Apr 19, 2014

Fishpond Slippery Rock Wading Staff: Gear Review

Step into the flow with confidence.

As a fairly new Angler, I find myself asking the same questions quite often, why pay X amount for certain fly fishing items, are they really worth it - is this product really worth the price tag and what makes it different than the rest? Product descriptions alone only get you so far, sometimes leaving out important details and YouTube videos can often feel long and drawn out, I know - I've made a few. All I can provide you are my own personal experiences and hope you make the right choice for you.

For this product review: It began last year at the 2013 IFTD / I-Cast show in Las Vegas. While visiting the show and using a generic brand X mono pod to film some of the show I spotted the Fishpond wading staff, it just so happened to have a camera mount under the cork, not something a whole lot of people realize but a feature that could appeal for those wishing to do a little filming or point and shoot but would rather not have a camera around your neck, or worse stuffed away in a pocket during that money shot. What makes this staff different than most camera mono sticks is that they are sealed where the Fishpond wading staff breaks down into 3 sections. This is important while spending the day on the river and these sections allow you to drain any water still inside the shaft where as a closed unit, like my brand X mono pod retains water after being submerged. That won't happen twice...

"A good wading staff is essential equipment on many rivers."

Don't forget the little things.
GoPro tripod adapter
The boys at Fishpond where able to hook me up and I was glad to test this staff on the Sandy, Deschutes and my most recent adventure the San Juan River this past March. Now some of you may not need or even use a staff, but I found it quite handy to have on hand while trekking into new parts of the river I was unfamiliar with, both for support in high currents and to feel for larger rocks in murkier water. Not to mention the added bonus of the camera mount.

The biggest thing I found this staff had going for was three things: Paint, Cork and Mount.

Instead of the a traditional black or chrome stick they opted for a green speckled logo look. See pictures below you'll see what I mean. I would say, most people either love it or hate it. Quite frankly, it grew on me as I'm usually a "dressed in black" kinda guy but overall the paint represented Fishpond really well.

I found the cork knob quite comfortable to walk with while walking the trails along the San Juan River and the banks of the Deschutes and Sandy. If I needed a firmer grip I had the option to use the foam handle just under the knob.

The mount itself is nothing special. Standard tripod threads and will attach to any standard camera. GoPro's will need a tripod adapter and the JVC Adixxion that i'm testing attach's beautifully with the option to mount vertical or horizontally (depending on how you want to view the screen). However, I found that this feature alone made it a A+ feature in my book and one of the biggest reasons I would recommend this particular wading staff to anyone else like minded or in the market to film or shoot stills on the water.

Fishpond Slippery Rock Wading Staff

Product Features - 
  • For general wading and hiking support 
  • Advanced locking adjustment system 
  • Oversized cork knob for control and comfort 
  • Padded, adjustable neoprene strap 
  • Foam handle for comfort in cold water 
  • Integrated Combi-tip twist mechanism switches between a rubber tip and tungsten carbide tip 
  • Extends from 29.5” to maximum safe extended length of 57”

Back to my original question. Is the product worth it? If your looking for something with style, quality and purpose? Than the answer would have to be yes. Are their other options on the market, of course. However I hope my brief insight on this product will help guide you in making the right decision for you. 

Remember, whenever wading: Be safe, be happy, Fish On!
Tip: Get a Gear Keeper Retractable Wading Staff Tether or build your own for this product.

Mike Prine - Webmaster / PR
Gorge Fly Shop

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Apr 16, 2014

Salmon Fly Hatch on the Deschutes River, Oregon


Worth the Wait
Few things in the Northwest get trout fisherman more excited than the Salmonfly hatch on the Deschutes River. Anyone who hasn’t experienced this event is missing out on some of the best dry fly fishing around. The draw is the size of the bugs and the willingness of even the wiliest of fish to crush them on the surface. If you like fishing with big, easy-to-see dry flies while casting to aggressive wild trout than this is the hatch for you!

Hatch timing is pretty consistent, with the hatch beginning in mid-May and continuing into the first week of June. Both Salmonflies and Goldenstones hatch during this time of year along with the occasional Green Drake and PMD mayfly. The warming water temperatures start the hatch which begins down river and works its way up river over the course of a couple of weeks.

Stoneflies spend most of their life underwater in the nymph stage, upwards towards two years. Once they reach maturity the annual migration towards shore begins. Once reaching the safety of shore they begin to molt into their adult form - this is where it gets interesting for angler. Being notoriously clumsy, the bugs fall or are blown into the water from their perches in the grass and bush. The trout have followed the bugs towards the shore, and lie and wait for this windfall. The takes are often explosive, as the Redsides gorge themselves on the short opportunity of the hatch. The hatch is of vital importance to the trout as the protein rich bugs provide them with the necessary calories to recover from the spawning that just occurred in the river. Typically, when you fish the hatch, you work the bank lines, under the alder trees and anywhere you can anticipate Redsides lying in wait. Note, you may not see a lot of rising fish, but as long as there are Stoneflies in the grass the fish know they are around. Fish likely looking water and you will find opportunistic risers.

The best action is found from Pelton Dam to Sherars Falls but there is also good access on the lower access road. For most anglers the Warm Springs Boat ramp off HWY 26 is the first access point. There is also good foot access at Mecca Flats, Trout Creek, South Junction, and up and down the road from Maupin.

