fly fishing sport fishing freshwater fishing
Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


Top Equipment For 2004 6th February

I have recently returned from attending two three day fly fishing shows in the United States where I was warmly welcomed by my fellow anglers. The first show in Marlborough Massachusetts was quite well attended, despite the temperatures which with the added wind chill factor were often minus 40 degrees F. On the last day of the Marlborough show the organisers were competing with the Patriots Football team who were playing in the Super Bowl semi final but still a good number of anglers attended the show. The following Thursday I travelled with Tom Dorsey chief designer at the Thomas and Thomas company for a 4 hour drive from Greenfield Massachusetts down to Somerset New Jersey for another three day fly fishing show. Where again despite the temperatures being way below zero it was very well attended with more booths and a much bigger audience. All those attending were able to meet some of the top stars of fresh and saltwater fly fishing at the various seminars and fly tying demonstrations.

On the exhibition floor visitors were able to see many new items of equipment available for 2004 and meet with the top rod designers, engineers and guides. On the Thomas and Thomas stand I was amazed at the amount of interest in double handed rods and the high standard of questions asked by the visitors when seeking information about the company's rod range. Many of those visiting the T&T booth also came along to talk about their fishing and seeking knowledge about a forthcoming fishing trip they have planned. It was extremely nice meeting many of my readers and listeners.

New Fly Fishing Reel

Engineer's David Gilmore Snr and David Jnr who build the Classic Inter Coastal Series of Gilmore Reels were kept very busy in their booth. Over three days they answered hundreds of questions about their direct drive and anti-reverse reels. There are three models the X 360 is the smallest reel in the series, fitted with the standard arbour it makes the perfect reel for bonefish or sea trout. The X 400 is the reel for that new 10 weight when targeting that big permit or pike. The X425 is the big boy of the series. It's the model to use when hunting the tarpon, sharks and sailfish. It will take 280 yards of 30lb backing. The caged assembly makes these reels extremely rigid and ready for the toughest fight. The self-lubricating dual disc drag system has been designed to handle long high speed runs. After field testing one of the Gilmore reels both in salt and freshwater I will let you know my results. What I will say about these reels are the designers have put a lot of thought into the design and construction, using only the best quality materials. Why not a look at the Gilmore Reels web site or E-mail

Revolutionary New Wading Boot

I suppose the general design of wading and walking boots have been around for many years and in my lifetime I didnít expect to see any dramatic changes or anything dramatically new in angling. Today it's a different story. At a recent meeting with Doug Cummins President of the Royal Wulff products at the Marlborough Massachusetts fly fishing show Doug showed me a pair of Korkers Convertible wading boots. It's an all in one boot for hiking, wading and boating. No doubt like me you have two or more pairs of wading boots. One pair with felt soles for use when wading on gravel river beds and short spells of boat angling. Another pair will no doubt have steel studs on felt soles for those greasy slippery bottoms we find on northern spate rivers. Neither of these boots are really good for hiking and can quickly get worn out.

Some days we anglers hike long distances up and down rivers or along the seashore in search of feeding fish, perhaps only wading for a short session. This usually means wearing steel studded felt soled boots not suited for walking on pebble beaches and river banks. Today we can have one pair of boots with five different types of soles. Gone are the days when we need two pairs of wading boots. We anglers have certainly moved into the Twenty First Century with the Korkers Convertible wading boots and interchangeable soles from the United States.

Korker's Convertible that is lightweight with a conventional hiking boot style with cordura and leather uppers and a moulded rubber sole that are very comfortable to wear. Changing soles is a very quick and simple operation, with no tools needed taking about thirty seconds to change from one to another. This job can be easily done in the darkness. Changing soles couldnít be easier, the soles slip into a recess in the toe of the boot then held by a gripper pad on the arch finally they are secured with a Velcro strap. Without doubt they are the all-in one wading boot that will make all other wading boots obsolete.

Double Handed Rods On The Beach

One of the big growth industries in fly fishing is probably the growth of double handed rods by shore anglers. Salmon anglers in the past would no doubt be quite shocked to see how these rods have progressed over the years and their popularity by shore fishers. As we all know, the use of the double handed rod as a sport fishing piece of equipment has been around for hundreds of years. The River Spey in Scotland first gave its name to a style of casting used by anglers fishing with the long double handed rods on that river. Today it's not only salmon anglers who are using these weapons, the long rod is being used with great effect on the shoreline with anglers catching big striped bass, bluefish, redfish and even tarpon. On the recommendation of several very experienced shore anglers fishing the east coast of the United States I have just got myself a Thomas and Thomas 14 foot 5 piece 9 weight that I will be using this year around the coastline of the UK for bass and pollock fishing. Shore fishing with a nine foot fly rod is OK when it's a flat calm sea with little wind. It's a different story when there are two foot waves crashing on the shore with a 15 knot wind blowing in your face. It's under these conditions when a double handed rod will prove a good investment. There are several advantages in using a double handed rod. You can hold the rod high keeping the line clear of the waves crashing on the shore, you will keep the fly in the fishing zone for a longer period and with a simple roll cast and one false cast you will be shooting over a 100 foot of line with a little practice. Over the coming months I will let you know how my 14 foot Thomas and Thomas 9 weight helps me catch more fish along with the type of lines I will find best when fishing the ocean.

Martin James Fishing