(Jonathan Kantor)

The Fin Crowd

To land the big ones, you have to go deep. Into the wilds, that is.

Kent Black

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Fly-fishing truism number 307: It’s getting crowded out there. If crossing lines with kooks and getting your favorite hole hammered by beer-swamped driftboats is not your favorite way to commune with nature, it’s probably time to pack your rods and head for the backcountry. Luckily, more and more companies are crafting lightweight, highly packable fishing gear and accessories. Here’s some of the best.

A. The ingenious RIVERTRAIL GEAR MOUNTAIN BIKE FLY ROD RACK mounts on your front fork, secured by the wheel’s quick-release lever. The rack keeps your equipment at your fingertips in case you spy a promising rise while on a ride. ($30; 866-758-9830,

B. WILLIAM JOSEPH‘s 1,800-cubic-inch DRIFTER will comfortably tote your waders, rods, and other gear for a day of bushwhacking along a tucked-away creek. ($125; 801-978-2207,

C. The SAGE 583-4 DS2 rod shines on short to medium casts with small flies—a typical scenario on backcountry brooks and alpine lakes. The four-section, five-weight rod breaks down into a nicely portable package. ($265; 800-533-3004,

D. Machined from a single piece of aircraft-grade aluminum and with a rosewood handle, the ABEL TR-2 fly reel, weighing 4.3 ounces, boasts a fully enclosed internal click-drag system for greater control of line resistance. ($235; 866-511-7444,

E. The OOBE OTTER HAT will shade your face and neck from blazing rays, and if the cinch cord doesn’t keep it where it belongs when that monster takes your fly, rest easy: It floats. ($40; 800-955-6623,

F. Polarized lenses on ACTION OPTICS’ BOCA sunglasses cut the blinding glare that bounces off the water so you can see where your fly lands. The hydrophobic coating causes spray thrown up by your mighty catch to roll right off. ($215; 800-654-6428,

G. Before fussing with your leader, temporarily park your rod on your chest with the Velcro utility tab on EX OFFICIO‘s new BAJA LITE LS shirt. ($79; 800-644-7303,

H.You’ll stay dry under PATAGONIA‘s 17-ounce DEEP WADING JACKET, thanks to its durable, water-repellent ripstop nylon. Clip your net to the D-ring on the back. ($185; 800-638-6464,

I. Fishing without your favorite vest might be as unthinkable as leaving behind your lucky hat, but the minimalist ORVIS MINI CHESTPACK offers all the features you need. A little larger than a hero sandwich, it carries a box of flies, a tippet spool, and a pair of pliers. ($29; 800-548-9548,

J. At just two pounds three ounces (size large), the GORE-TEX LIGHTWEIGHT WADERS from SIMMS are the lightest on the market. With reinforced lamination on the front of the legs, 3mm neoprene booties, and a flip-out bib pocket, the only thing missing is the bulk. ($199; 866-585-3575,

K. What, no felt? Don’t fret—you’ll still stick to slimy riverbeds when wearing the new SIMMS AQUASTEALTH boots. The soles are covered with a water-friendly version of Stealth, the crag-grabbing rubber made by climbing-shoe company Five Ten. ($149; 866-585-3575,

From Outside Magazine, Aug 2003
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Lead Photo: Jonathan Kantor

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