Archive for the ‘gear review’ Category

Feather-Craft “Meat Locker” Fly Box

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

This season I switched all my carp flies into a Feather-Craft “Meat Locker” Fly Box and love it.  A much better system then my usual three or four small boxes and always having the wrong one.

The box is rock solid and easy to open and close.  It has been in boat splash and rain and stays bone dry.  Though what I like about the Meat Locker box most is the foam on the outside of the box.  As I switch flies, I just put the soaked flies on the outside of the box until dry.  A much better system than boat foam that just becomes a collection of unwanted, rusty flies.  Also, if we switch from boat to wading I still have the wet flies with me, in case I want to switch back.

At $29.95 the Meat Locker is a great box, I cannot think of one bad thing to say about it.

Carp fly.

TFO large arbor fly reels

Monday, April 9th, 2012

Jeff sent the following email:  “I really liked that TFO reel that we were using last Sunday. The model number that Dave got off the reel is not making any sense when I try to look it up. What is the size and model number of those TFO fly reels.  Thanks again for the pics. We both had a great time and we both learned a lot.”

I have an actual pile of the Temple Fork Outfitters, Large Arbor Reels and these are the reels Jeff is referring to.

Some of my reels are now over six years old and they have been dropped, stepped on, filled with sand, used in hot weather and bitter cold, the list of abuses could go on and on.  Their guide reels, meaning that they get used and abused day in and day out.

I have never done any repairs or maintenance to these reels and they are all still in service.  They are the perfect guide reel for me.

If I had to nitpick two shortcomings in these reels it would be that they are heavy and ugly.  Though I understand that heavy probably means durable and I wouldn’t trade these reels toughness to make them lighter.  TFO has already fixed the ugly issue.  They don’t make the plain flat gray anymore but now offer the reels in three much sharper looking colors.

Fly fishing rods and reels.

Patagonia Rio Gallegos wader review

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Here’s the first of quite a few gear reviews we’re doing this winter. Patagonia Rio Gallegos Waders review by Kevin Morlock.

Just before this fall’s salmon season I made a big order to Patagonia. It was time to try something new. As you may be able to see from the photo below, I needed some new gear. My waders at this point were more sealer than fabric and the boots were a few days from becoming sandals. But I do need to mention that the old gear had a good and hard life, no major complaints.

Matt and I had a double trip soon after my new gear arrived. Seeing me in them, Matt asked what I thought of the waders. I said they suck! The suspenders don’t have buckles, so I have take off my jacket and then pull the suspenders off my shoulders and then down to my waist when I have to pee. Matt is giving me the “dumb ass” look and when I finish ranting asks if I read the instructions. “Of course I didn’t, they’re waders.”

Matt informed me that they have a clip and slide system for quick, easy and tangle free peeing.

From that moment on I’ve been wearing the best waders I’ve ever owned. At $449 they should be great waders, but again, they are. Throughout a very busy salmon and fall steelhead season, these waders have seen it all.

They fit and look great and are as dry as the day the UPS guy delivered them. They have already stayed dryer longer than my last several pairs. We’ll see how long they can go without seeping seams. At this point I give the Patagonia Rio Gallegos a 9.7 out of 10. The stitching on one of the suspenders started to come loose after only a couple weeks of wear, but my wife Joan fixed that problem in a few minutes. But alas, this does prevent them from getting a perfect 10/10 rating. Several people have asked if the wool stocking liners are keeping my feet toasty compared to unlined neoprene and my answer is no difference.

I also like Patagonia’s direct message about their environmental ethic. They recently sent me an email asking that I NOT purchase anything I don’t need and in return they would commit to producing functional, high quality gear and do their best to repair my old gear whenever possible. If you’re someone that feels that the earth is for quick profits and thoughtless use and recreation, then you might find the Patagonia message annoying, but I personally like it.

If they completely disintegrate next week their rating will drop but I would still call them good waders. I’ve been so pleased with the Rio Gallegos waders that I recently purchased a second pair just to have for when these finally do fall apart.

[editor’s note: I want a pair of these badly but Patagonia doesn’t them in my size: XXL. What’s up with that Patagonia? Why you gotta hate the big man?] The KING Gallegos are where the XXL lives. Thanks Jerry Darkes and Bill Klyn for the correction.

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Orvis Sonic Seam wader review

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

My last pair of waders was the Orvis Pro Guide III. They were super heavy duty, many-layered, reinforced knees, reinforced seat etc. They started to leak in both feet after 14 months. From everything I hear, these days, this is about how long you can expect a pair of waders to last. This seems crazy, but it is what it is.

So I called Orvis and ask them about a warranty claim and they said I should try their relatively new Sonic Seam waders. The person on the phone claimed the welded seams dramatically reduce the incidence of leaks and that “all the guides are using them” and that they are just the greatest, bestest thing since non-catgut leaders. I had checked out these waders previously and thought they looked great for backpacking. They are ultralight, weighing less than 2.5 pounds, and they pack down extremely small into an included compression sack.

But for busting brush? For wearing them literally every day? For putting them through a season climbing in and out of boats? I was skeptical. So they said they would send me a pair for review free of charge and I said great, I’ll check them out.

I like how they fit. I like how they feel: not bulky or restrictive, easy on and easy off, the fabric has a nice “hand.” I don’t like the suspender system. It is really lightweight and not very supportive. There is a stretchy cord sewn into the top of the waders to which the suspenders connect, so tightening the suspenders also tightens the top of the waders, which I don’t like. But again, it’s a super lightweight system and great if saving weight and bulk is your concern. One problem with the construction that I noticed after less than a month of regular use was that the back belt loop started to peel off. No big deal, but kind of disappointing.

The biggest issue didn’t happen until hex season when I was doing some serious bushwhacking. Granted there might have been some metal involved, in fact I’m pretty sure there was some random scraps of metal involved, but I’m walking through the woods in the dark and I stumble over something and it jams me in the shin and I don’t think much about it but when I get back to the car I see that I had ripped a 4-5” gash in the waders, straight through the shin and down into the top of the booty.

While these were extreme circumstances, busting through the woods in the dark and getting really unlucky tripping over some random metal, I’m quite sure that my old waders, the Orvis Pro Guide III, would not have torn. They were super tough. Many, many times thicker than the Sonic Seams.

I suppose the Sonic Seams will hold up better in terms of “natural” leaks. We’ll see. I managed to patch up the tear with a liberal application of the UV cure epoxy that was included with the Sonic Seam waders.

Overall, I’d say if you’re looking for a lightweight, packable, comfortable pair of waders, the Sonic Seams are a great option. If you want something built for extreme conditions, they are probably not the best choice.

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