Fishpond Storm Mountain Gear Bag Interior

I'm gear obsessed. This is a common malady in our sport. I have reels I don't have rods for, lines I don't have reels for, and rods I only have the occasion to use a couple times of year. I have sink tips for every imaginable scenario, fluorocarbon and mono in a stupid variety of sizes, and ten times the number of flies I should have. And yet, with all this gear, I've spent the last 5 years toting most of it around in what amounts to a giant duffel bag, rummaging through it feverishly and unproductively whenever I need to find something. Non-fishing gear essentials (camera, lenses, apparel, etc) end up stuffed in with the rest of the mess, treated with less care and respect than they should be.

When the need for a proper gear bag became undeniable, I began the search for a bag that would provide organization options for my over-abundance of gear while providing adequate protection from my carelessness and the elements. These days, it seems like there are ten times the number of options there were just a few years ago, so choosing the right bag seemed quite the task. After way too much exploring, I ended up picking Fishpond's Storm Mountain Gear Bag. The feature set seemed impressive, and given Field & Stream named it one of 2010's Best of the Best, the chances of receiving a dud seemed slim.

A particularly bad Didymo outbreak.

The Missouri Department of Conservation announced that it has instituted a ban on porous-soled boots and waders made of porous materials on waterways throughout the state. This announcement adds Missouri to the slowly, but steadily growing list of states that have made the decision to ban felt soled boots and other problem materials in the hopes of preventing the spread of invasive species, particularly Didymo algae.

Didymo (Didymosphenia geminata), commonly known as "rock snot", is an invasive algae that thrives in some cold water habitats, forming thick mats on river and stream bottoms. The algae reduces the amount of food available to other aquatic species and, in particularly bad outbreaks, can make fishing completely impossible.

Vail, Colorado - Site of the 2011 America Cup.

The 2011 America Cup of fly fishing came to a close this week. This year's event was held in the posh mountain town of Vail, CO and showcased the nearby waters of the Colorado River, the Blue River, Sylvan Lake and Lake Nottingham. Almost 2200 fish were caught and released by a mere 70 anglers in 3 days of competition. The competition followed FIPS Mouche rules, which does not allow the use of strike indicators or split shot.

This year's first place prize went to multinational Team Emerger, comprising of Sandro Soldarini (from Italy), Todd Oishi (from Canada), Michale Drinan (from Ireland), Marek Walczek (from Poland), and Rob Kolanda (from the USA).

Morning on New York's Salmon River.

Whether the runs of coho salmon on New York's Salmon River reported over this past weekend turn out to be record-setting may never be known, but it seems abundantly clear that this season's first big push of fish was one for the ages. Beginning this past Friday, reports of massive runs of coho began emerging from the river. These reports continued throughout the day on Saturday. While Sunday seemed to return to the previous norm, wish small pods of fish being spotted intermittently, initial reports this morning indicate the return of some strong runs of coho. Healthy numbers of king salmon and brown trout have also been reported.

Even Salmon River regulars seem to have been amazed by the numbers of fishing moving through the river over the last few days. The official report from the Douglaston Salmon Run described the river as "stupid with fish." Numerous reports surfaced of fisherman being repeatedly run into by migrating fish. One report even suggested that anglers were able to "walk across the river on the backs of coho". While we're not entirely sure that last report is accurate, this much is clear: the first big runs of the season were here, and if you missed it, you're kicking yourself like we are.

The Scott S4 fly rod.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a gear hound. I love fly fishing gear. However, over the years I have found my favorites amongst many companies and have stuck with them. When it comes to fly rods, I have fished many brands and have hopped around to say the least. But, I have to say that I have finally found "the rod" for me. I recently took the plunge into fishing Scott rods, specifically the Scott S4 and S4S series. All I have to say is, wow (okay, that's not really all). These fly rods are the best fly rods I have ever fished with.

First the S4. These are the sticks I am using for almost all of my trout fishing, including a 9 foot 5 weight for dry fly fishing, a 10 foot 5 weight for nymphing, and a S4S 6 weight for streamers (I also have a G2 for light line dry fly fishing). Anyway, the S4 rods. As advertised, they are very fast and can generate high line speeds. They load and unload very quickly, at long and short distances alike, and match my casting tempo perfectly. They are quick, responsive and very powerful. Casting long distances and punching out line are a breeze with the S4.