May 24, 2011

Backpacking + Flyfishing

After being forced to watch what seemed like hours of cutthroat trout absolutely devouring an evening rise while we were backpacking in Yosemite, I've decided not to let another opportunity such as that pass me by so I've been looking for good backpacking FF setups. My conditions are the following:

1. Has to be a 9'ft rod but would settle for 8'6" if necessary.

2. Has to be at least a #4WT. Nothing against the wet-noodle guys and fingerling brook trout fishermen out there, but I just don't like to fish with a cocktail straw.

3. Must pack down into at least maximum carryon length (~35", I think)

4. Can't cost an arm and a leg, less than $300 total.

5. Isn't Tenkara. Again, not my steez, but nothing against those guys. However, naming all your flies something weird and Japanese-y is exactly as weird as those kids who watched a lot of Anime in college and only ate ramen -- REAL RAMEN -- from the only Japanese grocery store in town.

6. Ideally, weighs less than 16 oz, total.

Here's what I'm looking at so far:

Rods (I'm assuming these are all in the 4-6 oz. range)

Cabela's Stowaway -- $139.00

Orvis Frequent Flyer --$225.00

L.L. Bean Double L Travel Rod -- $250.00


Now, this was the hard part because reels aren't necessarily light and the ones that are are basically made out of unicorn bones and are priced accordingly. Given that I don't have a ton to spend, the tradeoff between price and weight is a fine balance here. 

The obvious choice here to begin with is the Orvis Battenkill bar stock, both on price and weight (it's $90.00 for a 4.2 oz). The only downside is it's a super "clicky" reel which I don't particularly like. 

Okuma SLV -- On price alone ($59.00) it seems like a worthwhile choice. 4.8 oz. 

Tibor Spring Creek -- Supposedly the best reels out there and it shows. Nearly $400 bucks. Included just for reference. 


The image of the fly fisherman with a billion doodads hanging from an overstuffed vest is common, however, the more I fish, the less I feel like I need. Here are some possibilities.

Taking a cue from MAWOI I'm considering trying a big chalk bag as a stand-in for my chest pack when weight and size are serious considerations. 

I like this one from Metolious. It has a clear pocket on the back for things like a license, maybe a some tippet spools or spare leaders...who knows. 

The site called BackpackFlyfishing has a custom solution that looks pretty handy. At $35.00 however, I'm not sure it's worth more or functions better than anything else. It does have a foam drying patch and what looks to be a specific place for flotant. 

Cabela's has a little chest pack that's currently on sale for less than $7.00 that looks like it could be worthwhile. It's also ugly as sin, but that, I think, is because it's also probably leftover stock from 1990. 


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  2. I know this is a really old post should take a look a Elkhorn rods. Either the 5x or Ulralight Pack series. Great rods.

  3. Ya know you're not the first person to recommend those to me. I guess now I should take a harder look.