GEAR: On the Bench—On the Water

by David Klausmeyer


THIS SPRING, LOOK FOR ME LIVING NEAR A RIVER IN MY POP-UP CAMPER. That’s how I spend most of the fishing season: fishing, camping, and tying flies for the evening hatches. I’ve assembled a lot of portable fly tying kits over the years, all with various degrees of success. One of the limiting factors has been the containers: they always seem to break or crack, and none have been waterproof. For this season, I am assembling a new traveling tying kit that I’ll store in the Yeti LoadOut GoBox.

The heavy-duty Yeti LoadOut GoBox might not be bulletproof, but I will be able to toss it into my camper or the back of my truck without fear of it breaking or opening. The roomy inside has a removable tray (ideal for holding a collection of small tools and cements), a removable divider (I’ll leave that in place to prevent things from shifting around), and a “pack attic” in the lid with three zippered compartments (perfect for storing feathers and other materials I want to keep flat). And when I close the lid, I’ll plop my pedestal-base vise on top and start tying!


ALL KNOWLEDGEABLE FLY TIERS HAVE HEARD OF WHITING FARMS. Dr. Tom Whiting has dedicated his life to breeding chickens—and occasionally other birds—to develop premium tying feathers. The results have revolutionized how we think about hackle, and it would be harder even to tie some patterns without these marvelous feathers. This past winter, Dr. Tom showed me the line of feathers he calls Freshwater Streamer Hackle. The contours of these feathers are ideal for tying streamers of all sizes. Freshwater Streamer Hackle comes as packaged full skins—rooster capes, hen capes, and saddles—in all useful colors. If you tie baitfish and larger attractor patterns, you’ll want to check out Whiting Farms’ Freshwater Streamer Hackle.


I DON’T SPEND A LOT OF TIME CASTING NEW RODS. I have almost all the fly rods I need, and they all work adequately well to match the fishing conditions I face at home and when I travel. But I recently ran into Steve Rajeff, the head designer at G.Loomis. He asked if I’d like to cast the new Loomis NRX+ rods. I did, and I liked them very much.

Steve would hold a PhD in fly rod design if one existed, and I quickly get lost when he describes the various graphites, resins, and compound tapers he uses when creating rods. What I can say is that the new Loomis NRX+ trout rods offer effortless, push-button power and great feel at any casting distance. After a cast, they dampen almost instantly. And because these are Loomis rods, you know they are built to the highest standard: single-foot recoil guides, titanium silicon carbide stripper guides, AAA-grade cork grips—the works. The bottom line: The Loomis NRX+ rods are forcing me to ask if I should add another rod to my collection.


CUL DE CANARD HAS TAKEN THE FLY TYING WORLD BY STORM.These wispy feathers add tremendous buoyancy to dry flies, and we occasionally use them for dressing wet flies and nymphs. CDC stems, however, are thin and fragile, making them difficult to wrap as hackle.

Switzerland’s Marc Petitjean is always developing new products to help us tie better flies and catch more fish. Marc is also a leader in using CDC, and he has created a pliers specially designed for wrapping these feathers for hackles. Rather than gripping and pinching the tip of the feather like regular hackle pliers, the Petitjean MP Plier has a spring that gently grasps and locks the CDC in the tool. Now you can wrap the feather around the hook with less chance of snapping. Sure, the MP Plier is just an accessory, but if you’re serious about tying with CDC, you’ll want to add one to your tying bench.

IF YOU TRAVEL FAST, MOVING QUICKLY BETWEEN POOLS ON THE RIVER, you understand the limitations of heavy wading boots and hot waders. Or if you often hop out of the water and into a boat, you know the annoyance of spending all day in wet shoes. The Orvis PRO Approach Shoe might be your solution.

The Orvis PRO Approach Shoe is designed for long hikes, wet wading, and spending time in both the water and boats. This new shoe is constructed with a seamless quick-draining mesh upper covered in an abrasion-resistant fabric and a protective rubber toecap. The lightweight PRO Approach Shoe also features a Michelin Outdoor Extreme rubber sole, which provides 43 percent better traction when navigating river rocks and slippery trail conditions. And when evening rolls around, this new shoe won’t look out of place if you’re walking into a bar after a long day on the water.



BARRY ORD CLARKE HAS WRITTEN FOR THIS MAGAZINE FOR MANY YEARS. He is one of our key authors, a member of the family. In his new book, The Feather Bender’s Flytying Techniques: A Comprehensive Guide to Classic and Modern Trout Flies (Skyhorse Publishing), Barry shows us how to make 28 of his favorite trout flies featuring his terrific instructional photography.

At first blush, using the word comprehensive in the title seemed like an overstatement; after all, it includes directions for tying only 28 flies. But if you study Barry’s book and follow his tips and advice, you will increase your abilities to tie almost any fly. I’m working through the book right now and am applying his techniques to many other patterns I tie. The Feather Bender’s Flytying Techniques should be in the libraries of all serious tiers.