Great New Gear for 2009

Great New Gear for 2009

A smattering of what's new for the new year.

Gear 2009


Pack & Travel Sonic Seam Waders

Orvis brings a new construction technology to breathable waders in the Pack & Travel Sonic Seam Waders. The lightweight, 3-layer nylon fabric is assembåled entirely with a sonic welding technique that does away with sewn seams that add bulk and stiffness and stitch holes that produce potential leak points. Add minimalist suspenders that detach for waist-high use and 3mm booties with integral gravel guards, and you have a wader that comes in at 1 pound 11 ounces and packs into its own compression sack to form a tidy 11-by-6-by-4.5-inch bundle. Low in bulk and weight, these waders address the needs of the traveling angler when every ounce and square inch counts—in airline luggage, float planes, rafts and hike-in fishing. Available in 12 sizes, $229. www.orvis.comTed Leeson


Boron Rods

The R.L. Winston Company has new models in the Boron II-MX and Boron IIx rod series, including several two-handed rods; Boron II technology provides a combination of accuracy, power and light weight. All of the Boron II-MX and Boron IIx rods were created with the assistance of advisors such as FR&R Contributing Editor Joan Wulff and Andre Scholz, one of the leading Spey casters in the world. I tested the 9½-foot, 5-weight Boron II-MX both in fresh and salt water; the rod has a fighting butt and aluminum reel seat, so it’s a good crossover stick. Even at a 5-weight, it had enough oomph to handle striped-bass streamers in salt and big bugs on a trout pond, yet stayed light in the hand through all-day casting.—Joe Healy


Spey Reel

As Spey and switch rods gain momentum among fly-fishers, we’ll need to add reels designed for two-handed casting. Tibor has answered the call, with the Spey reel, which is weighted and balanced for heavier lines and rods used in this classic-yet-new-to-some form of fishing. A deeper spool provides extra capacity and its QuickChange design allows painless spool changes. “Witness marks” on the frame let you keep track of favored drag settings. The reel is also exceedingly handsome, with Celtic designs giving a nod to the British Isle traditions of Spey casting; $860 for the Tibor Spey Reel, $430 for an extra Spey spool, $49.95 for the Tibor Speed Handle.


GigBob Pontoon Boat

This is the first truly practical frameless pontoon boat I’ve seen. A drop-stitch construction on the inflatable 8-foot tubes and the overlaid deck allow for over 6 pounds of air pressure, which in turn gives remarkable rigidity to this boat. The rear deck provides 15 square feet of storage area and is so firm that you can stand on it. The pontoons are wide and flat for a big, stable footprint that draws less water than conventional round tubes. Oar locks are mounted on aluminum plates for a non-flexing rowing platform. The whole boat feels as stiff and solid as a framed pontoon boat, but weighs 20 to 25 percent less. The boat, oars, seat with storage pocket, two side-mounted tackle bags and stripping apron pack down into a carry bag (included) that measures only 25-by-21-by10 inches. The whole show weighs 48 pounds and runs $1,595. An anchor system and other options are also available. www.nrs.comT.L.


There is no shortage of good fly-fishing gear on the market, but the signature product is the rod. Many modern manufacturers cover the off-the-rack bases, so why do we need another rod manufacturer? Because specialty rods are best handled by specialists. R&D combined with sales reporting and profit-and-loss statements typically determine which rods hit the market. So when Ken Abrames, artist and author of Striper Moon, A Perfect Fish and chose to enter the rod market, he must base his approach on form following function. His new Salmo Saxatilis series are 10-foot, 6-inch saltwater, salmon and steelhead rods. Abrames offers three models: the #1, which casts between 200 to 400 grain lines; the #2, which casts from 180 to 360 grain lines; and the #3, which casts between 160 to 320 grain lines. All three are designed with their own unique traditional tapers and IM6X carbon-fiber graphite. Blanks are a rich Cherry Chestnut color. There are four oversized stripping guides and #6 and #5 snake guides. The tip top, too, is oversized for ease of casting. The Flora grade cork has a heavy-duty custom designed reel seat and-get this- a screw-in interchangeable butt for Switch or Spey casting. The heavy-fabric covered, Clear Creek rod tubes have dividers and padding to keep the rods safe while traveling. $350, www.stripermoon.comTom Keer