The Redington Shuttle Pant

The company line: "Our rough and tumble Shuttle pant is ready for whatever adventure you've got planned. With multiple pockets to hold all of your tools, winged gusseted crotch for awesome mobility and a reinforced seat, makes these pants your ultimate go-to. With two inseams for short and tall. Or tall and taller if you have a height complex."

Typically I wade wet. My standard gear includes a pair of quick-dry, lightweight pants that zip off at the knee with the bottoms removed over a pair of mid-weight polypropylene base layer bottoms. This is the “Kiwi style,” that I rather like. It keeps your legs protected from most hazards (including the sun), as well as the prickly bushes and trees anglers encounter along the banks and trails. The tight fitting base layer also dries relatively quickly and is drag free around the knees and ankles when in a quick moving river.

I double as an excellent streamside changing mat.

The Simms Headwaters Taco Bag is one of those pieces of gear that, the moment you're introduced to it, you find yourself wishing you owned. It is also one of those pieces of gear that, despite its utility, you're assuming you'll go on living without once you see the price tag. The world of fly fishing is filled with gear that achieves its intended purpose with simplistic grace, but that simplicity isn't often reflected in the price tag. In the case of the Taco Bag, you can have your cake and eat it too. Simms has put together a simple, wonderfully useful piece of gear and decided not to take those who want one to the cleaners.

What Works

Everything. The goal of the taco bag is to let you store your waders, boots and other soaking wet and possibly mud-covered items in a easy to carry bag that you don't otherwise care about because it isn't intended to do anything else. As a result, your waders are always bagged and your car or truck and house stay a lot cleaner because of it.

The Taco Bag packs few features, but the few that are there are what make it work. For one, the bag is vented. Mesh panels at what becomes the top of the bag allow air in, reducing the chance that your waders and boots are doing to turn into mildewed cesspools if you don't unpack them as quickly as you'd like to. The lower panel, on the other hand is water proof, meaning the bag won't drip or leak when you're toting it or when it is set down.

You do not want to run into this guy in a dark alley.

The company line: "Smarter than your average tee. Smarter? Yes. Because this shirt knows your body temperature and keeps you cool when it’s hot and warm when it’s cold. And, it looks pretty good too. So do what you must. This will be the smartest shirt you will ever wear."

Most times the company line on apparel and gear is overstated. This time, Redington has it pretty close to right.

Don't fear the zipper.

Orvis has long been associated with well constructed, heavy duty, long lasting waders. But while Orvis waders have been considered dependable by most, they haven't been known for their comfort or innovation. This began to change several years ago when Orvis introduced its sonic welding technology which allows waders to be constructed without stitching, thus reducing opportunities for holes and leaks. In the last year or so, that trend has continued as Orvis has redesigned their wader lineup with a strong design focus on fit, comfort and features.

And customers are noticing. Last month, we reviewed Orvis' relatively new Silver Sonic Waders for Women, where tester Aileen Lane took note of Orvis' attention to detail, focus on providing a woman's unique frame with a comfortable fit and addition of industry-unique features like a waterproof, touchscreen-capable interior flip-out pocket for storing smartphones, digital cameras and other touchscreen devices.

Kirk Deeter brought this pink salmon to hand on a Tenkara USA Amago rod.

I've been interested in Tenkara rods since they were first introduced to me many years ago. Given that I spend a healthy number of my fishing days each year backpacking into small, densely forested brook trout streams here in the eastern U.S., Tenkara has often seemed like the ideal tool for these streams where short, controlled casts in tight quarters are what is required to lure eager brook trout to the fly. Given my interest and the amount of time I spend in such Tenkara-friendly fishing interest, imagine how unlikely it was to turn out that my first experience with a Tenkara rod would be on an Alaskan river with pink salmon as my quarry.

If you're not already familiar with Tenkara, it is a traditional Japanese method of fly-fishing, which uses only a rod, line and fly. No reels. The rods range in length from 11' to almost 14', but are telescopic. They pack down to around a foot and a half in length, making them ideal for backpacking. And, the fly line isn't the standard fly line you're used to. Tenkara line is more similar to leader material, and you're typically only working with 10 to 15 feet of it.

The whole setup is intended to simplify the process of fly fishing, and it most definitely does that. Many consider it the ideal system for fishing small mountain streams such as the aforementioned brook trout streams. In addition to the packability and simplicity, which are big plusses when backpacking into small waters, Tenkara offers a number of advantages once the fishing begins. Examples include controlling line in tight quarters by using the rod to place and control a fly carefully as well as the ability to make very delicate presentations due to the dramatically lighter line (as compared to traditional fly lines). And, while Tenkara is best known for pursuing smaller fish, the rods aren't afraid to tackle bigger fish. A 16" trout will come in easily on a Tenkara rod, and will be a blast to play.