The stretches from Warm Springs to Trout Creek (the upper day float section of the river) and down lower near Maupin are easily the most crowded sections of the river during this time. Below Trout Creek the river experiences less pressure and the fishing is better (though it can still get busy as outfitters come from all over the state to fish the hatch!) The float from Trout Creek to Harpham Flat is thirty five miles through the wild and scenic Deschutes River Canyon. There's only one way in and it's downhill in a drift boat or a raft. This section of river is best left to the experienced boater, as the notorious Whitehorse rapids is class III+ and plays gatekeeper, letting only the most experienced boaters through, taking down a boat or two a season! The scenery in this section is breathtaking, and the camping is second to none. If you like expansive, high desert scenery and a little adventure to your fishing this is the place to be and is considered by many as a bucket list trip and on the must do list for many anglers.

Recommended equipment:

I don’t do much indicator fishing this time of year. Basically the bubble rods go away until after the hatch no matter how slow it gets. This is dry fly time. I like a nine foot five weight with a weight forward floating line, six weights have their place as well. My set up is a Winston BIIIX 590/690, Sage Click reels (may require cutting some running line off to fit), Airflow exceed fly lines. It can get windy and we are making dry fly presentations so a heavy leader is going to be needed to turn over the uber large stonefly patterns, I like 1x-3x depending on how windy, so put the 4 and 5x stuff away until the caddis hatch.

Fly Selection:

No one pattern works better than any other but my favorites are the Chubby Chernoble and the Norm Woods Special. Whatever you do bring a wide variety of Salmon fly and golden stone patterns. Make sure your variety includes smaller and bigger. Often a smaller size will get the rise. Speaking of the rise, let them have it for a full count before lifting your rod.

Deschutes River Guided Float Trip Options

Day Trips:

We offer guided trips in the “Day Stretch” from Warm Springs to Trout Creek. This is an all day, 10 mile float that has lots of great water and some of the biggest fish in the river. The pressure is highest in the section but the fishing can be outstanding. A good guide can be invaluable during the hatch on this section, as his or her intimate knowledge will keep you on the fish as the hatch progresses and fish get moved around by the pressure.

Camp Trips

Camp trips are generally 3-4 days from Trout Creek to Harpham Flats. These are mobile camps that move down the river; a camp host or "Bagger" is used to secure, set up and break down the camps. No work is involved for the clients, except for the task of fishing and eating all the food we bring down for you! The accommodations include roomy tents with cots and pads, and a luxurious dining tent where you can enjoy your hors d'oeuvres, meals and after dinner cocktails away from the elements!

We have limited remaining openings this year in May and early June. Call for available dates.

Sam Sickles


"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Apr 15, 2014

G. Loomis Xpeditor Program is Back!

Back by popular demand!

Good News!

G. loomis has been hand crafting fine rods for decades and they have earned their place on the fishing scene with technology such as GLX, NRX and Pro4X. In recent times the warranty has been a bit of confusion for buyers and dealers alike. Many times we brought up this issue in round table discussions and our friends at G. Loomis have answered the need of a simple, uncomplicated system to get you back to fishing as quickly as possible when trouble occurs. Many of you loyal G. Loomis fans may remember the Xpeditor service of days past.

It's back and it's simple! 

If you break your rod call G. Loomis. They send you out a new rod. Put your broken rod back in the tube your new rod came in and slap the return shipping label on it and hand it back to the delivery guy. Yes, I skipped a couple details such as $$$ but you can read all the details yourself without the need for me to rewrite them.

I copied and Highlighted the details of the Xpeditor Program for you

Xpeditor Program Details - Courtesy of G. Loomis

G. Loomis Xpeditor Service
(Limited to US and Canada)

A broken rod will never keep you off the water again. With the G. Loomis Xpeditor Service you can get a brand new rod to replace a broken one, delivered to your doorstep (anywhere in the US) in as little as two days. Our Xpeditor Service will get you back on the water fishing in days, not weeks!
Why should you use the Xpeditor Service:
HASSLE FREE, just send in your rod and get a new one – no questions asked!
• Always get a brand NEW rod, never repaired
FAST - Rod ships within 1 business day, if in stock
NO WAITING – Your rod ships immediately, no waiting for your broken rod to reach the factory, no waiting on the processing and then shipping it back which can take up to two or three weeks
CONVENIENT– use the tube provided, you do not have to run around town looking for packaging to send your rod in (cost to purchase a tube can run $15)
NO SHIPPING COSTS to the consumer, reuse the tube the new rod came in, slap the provided label on the tube and hand it back to the driver

Here is how the service works:

• Contact Customer Service at 877/577-0600 and request the Xpeditor Service
• Tell them the model number and rod series from the logo on the rod
• If we no longer offer the model that you broke, we will replace it with the closest comparable model from our current product line
• Pending stock availability, we will ship your rod via standard ground delivery the next business day
• When you receive your new rod, simply remove it from the shipping tube, place the broken rod into that same tube, ensure both ends are sealed and affix the enclosed, pre-paid shipping label on the outside of the tube (Please Note: Return shipping label service is not available in Canada)
• Once you hand off the package to your delivery agent, you’re done and back on the water

