Category Archives: gear

G. Loomis NRX review from Alaska

Alaska Fly Fishing
Thanks to Terry for the stream report, review and great shot from Alaska:

Here’s the biggest of the week, 33” and 20lbs, from the Swishkak River in Katmai National Park, right where river empties into the saltwater. The silvers were big and shiny chrome. And packed up in knee-deep, clear water – just like bonefish in the Bahamas. Sight casting with 8wt (Loomis NRX that you sold me), was a delight. Saw every fish, every chase, every take – and then they’d go deep into the backing every single time! It was a terrific experience!

All the best,

Patagonia River Salt Wading Jacket Review

Patagonia River Salt Jacket
Thanks to Josh Reider for the photos and gear review of his lucky Patagonia River Salt Jacket. We have a ready supply of these waterproof, breathable and durable wading jackets in stock ready to ship.

After fishing today in the freezing rain I found out two things: One, fish don’t care how miserable the weather is; and two, a nice rain jacket is a must. A friend and I fished in the dismal weather for 3 hours and were able to pick up close to 10 fish; hooking nearly twice that. We landed a few nice fish and a lot in the smaller 8-12 inch range. Fishing the Gunpowder this time of year is very productive and can be a lot of fun if you’re dressed properly. We were nymphing small pheasant tails and zebra midges with the most success. I switched to a streamer later in the day and had some fish chase it but none would commit.
My Patagonia Riversalt jacket kept me dry and warm in the miserable weather. I’ve had it nearly a year now and it works just as well as when I took it out of the box. It is great length, the cuffs work and because it is longer than most wading jackets it can be worn as a normal rain jacket. I use it whenever I fish and recommend it to anyone serious about staying comfortable fly fishing in a host of conditions.

Wild Trout in Maryalnd

Umpqua Ledges 550 Waist Pack Review

Umpqua Packs and Vests
Thanks to Justin Nolan for stopping in and giving us a first look at the Umpqua line of packs, bags and vests. He is pictured above with the Umpqua Surveyor 1100 backpack and Overlook 500 chest pack. We just received a shipment of the full line in the shop so stop on up and give them a look. Thanks to Mike Colegrove for the gear review of the Ledges 500 waist pack.

For the past few months I have been fishing with a rep sample of the new Ledges 500 Waist Pack from Umpqua. Early on in my fly fishing career I realized that vests were not for me and I have been using lumbar packs ever since. I am always on the search for a better mouse trap and have been through a number of waist packs over the years. Some were better than others, but none got enough things right for me to definitely say “this is the one.” , that is until now. The Umpqua Ledges pack has taken all of the positive attributes of the existing packs on the market along with adding a few innovate features of their own to create the best waist pack I have ever used.

-Mike Colegrove

A Rainbow and a BWA Hat

Thanks to Jeff for the stream report and pics from August 19 and for picking up his new Patagonia Stealth Hip Pack this weekend. We hope it’s lucky for you Jeff!:

Hey Theaux,
Do you have an opinion of the Patagonia Stealth Hip Pack or have them in stock? I’ve been fishing a Fishpond chest pack for a few years now and while fishing the North Brach this week I thought how nice it would be to keep the weight off my back. Also I fished in the rain for a few hours on Sunday and the chest pack, along with my gear inside got soaked. The DWR treatment on Patagonia’s hip pack sounds like a nice feature if it keeps the elements out.The fishing was pretty slow but I did mange this rainbow. Oh and I got to break in my Backwater Angler hat!


Jerry Kustich and Sweetgrass Rods at Backwater Angler Saturday, August 24th from 11:00 AM till 2:00 PM

Jerry Kustich and a Few Gunpowder Regulars
I met Jerry K. in 1997 when I started working at the R. L. Winston Rod Co. as the Eastern Sales Rep. At the time I had a gas card, a small pickup with a topper and a U.S. map with a line roughly drawn down the middle from Minnesota to Louisiana that included all points east from Maine to the Keys. Traveling 28 states back then was always an adventure and the dealers always took great care of me. Visiting with Jerry, Glenn, and Jeff in the old airplane hangar that served as the boo shop was always a treat. One afternoon Jerry invited me to join him for an evening fishing craneflies patterns on the Beaverhead. On the drive, Jerry asked me how someone from Louisiana grew up fishing and guiding for trout in the Appalachian Mountains of Western North Carolina. About 6 months later I received my first bamboo rod from the boo boys signed by Jerry and built with pocket water, Cahills and long leaders in mind. The rod has always allowed me to show the art of the old guard to those interested in the beauty and craft that bamboo brings to the sport. Last year Jerry K. made a pilgrimage to the Gunpowder and ran into the likes of Jack (right) and Dave (left)–true Gunpowder regulars that appreciate bamboo and a good story.

Please join us at Backwater Angler from 11:00 AM till 2:00 PM next Saturday the 24th of August. Jerry will be stopping in to talk about bamboo and you’ll have an opportunity to cast some beautiful Sweetgrass bamboo fly rods. Please RSVP at 410-357-9557.

Thanks to Sweetgrass for the use of the following bio of Jerry: Sweetgrass Rods website:

Jerry Kustich has been a part of the “Boo Boy” team for the past twenty years learning the many intricacies of rod building. Always found on a stream testing anything from flies to waders to pentagonal bamboo designs, he has become an outspoken advocate for public access to Montana’s rivers. Author, writer, devoted environmentalist, rod designer, and dedicated angler, he spends much time on the road as a fly fishing ambassador lecturing on and representing the ideals for which all serious fly anglers stand.

