The vibe at this year’s International Fly Tackle Dealer show in Reno, Nevada, was more upbeat than in recent years—so much so that the buzz on the floor almost matched the clatter of the slot machines in the casino next door. As always, there were big companies with many new products, but the smaller producers introduced the most interesting and innovative items. There was much to see, lots to talk about and, best of all, plenty of gear to try out. Here are the 10 best new products.

Best fishing tool: Larege Loop Scissor Forceps

Best fishing tool: Larege Loop Scissor Forceps

Finally, six-inch forceps for anglers with large fingers or wearing gloves. StreamWorks’ Large Loop Scissor Forceps are loaded with special features for fly anglers. Besides oversized finger and thumb loops, they sport micro-serrated scissors for cutting heavy mono, Dacron or braid line. There’s also an effective de-barber for hooks of all sizes, and powerful locking jaws for hook removal. More info: Stream Works

Best reel: Islamorada

Best reel: Islamorada

Saracione’s Islamorada saltwater reel was designed for big, fast gamefish. A large lever on the back allows you to instantly tighten or loosen the multi-disc, carbon-fibre drag system, which is treated with saltwater-impervious grease for silky smooth action. Available in three sizes to accommodate line weights 8, 10 and 12, this reel may be ideal for saltwater use, but steelheaders will also find it perfect for heavy spey rods. More info: Saracione Manufacturing Co.

Best waders: Guide Weld

Best waders: Guide Weld

These economical breathable waders from Adamsbuilt feature a five-layer seat and double-articulated knees for greater mobility, with inside stitching for strength and durability. The Teflon-coated microfibre outer fabric, meanwhile, allows for stain resistance and comfort. Other features include a microfleece hand-warmer pocket and a large storage pocket with water-resistant zipper. These are great waders at a great price. More info: AdamsBuilt

Best tying material: UV2

Best tying material: UV2

Spirit River’s UV2 tying materials are dyed to take advantage of both UVF (ultraviolet fluorescent) and UVR (ultraviolet reflectance) light rays. The UVF materials are visible at great distances, even underwater, while the UVR offerings are highly visible to fish. Combining these elements results in flies that fish find irresistible. The line includes dubbing, furs, feathers and yarns in a wide variety of colours. More info: Spirit River

Best vest alternative: Swing-Back Pack

Best vest alternative: Swing-Back Pack

If your heavy vest causes neck and shoulder pain, look no further than Clear Creek’s Swing-Back Pack. This lightweight, shoulder-sling bag offers backpack-style comfort, and is roomy enough to hold fly boxes, tippet spools and other necessary gear. You can organize the interior mesh pockets with the shelf divider, while the exterior pockets can hold your lunch, water bottles and even a lightweight rainjacket. More info: Clear Creek

Best rod accessory: Rod Clip

Best rod accessory: Rod Clip

Every fly angler knows what it’s like to stand in a river and juggle a rod while tying on a fly or adding new tippet material. Taking care of that problem is the Smith Creek Rod Clip, a U-shaped length of marine-grade aluminum filled with high-density foam. Simply clip it to your vest, slip your rod into the foam holder, and both your hands are free for the task at hand. More info: Smith Creek

Best tying tools: Aluminum Tying Tools

Best tying tools: Aluminum Tying Tools

Rising has long been known for producing inventive tools for fly fishing. New this year is a complete set of truly innovative fly-tying tools made in the U.S. The line includes a whip finisher, threader, bodkin, dubbing loop and shepherd hook, as well as hackle pliers and angled tweezers. The non-traditional machined aluminum handles make these tools light and comfortable to hold. More info: Rising

Best line storage: Switchbox

Best line storage: Switchbox

Changing and storing fly lines can be a slow, awkward process. Not so with OmniSpool’s Switchbox. A palm-sized plastic box with a spool inside, you simply insert the fly line end into the spool, attach the removable handle and wind away. Additionally, the LineCarebox attachment lets you clean and coat your fly line while winding it into the Switchbox. Say goodbye to tangles when cleaning your line. More info: OmniSpool

Best line: Specialty Series Pike

Best line: Specialty Series Pike

Throwing huge flies to northern pike (and muskies and lake trout) can be a real challenge, but not with Rio’s weight-forward floating Pike line. It features an unusually short, heavy front taper and a body that’s powerful enough to turn over even the bulkiest, heaviest flies. The XS Technology provides a slick coating for greater shooting, and the line weighs slightly more than standard offerings to aid in loading big fast-action rods. It’s available in line weights 6, 7, 8 and 9. More info: Rio

Best two-handed rods: Five-Piece Spey

Best two-handed rods: Five-Piece Spey

Spey rods usually come in three or four pieces, but C.F. Burkheimer is offering a series of five-piece models for line weights 8, 9 and 10, from 12' 1" to 14' 8" in length. The blanks are available in deep cedar green, cobalt blue and translucent black. These rods are powerful enough to throw long casts and lift heavy sinking heads, yet still telegraph the subtlest strike. Plus, they break down small enough to carry onto an airplane. More info: C.F. Burkheimer