COST: (US Only)
Ground Shipments
$75 Fee USD - Regular graphite, GL2, GL3, IM6
$100 Fee USD – GL4, IMX, GLX, NRX, all blends not identified by
Material type
2nd Day Air, Alaska or Hawaii shipments
$100 Fee USD - Regular graphite, GL2, GL3, IM6
$125 Fee USD – GL4, IMX, GLX, NRX, all blends not identified by
Material type

COST: (Canadian)
Ground Shipments
$100 Fee Canadian - Regular graphite, GL2, GL3, IM6
$125 Fee Canadian – GL4, IMX, GLX, NRX, all blends not identified by
Material type

Please Note:
• If you fail to return the complete broken rod within 30 days of receiving your replacement, you authorize G. Loomis to charge your credit card the full MSRP of the replacement rod in addition to the fee already paid for the Xpeditor Service
• Rods covered by the discontinued Wildcard program may be sent in for a one-time only free Xpeditor service on that rod
• If you are returning a custom rod please remove any after-market components that you wish to keep, as they will not be returned
• The Xpeditor Service is a one-time (per rod) offer that may only be applied to the originally purchased item.
• Premier Rods (PMR), Kit and Demo rods are not able to utilize Xpeditor service. 

G. Loomis Limited Lifetime Warranty - Courtesy of G. Loomis

All G. Loomis rods are covered by a limited lifetime warranty. The Xpeditor program is designed for the those times when you need your rod replaced quick with no hassle and no questions asked. After all accidents happen. But if you feel like your broken rod was a result of a material problem or workmanship you still have the option of sending back to the G. Loomis factory where they will inspect the rod to determine cause of breakage and whether it will be covered. 

I copied and highlighted the details for the Limited Lifetime Warranty for you

G.Loomis Limited Lifetime Warranty.
G. Loomis rods are covered by a Limited Lifetime Warranty against non-conformities in workmanship and materials for the life of the original owner. GL push poles, Venture (Adventure) fly reels, and GL fly rod outfits are covered against non-conformances in workmanship and materials for a period of one year from the date of purchase. Premier Rods (PMR) are covered against non-conformances in workmanship and materials for a period of two years from date of purchase. Demo rods are not covered under warranty. Sales receipt or proof of purchase required.

G. Loomis will inspect the rod to determine if the breakage was due to workmanship or material non-conformance.
For breakage determined to have occurred due to non-conformance, G. Loomis will at the companies’ discretion, either repair or replace the product at no charge.

Breakage deemed to be the result of normal wear and tear, accident or neglect will, at the companies’ discretion, be repaired or replaced for a specific fee. A full estimate will be provided for your approval before any fees are levied.

To initiate a claim: (For US customers only)
Ship the damaged rod in a disposable container, prepaid and insured, along with a completed copy of our Web Warranty Return Form.

Send directly to:
G. Loomis, Inc.
Warranty Services
1359 Down River Drive
Woodland, WA 98674

• If you are returning a custom rod please remove any after-market components that you wish to keep, as they will not be returned
• Do not use a shipping container that you want returned, it will be disposed of at the factory

For U.S. Customers Send Directly to:

GLoomis, Inc.
Warranty Service
1359 Down River Drive
Woodland, WA 98674

We welcome back the Xpeditor program. It really is the fastest service I know of to get you back to fishing. 

Thank You G. Loomis

Gorge Fly Shop Team

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Apr 9, 2014

Airflo Sink tips, Polyleaders and the New FLO tips

If you are fishing a Two-Hand (spey) rods today than most likely you are familiar with Airflo Products. Airflo is a UK based Company and has been in the business of constructing high quality PVC free lines for over 20 years. Airflo has brought us technology such as ridged coatings for less friction, polyurethane coatings, welded loops, low stretch cores and density compensated fly lines. Many of these technologies can be found in all manufactured fly lines today.

Airflo Two-Hand Spey lines

Skagit Compact, Skagit Rage, Skagit Switch and Skagit Intermediate Compact. These lines have pioneered the Northwest Steelhead Skagit scene and the standard to which all Two-Hand lines are measured by today. They are the result of several brainiac's including the US Airflo distributor Tim Rajeff and infamous Steelhead guide and Spey cast instructor Tom Larimer. Calling these pro-anglers "Spey Junkies" is not even acceptable today. These guys' passion for anadromous species and swinging flies with two hand rods far exceeds your average junky!

So what's the deal with tips?

One of the biggest questions we get everyday is what tips do I need and how do I use them. This is going to be my attempt at bring some clarity to a grey area.


Buy separately or as a kit
FLO Tips are a 10' spey tip with welded loops on both ends and are especially useful for skagit heads. The first 2.5 feet is intermediate density while the remaining 7.5 foot is sink material which comes available in T-7, T-10, T-14 and T-18. The T numbers represent grains of tungsten per foot so the bigger the number the heavier the tip is. The advantage of adding an intermediate section to the tip is first it smooths out your cast much better than just going from your floating head to a sink tip. The other advantage is they sink more evenly therefore keeping better contact with your fly. The four densities are also available in a FLO Tip kit complete with leader wallet. To use the FLO Tip just simply loop onto you skagit head and loop a piece of tippet of your choice to the other end. Most of the time we will fish with Maxima tippet in 10-15 lb rating.

