Stuff for the Salt

Stuff for the Salt

Gear for the Tropics; SA's New Trout Line

  • By: Buzz Bryson
Scientific Anglers Mastery Trout Line Scientific Anglers' Mastery Series includes specialized trout lines for specialized fishing situations-the GPX series for quick rod loading; the supple, delicate XPS, for spring-creek-type fisheries; and the XXD for distance casting. Now, SA's new Trout Line covers the middle ground among those other lines; it's designed to be the best possible all-around trout line-the bell in the bell-shape curve. The Trout's front taper incorporates a concave compound, which helps the line turn over even in breezy conditions, while retaining the delicacy necessary on most casts to avoid spooking shy fish.

The head is of moderate length, to match the lengths of most trout-fishing casts. The convex compound rear taper helps with mending, but doesn't add unnecessary weight. The Trout taper integrates 3M's patented super-slick AST into the coating, which keeps the line clean for superior shooting and high flotation, and a braided multifilament core with a central air channel for additional high-floating capabilities, plus minimal line memory.

I tried the Trout in both a 3-weight double-taper and a 6-weight weight-forward taper (the DT is available in 2- through 6-weight and the WF in 3- through 7-weight; all are 90 feet long). I cast a variety of dries, some small- to moderate-size nymphs including beadheads and a couple of streamers. Both lines were remarkably straightforward-no noticeable quirks at short, medium and longer distances, or when playing around with different leaders and flies.The Mastery Series Trout line is available in a "Fire Orange" color as well as a stealthy "Dark Willow." G. Loomis Escape Rolling Cargo Bag In May, I spent 10 days flats fishing in Belize-a trip that gave me an opportunity to field-test a lot of gear despite the fact that I did not hook either the permit or the tarpon I had been hoping to catch. Almost everything I took with me easily fit into one of the best pieces of angling luggage I've every owned: The G. Loomis Escape Rolling Cargo Bag. Made for Loomis by HYI USA, this thing is HUGE. It measures 36x16x15 inches, and the storage area is a single, voluminous compartment rather than a bunch of pockets that force you to make time-consuming decisions about what goes where. I just took my gear-and-clothing pile for the entire week and a half and stuffed it in, with plenty of room to spare. (The bag does, however, feature a wet/dry inner bag for separating damp or dirty items from everything else.) The bag's also got three rod tubes-for multi-piece travel rods-built into the bottom of it, and I got a total of four rods into those. The Escape has a rigid bottom frame, a pair of smooth rollers-high-quality in-line skate wheels, actually-and a long retractable handle; I found these features to be extremely convenient, in fact almost luxurious, when I was traveling through airports. The zippers and the 1200-denier material used to make the bag seemed rugged enough for a lot of heavy use. This bag will be going with me on a lot of trips… . Retail is $139.99; Loomis and HYI also offer a variety of smaller pieces of Escape Series angler's luggage. -Paul Guernsey Simms Flats Sneakers During those 10 days in Belize, I practically live in my Simms Flats Sneakers-a lightweight shoe designed for comfortable and safe saltwater walking. I wore them dry and wet, with socks and without, and found them to be well-made and well-fitting. The rugged soles gave me great traction in the water and on boat decks, while the neoprene gasket collar around the top of the ankle did a terrific job of sealing out sand. In addition, whenever I stepped out of the water, the drain holes worked quickly and efficiently to clear water from the shoes so that I didn't get that annoying and uncomfortable squish every time I took a step. Despite the fact that I rubbed them against plenty of coral, my Flats Sneakers still look almost new, even in the high-impact toe and heel areas, so I am confident I'll get a lot more use out of them. Simms Flats Sneakers come in a single color: Sand, and in sizes 5 through 14. Retail is $99. -Paul Guernsey Elder Wader Socks I took a pair of Elder Summer Wader Socks to Belize with me, intending to use them with the Simms Flats Sneakers, but I did not get the opportunity. However, I did use them for wading in trout water once I got home, and I was impressed at the care the folks at Elder put into making