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Author: zmatthews

Smart Baselayers from SmartWool

As winter draws nigh, many anglers set the rod by the door and call it a season. But some don't. If you're the kind of fisherman who keeps an "ice line," then you already understand the importance of keeping warm. Traditional layering wisdom focuses on the importance of using only synthetic fabric: after all, if you put a pair of cotton long johns on under...

Carbon Nanotubes

Do you ever feel like innovation in the fishing industry has slowed in the last few years? In the 1980s and 1990s, anglers saw the rise of Gore-Tex, the rapid advancement of graphite rod technology, and the explosion of the softgoods market, all of which revolutionized how we fish and the conditions we can treat as acceptable for fishing. In the 2000s...

Primitive Fly Fishing - With Kites?

"Fly fishing" isn't as easy to define as it seems at first, but one thing we do universally agree on is the necessity of an artificial lure, preferably made out of natural materials. Going by that definition, the aboriginal inhabitants of Santa Catalina Island (in the Solomons - not off California) may well have developed one of the earliest--and most...

IGFA Tippet v. Regular Tippet

I recently spoke to Rio Products's line designer, Simon Gawesworth, who's best known for his spey casting prowess (but who is also partly responsible for Rio's technological surge over the past few years.) I asked Simon about the differences between tippet offered as "IGFA" tippet and the stuff marketed as just plain-old tippet. He explained that consistent...

Wintertime Casting Fun

For those of you not lucky enough to live in the sunny South, this is the time of year when things start getting pretty gloomy. Sure, you've still got your bird and deer hunting, and in a few months it'll be ski season, but let's face it; if you're on this site, it's because you're a fly fisherman, and for many of you, it'll be several months before you...

Really, Really Excellent Socks

Socks. Grandma's favorite Christmas present. The least exciting garment ever invented. Yet, if you talk to long-haul hikers as often as I do, also one of the most important items in your wardrobe. Everyone knows what a pair of really bad cotton tube socks feels like after a day of tromping around in wet waders; sticky, wrinkled, smelly--like a wet dishrag...

Stripping Baskets: What Are They Good For?

The first big article I ever put together was about using stripping baskets on a trout stream. At the time, I was using a stripping basket--basically, a big bucket you wear around your waist--to help manage line on rivers like the Clinch in East Tennessee, where really long drifts of really little nymphs can produce lots of trout in some pretty slow water...

Lanyards: Yea or Nay?

I waffle back and forth on lanyards. On the one hand, they're incredibly handy when you're guiding (or pseudo-guiding, a situation I find myself in all too often). On the other hand, they tend to tangle, they rattle, they get hung in brush or hair, and they have just a whiff of pretension to guide status. Lanyards are also frequently overkill. Most of us...

Sunglasses Retainers Compared

I once dropped a $200 pair of Costa Del Mar sunglasses in a small creek in the Smokies and watched as they were swept away. The culprit was the $5 set of Wal-Mart sunglass retainers I had foolishly trusted to keep my expensive shades safe. Apparently the fine people at Wal-Mart thought it'd be a good idea to use a water-based glue for the rubberized strap...

Behold The Awesome Woodman's Pal

Ever wonder what would you get if you crossed the awesome brush-clearing power of a machete with the serious tree-hacking force of an axe? Probably not; but fortunately, way back in the 1930s, a Swiss architect named Frederick Ehrsam answered the question for us. His "Woodman's Pal" tool has been used by everyone from fire-fighting crews on up to Vietnam...