Reviewed this week

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InTouch Skagit Trout Spey fly line

My first impression on casting RIO's InTouch Skagit Trout Spey line was just how fun it was.

Early spring trout fishing means swinging and stripping big, heavy streamers in high, fast water with a two-handed trout spey rod. The powerful taper is perfectly designed to turn over these heavier flies with a sink tip for getting down to the fish quickly. The short, aggressive front taper made all my two handed spey casts easy, fast, and efficient. Great in tight spots.

This line was designed for swinging and stripping and is not suitable for nymphing or delicate, stealthy casts with dry flies (I went so far as to experiment with this line for bass fishing: it turned over big deer hair poppers and heavy clousers with ease).

Built on RIO's ultra low stretch ConnectCore lines with AGENTX technology, these lines are super slick, buoyant, durable and super sensitive to subtle takes.

Other great features include:

Integrated seamless running line avoids the loop to loop connection of head to running line for a smooth flow of line through rod guides.

Tri-color line with easy to see reference points that show the most efficient loading point of the line.

Can be used on two-handed and single-handed rods (check grain weight to match rod size to line).

The InTouch Skagit Trout Spey lines are 100' in total length and come in these grains and weights:

- 225 grains, 13.5' head, 2wt Spey (or for use on 5wt Single-Hand)

- 275 grains, 15' head, 3wt Spey (or for use on 6wt Single-Hand)

- 325 grains, 16' head, 4wt Spey (or  for use on 7wt Single-Hand)

- 375 grains, 17' head 5wt Spey (or for use on 8wt Single-Hand)

reviewer: John Miniaci


GRANDE fly reel

With backing, line and leader spooled up, I fastened the GRANDE 789 to a few different rods in order to test for balance and it partnered perfectly with a 9’ 8wt Sage IGNITER.

The Grande’s frame design allows for quick and easy disassembly/reassembly via a thumbscrew spool release. This is especially useful for cleaning when the reel is set down on a riverbed to release a fish or to swap spools.

The knurled drag knob is 1-1/4” in diameter and is easily accessed. Despite the powerful drag (this is a big-game reel, after all), the design also thoughtfully incorporates a palming surface. The thumb handle has been ergonomically shaped and I found the handle rolled into my grip positively without searching for it.

Stripping line from the Grande even on the lowest drag setting still retained enough inherent drag to prevent any bird nesting.

The seasoned angler will enjoy the balance and smoothness of this reel on their 9’ rod and appreciate its aesthetics and ease of maintenance. Novice anglers will simply love the reel for how smoothly it lets line out with no nesting issues and how silky the bearings run on the arbor.

The Grand reel is a work horse reel with pleasing aesthetics that is easy to maintain, easy to set, and beautifully anodized to resist abuse.

Price point considered, the Redington Grande steps up the game with a design that is stylish and durable.

Bonus: the reel comes with a padded canvas pouch with a Velcro closure that is large enough to wrap up and over a rods handle - handy for added protection during boat travel.

reviewer: Greg George


ExStream Core bottom

Spring has sprung, and that means glacial runoff. It’s the time of year when you can start to scale down on thermal wear, yet still need some degree of insulation: the Simms ExStream Core bottom hits the sweet spot during that time of the season.

All day next-to-skin warmth is the big payoff derived from the soft, brushed, anti-odor fabric. Another hurdle to staying warm in any garment is keeping moisture away from the skin, and this bottom’s moisture-wicking fabric excels at that.

Other thoughtful features: built with ankle cuffs that integrate with waders, they are compact/crushable and can be added to a backpack or fishing vest in case temperatures take a slight plunge.

Highly recommended.