9”™-22”

Florida Fly Fishing - The Shopping Issue

Jim Teeny Saltwater Kayak Line I’ve mentioned the kayak line developed by Capt Pat Horrigan of Kayak FishingClassics and made by Jim Teeny. I used it while fishing out of my sit-ontop ‘yak on a Rise Fishing Level series, fast action 8wt rod. This combination of great line and great rod helped me consistently cast the entire friggin’ line--all 90 feet--while seated. Capt. Pat claims he designed the line so an angler can easily cast 50 feet. Well, bull--it’ll get more than just 50. If I can-anyone can! Good job guys--good job! Teeny tell us the Kayak Line is offered in a 8 weight only size. Mono Core for the center. Line Profile is 1 ft. level tip, 3 ft. front taper, 26 ft. body, 3 ft. rear taper, 67 ft. running line, .041 dia. Also this line has a welded loop at the tip end. Suggested Retail is $68.00. Whether you use it from a kayak or canoe or--here’s an idea--wade deep when you fish--you need this line. It’s great and I highly recommend it! Contact Teeny at 1-800-501-6602 or


Simms Stuff ColdWeather Pant

Getting ready for Florida’s great winter trout and redfishing? Treat yourself to the most comfortable winter fishing pant available today. The new Simms ColdWeather Pant combines Durapel Plus waterresistant fabric with textured fleece lining to offer the winter angler a single pant to wear instead of multiple layers. Are you poling after a cold front and looking for a more comfortable solution than jeans or multiple layers? Trust us, you may wear & love these so much that you may want two pairs! (Also just out…the new ColdWeather lined shirt. Perfect match to the pants!)

Morada Shirt

This new fishing shirt combines Teflon stain & water resistance with an ultra breathable, low maintenance fabric. It is one of the lightest and most comfortable shirts we have ever worn! As with all Simms products, extra attention was focused on fit for poling and casting for anglers. At only $49.95, this is an easy top Holiday item!

Flip Flops

Why are we listing a flip flop on this Holiday wish-list? Because as anglers, we are always looking for the next great flip flop designed for fishing at a reasonable price. Stop blowing thru cheap flips that don’t last or spending a bundle on “designer flips” that will be abused fishing. The new Simms Ebb Tide and Guide Flips start at only $49.95 and have been tested for over 2 years by Florida guides and proven to be the most durable and feature rich fishing flips on the market! They feature ultra tacky, siped soles for wet docks and boat decks and anti-microbial and non-absorbing design dramatically reduces the “stink” associated with fishing flips. The Guide model features an ultra-durable waterproof leather, designed for guides and anglers who deal out the most abuse!

Florida Fly Fishing - The Shopping Issue

Fall Run Jacket

Do you travel or fish and are in need of a jacket that packs down to nothing? The new Simms Primaloft Fall Run Jacket is warmer than down and is in a “Florida� weight. Perfect to pack in your boat bag or carry-on bag for travel. Ever find yourself in the Bahamas and wish you brought a light insulating jacket? Every angler will love the Fall Run!


You, too can be part of Florida Fly Fishing Magazine, here’s how! Send in your “lifestyle” photos (like the one seen here) now for upcoming issues. Writers and Photographers Guidelines

This is the preferred way of submitting copy [articles, etc.] and images [photos, etc.]. The easier it is for us to use them, the more likely it is we will! ALL submissions MUST be your original work or submitted with written permission of the creator. Old, historical works are very welcome but you need to inform us about their source. Upon submission you have, for all intents and purposes, certified that what you have sent is your intellectual property or of a historical nature. Copy: -12 point, Times New Roman, left-hand justified ONLY. No fancy formatting, etc. that I’ll just end up undoing anyway. -News pieces: 300 – 500 words -Articles: 500 or more words. Pieces that are more than 3,000 may be serialized—run in consecutive issues. Please tell me you’d like to consider that for your longer article. I’m very open to the prospect for worthwhile topics. -How-to, technique, fly tying articles: make these photo-heavy with explanations for each photo or diagram. -Travelogues: Include plenty of photos, etc. Consider including links to Google Maps. -If you have a particular placement for an image within the document, place its file name in brackets [redfish.jpg] where you’d like to have it placed. -By lines include your name and your town so we know where you’re from. Images: [ALL images—Includes photos, scans, diagrams, etc.] -100dpi, 1200 px wide minimum. Larger is better! I reserve the right (unless you specify otherwise) to edit images as needed. -Color preferred, but B&W, etc. are a welcome change when appropriate. -Large, crisp images are preferred to small ones. I limit image sizes in the publication, but large ones I can to reduce produce better quality. -Name each file, then provide important info and captions in a separate, clearly labeled document. If the images accompany an article, etc., list the info at the end of the document. For example: redfishing.jpg; photo by Joe Doe; woman in blue is Deborah, man in green is Ed Please email ALL inquiries and submissions to:

Florida Fly Fishing - The Shopping Issue

Profile for Florida Fly Fishing Magazine

Florida Fly Fishing - 2012 Shopping Issue  

Florida Fly Fishing's 2012 Shopping issue.

Florida Fly Fishing - 2012 Shopping Issue  

Florida Fly Fishing's 2012 Shopping issue.