An ode to the panga

The humble panga is one of the most versatile and ubiquitous boats of all time
Photo: Earl Harper.

On our second day fishing out of the east end of Roatan, our guide, Michael Boden, pointed the nose of his plus-sized panga into the west wind and toward the open ocean. As the sun made its morning appearance over the Caribbean, Earl and I could see what awaited us. Moments later, as Michael guided the boat out of the protected waters of the bight and into the waves, we were in it. The first giant roller looked like it was 20 feet over our heads, and I’m not ashamed to admit that, even this close to the shallows, a spear of terror shot through my heart.

Review: Skwala Backeddy Wader

The best Skwala waders yet?
Photo: Skwala Fishing

I’ve made no bones about my feelings for Skwala Fishing. I think they make fantastic gear, and I believe they’re pushing the innovation envelope in the right directions, especially for waders. The Skwala Backeddy waders are the third wader from the Bozeman-based brand, and this one was purpose-built to be a go-everywhere, do-everything wader. The Carbon waders are a minimalist, ultralight option, and the RS waders are the company’s bomber offering.

New fly fishing gear: April 2024

What's new on the water this month
The new Korkers Chrome Lite boot (photo: Korkers).

Spring has sprung. Even considering that mother nature decided to dump big, early spring snowfalls on both the mountain west and northern New England, redbuds and dogwoods will soon be near their peak in Appalachia and, even here in the Rockies, the sun is taking a bite out of the winter snowpack. Across the fly fishing industry, gear and equipment manufacturers are celebrating the new season with some new offerings, including new inflatable crafts designed for anglers, boots and shoes and even some throwback shades. Without further adieu, here’s what’s new this month.

The mysticism of peacock herl

And the flies it makes great
Photo: Chris Hunt

A good friend of mine from Fredricksburg, Texas, proudly wears the mantle of “former biology nerd.” Now and again, Mick McCorcle pulls out one of his microscopes and takes a detailed look at various fly-tying materials.

“One cold winter day,” he told me, “I pulled out some peacock herl and began to examine it under increasingly higher magnification. At each level, the herl was iridescent. As the magnification got higher, the field of view got smaller, but the iridescence was still evident. No matter how high the magnification, the iridescence never dulled.”

Korkers introduces new Wade-Lite wading boot collection

Two new lightest-in-class models aimed at active anglers
The new Korkers Stealth Sneaker in action (photo: Korkers).

Over the last half decade or so, bootmakers have focused intently on designing offerings geared towards making it easier for agile and active anglers to move and keep moving. Newer wading boot designs have not only shed pounds and ounces, they’ve also traded boxy, crude construction for a more athletic and hiker-friendly fit.