RIO's new Perception line with SureFire tri-color system.

The research and technology involved in developing fly lines these days is greater than ever. Fly line manufacturers are developing new materials, coatings and tapers that are resulting in real world performance gains for anglers. All of this translates into more catching. This is a good thing.

The latest release from RIO includes a bevy of new features on top of other recently added technological advancements in the way RIO makes its lines. The result is a new line that, according to RIO, redefines the trout line.

The Redington Vapen Red's new PowerGrip.

Over the past few years, Redington has grown from being considered a economy brand with "get what you pay for" products to being widely recognized as producer of high quality rods, reels, waders and more that typically offer a premium at their attractive prices. Now, it appears Redington is focusing squarely on innovation, announcing three new rod families, each of which is a break from not only Redington's norm, but from industry norms as well.

In it's new Vapen family, Redington is introducing two entirely new technologies. The rods feature X-Wrap technology, which Redington explains is a "new construction method [that[ involves wrapping one layer of super-high density carbon ribbon inside the blank and another counter-wrapped on the exterior surface. X-Wrap construction provides surprising power with little effort. The technology is so distinct you will actually see the difference in the blank."

Redington Vapen Red
The Redington Vapen Red's new PowerGrip.

If X-Wrap doesn't catch the eye of browsing anglers, there's little doubt Redington's new PowerGrip technology will. Working with Winn Grips, a company renowned for making grips for golf clubs, Redington has developed an entirely new, non-cork grip for the Vapen Red rods. This new grip is described as an "advanced polymer grip that won’t slip when wet, feels soft in the hand and reduces fatigue. It also cleans easily, doesn’t chip and helps amplify casting power." And, if you're wondering about the name, Redington explains that Vapen means "weapon", adding that "you don't cast the Vapen, you fire it."

Winter steelhead fishing in the Great Lakes.

Last week, New Water Media announced the release of the fourth installment of the excellent Skagit Master series. Skagit Master 4 covers steelhead fishing on the wildly diverse rivers of the Great Lakes region, in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, and features steelhead guide and revered spey casting instructor Tom Larimer.

The film's website describes Skagit Master 4 as a "return home with full time steelhead guide Tom Larimer to fish with a few of the guys who "Cracked the Code" on swinging flies for steelhead in the midwest. Soul-roller Dave Pinczkowski, close friend Jay Niederstadt, and veteran guides Jeff Hubbard and Greg Senyo spend long days fishing with Tom on their home rivers. Urban streams surrounded by a sprawling metropolis, wilderness spring creeks, large tail water rivers, and slate bottom spate rivers, all suffering the lowest flows since 1944, present a mountain of challenges for the anglers."

Confluence of the Baker and Neff Rivers in Patagonia, scheduled to be flooded as a reservoir if dam construction goes forward (photo: James Q. Martin.

With debates raging across the United States about whether or not to remove dams that were built at a staggering rate on countless American rivers over the last 50-60 years, dams that are now widely recognized as responsible for severe habitat and ecosystem destruction and are largely considered more economically costly than beneficial, it is hard to imagine that the residents of perhaps the most pristine and intact natural ecosystem on the planet are facing a heated debate about whether to construct dams on the rivers which are the lifeblood of their region. In Patagonia however, on the shores of the Baker and Pascua Rivers, that is exactly what is happening.

There is little debate amongst the people of Patagonia on whether the dams should be built. In fact, almost 75% of Patagonians are opposed to the construction of these dams. Unfortunately, as a result of the fact that a former Chilean dictator sold off Patagonia's water rights to multinational corporations before being deposed, the citizens of Patagonia have no formal say in whether hydroelectric construction will take place.

Omnicare Switchbox spools.

There is a wide range of opinions on how to care for your fly lines. Most line manufacturers however, recommend a mixture of soap and water cleansing, abrasive cloth treatment and the use of fly line dressings. How often you should be caring for your fly lines also depends on who you consult. Some folks will recommend a daily cleaning (prior to or after fishing your fly line), while others recommend every 3-5 uses or more. Whatever the case, if you're like many anglers, you're not caring for your fly line often enough.

If you're like me, it's not that you don't care about your fly line, it's just that you don't feel like dealing with the hassle: rigging up a setup to allow you to spool line off your reel without turning it into a rat's nest, finding a way to clean and dress all the fly line without it taking forever and making a big mess, and so on. If that sounds like you, a relatively new product dubbed the Omnicare Switchbox is looking to change your mind about fly line maintenance.