Custom Cut Tips (CCT)

Designed by fisherman for fisherman
When you need to get a fly down there is no better way than to go all out sink tip. Airflo builds some great tips and has ideal choices for the angler needs.
Custom Cut Single Tips come in all sinking densities from T-7 thru T-18. They can be purchased in lengths of 10' or 18' with a color coded identification loop on the butt end. They are made to be cut on the tippet end to your choice of length. Its your choice what you want to do with the tippet end. You can tie in a loop or nail knot a tippet section to it. You could also fold the end over and make you own custom loop. A great advantage of these tips besides making your own custom lengths is that you can actually save a couple bucks over the competition if you willing to craft your own loop.
Tungsten - Grains/Foot
Sink Rate
Loop Color
7" per second
7" per second
8" per second
8" per second
9.5" per second
9.5" per second
11.5" per second
CCT-T18 18' T18 11.5" per second Black
Custom Cut Singles Specifications

Are you with me so far? Get ready for another curve ball!

20' Custom Cut Tips have factory welded loops on both ends and come in two sizes which are CCT200 and CCT330. Before I go into what those numbers represent let's answer the question of why 20 foot? If I had to pick a baseline length of what a sink tip should be that number would be 10'. Ten foot in most cases will cover your needs. The idea of the 20' CCT pack is to cut the tip in the middle and come out with two 10' sections both with a factory loop on one end. The advantage of this offering is a very economical way to acquire two tips. Just like the CCT Singles you build you own loops on the tippet end and your ready to fish. You can buy four or five steelhead flies with the money you save with this custom tip. Additionally you have the option of cutting to custom length such as 9' and 11' or 8' and 12'.

Tungsten - Grains / Foot
Sink Rate
Loop Color
8" per second
10" per second

The 200 and 330 numbers represent the total grain weight of the 20' tip. The easy way to understand this is to divide the length into the total grain weight. IE; 200gr / 20' = 10 grains per foot or T-10. 330 comes out to 16.5 grains per foot. I guess this is why you see it listed as T-16 in one place and T-17 in other places. Generally it is referred to it as T-17.

Polyleaders (poly what?)

Polyleaders differ from regular leaders in a couple different ways. A standard nylon or Fluorocarbon leader is a single tapered strand of material made to transition from the thick fly line to the thin diameter tippet. A polyleader does the same thing but constructed differently. It starts with a level core of nylon and a polymer coating is applied to that core providing mass and density.

What's the advantage?

The advantage of the polyleader is the butt section can have mass and density similar to your fly line but without the stiffness of a thick nylon or fluorocarbon found in regular leaders. The benefit is better energy transfer from line to tippet. Another advantage a polyleader has is the polymer coating density can be adjusted to make leaders that float, hover or full-on sink. Have you ever wished you could add a sink tip to help get deeper, well you can with a polyleader and these leaders work for single hand fly lines as well as spey lines. A polyleader can be used anyplace you would use a regular leader.

Uses for Two Hand

Polyleaders come in different lengths and densities
A polyleader is especially useful for two hand fishing with dry lines such as a Scandi Compact or a Skagit Rage. Two hand casting relies on water friction to load your rod and regular leaders don't grip water very well. The mass of a polyleader grips water much better so you can achieve a solid anchor point to load your rod for a cast.

Another advantage of a polyleader while fishing Two Hand Switch rods for Trout is I now have a mini tip system that I can adjust my sink according to my needs. This is especially useful when smallest T-7 sink tip is too much sink for the water I'm fishing. Once looped onto line I just add the desire amount of tippet and tie on my fly.

Gorge Fly Shop currently stocks the Salmon/Steelhead polyleaders in 5', 10' and 14' lengths. These are the go to sizes for dry line steelheading. You can visit the Rajeff Sports site to see all available polyleader sizes. While most of these are not currently listed on our site don't hesitate to call (541-386-6977) or email (info@gorgeflyshop.com) us and place a special order. More sizes may be stocked in the future depending on your request.

Storing tips can be a pain and often times they get lost or damage when shoved into you pack or vest pocket. If you use a lot of polyleaders, sink tips and shooting heads it would pay to have one of the convenient storage options such as the Airflo Leader Wallet or the Airflo Head Bag. They are price right and can really help cut your tip cost by keeping them stored neatly and you always know where they are.

That's all for now. I'm sure we'll have some new sink tips to talk about again soon...If you find yourself with more question than answers after reading this post than please give us a call or write a comment on this post. We'll do our best to get you "Lined Out".

Gorge Fly Shop Internet Sales Manager | Product Specialist

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Apr 7, 2014

Fly Fish Alaska - On a budget

Carnivore. Meatatarian. Mouse - It's whats for dinner. Take your Pick!

Fly fishing in Alaska can be spendy. For a first class fly-out lodge such as Royal Wolf or No See Um, the cost is $8000 for a prime week of incredible, fly-out fishing on a diversity of waters. Following are two alternatives for non-fly-out lodges, one having the option of a shorter, flexible stay. These two lodges both offer great fishing on aesthetically beautiful water, comfortable accommodations and tasty meals. They both specialize in fly fishing but take conventional anglers too. Whether you want to target Kings, Silvers or have some rainbow action you will find it here.

Riversong Lodge

Fish for Kings via jet boat

Riversong Lodge
Located 70 miles northwest of Anchorage at the confluence of Lake Creek and the Yetna River, Riversong Lodge has all five species of salmon and some fun wild rainbow fishing. It is a charming older main lodge with separate more modern guest cabins. The meals are outstanding with warm hospitality from the owners and staff. 