Jerry Kustich Fishing Bamboo on the Gunpowder

Patagonia Ultralight Sticky Wading Boot Review

We have a full size run of these Patagonia Ultralight Wading Boots in stock at Backwater Angler. We’ve waited most of the Spring Season for these but did not want to bring them in until Josh, Jennie and Jeff put them through the paces on the upper and lower stretches of the Gunpowder River. This week, after reading Josh’s review I even picked up a pair of the new sticky shoes. So far I’ve been in mine for an evening fish, during two fly fishing schools and a guide trip in the canyon stretch of the Gunpowder in just the past week and have been impressed.

Thanks to Josh Reider for the Gear Review:

I have worked in a fly shop the past five years and have used about every rubber-soled wading boot under the sun. Up until Patagonia came out with this boot I used Simms Guide-Boot which at the time seemed great. The Patagonia Ultralight Wading Boot is significantly lighter and WAY MORE COMFORTABLE. When in the water I feel just as safe as any other top boot on the market. I have been using the boot hard for the last month (I fish about 3-4 days a week) and have had no problems with them! It is a great product design and look forward to using them in the future!

Labrador Brook Trout, Boron IIIX Fly Rods and Bauer CFX Reels Gear Review

Labrador Fly Fishing
Thanks to Neil Jacobs who just returned from a recent fly fishing trip for Brook Trout in Labrador for the pics, gear review of the Winston BIIIX and Bauer CFX series reels, and kind words:

Theaux & Jennie,
Thanks for moving me towards the Winston Boron IIIX rods–6 and 7 weights as well as the Bauer reels. In Labrador the 6wt landed 6 lb brook trout in very heavy water. But for me the best feature of the Borons was line management and line handling ability-particularly hitting small pockets in heavy water. The CFX3 Bauer reel never missed a beat when I landed a 18 lb lake trout on the 7 weight.This equipment has been a good match up for my skill level. Thanks for all your help and great service.
Labrador Brook Trout

Out of Tippet? Visit our Mighty Helpful Fly Shop

Out of Tippet
The light is fading and fish are rising in front of you in a shallow flat and they’ve just switched to emerges. You’ve just spotted a big fish hanging in a root ball and it’s time to change to that articulated streamer from you-know-where. The above photo is evidence that, after Sulphur season, my own kit needed a quick makeover. If yours looks like this in the middle of a spinner fall you won’t soon forget it. As they say, it’s a long walk back to the truck. Rest assured we have tippet and some mighty helpful folks who fish the river a few times a week working at Backwater Angler. And like me, they’re happy to-with apologies to Aaron Neville -”Tell it like it is.” If you have not bought tippet since 1967, (when that one hit the charts), this is a friendly reminder that we do sell all manner of things that will, in fact, get you into more wild fish on the Gunpowder.This is the first post of the revised site that has a few more local stream gauge links in the sidebar and larger pictures and text for those tired old eyes at the office.As always we welcome both your feedback and your stream reports and pictures. A quick look at the archives tells me that we could not have gotten this far without website contributions from our staff and loyal customers. FYI: The shop online portion will be down for a bit but we’ll get to it as soon as the fishing allows. Until then, we welcome one and all to drop in to see the new shop, visit with old friends, tell a fish story or two and get ready for some hot trico and terrestrial fishing. The rocking chairs on the front porch are waiting and the snowball stand in front of the shop is sure to be welcome relief through August.

G. Loomis NRX and Bauer CFX-1 Gear Review and Stream Report

GLoomis NRX LP Fly Rods
Thanks to Gary for the Fishing report and gear review!

Hey Theaux,

Well as you know it took me about 4 months to get over leaving my beautiful 3/4 wt Scott in the Masemore parking lot and I still miss it very much! So if anyone reading this found the rod…please deliver it the Backwater Shop. But….life goes on and the new Loomis NRX 883-4 3wt accompanied by the Bauer CFX1 reel you sold me this past weekend kept me in the river for nearly 5 hours!. What a beautiful looking and high performing set up! It shoots the line through effortlessly and with hardly a sound and is both powerful for long casts and subtle for fishing the nearby seams. I was lucky enough to catch 7 nice browns all round the 8-9 inch range and lost as many. I suspect one was large as it stopped the emerger in mid swing and snapped my tippet below the knot to the leader. Fighting fish on the new rod was a treat and I am really glad I bought the appropriate reel because it created a perfectly balanced mechanism. It makes me want to start playing ‘hooky’ again.

See you soon,


P.S. Sunday I took it outside and set it up just to look at it!

Rodmounts Sumo Magnet Review

Rodmounts Sumo MagnetHow many of us wish we could step out of the car or truck and just go fishing without having to lose time rigging up in the parking lot? The answer is the Sumo Magnet Rod Mount which easily fits under the back seat of vehicle when not in use. The kit is priced at $149.95 and will hold up to 6 flyrods-perfect if you’re fishing with a bunch of friends or checking out a few access points throughout the day. At first I was hesitant of the design and unsure of how well it would hold up during harsh conditions. After using it this winter, I’ve found it to be a great tool that has helped me spend more time fishing.