Reviewed this week



Ultralight Wading Jacket

 The Orvis Ultralight wading jacket is undoubtedly the product of designers listening to customers who ask for and suggest specific features in a wading jacket. Orvis labels it a “a full-featured jacket” – and that it is (partial list appears at base of review).

What makes this wading jacket a standout, as the product name clearly points out, is its lack of weight: a size medium comes in at a mere 480 grams! This significant reduction in bulk means that you can carry it in a small day pack.

The welded, 3-layer waterproof breathable nylon shell along with YKK AquaGuard water resistant zippers and DWR finish put this jacket in the heavyweight class in terms of protection from wind and rain. In addition, the jacket is comfortable and offers excellent freedom of movement.

Other of the features you’ll appreciated most are the integrated Dolphin Skin cuff system for additional water resistance when landing and releasing fish. No more worries about fishing an entire day with soaked shirt sleeves.

Gear space is addressed with large front storage pockets and an internal tensioned mesh pocket for added storage.

That partial list:

Innovative side zip pockets feature four-way stretch power mesh to reduce bulk and increase ventilation

Rubberized tabs for tool docking

Rear yoke D-ring for net attachment

Three-way adjustable storm hood with laminated brim

Adjustable hem


Highly recommended.


Blue Ribbon and Dust

LOONs Blue Ribbon desicant is described as a premium powder flotant. It’s the equivalent of crushed silica beads – the stuff in small sachets that’s included in packaging in order to keep delicate electronics and leather goods from coming into contact with moisture. Blue Ribbon is actually micro-crushed silica particles, so they get into every nook and cranny of even the smallest fly. A 2 or 3 second shake in the pop-top container is all is takes to eliminate all moisture from your fly. A simple yet brilliant product that works extraordinarily well. If you fish dries, this is a must-have accessory.

LOON Dust (applied to dry flies with a small brush, included) works on an even smaller scale (I suspect it’s the same stuff as LOON Blue Ribbon, only ground finer, but I can’t guarantee that). Once brushed on, you can work the powder into the fly fibers with your fingers – and it works extremely well, too. Due to the superfine nature of the particles, it’s particularly suited for CDC.

For increased floatability, it can also be worked into a fly line with your fingers. I conducted an experiment with this product that consisted of treating a natural fur and feather fly, then dunking it in water to see if it pops back to the surface. It did. At the time of writing, that fly has been sitting in water, in a glass on my desk, for the past 17(!) days. It’s still floating high & dry. ‘Nuf said.

Highly recommended.

Top Salt Water Flies

book review

… Flats fishing for the big three...

My first encounter with bonefish, permit and tarpon was with Captain Joe Gonzalez of Funny Bones Charter. His eagle eyes and stealthy poling put me in perfect casting position on many occasions. We landed our share of fish, but the most memorable days were the ones rife with frustration: fish tracking and following, but no takes! On those days, I got schooled on just how finicky these fish can be at. It's no wonder that fly tiers try to imitate their prey as closely as possible. It is one thing to imitate a shrimp's, crab's, or bait fish's physical characteristics using feathers and fur, but understanding bait habits and how they move in their habitat can turn a follow into a take.

Drew Chicone's, Top Salt Water Flies, published by Wild River Press, has nearly 900 pages, (divided into 3 volumes) that contain detailed recipes for 39 top producing flies for bonefish, permit, and tarpon. 

Each well written and well thought out volume has large, clear, hi-res photos with easy to follow instructions on 8.5" x 11" quality coated stock pages that come in a patented Wire-O binding that opens and lays perfectly flat on your tying bench. Each volume is protected by a durable laminated hardcover.

The introduction in the Bonefish volume starts off with a thorough explanation of the tools and materials needed to tie these flies. It also explains some essential skills and techniques like properly attaching dumbell or beadchain eyes to hooks to tying in weed guards. Each has clear, numbered photos and tying steps.

The Bonefish volume contains 14 patterns with tying instructions,  including Drew Chicone's famous Coyote Ugly Series. The Permit volume has 11 patterns, including Baum's Biscayne Bubble Gum and Bauer Crab – both of these patterns will increase your chances of getting a permit to commit! The 14 patterns covered in the Tarpon volume should do the same.

 Chicone gives tiers not only a clear, step by step guide to tying realistic and impressionable flies, but also an inside look into their originator's thought process on how to tie and fish them Interviews with fellow tiers, anglers, and guides compliment the tying process. 

Large photos and instructions are clear and easy to follow for both beginner and seasoned tier. Each volume starts with patterns that are relatively easy to tie, and they lay a good foundation for some of the more complex patterns to come. 

The books are also packed with beautiful stills of tropical scenery and silvery scales to get the blood flowing in anticipation of your next trip! Only this time, better prepared with handfuls of confidence-boosting patterns.

Drew Chicone’s knowledge and passion for tying and fishing really shine through. This 3-volume set is a “must add” to any fly tiers library.

Volumes can be purchased individually or as a set.

Highly recommended.

reviewer: John Miniaci