The weather may be screaming winter, but gear and soft-goods manufacturers are busy launching their spring lineups in anticipation of warmer weather and anglers getting back on the water in the weeks ahead.
This month, we’re shining some light on two new pairs of feature-packed waders, new rods and reels, hard-working apparel, and more.
Skwala Backeddy Waders
Aimed at anglers who have clearly been frustrated by spartan waders in the past, Skwala’s new Backeddy waders (pictured at top) incorporate a number of features we’ve all wished for at one time or another. For instance, steelheaders, how about some removable knee pads? For anglers who must fish with every fly box they own? Double chest pockets and a pass-through kangaroo pocket will keep them happy. Folks who frequently find themselves on the oars — which love to catch on waders — will appreciate that Skwala has put zippers on the Backeddy’s pass-through pockets.
And there’s more. Two side pockets, too. The waders feature several other thoughtful additions, such as magnetic shoulder strap attachments which eliminate buckles in an attempt to reduce line-catching, shingled boot cuff construction that layers down and acts like a gaiter, and anatomically correct booties. Skwala went big on these. Stay tuned — we hope to test a pair in the coming weeks.
Simms G4Z Waders
Simms G4 lineup has long represented the Bozeman-based company’s hardest-working, toughest gear. Fully refreshed for 2024, the newest iteration of Simms G4 lineup, like those before it, is aimed at guides, anglers that spend enough days on the water each year that they lose count, as well as folks that are particularly tough on their gear. Crowning the new G4 lineup is Simms’ new G4Z wader, which features four-layer, breathable protection on the lower half (and that lower half now extends higher up on the legs and the seat, given that this is the hardest-working section of the product). T
he waders also feature a new harness-style design for its suspenders with cam-locking adjustment — anglers need only flip the cam up to adjust the suspenders and then flip it closed to lock everything in place. That’s a nice touch. Another nice touch? The bonded front zipper that really cuts down on the bulk of the waders around the chest area. According to Simms,by using the bonded method, it was able to reduce the layers around the zipper from 16 to just four. One last thing: in a nod to its hard-working fly shop partners, the new G4Zs will only be available through retailers until March 1 — then, and only then, will Simms start with direct-to-consumer sales.
Simms G4 Pro jacket
Built to complement the new G4Z waders, Simms has now revamped its widely praised G4 PRO jacket. Built from three-layer GORE-TEX shell fabric, the new jacket offers lots of pockets and storage for everything from your phone to your fly box. This includes dual-zippered chest storage pockets with interior stretch-mesh dividers, and zippered side-entry handwarmer pockets that have pass-through zippers so anglers can access their waders without having to take the jacket off. It also sports an adjustable storm hood and adjustable cuffs to keep water out.
Sage R8 SPEY rods
Doubling down on its new R8 tech, Sage is releasing its new line of R8 SPEY rods that includes a diverse lineup of implements for spey and switch anglers to choose from, depending on their fishing styles and the water they ply for everything from sea trout to steelhead. The rods come in four different “modes,” if you will: Max Versatility, Lightweight Linespeed, Most Powerful and Switch. Each mode is designed to meet certain needs of two-handed anglers — the choice of rod will ultimately come down to how and where each individual chooses to fish. As Sage puts it, the rod lineup is an effort to customize the implements for anglers based on their preferences, not the company’s preferences.
Sage SPEY II fly reel
Built to match its new R8 SPEY rods, Sage’s new SPEY fly reels feature sealed carbon system drag and newly designed O-ring seals that help the reel withstand more compression. The reels also feature a numbered dial for drag setting, allowing for precise drag control once a fish comes calling. The reels can be switched easily from left- to right-hand retrieve simply fly flipping a clutch bearing. The reels also also feature full-frame construction, which eliminates a pesky problem with skinny belly line getting caught between the reel and the spool.
Moonlit TOGATTA jig hooks and slotted tungsten beads
If you’re a fly tyer, you know that jig hooks are all the rage these days, but finding the right hooks for the right flies can be a challenge. The new TOGATTA jig hooks from Moonlit Fishing might be the ideal base for a number of patterns that call for jig hooks. The hooks come in black nickel in sizes 6-10 — perfect for bigger stonefly nymphs and weighted streamers. Match the hooks to Moonlit’s slotted tungsten beads for crafting deep-riding flies ideal for the coming heavy-water runoff.