2018's best new fly tackle

From the tying bench to the side of the stream, our annual roundup of the hottest new fly-fishing gear

These 10 new products debuted at the International Fly Tackle Dealers show, and caught my attention as perfectly suited for Canadian fly anglers. And for conventional gear, check out 2018’s best new lures, rods and reelsaccessories and gear for women

Best reel



Abel hopes to mirror the success of its Model SDS reel for saltwater anglers with the new freshwater Model SDF reel in sizes 4/5, 5/6 and 6/7. Along with a large arbor and convertible retrieve, the reel features virtually no start-up inertia in its stainless steel/carbon fluoropolymer drag system. And like all Abel reels, it’s available in numerous colours and patterns. No wonder it earned best freshwater reel honours at 2017’s International Fly Tackle Dealers show.

Abel Reels, (970) 249-0606; www.abelreels.com

Best for kids



The future of fly fishing depends on attracting new anglers, including kids, and that’s where Redington’s Minnow Combo comes in. The outfit incudes a four-piece, 8½-foot 5-weight rod, a Crosswater reel, RIO Mainstream weight-forward floating line and a nine-foot leader, all in a Cordura case. With its shorter length and smaller handle, this smooth-casting medium-action rod is ideal for young fly anglers—all at a reasonable price.

Redington, 1-800-253-2538; www.redington.com

Best fly-tying tool



Rising always offers innovative, well-built products, and these scissors are no different—they’re so cleverly designed they belong in every fly tyer’s hands. One blade is smooth while the other has micro-serrations to precisely trim everything from deer hair to slippery materials with ease. Coloured black to avoid glare, Stellar Scissors also feature large handle loops to accommodate even the biggest fingers.

Rising, (801) 582-1010; www.risingfish.net

Best fly box



Huge streamers and articulated flies are getting more popular every season, and to hold these monsters, look no further than Tacky’s latest innovation. Featuring a clear polycarbonate lid and magnetic closure, the Predator is certainly big, measuring 11 inches long, six inches wide and 1½ inches deep. Silicone slits hold the flies’ big hooks tightly in place, while five wishbone attachments keep the long wings and tails from tangling.

Tacky Fly Fishing, (801) 610-9928; www.tackyflyfishing.com

Best wading boots



Female anglers have long waited for a wading boot designed just for them, and Korkers aims to deliver with the Women’s Darkhorse. It features the same BOA M2 lacing as Korkers men’s boot, making for easy, one-handed tightening. Made with tough, abrasion-resistant materials and stitching, it also sports a moulded toecap and EVA midsole for comfort and stability, OmniTrax interchangeable soles and an internal drainage system.

Korkers, (503) 723-7100; www.korkers.com

Best hooks



Stealth is shaking up the world of fly-fishing hooks with uniquely simple styles and packaging. Made from black, high-carbon Japanese steel, Stealth hooks come in packs of 25 or boxes of 100. Now on offer are three styles: the Dry ‘D’ Series in 10 sizes, Nymph ‘N’ series in 11 sizes and Curved ‘C’ series in six sizes. To stay organized, Stealth’s Hook Vault holds 16 hook boxes in laser-cut foam sleeves.

Stealth Fly Products, 1-801-472-6058; www.stealth.fish

Best waders



Simms has incorporated many of the features from its top-of-the-line G4 waders into the new G3 Guide Stockingfoot, including four-layer Gore-Tex Pro Shell fabric in the lower part of the wader and three layers in the upper. Other features include a flip-out pouch for organizing tools and leader spools, a built-in wading belt, hand-warmer pockets and neoprene stockingfeet designed for lasting comfort.

Simms Fishing Products, 1-888-585-3570; www.simmsfishing.com

Best leader material



Big Nasty is a new abrasion-resistant, medium-stiff nylon leader material designed for casting large, heavy or air-resistant flies, and coping with strong winds. The six-foot leaders have a powerful butt section with a hand-tied loop, and they taper down to 10-, 12-, 16- and 20-pound-test tippets. For anglers who tie their own leaders, the material is available on 30-yard spool in those same four sizes.

Rio Products, 1-800-553-0838; www.rioproducts.com

Best accessory



No matter where you’re fishing, having the ability to quickly switch rods for the situation at hand is a decided benefit, and that’s where the Quikshot Rod Holder comes in. It attaches to your vest or backpack, and uses a strap with a magnetic closure to securely hold a fully-rigged rod and reel in place while you fish with another outfit. That way, you can switch back and forth between two outfits, such as a streamer rod and a dry-fly rod, in mere seconds. Fishpond, 1-866-347-4766; www.fishpondusa.com

Saskatchewan’s Wayne Phillips is a long-time Outdoor Canada contributor.


Best tying material



Working with Florida fishing guide and fly tier David Mangum, Cascade Crest has developed a synthetic tying material that undulates and swims seductively in the water. Tapered like a baitfish, the seven-inch-long Dragon Tail comes in 11 different colours. You can tie several different styles of flies by simply adding a streamer brush, producing big, nasty offerings that few bass, lake trout or pike will ignore.

Cascade Crest Tools, 1-800-528-0001; www.cascadecrest.com