Fishing is accessed via jet boat. On a visit there a couple of years ago, we had some great mousing and streamer action. The forested Lake Creek is a beautiful stream to fish. Anglers fish two per guide, using a jet boat for access. In mid summer there is even after dinner fishing. There is a morning and a late afternoon flight each day by Rust’s Air in a floatplane direct to the lodge. This allows for arranging a trip that fits your schedule and budget. 

For instance, a five nights/four days fishing package is $3300 per person based on double occupancy, including the flight from Anchorage.

Talkeetna Fishing Lodge

River banks near Talkeetna Fishing Lodge

Cabin fit for two

The lodge is located two miles upstream from the Talkeetna River on Chunilna (Clear) Creek. They get all five species of salmon and, of course, rainbows. Each two anglers share a comfortable cabin, with access to the main lodge for dining, socializing and tying flies. The lodge takes 10-12 anglers per week but can handle up to 18 if they are all part of the same group. The lodge is accessed by van and then jet boat from the Anchorage airport. The food is outstanding here, as well, prepared by an accomplished chef who just happens to like living in the wilds of Alaska.

The guiding is a little more relaxed here, with three guides for the 10-12 anglers. Anglers will have all the assistance and guiding needed. Most anglers fish on their own once they understand the fishery that week, the water, and techniques. Fishing is accessed via jet boat and on foot. There is also the option to do a day fly-out via heli to the upper river for some amazing trout fishing for an additional (approx.) $150 per angler.

The rate is $3450 per person, Saturday–Saturday and includes transport from the anchorage airport.

Trout on the Talkeetna River

Jerry Swanson
Fish Head Expeditions

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Apr 4, 2014

Simms G4 Boa Boots VS. Simms G3 Guide Boots

“Decisions, decisions…which wading boot should I buy?”

Products: Simms G4 Boa Boots and Simms G3 Guide Boots
So, you’re in the market for a new pair of wading boots. You walk into the Gorge Fly Shop or sit down and log onto the Gorge Fly Shops website (www.gorgeflyshop.com) and you’re either staring at the back wall with all the latest boots on display or you’re looking at multiple pages of wading boot options on your display screen. Either way, if you’re anything like me when my wife sends me to the supermarket for children’s cold medicine and I stand in the isle looking like a deer caught in the headlights, drool dripping out of one side of my mouth, right eye twitching all the while trying to figure out what it is exactly that she wanted. Maybe just maybe this review can help you make a sound decision. In my opinion sometimes we have too many choices. The beautiful thing, in my opinion, is there’s never been a better time to buy top quality wading boots with the latest and greatest in state of the art materials. I had the pleasure of testing out the New Simms G4 Boa Boot and the New Simms G3 Guide Boots…and here is my review…

The New - Award winning Simms G4 Boa Boot is Space Age…Darth Vader would have worn these if he could!

THE G4 BOA BOOT: Description

According to: Simms, in their words: Step into Simms’ G4 Boa® Boot and elevate your fishing experience thanks to an asymmetrical Boa® system that delivers an articulated, secure fit over and across the instep. Underneath the G4 chassis you’ll find an advanced RiverTread™ platform that minimizes rigid materials in exchange for maximized proprioception—your ability to feel and adapt to an ever-changing underfoot environment. In addition, Vibram® Idrogrip outsoles provide great grip across slick underwater obstacles via multi-directional lugs—compatible with all Simms’ AlumiBite™ and HardBite™ cleats and studs. Inside the boot is an environment hardwired for warmth and comfort, featuring a lined neoprene finish, cushioned where you need it most and ultra-smooth for easy on/off performance.


  • Simms NEW RiverTread™ Platform for guide-ready wading performance, support & traction
  • Waterproof PU-coated leather & TPU-coated textile upper for maximum abrasion-resistance & durability
  • Fully-lined with neoprene for wading warmth, cushioning & easy-on/easy-off 
  • Boa® Closure System for easy-on/easy-off & a precision, on-demand fit
  • Also see the G4 Boa® Replacement Kit 
  • MATERIAL TECH: A waterproof PU-coated leather & TPU-coated textile upper with an asymmetrical Boa® Closure System & full neoprene lining; Built on the Simms RiverTread™ Platform with a 4.0mm Vibram® Idrogrip rubber outsole
  • APPROX. PAIR WEIGHT (size 10): 57.6 oz.
  • SIZES: 07-14, whole sizes, EEE width
  • PRICE TAG: $239.95


Of the two boots I tested, I first tried the G4 Boa Boot. I fished them pretty hard for nearly three weeks. This was the first time I had ever tried a Boa style wading boot. I’ve always liked the idea of the Boa system but I’m old school enough to be a bit stubborn and stick with shoe laces. I was excited to try something new. Everything about the G4 Boa Boot screams technology. Space age technology I would say. The Simms G4 Boa Boot has all the latest in materials and features (see features list above).

All I can say about these boots is that, in nearly every area of concern that I would have in a wading boot, it excelled, they were awesome. I had lots of toe room, which helps keep your feet warm, and the NEW RiverTread™ Platform definitely was noticeably more comfortable than any other sole on any other wading boot that I have ever used! They were light while walking and wading, which is important to a man who has had five knee surgeries. I love the little gravel guard clip near the toe which secures your gravel guard around the top of the boot. I love the sole pattern which includes spots for your Alumabite Cleats. It takes the guess work out of where you should put the studs (see photo below with studs). I love the look of the boots. You know that that’s important to the fish…

Your boots will be one of the last things they see as you let em go.

