Reviewed this week
Riverbank CHUKKA boot
SIMMS Riverbank Chukka is a solid, 3-season rubber boot with just the right amount of grid-fleece insulation. I’ve been testing them for 7 months, and not once felt too cold, or too warm in them. The sole performs very well during hikes in muddied areas by offering excellent traction (the TPU heel clip is responsible for torsional rigidity), while the ankle section is built up just enough to provide stability and the right amount of flexibility. The rear features a large pull strap for easy on as well as a chunky rubber prying ledge for easy off.
Overall, a really balanced and functional design – everything about this boot is just right.
Other thoughtful features:
Deep heel cup for shock absorption
4mm self-cleaning multidirectional outdoor traction outsole
Interior, moisture-wicking grid-fleece has an anti-microbial coating to inhibit foot odour
Non-marking for general boat deck wear
SPECTRUM C fly reel
The size 7/8 SPECTRUM C fly reel that I tested comes very close to being a big-game reel. Specs include a large arbor and vented, concave spool surface for optimal line capacity, stacking and strength, a large, machined, one revolution drag knob with numbered and detented settings and an astoundingly powerful drag. Jacks are my go-to species when I have limited time for testing, and after four days, I didn’t have to dial in any more that 35 or 40% of the drag resistance to handle these salt water athletes.
I hand-tested the drag at full capacity and determined that the SPECTRUM C drag is underrated.
I really like the sealed drag system that morphs into a minimalist spindle housing, thwarting any dirt or debris. In the off chance that debris does enter the system, cleaning is accomplished in a snap due to the streamlined interior design.
Another great feature is the quick pop-off (or pop-on) spool that rests on a rubber gasket.
The entire SPECTRUM family features Sage’s exclusive SCS Drag package tuned per size to match fishing applications, and Sage’s one revolution drag knob for quick adjustment and reliable, consistent drag pressure. If you’re searching for a reel to balance out a modern fly rod, the entire SPECTRUM series deserves a detailed look. Series ranges from 3/4, 5/6, 7/8 and 9/10.
This baseline SPECTRUM is one of the better budget reels released in 2018. Some anglers are partial to more substantial reels – this model is right for them - and it’s offered a price that’s hard to beat.
Easy conversion from left- to right-hand retrieve.
Bonefish fly line
I gave a ‘thumbs up’ to every single fly line that I tested in the last 12 months, and I realized lately that one of the biggest differences among them is that some - the specialty tapers, especially, and even more so with salt water lines - take a little time to get used to. Not so with Scientific Anglers AMPLITUDE Bonefish Smooth: this line is a crowd pleaser straight out of the box (it’s built with a medium-length head for line control and optimal casting and fishing at 60-80 feet). It’s well balanced, and I found the head taper and length to be an ideal match that exceled at delivering delicate presentations to really skittish fish. This line is the rare salt water equivalent to those fresh water lines that have the word “finesse” stamped on the packaging.
Scientific Anglers tricked out this line with the AST slickness additive, which really helps the line sail through guides. The line also sports a 3-colour system that helps you to determine what is off of the rod tip versus what’s piled at your feet on the casting deck.
I found this on the Scientific Anglers website, “A day of bonefishing will either be the most fun you’ve had with a fly rod or the most frustrating day of your life. Take some of the chance out of the equation with the Amplitude Smooth Bonefish,” and this neatly sums up what this line is all about. If you’ve been having difficulty getting fishy attention on the flats, this line is very worthy of your consideration.
Bonus: it’s also an excellent line selection if you happen to be targeting permit.
Built on a very stiff, no-tangle core for tropical conditions.