I hope everyone is having a great Thanksgiving!
This is our annual holiday gift guide, and our team has pulled together items that we think have been particularly awesome. Some are old items, but most are new to our list. Feel free to forward to friends and family!
As you know, we donate 100% of our profits to charity. In past years, we’ve given to Project Healing Waters and Casting for Recovery. Part of our revenue comes from Amazon affiliate links, some of which are highlighted below. Clicking the links and buying the products will support this blog and two awesome charities.
Stonfo Elite Rotodubbing Twister. I learned about this product through Lance Egan’s tying tutorials through Fly Fish Food’s YouTube channel. As someone who ties a lot of flies, I’ve learned that it really is worth investing in the finest tools available.
This might be the finest fly tying tool I’ve come across so far in terms of a product that flawlessly performs and delivers the same results every time I use it. Over the last few years I’ve bought a handful of different dubbing twisters, and each one had its drawbacks. They either were hard to control, or they were poorly designed and would come apart in the middle of wrapping a dubbing loop.
Eventually I heard Lance Egan mention this tool and he described it as the “Ferrari of Dubbing Twisters.” He couldn’t have been more spot on. I was initially hesitant on buying when I saw the price of the tool. Most dubbing tools are $10-$20. This one runs around $50. However once I made the decision to invest in a premium tool, I quickly realized that this was worth every penny.
The tool eliminates the need for any dubbing wax based on the design, which allows you to pull down and tighten a loop as needed or to open a loop by releasing pressure if you need to add more materials. The bearings are very smooth and fast when spinning a loop, and best of all it doesn’t come apart when spinning like other magnetic bearing systems that you find in cheaper tools. If dubbing loops are a technique that you use frequently in your tying, then this tool is an absolute must!
Magnetic Rod Holder. I’ve written about this piece of gear before (here), but I’ll mention it again as it’s the best way to avoid breaking a rod while getting ready or getting back to your vehicle. I’ve tried the foam version and the rubber version and they both work fine. I’ll also use the rubber version for skis and poles. Works great for spinning or fly rods.
Cortland Ultra Premium Fluorocarbon Tippet. It’s the thinnest around and the 4x is as thin as other brands of 5x. It’s the only tippet I carry anymore for trout fishing. I prefer the 100 yard guide spool which will last for years, otherwise the 30 yard spool makes a great stocking stuffer.
Knot Tying Tool. My favorite knot tying tool, the easiest way to tie a clinch knot. Great for cold days where your cold fingers might be fumbling around with tippet. I don’t leave home without it!
Orvis Sling Pack. The most important thing for me on my pack is the tippet holder. The newest models of Orvis sling packs have the next best tippet holders to a chest pack. I’ve been using it and enjoying it greatly and haven’t had any problems with it. Comfy and durable.
Rising Brookie Net 10″ Handle. When I lost numerous 12-inch cutthroat in Montana through the large holes in my previous rubber net, I knew it was time for an upgrade. The Rising Brookie net is sleek, stylish, and fits perfectly in my Fishpond sling pack’s net holster. Best of all, even five-inchers can’t wriggle through the smaller holes! Extra points for being bold and going with purple like me.
NRS Chinook Life Jacket. Perfect for the angler who spends a lot of time in kayaks and canoes, thislife jacket is comfortable and, more importantly, safe. The numerous pockets take the place of a fishing vest or pack. Having owned my Chinook since 2018, I can vouch for its longevity and quality.
Korkers Devil’s Canyon Wading Boots. I’ve had these boots for several seasons now. They’ve lasted longer than other wading boots that I’ve had, they are comfortable, flexible, and honestly I just don’t have to think too much about them. The boa lace system has been flawless and still works as good as when they were new. The interchangeable souls mean that I can swap out whatever is needed for the river terrain I’m fishing.
Orvis Heavyweight Fishing Socks. These are my go-to for winter fishing. They are thick and warm but not so thick that they make your footwear not fit. The only problem I have with them is that I wear them around the house all the time in the winter, and I have to dig through the laundry when I go fishing
SemperFli Nano Silk 50D 12/0 Tying Thread. I’m not a great fly tyer. I don’t even know if I’m a good fly tyer. I can’t even count how many times I get to the end of the fly and I’m trying to tie it off and my thread breaks. Jo recommended this thread, and I suddenly realized after I tied off a dozen flies in a row with no issues that this thread was really helping me tie. Better flies that last longer.
Leonard Wright’s Fishing the Dry Fly as a Living Insect. Be on the lookout for this book, as it is worth your time. I discovered this book after a riverside recommendation from a swift river acquaintance- one of those anglers who is often in the same spot as you and you start off by recognizing their car as the only other one on the lot on a few consecutive trips. This fellow is very generous with his knowledge and his hand tied flies. Dry flies I should say, as he recently made the switch to fishing exclusively dries.
Ed Engle’s Tying Small Flies. Still a classic. If you fish tailwaters, this book is a must-have. His patterns just work.
George Daniel’s Dynamic Nymphing. Want to learn tightlining? This book really is the source. As a two-time national champion, George has a world’s worth of knowledge. From rigging to trade-offs to favorite gear to flies, this must-have book is really a reference manual, given the plethora of information it offers.
Brightech LightView Fly Tying Light and Magnifier. I recommend this device each year. The quality of my fly tying went up dramatically after I started using a light and magnification lens. If you can’t see ’em, you can’t make ’em.
Montana Mongoose Vise. You won’t need to buy multiple vise tips. This one handles big streamer hooks and small hooks down to size 30. Full rotary, feather-size gauge, materials clip and bobbin holder, too. And, it comes with a light-weight clamp and travel case for trips.
Diamondback Ideal Nymph Rods. As I wrote previously (here), these rods are a game changer. Great value for the money, and you cannot beat their rapid turnaround for repairs: they mail out to a new rod segment in just a few days. Kudos to Joe Goodspeed!
Our best wishes to all for a great holiday season. Tight lines!