Now, I said nearly every area of concern they excelled. So, what didn’t I like about the Simms G4 Boa Boot you ask. Well, honestly it was the tightening of the Boa System. I struggled with getting the fit I wanted to get. If I started to crank on the Boa gear knob, I couldn’t get the toe area snug before the area above my ankle was too tight and it would cut my circulation off in my feet. When your circulation is impeded your feet will become very cold very quickly while wading. I tried to pull on the Boa cable near the toes and tighten the Boa crank as I pulled on the cable and I still couldn’t get the toe area snug before the area above my ankle was too tight. Trying to pull on the cable as I tightened the Boa crank began to defeat its purpose of being quick and easy and having an on demand fit, to being cumbersome and a pain in the-you- know- what.

Last thing is that you really need to carry a Boa Repair Kit. Unlike traditional shoe string systems, if you snap a string where you can just tie a square not in the shoe string and get back to fishing, with the Boa system, if they break your outta luck. Now the system does have a lifetime warranty and they do stand behind it, but if you’re in the middle of a trip and snap a cable and you’re without the repair kit, well let’s just say you’re not going to be none too happy.


I don’t want to trash the boots because everything else about them was awesome. They didn’t win the 2014 New Product Showcase Award for nothing. I wish they made this boot with a shoe lace system. I’d buy it in a heartbeat! I talked to a few guys who have the G4 Boa boot and they absolutely love them. They love everything about them. My research revealed that if you’re a smaller footed person, say less than a size 12, the Simms G4 Boa Boot in all areas and cases excelled. In other words, the boot fit and performed as they said it would. If you happen to have larger feet, size 12 and above, then you might take a longer, harder look at the New Simms G3 Guide boot instead. Now, I am not a guy with thick ankles. As a matter of fact, for my size, at 6’5”, 250 pounds and a size 14 wading boot, I have pretty skinny ankles.

All in all, I would buy the boot in a New York second, if I could try them on and everything felt good. In other words if you can tighten the Boa System to the point it is comfortable to you and your foot. Be sure when you purchase the Simms G4 Boa Boot that you also buy the G4 Boa Repair Kit and two boxes of Alumabite Cleats, there’s 10 to a pack and you will need two packs to stud both boots (see photo below of my G3 Guide Boots with studs). The Alumabite Cleats are super sticky while wading and I prefer them over the other types of studs, even though they wear out quicker because they’re aluminum and aluminum is softer than the other types. Have you ever seen an aluminum drift boat stuck on a gravel bar? Have you ever tried to pull or push said drift boat from the said gravel bar? Enough said. Now on to the Simms G3 Guide Boot
The New Simms G3 Guide Boot is much lighter than the older discontinued model.


According to: Simms, in their words: Description Central Montana is home to cowboys, roughnecks, and fly fishers, all with three defining traits—spurs, steel toes, and Simms. For those occupying the latter category, Simms’ G3 Guides™ raise the bar with a RiverTread™ platform bolstered by proprioception, which minimizes rigid underfoot materials in order to enhance feel whether on the trail or in the water. The felt G3 combines all day wading comfort with the angler-appreciated underwater traction of a 12mm felt outsole, compatible with all Simms’ AlumiBite™ and HardBite™ cleats and studs. Additional features include TPU molded heel clips that lock in fit, while the neoprene lining stacks cushioning where it counts, keeping feet warm and delivering easy on/off performance.


  • A 12mm felt outsole version of the Guide Boot for a lighter, yet more durable balance of wet trail & all-day wading 
  • Simms NEW RiverTread™ platform for guide-ready wading comfort, support & traction 
  • TPU molded heel clip for positive heel fit & hiking security 
  • Partially-lined with neoprene for wading warmth, cushioning & easy-on/easy-off 
  • MATERIAL TECH: Waterproof Nubuck leather & TPU-coated textile upper, RiverTread™ platform/12mm Felt outsole
  • APPROX. PAIR WEIGHT (size 10): 60.8 oz.
  • SIZES: 07-14, whole sizes, EEE width
  • PRICE TAG: $199.95


I didn’t start out nor did I intend this to be a Dual Boot Review, it’s just how it ended up and I hope that it helps you make the right decision when buying a premium wading boot. Having owned a pair of the old, discontinued G3 Guide Boots and using them for a number of years before retiring them, the first thing I want to say about the NEW SIMMS G3 GUIDE BOOTS is that they are incredibly lighter than the older model. I kid you not, without putting them on a scale and actually weighing them, I’d say they feel at least 25% lighter if not more. Anyone who has owned a pair of the old G3 Guide Boots knows that, although durable, it seemed like they came with ankle weights inside them. They were heavy!

After getting the New Simms G3 Guide Boots all studded up and ready for the testing, I was immediately encouraged by the fit and feel of the boot. As I said earlier, I am a fan of the shoe lace system. To me it just seems easier and dare I say quicker to lace up and go. Just like anything though, laces have their drawbacks. A few being, they get dirty, and they break to name a few. But they also have their pluses, which include a steady snug fit throughout the boot, and if they break, just tie a square knot in them and go about your business.

