This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm

February 16th, 2004

FAOL Sponsors Win Awards

Every once in a while we have an opportunity to say something especially nice about one of our Sponsors. Since we are very picky about who we invite to be Sponsors here, it is nice to see 'our' Sponsors receiving recognition for a product they produce.

This week we picked up the Gear Issue of Fly Fish America, which if you aren't familiar with it, is a FREE fly fishing magazine available in sporting goods departments and fly fishing shops.

According to the magazine, here are some of the BEST of Fly Fishing Gear, the Editor's Choice Awards 2004. I have only quoted a small amount of the comments on each product.

Diamondback Americana Rod. "Diamondback's New Americana rods are made by real Vermonters, and feature medium-fast actions, sanded gray blanks with green wraps, and attractive nickel silver/Vermont maple reel seats. Saltwater models have uplocking anodized reel seats with padded fighting butts. . . Americanas are available in light weights 3 through 9, in both 2- and 3- piece models. See them at your local fly shop ($139 to $199), or contact Diamondback, P.O. Box 5588, Cortland, NY 13045; Tel.: (607) 756-2851."

Marryat CMR-Online Reel. "Winner of a "Best of Show" award at EFFTEX 2003, Marryat's new CMR Online reel combines a CMR frame with a revolutionary anti-reverse spool incorporating a second, independent drag system. . ."The first CRM-Online is a 7/8 weight model (WF7F + 220 yards 20-pound backing), priced at $395. Check it out at your local fly fishing retailer, or for more information contact: Angler Sport Group, 6619 Oak Orchard Road, Elba, NY 14050. Tel.: (585 757-9066/."

(We were particularly delighted with this one, Castwell did an article on it back in May of 2003.)

Albright EXS Rod. "Jim Murphy, formerly of Redington, has built a career promoting affordable innovation in fly-fishing fear. His philosophy is simple, "Build a Volvo and sell it at Ford prices." His new company, Albright Tackle, has just introduced its EXS line of rods, a shining example of Murphy dogma.

Our first impression of the 10-weight EXS we received for evaluation was that the rod had been Mislabeled, and it was actually an 8-weight. It seemed too light and, in fact, weighted in at under four ounces. Not to worry - this rod can comfortably handle any 10-weight line and any head up to 400 grains. . .See them at your local fly shop ($325 to $395), or contact Albright Tackle Co., 865 Merrick Ave., Westbury, NY 11590; Tel.: (866) FLY-REEL."

Scientific Anglers System 2LS Reel. "If you've been fly fishing for a while, you've probably fished a Scientific Anglers System reel - they've been mainstays of the affordable reel category for as long as we can remember. . . New to the System line is the made-in-England System 2LA ("large arbor"), a complete redesign of the venerable System 2 with extra points for style. Available in three models covering line weight 4 through 10. . .With an arbor diameter of 3.00 inches, and a spool width of 1.69 inches, the System 2LA 890 is a true large-arbor design that maximizes line pickup. Full machined from bar stock aluminum, and hard anodized in a pewter color, the System 2LA is stylishly vented to minimize weight. . .See the System 2LA reels at your fly shop ($214.95 to $254.95) or contact Scientific Anglers, 3 M Center, Building 223-2N-01, St. Paul, MN 55144; tel.: (800) 430-5000.

Lefty Kreh Signature Series TiCr Rods. " Temple Fork Outfitters has created three new lines of Lefty Kreh Signature Series rods: Series 1 ($89.98 - to $99.95), Professional Series (starting at $139>95), and TiCr Series ($195.95 to $249.95). While we haven't had a chance to test the first two yet, the last one is a home run!

Lefty Kreh Signature Series TiCr rods are designed by Lefty himself, and are targeted at the advanced-intermediate to expert level caster who has other things to spend his money on. These fast-action rods are made of IM6 graphite, spiced up with a proprietary blend of titanium and chromium. What the secret formula may be, it works to create a powerful rod that dampens quickly, and shoots like a cannon - and does it all with a silk-smooth stroke. . . Test cast a TiCr at your fly shop, or contact Temple Fork Outfitters, 8115 Sovereign Row, Dallas, TX 75247; Tel.: (800) 638-9052."

