Simms G3 Waders, Filsons Mackinaw Jacket and More
G3 Guide Convertible Waders One of the smartest models in Simms' revamped line of waders is the G3 Guide Convertible, which is e
Among fly-fishing's endless doodads, most of dubious utility, the Rio Wonder Cloth stands out as one of those simple, useful products that a) serves a purpose; and b) works. Just wet this swatch of fabric, draw your fly line through it and prepare to be embarrassed at the junk that comes off. The material doesn't rely on any chemicals (though you can soap it up for really filthy lines) but cleans via a micro-abrasive texture similar to felt, but finer and softer, and the cloth is reusable. When it gets dirty, put a drop of dish detergent on it, scrub it between your palms and rinse. Or, as I do, pocket it in a pair of pants bound for the wash. Either way, it's ready to go again. I've used Wonder Cloths regularly on four different brands of fly line with excellent results.
Because they have virtually no weight or bulk, you can stow one in your vest. At the end of the day's fishing, make a long cast and reel in the line through the pinched fabric to squeegee off the crud. When maintenance is this easy, you're more apt to keep a line in good condition for better performance and longer life. In a pack of four, $4.95. rioproducts.com
G3 Guide Convertible Waders
One of the smartest models in Simms' revamped line of waders is the G3 Guide Convertible, which is equally functional in both waist-high and chest-high configurations. Most waders of this type give priority to chest-high mode, with waist-high use an inconvenient afterthought that involves re-wiring your suspenders, fussing with your belt and fighting folds of excess fabric.
The G3 Convertible takes the opposite approach-a practical waist-high wader with chest-high capability. The supple, low-bulk upper is neatly corralled by zippers at the wader waist. When you need extra wading range, unzip and lift the upper, which is then held in place by hook-and-loop patches on the suspenders. It takes only a few seconds. The waders, except for chest-high extension, are constructed of the new Gore-Tex Pro Shell fabric, which is lighter, more breathable and more tear-resistant than previous versions, with a woven interior face that slips on and off with less friction.
The design here acknowledges that most of us spend substantially more time wading up to our thighs than to our armpits and could profit from a waist-high fit that offers greater ventilation, comfort and mobility-without sacrificing the occasional foray into deep water. $379.95. simmsfishing.com
Just One Fly Vest
Marc Petitjean marketed his first fly vest nearly a decade ago. Now he has perfected it. Inspired by his earlier vest, the new Just One is elegant. Based on a padded "bib" design, the rear pockets are readily accessed by unsnapping the side buckles and rotating the vest. Multiple zippers allow the pockets to be unzipped and remounted to create a custom placement. The Just One adapts and adjusts to angling conditions and personal preferences.
The standard configuration, with all the pockets in place, offers maximum capacity for a plethora of patterns, raingear and the things we carry. There's also a chest wader set up and another for flats fishing.
On the front, clever elastic triangles hold sun-glasses at the ready. Two small reel zingers hide in the pocket flaps. This vest fits all sizes and the strap-ends cleanly tuck away. Like all Petitjean products, the Just One is thoughtfully designed and creatively different. $209. petitjean.ch
Mackinaw Cruiser Jacket
Filson's Mackinaw Cruiser has changed little since 1914, when it was designed to outfit prospectors headed to the Alaskan goldfields. Stylish in the same way that all things simply designed and ruggedly constructed are, the Mackinaw Cruiser is equally suited for use on the river, in a pheasant cover or on a night out. In terms of features, there are enough pockets on the Mackinaw Cruiser to pack a fly vest's worth of gear, and the "cruiser" pocket on the back of the jacket is perfect for stowing an extra layer, or a couple tall boys of beer.
Given the jacket's provenance, we're talking wool of course: Thick, heavy 26-ounce virgin wool that acts like a suit of armor against the elements. Some would consider the Mackinaw Cruiser to be heavy and bulky in this age of synthetic petro-threads, but it's refreshing to wear a jacket that is manufactured domestically and of natural materials.
Filson made its reputation as the outfitter of choice for mountain men, miners and lumberjacks, and these days Filson is among the old guard of outdoors manufacturers. They are the Rolls Royce to the North Face's Lexus. Which would you rather drive? $275. filson.com
Anyone who has ever suffered a flaming finger zing from fast moving fly line will appreciate Gamakatsu's new finger protector. Although many finger guards are based on the glove design, the Gamakatsu Protector is different. Made from soft, stretch neoprene, it hugs the wrist with hook-and-loop closure straps and extends to a single suede-leather finger guard, leaving the hand free and comfortable. When required, the finger slips from the guard for full-hand manipulation. As I usually end up with a "two-finger fish fight," I would encourage Gamakatsu to produce a Protector for both the middle and index fingers. $14. gamakatsu.com
Easy Hair Stacker
I always misplace the end of my hair stacker. It hides among the flotsam of the fly bench. But now, no more. John Nicosia of California has produced an attractive, functional, one-piece hair stacker. The connected base (never to be lost) swings away, exposing the stacked hairs for extraction. The base has a stop that prevents it from completely swinging around and disturbing or dislodging the stacked hairs. To stack hairs, you merely close the base and place the hair tips into the top stacker hole. Then cover the side base-hole with the thumb and gently tap the bottom. (I apply a rubber adhesive strip on the bottom to dull the raps.) To remove the hairs, swing open the base and extract the aligned tips. The Easy Hair Stacker comes in anodized gold or black and a combination of both colors. Size "large" is somewhat heavy and bulky: I would also love a less-weighty version with a narrow chamber for fine hairs. $24.95 (small/medium) and $29.95 (large). 530-823-9015