With the incredible Simms NEW RiverTread™ platform the Simms G3 Guide Boot as well as the G4 Boa Boot both had the most comfortable wading sole I have ever used. I seriously could tell the difference right away while wading. I could feel the sole flex and fit and form around rocks as I would wade. I thought about how an Octopus’s suction cups grab as the slither along the ocean bottom. As I said earlier, I have had five knee surgeries and because of that if I stand too long on anything that is too rigid, my knees begin to scream at me and let me know exactly how they feel.

With the New Simms G3 Guide Boot, I was able to achieve the fit and feel that I look for in a wading boot. A hint for those who may not know this… while lacing up your wading boots using a shoe lace system, cross the laces and pull them snug as you lace up. In other words you should have the left side of the lace in your right hand and your right side of the lace in your left hand. This is way easier, and more efficient in lacing up.

I love the ankle support of both the G4 Boa Boot and the G3 Guide Boot. This is especially beneficial if you have ankle problems and need the extra support. Every feature (listed above) performed as they said it would. To date, these are the most comfortable wading boots I’ve owned. The only difference when I say this between the G4 Boa Boot and the G3 Guide Boot as far as fit goes was the lacing system. The G4 Boa Boot was just as comfortable as the G3 other than the top part of the Boa system being too tight at the top and too loose in the toe area. The comfort of the New Simms G3 Guide Boot is stellar. For a guy like me, they are a perfect match.
My G3 Guide boots ready for the testing…complete with AlumiBite™ studs.


I’ll start with this, either way you choose, you can’t lose. If you want the space age New Simms G4 Boa Boot, try them on before buying them. Get your foot in there and crank down the Boa system and if they feel good, rock ‘em. If they don’t, and they fit you like they fit me, put them back on the display rack and pick up the New Simms G3 Guide Boot and rock them.

I’ll end with this, if you’re shopping online with the Gorge Fly Shop (gorgeflyshop.com) and you can’t just stroll in and try them on, let me say this and hope it helps you make the right decision on which boot you should get. If you’re a size 12 or smaller and want the G4 Boa Boot, go for it. You will probably be happy that you did. If you are a size 12 or larger, go with the New G3 Guide Boot and have peace of mind knowing that you’ve made the right choice. I’ll end with this. The only way you’ll make a bad decision is if you don’t get one or the other. Are they expensive? Yes! Are they worth it? Yes! Are you gonna hide the credit card receipt from your better half? Yes! Okay…I’m just playin now. I’ll stop…

"There will be days when the fishing is better than one's most optimistic forecast, others when it is far worse. Either is gain over just staying home." - Roderick Haig-Brown

By John Garrett – Gorge Fly Shop
March 22, 2014

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

Apr 2, 2014

Sage Bass II Series Rods...Not just for Bass!

Sage Bass II Series

If there was ever a fly rod that I felt was under-rated that award would have to go to the Sage Bass II Series of fly rods. Maybe it's the name "Bass" that has labeled it a single species rod. I have fished this series of rods for years now and have pursued multi-species with them. Let me emphasize; this is much more than a bass rod. Maybe it should have been called Streamer Weapon or Streamer Stick...or Predator like its import cousin from Redington.

Fly Vault


So why does a prestigious fly rod company build a rod for Bass fly fishing. Doesn't any old 5 weight rod work for this purpose? Well maybe if your idea of pursuing this predator species involves small poppers or buggers to pond or creek bass with the hopes of landing something equivalent to what many call a "quality" size trout. Dedicated bass anglers have a very different perspective. Bigger flies and bigger buggers catch bigger fish and bigger fish are found in bigger water. So the common denominator of this equation really is "bigger is better". So while a trout stick will be just fine for your once a year trip to grandma's pond it's not attracting a crowd of hard core bass fanatics.

Travis and Austin...Now that's a lifetime memory!

7'11" length. Why?

Competition bass angling takes place all across America and B.A.S.S (Bass Anglers Sportsman Society) has a set rule that no rod used in competition can be over eight foot in length. A rule that was basically put into place to stop competitors from doing what was called dabbling with extreme long rods, basically forcing competitors to have to actually cast to their targets. Many years ago when the rule was put into place I don't think anyone would have ever thought that it would be limiting to any one's equipment. Most bass angler rods at that time were 4 - 5 foot and a long rod was 6 foot. Look at today's bass anglers and many have gear rods that max at 7'11". The other positive note about the 7'11" length is the bass boat. Today's bass fishing boats have storage built for this length of rod.
Attacked a Clouser Minnow Pattern

Serious bass anglers are predator anglers!

Bass anglers don't fish with bait and they don't settle for fishing morsel size flies for mediocre fish. I know!...I have been a big bass angler for most of my fishing life and today I am still as proficient at flipping a jig under a dock as I am casting a fly rod to an undercut. It's in my blood! I'm sure many of you know exactly what I'm talking about.
Today I spend much of my time doing the same for Trout...Streamers that is. This is predator fishing! It's the drive to present a meal with an aggressive retrieve in order to provoke an aggressive reaction. Doesn't matter what species we are in the hunt for...the same result is what we're trying to accomplish. It's the grab, the strike, the tug, the hit that makes your heart race!..........................I know I could nymph fish and probably catch more fish but numbers are not what I'm after. I need that tug on a tight line...that's my drug! It is the drive to fish as aggressively as possible for the most aggressive fish.

