Category Archives: reviews

Patagonia Danner Boots & Patagonia Middle Fork Packable Waders Review

Over the past 4 years at the shop, I’ve been blessed to try and use the best waders and boots offered by both Simms and Patagonia.

Since April, I’ve put a lot of time on the river wearing the Patagonia Middle Fork Packable Waders and taken them through dense brush and green brier, and they are holding up fine. They breath fantastically well on the hottest of days whilst having extra security from biters on your legs, particularly ticks, having dealt with Lyme disease before. I tend to wear waders even in July and August. The Durable Water Repellent Finish is really nice too; they are dry in no time after being in the water.

Patagonia Middle Fork Packable Waders

I’m currently in the River Salt Wading Boots from Danner and, like the waders, I’ve put these through their paces. I’ve tried them on rivers such as Penns Creek and the Little Juniata earlier this spring and the North Branch of the Potomac recently this summer. These rivers are well known for being a absolute chore for wading. With just two studs in the toe and two in the heel, I’ve never felt the level of traction and ankle support. They are better than any other other boot I’ve owned.

Patagonia River Salt Wading Boots

I also tend to walk a distance to get to lesser traveled areas and for this aspect also, they are incredibly comfortable. I know these are a hefty investment in wading boots, but if river fishing is important to you, you won’t be disappointed.

SPECIAL: Purchase a pair of these waders and boots and get a free Patagonia trucker hat!

North Branch Potomac Fly Fishing

 

Review of 4 weight fly rods

 

The Gunpowder River is an ideal river for 4 weight (wt.) fly rods. Some anglers have fun with 3 wts., and  a 5 wt. is understandable, but 4 wts. are the choice for many anglers. At Backwater Angler, we have an impressive range – regardless of your budget or experience level – of 4 wts. for your fishing adventures.

 

Entry level ($180 – $320)

St. Croix Mojo Trout – The 9’0 model provides fast action and some extra stretch for nymphing. An ideal rod to start one’s fly fishing life, the Mojo trout features a Kigan hook keeper, solid cork handle, aluminum reel seat, and smooth, black snake guides. This is a very reasonably priced rod.

St. Croix Imperial – The 4 piece 8’0 of this model is my favorite as it provides light, fast action. Growing up as a spin fisherman, I often used ultra light rods, and this model emulates that action well. Complete with slim-profile ferrules, Sea Guide snake guides, an uplocking reel seat, premium-grade cork handle, and a Kigan hook keeper, this rod is another ideal port of entry into small stream trout fishing. Landing some wild browns with this one should put a smile on any angler’s face.

Mid-level ($350 – $500)

Echo 3 – The 4 piece 8’6 and 9’0 versions of this medium-to-fast action rod are advanced, high-modulus graphite rods with modern resins, making it light and sensitive while maintaining backbone to go 10 rounds with an angry fish. It’s crisp on that 70′ cast, but not so fast you can’t feel the rod. These rods fish dries to nymphs, lakes to rivers, and various fish. The ECHO 3 is arguably the most well-rounded family of rods we offer. They also come with a lifetime warranty, which is hard to overlook.

Scott Flex – These 4 piece 8’6 and 9’0 rods are light and handcrafted and excellent for generating line speed and effortless tight loops. The strong butt section is ideal for strong hook sets, and the 9’0 model gives an extra stretch for nymphing. I prefer the 8’6 model myself, but the 9’0 is equally effective and feels more like a 4/5, which depending on your preference could be a real advantage.

St. Croix Legend Elite – This 4 piece 9’0 rod is slightly higher-end for this category, but is a rod that will cover a lot of fishing for a long time. Its gorgeous finish and incredible balance impress. With the first cast you’ll revel in the smoothness and deceptive power of the crisp SCV graphite blank with Advanced Reinforcing Technology and Integrated Poly Curve technologies. The rod feels like a one piece but is a four. 

Higher-end ($745 – $795)

G. Loomis NRX – The NRX is perfect for the Gunpowder, with the high modulus carbon and a softer tip than the original NRX, which allows for delicate presentation with protection on fine tippet. This rod feels lighter and active, ideal for dries yet strong enough for streamers, yet at 9’0 allows for that extra stretch when nymphing too. This is a versatile rod that covers lots of bases for the novice to experienced fly angler.

Scott Radian – The greatest strength of the 4 piece 9’0 and 10’0 Radians, arguably, is their blend of power, line speed, touch, feel, and accuracy. It’s hard to find rods that combine those elements, but the Radian has them all. The React technology brings together X-Core with new complex materials and a taper system to dramatically increase recovery speed. Meanwhile, the X-Core technology offers an enhanced feel, incredible stability, and unparalleled performance. Fiberuse resin provides stronger bonds between fibers, and the Advanced Reinforced Carbon technology reduces torque and increases rod strength.