Hardy Angel Reel. . . .Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I find the Angel to be the most lovely looking fly reel I've ever beheld. From the jeweled crank knob, to the matte-silver anodized frame and spool, to the contrasting gold and anodized trim and the reel foot pillars, to the classic Hardy venting patter, the overall effect leaves me breathless. In testing it left me breathless, too. On the last day of fishing season I landed a 7-pound landlocked salmon in a 15-minute battle at landed the Angel 6/7 an Editor's Choice Award. See the Angels at your fly shop ($390 to$530; model 6/7 $410), or contact Hardy USA, P.O. Box 5588, Cortland, NY 13045; Tel.: (607) 756-2851."

Chota Stow-A-Way Fleece Flip Mit. "Chota is one of the hottest companies in the fly fishing industry, and founder Frank Bryant has a simple goal: To build products that help you stay in the water until you're ready to leave. . .or until you fall over from exhaustion, whichever comes first. . .A prime example is Chota's new Stow-A Way Flip Mit, an absolute must have for steelheaders and other cold-weather anglers, or anyone who hunts or fishes in cold climes.

Chota Mits combine the warmth of a mitten with the functionality of fingerless gloves. This is accomplished with separate finger and thumb covers, both of which are sewn onto the gloves and can flipped back and secured under a patent-pending Stow-A-Way cuff. . .Stow-A-Way Fleece Flip Mit come in gray and black, and are available in sizes from extra small to extra large. Pick up a pair at your fly shop ($27), or contact Chota Outdoor Gear, P.O. Box 31137, Knoxville, TN 37930; Tel.: (865) 690-1814."

Cortland 555 Rocket Quick Descent Line. "Cortland's New 555 Rocket Quick Descent ("QD") lines are an outgrowth of their wildly popular Little Tunny Line. Featuring an intermediate-density body/running line behind a high-density sinking head, these 125-foot long lines are just about the ticket for anything that swims. The coldwater version offers a 15-foot intergrated head, and comes in 150-, 200-,250-, and 300-grain weights. Saltwater Rocket QDs have a 30-foot integrated head for digging even deeper, and come in 200-, 250-, 300-, 350-, and 400-grain weights. See all the 555 Rocket Quick Descents at your fly shop ($62), or contact Cortland Line Co., P.O. Box 5588, Cortland, NY 13045. Tel.: (607) 756-2851."

Sage Xi2 Rod. " The folks at Sage have been busy of late designing what they bill as "the finest saltwater rod ever made." And you know, they may just be right. . .We received a 9-foot, 8-weight (890-4) Xi2 for testing, and fished it extensively throughout the fall. Using its new Generation 5 technology, and the Modulus Positioning System developed just for the Xi2, Sage has created an exceptionally "talkative" rod. After only a few minutes of casting it you know just when to apply the power, and how hard to hit it. The Xi2 is easy to cast long distances, or in the kind of wind that makes you wish for a spinning rod. . .Test cast an Xi2 at your fly shop, or contact Sage Manufacturing, 8500 NE Day Rd., Bainbridge Island, WA 98110; Tel.: (800) 533-3004."

WaterSkeeter River Guide Pontoon Boat. "We highlighted WaterSkeeter's new River Guide Pontoon Boat in our September issue "Sneak Peaks" at the best new stuff coming out at the 2003 Fly Tackle Retailer Show. When we finally saw it at the show, we were so impressed that we put it on the short list of Editor's Choice Award nominees and ordered one for testing and evaluation. . .The River Guide may be the ultimate fly-fishing pontoon boat, perfect for a day trip or overnighter, and is equally at home on stillwater, whitewater, and saltwater. See WaterSkeeter's River Guide at your local fly fishing retailer ($1,395), or contact WaterSkeeter, 2701 East Hammer Lane, Suite 101, Stockton, CA 95210; Tel.: (800)-339-7261."

Congratulations to all these fine companies - we are delighted to see you and your products recognized by other media in the fly fishing industry.

When we talk to prospective companies to become Sponsors here, we tell them up front that our readers come first, the Sponsors are second. Since we own FAOL, we do have the luxury of inviting - picking - the companies who you see here. Companies who produce good products, stand behind them, and treat their customers with respect. And once in a while, it's nice to see that others recognize those same companies.

The real winners in this of course is the fly fishing consumer - you! ~ The LadyFisher

If you would like to comment on this or any other article please feel free to post your views on the FAOL Bulletin Board!

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