So what does a Sage Bass II rod have to do with streamer fishing?

Gabe caught this with a hand tied monster fly
Look at trout streamers and we can find imitations for minnows, crayfish and sculpins. Bass eat all the same foods. It's unbelievable how much similarity exist between these fisheries. I didn't grow up in trout country. I never even caught a trout until I was well in middle age years. Basically I was led to believe that these are insect sipping fish and a box of trout flies painted that impression well. Ironically my first of many trout all came on woolly buggers. I guess my streamer pursuit was destiny. But back to the "bigger is better" equation; bigger flies put more demands on fly rods, lines and one's patience. You've heard the expression chuck and duck well make a poor cast with a soft trout rod, sinking tip fly line and a big streamer aboard and you might want to duck! Quickly! Unless you're into body piercing.

My favorite single hand streamer rod

Bass, Trout, Bluegill, Pike and all other predators that we want to throw a streamer to can all be targeted with one of the 6 sizes of Sage's Bass II series rods. Most of these species can be pursued with just one or maybe two sizes of these rods. The rod taper itself is pretty fast but with somewhat of a forgiving nature.

The mojo comes from the length and type of line but before we get into the nuts and bolts first my disclaimer; these are my opinions and surely many will disagree. I have fished these rods since they were introduced so I really don't know anything nor do I claim to know anything and I'm quite certain you know more than I do. Now that we got that out of the way!........I should probably remove this statement...
Photo Credit - Dan Pierce
The shorter length of this rod actually helps you keep better control of it therefore keeping your line in better control. While technically a 9 foot rod is capable of a longer cast it also requires more precision to obtain a longer cast. Get a little loose on your stroke and that possible distance cannot be achieved and this happens quite easily with short headed fast loading lines. I believe the shorter length of these bass rods helps with rod control and is better suited for the shooting lines that are they are made to cast. I also feel that the shorter length makes them more accurate to cast. This length is also really nice in a boat for casting as well as storing.
John Garrett....Booyah!

Casting Technique

These rods and their lines are made for quick shooting cast. You just line it up and shoot it to your target. They are not made to carry line in the air and make repeated false cast. Just lengthen the cast out to around the head length and shoot the cast therefore eliminating a bunch of time and effort false casting equating to more time with your fly in the water fishing and less time wearing out your arm. I rarely backcast these rods more than once and if I do its just to line up with my target.

Let's talk lines

First up the Sage Bass II series rods come with a Sage Floating Fly line to match the rod. Now before we go any further I need to explain the weight system of these rods. They are lined by grain weight instead of line size. Kind of different for a single hand rod but hold onto that thought of confusion...it's really quite simple! I'm going to reference the Smallmouth size for this example which by the way I believe could be the most versatile size for many inland cold and warm water species. The Smallmouth size is rated at 290gr. This grain weight refers to the first 30' of the fly line. The floating line that comes with this rod is this grain weight. Here's the great news!, Rio offers many different Outbound Fly Lines with similar grain weight and they come in all types of densities for any fishing situation...

San Juan Bobo couldn't resist a streamer connected to a Sage Bass II Bluegill Rod

Outbound Fly Lines

Rio Outbound line examples

Look at the Rio Outbound Short Freshwater line. You will see the chart with all the grain weights listed. None match exactly but get it in the ballpark and your cast will fly. For the Smallmouth rod rated at 290 grain I usually go for the WF7 that weighs in at 265 grain. It loads the rod great. Now look at the densities available; floating, hover, intermediate tip, full intermediate, type 3 sink tip and type 6 sink tip. That should have you covered no matter what you plan to do. I really like to fish the intermediate tip and will go to the type 6 sink tip if conditions call for it. If your travels take you tropical then choose the Rio Tropical Outbound Short fly line. I have use this in the floating and intermediate version for mangrove tarpon on the Sage Bass II Largemouth rod where accuracy is far more important than distance. Other line tapers that work well with the rods are the Rio Pike/Musky, Rio Streamer tip, and Scientific Anglers Textured Titan.

This Predator fell victim to a Thin Mint Fly

The Sage Bass II Series

I mentioned the Largemouth and the Smallmouth, also in this series is a Bluegill and Peacock Rods. The bluegill could be the most fun of all and plenty powerful enough to handle any panfish species including crappie and small bass. I could see a lot of use with the Peacock for striper and pike as well. New for 2013 is a Pike and a Musky model in sizes 10 and 11 weight respectively. Based on the same fast action of the Bass II series these big predator rods come in the longer 9 foot length and have a larger fighting butt handle for figure eights. They include the Rio Pike/Musky fly line with the intermediate tip. These are your serious big predator rods. All of these rods have saltwater safe reel seats and components. They all also come with a ballistic rod/reel case.
Float and Fly caught Columbia River Smallmouth

My List of species subdued on a Sage Bass rod to date are largemouth, smallmouth, carp, rainbow Trout, brown trout and of course bluegill. Future targets include tiger muskie and pike.  Currently my arsenal includes the Bluegill, Smallmouth and Largemouth rods. When I'm gearing for predator streamer fishing these are the tools I always reach for! One Day I will own the complete series of the Sage Bass II Fly Rods!

Read "Spring Bassin" for a few Columbia River techniques
Gorge Fly Shop Internet Sales Manager | Product Specialist

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

  © 'and' Steelhead.com Mike Prine 2009/2010

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