Story last updated at 12/27/2013 - 2:42 pm
Fly fishers and Gifts for the Holidays
By Rich Culver
For the CCW
Fly fishers are legitimate gear junkies. From the high-tech, multi-layer Gore-Tex waders and jackets they wear to the new-age vest-packs they stuff and carry, fly fishers are drawn like magnets to gear and gadgets. It's difficult to find an avid fly fisher who only owns and fishes a single fly rod. Most fly anglers, myself included, tend to own multiple rods, and many fly fishers insist on owning entire lines or series of fly rods or particular styles of rods, like spey rods for example. In fact, very few of us can willingly pass up on an opportunity of receiving a new fly rod, for a new fly rod almost always translates into new angling opportunities. The same is true of fly reels. We've got to have them, or at least a few for each rod. Fly fishers also have a burning passion for designing and tying their own flies to fish with. But even this facet of fly fishing - tying flies - requires additional tools, gadgets and a wide assortment of materials. Because of this innate affinity for gear and gadgets, and with the holiday season upon us, I felt it only appropriate and fun to allocate this month's feature column to gifts and gadgets for the holidays.
So let's begin with fly rods. With recent advancements in graphite, resins and computer CAD, fly rod designers have taken their ideas to new heights. No longer are fly rods spongy and unresponsive. Instead, fly rods today are light in the hand, crisp, powerful and extremely sensitive. On one end of the spectrum, designers like Tim Rajeff and Jim Bartschi have not forgotten those anglers who prefer the soulful feeling of fiberglass. These fiberglass-constructed fly rods are all about "feeling"; the cast, the take and the fight are all transmitted back to the angler's hand smoothly and precisely. On the other end of the spectrum we have high modulus graphite rods. Here fly rods are fast and crisp and powerful. They are known for generating extremely high line speeds for needle tight casting loops capable of penetrating gale force winds common on the coast of Southeast Alaska. The new Scott Radian rods are unique to contemporary graphite fly rods because they combine power and speed with feeling and touch. Any fly rod would be warmly received as a holiday gift this season.
The Spey arena continues to be a rapidly growing segment of fly fishing throughout the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. Keeping up with the advancements of Spey rods, line manufacturers, specifically AirFlo have added a few new spey lines for this upcoming season to their already dominant presence in the industry. The new lines cater to those casters who prefer the more traditional method - longer stroke - of spey casting. Two new lines, coined "Next Generation" by AirFlo are the extra long belly Delta Spey II, a full line and the Delta Spey II Shooting Head, a slightly longer variation of their Scandinavian style head, but based on the design and taper of their Delta Spey II long belly. Either of these two lines would be a perfect gift to that spey caster in your home or that special friend.
And if there's a photographer in the house or if there's someone you know that enjoys capturing the scenic beauty of Southeast with a camera, how about a point-and-shoot camera? I'm familiar with Canon, so here are two point-and-shoot cameras by Canon that deliver exceptional quality and brilliant images.
First, for the amateur photographer or prosumer, the Canon Power Shot G16 is hard to beat. The G16 fits easily in your front shirt pocket and takes beautiful, crisp images with its 12.1 Megapixel 1/1.7" CMOS sensor. Or for the more advanced photographer or budding pro you might know, check out the Canon G1X. This compact point-and-shoot camera by Canon raises the bar for all point-and-shoot cameras by delivering a large 1.5" CMOS sensor and 14.3 Megapixels. And if your loved one already owns the Canon G1X, consider a waterproof housing for the camera to keep it dry and safe in our rainy environment, or perhaps they could expand their photographic creativity to include underwater photography. The Canon WP-DC44 waterproof case is made specifically for the G1X and it also has a built-in diffusion plate that prevents glare when taking underwater or partially submerged images.
And finally, every fly fisher in Southeast would welcome a new, state-of-the-art, field proven, rain jacket with open arms. With that in mind, the new Acklins Jacket by SIMMS, recently received the highest ratings at the recent IFTD show, and this jacket would bring a warm holiday smile to anyone who receives it as a gift this holiday season.
Yes, the dark winter months are a challenging time for the Southeast fly fisher. However, the month of December and its holiday cheer and tradition can be the perfect prescription for angler cabin fever. Homes glow warmly, decorated with holiday lights as family and friends gather to exchange gifts and share stories. The sweet smell of wood stoves tantalizes our senses and hangs heavy in local valleys. Even as rivers flow dormant, void of salmon, I love this special time of the year. True, my next cast to a cruising fish might be months away, but I can still find pleasure during the holidays for I am a gear and gadget junkie and I can't wait to see what's under the tree for me this year. May you and your loved ones enjoy a peaceful and safe holiday season!