Cheeky Intros Affordable Boost Reel Series

One of the standouts amongst the myriad new products on the floor at this year's IFTD show in Orlando, Florida was a new, impressively affordable reel offering from Cheeky Fly Fishing. Cheeky has long been synonymous with building high quality reels that come to market at affordable prices, but Cheeky's new Boost series takes the affordability part a step further.

Cheeky Boost Reels
The new Cheeky Boost reel series. Models 325, 350 and 400 (left to right).

Available in 3 models ranging from sizes 2 to 8, the Boost series retails for a wallet-friendly $209 to $229. Spare spools clock in at under a hundred dollars.

According to Cheeky Fly Fishing's owner, Ted Upton, the Boost series is the result of over a year of development and testing. According to Upton, "The Boost Reel Series is the culmination of a tremendous amount of hard work here at Cheeky. We wanted to design a reel with that distinct Cheeky style and performance, but at a more approachable price point for our customers.”

Review: Patagonia Women's Island Hopper Shirt and Away From Home Pant

In the world of women's fishing apparel, the choices have long been too far and few between. Recently, many manufacturers have begun paying more attention to female anglers and have started to increase their women's offerings. To date, Patagonia has done a good job staying ahead of the game, by offering a much wider variety of options for female angling apparel than many of its competitors. While a pair of pants or a shirt alone do not likely warrant an extensive review, good gear is worth a mention, especially when the options are so limited for women anglers.

Patagonia Women's Island Hopper Shirt
Patagonia's Women's Island Hopper Shirt.

Patagonia's Away From Home Pant and Island Hopper Shirt arrived at my door in late spring, in preparation for the warm days I would spend wet wading in rivers in Southwest Montana during the coming summer. Over the course of the summer they have served me well, as I have worn them in a variety of rivers across the state, trekked into the backcountry of Yellowstone National Park to fish for wild cutthroat, and donned them on many hiking jaunts area surrounding my hometown of Bozeman, Montana.

Review: Simms Headwaters Day Pack and Chest Pack

In the past 12 months alone, my poor 2003 Accord has been broken into four times. Four times. It wasn’t until I started doing inventory for my 2014 trip to Montana and Idaho that I discovered those bastards got away with my five year old Simms Headwaters Chest Pack. That thing had three full fly boxes in it. Son. Of. A. Bitch.

When I discovered that the 2014 Simms Headwaters Chest Pack was not compatible with my ‘legacy’ Day Pack, I decided to cop for the whole package, though not without a side eye to innovations and our good friends at Simms.

Simms Headwaters Day and Chest Pack Combo

Simms company line on the combo quips, "Skip river gridlock and make haste for upstream seclusion in Simms’ most technical backpack yet. The Headwaters™ Full Day has a chasmic 1,830 cubic inches of storage accessed via a large zippered compartment. Inside, stretch mesh dividers add intuitive organization for raingear, layering options, and all destination essentials. Break out the rods and elevate your angling thanks to Catch & Release modular convenience that allows you to dock or disembark with Simms’ Chest and Hip Pack options via rock-solid magnetic attachments. Packs ride comfortably thanks to a breathable mesh back and a plush strap system, while three hardworking levels of high Denier fabric enhance durability."

Adrift on the Elk

“You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.”

The wry, completely accurate observation comes from the man on the sticks behind me and I have to admit, after missing a half-dozen hooksets, that I do appear to be stubbornly equine.

But, in my defense, I’m distracted. Distracted by the mist-shrouded Three Sisters and surrounding Canadian Rocky peaks that rise majestically to the north of our drift down the Elk. Distracted by the lush riverbanks of lodgepole and fir and quaking aspen. Distracted by the lake-filtered emerald green glacial melt as it races along wide stretches of perfectly smooth freestone rapids. Distracted by…

Crap. Missed another.

“Let me know when you’re ready to take the oars.”

Elk River
The Elk River, near Fernie, British Columbia (photo: Mike Sepelak).

We roll out of our comfy beds at Fernie's Park Place Lodge at a civilized hour (code words for overslept), but there’s no panic. No scooping of gear and dashes for the door. Unlike most trout fishing, at this time of year in British Columbia it’s not about catching the morning or evening hatch, but rather about just getting on the water. With a solid fourteen hours of good terrestrial opportunities, there’s no need to hurry, no need to sacrifice that few extra winks.

IFTD 2014 Highlights: Packs and Bags

Although the list of winners that emerge from each year's International Fly Tackle Dealer show helps highlight the crowd favorites in many a category of fly fishing gear, very notable products often don't get enough recognition. Recently, we highlighted some of the most intriguing fly fishing accessories from this year's show in Orlando, Florida, and now we're back to shed light on some of the standouts packs and bags.

Waist packs, chest packs and sling packs have become as essential a piece of fly fishing gear as the venerable vest, but are constantly evolving as they still relatively new. Manufacturers keep finding way to pack in more thoughtful features, make the packs wear better, hold up longer and so on. And much of the same can be said of waterproof storage and fly fishing luggage. Here are a few of this year's highlights.

Vedavoo Tight Lines Beast Sling Pack
Scott Hunter demos the Vedavoo Tight Lines Beast Sling Pack.