this product for anglers. That is undoubtedly because the two brothers who run the Massachusetts company-Delos and John Elder-are fishermen themselves. The Summer Wader Socks are made mostly of CoolMax material, which helps in wicking away moisture. They are also very long, stretching to the top of the calf, and they feature a special ankle band to keep them from crawling down into your boot or into the toes of your stockingfoot waders. Even when I waded wet wearing these socks, they did not form a single wrinkle beneath the soles of my feet. The Summer Wader Socks retail for retail $9.99; for cooler temperatures Elder offers the Original Wader Sock (with a wool leg and a foot made of a Wool/Thermastat/Polypropylene and Lycra blend) for $14.95. And for you steelheaders and winter anglers, there is the luxuriously thick Merino Wader Sock (made of 80% Merino wool) for $19.95. The Wader Socks can be purchased in sizes 10-13 and 13-15. -Paul Guernsey Aqua Design Shirts Aqua Design makes several lines of camouflage clothing for angling. It's not the military-looking camo you're used to, but rather clothing in patterns and colors designed to hide you from fish in a variety of angling environments. The colors include :Willow Green;" "Sky Blue;" "Sand;" "Overcast" and "Bahama Blue." I went to Belize with three Aqua Design shirts in Bahama Blue, Sky Blue and Sand; I also had a pair of Bahama Blue Pants. To be honest, I'm not quite sure how I feel about the whole camouflage concept in fishing clothes, and I have no idea whether I would have caught fewer bonefish had I been wearing clothes that were not camouflage. But what I do care about is comfort and sun protection, and these Aqua Design garments did a great job for me there. The company says its Quest Technical Shirt and the Expedition Technical Shirt both feature an ultraviolet protection factor of 50, while the Explorer Technical Shirt has a 30 UPF. I wore one of these three shirts almost every day I was in Belize-usually for eight or nine hours a day-and I managed to maintain my Maine pallor. The shirts were also comfortable. The Quest and the Expedition are made of a breathable microfiber brushed nylon that wicks moisture away; it worked well for me. The Explorer shirt-with the same features as the Expedtion, but in a cotton/nylon blend-felt good next to my skin even when temperatures climbed into the mid 90's. All three shirts feature chest bellows pockets to hold flies and other angling gear, "action backs" with mesh-ventilation inserts and roll-up sleeves with button tabs. The shirts are available in sizes S through XXL; retail prices are $79 for the Quest; $59 for the Expedition. The Explorer also comes in solid colors and in long- and short-sleeve models. Explorer prices are $49 for the long-sleeve shirts in Aqua colors; $44 short-sleeve in Aqua colors; $44 long-sleeve in solid colors and $39 short sleeve in solid colors. -Paul Guernsey Cortland 555 Tropic Plus Flats Line In Belize, I fished reels spooled with Cortland's new Tropic Plus Flats lines in weights 8 and 10. No matter how hot it got, these weight-forward floating lines maintained their terrific slickness and shootability-yet they also remained supple enough that they invariably formed loose, easy-to-manage loops on the casting deck rather than the sort of hard "memory" coils that mess with your casting and also can quickly turn into tangles. In other words, they worked very well for me. The Flats Lines are made with Cortland's recent 555 technology, which incorporates several "lumens," or hollow, air-filled chambers, into the core of the line. Cortland says this design makes the 555 float higher than most of its competitors. The company also says the 555's "anti-collapse rear compound taper" helps an angler to hold more line in the air. All I know about this is that I was able to make casts as long as I needed to with both the 8- and 10-weight lines. According to Cortland spokesman Russ Darr, plenty of other saltwater anglers are finding this to be the case as well. "We are barely able to keep up with production on these Flats line," Russ told me. The lines are "aqua green" in color, are made in weights 6 through 10, and retail for $62. -Paul Guernsey Wade Deeper Scientific Anglers 800-430-5000 www.scientificanglers.com HYI USA; 800/331-4938, www.hyiusa.com Simms; 406-585-3557, www.simmsfishing.com Aqua Design, 888-359-5644, www.aquadesign.com Cortland Line Company; 607-756-2851, www.cortlandline.com Elder; 940-327-8805, www.elderhosiery.com