10 Foot Fly Rod Review

As ‘Euro-Nymphing’ has grown in popularity here in the states over the past few years, longer 10’ and even 10’6’’ and 11’ rods have become increasingly popular as well. Typically, these rods have an extremely sensitive tip section and a stronger backbone in the mid and lower sections of the rod.  The sensitivity in the tip section allows the angler to feel their nymphs/weight/shot throughout the drift. One often over looked benefit of a 10’ rod for dry fly fishing and indicator nymphing is the ability to manage line across different seams in the river. The longer rods make reaching tough to reach areas much easier than traditional 9’ fly rods. We currently have the following 10’ rods in stock in the shop:

Echo Shadow II 10’ 2WT

Echo Shadow II 10’6 4WT

Echo Shadow X 10’ 3WT

Echo Shadow X 11’ 3WT

Scott Radian 10’ 4WT

Winston BIIIX Super 10’ 4WT

A personal favorite of mine for fishing the Gunpowder is the Echo Shadow II 10’ 2WT.  Not only is this an excellent euro-nymph rod, I also find it delivers dry fly’s at short to medium ranges pretty well.

A short description from Echo on the Shadow II series: “Light and fast, the Shadow II offers critical line feel and control with an action that will also toss a loop when the bugs start flying.”

At the Shadow II’s price point ($249.99), I think you will be very pleased with its feel and performance. With that said, the 10’ 3WT’s and 4WT’s we have in stock will be far more versatile.  The 3WT and 4WT rods will allow you to fish larger rivers through heavier water and offer more fish fighting control.

If you enjoy fishing the waters of Western MD and up in to Pennsylvania, the Echo Shadow X and G. Loomis NRX Nymph would be my choice.  The Shadow X is 20% lighter than the Shadow II leading to reduced fatigue while nymphing. Both the Shadow X and NRX Nymph are extremely sensitive while maintaining a relatively stiff backbone for positive hooksets on fish.

The Winston BIIIX Super 10’ and the Scott Radian are my favorite rods aesthetically and I feel they are the most versatile if you are routinely fishing water larger than the Gunpowder. Both of these rods are truly crafts of art and built with the quality we have come to expect from Winston and Scott.  If I were to choose between the two, I would choose the Radian if I were looking for an all around performance rod, and the Super 10 if I were looking for a more dedicated nymph rod.  The Super 10 has a softer tip and is a bit heavier than the Radian.  Winston added a 2’’ fighting cork to reduce arm fatigue.

I picked up a Scott Radian 10’ 5WT expecting to fish Colorado run-off last June.  Turns out, it was one of the lowest snowpack’s in Colorado history last season and rivers were flowing well below normal. I still fished the 10’ 5WT and was not disappointed at all in the rods ability to cast size 16 and 18 dry fly’s at rising fish.  This rod is incredibly accurate at long distances.

All of these 10’ rods will help you manage line on the water and perfect your drift whether you are tight-line nymphing, indicator nymphing, or dry fly fishing.  Swing by the shop and give one of these rods a cast!

Patagonia Wading Boots built by Danner in-stock in Maryland

Danner’s reputation for building the best boots is unrivaled the world over. So much so the US Military has been using Danner Boots for years. Now they have partnered with Patagonia Fly Fishing to create a revolutionary wading boot that is not only comfortable, supportive with excellent traction but also the last pair you’ll need to own. As is with all soft goods that are put to good use, the original stitching and the sole won’t last forever but these boots are made to be completely recraftable and resoleable in house, by hand in Danner’s factory in Portland, Oregon.

We have a size run of both the River Salt & Foot Tractor (rubber sole) boots here at Backwater Angler.

Stop by the shop – have a look, try them on & see for yourself what all the hype is about.

I was able to try the Foot Tractors last June for 2 weeks both on the Delaware & the Gunpowder and I was amazed by the level of comfort & traction. They’re in a different league from any other wading boot I’ve worn. Having broken through other boots in the $180 range in less than a season and then having no further use with them. Just knowing that these won’t end up in a landfill makes sense in what is undoubtedly an investment in comfort and safety whilst enjoying your time out fishing.

Patagonia River Salt Wading Boots

Patagonia Foot Tractor Boots – Sticky Rubber (Made by Danner)

 

New St Croix Rods at Backwater Angler

With the holidays right around the corner we have a great selection of St. Croix rods from Park Falls, Wisconsin!

These include the new Mojo Trout series, these rods are silky smooth casting suited for beginners and intermediate anglers alike. Featuring high modulus SCIII graphite these are superb rods which, for $180 – $210, don’t break the bank.

The Imperial USA rods set the standard for a premium US built rod; lightweight, fast action rods these are extremely versatile and performs like a rod you would pay twice the money for.  The Bank Robber streamer rods are designed by Kelly Galloup on the Madison River, he knows what goes into a great rod and with the state of the art technology provided by St. Croix, this is the result. The Legend Elite is their hallmark rod which has the look and feel of a rod that is worthy of a brand which has been at the forefront of rod building for 70 years.

Whether you’re new or seasoned in fly fishing we have you covered, stop on by and give them a go! We have received the following in store.

  • NEW Mojo Trout 9′ 4 wt $200
  • NEW Mojo Trout 9′ 5 wt $200
  • Imperial USA 9′ 4 wt $300
  • Imperial USA 9′ 5 wt $300
  • Bank Robber 9′ 5 wt $460
  • Legend Elite 9′ 5 wt $460

NOTE: We still have a space available in our upcoming streamer clinic this Saturday at 11 AM. Please call the shop to pre-register. 

Fresh Patagonia Gear at Backwater Angler

We are flush with quality gear from Patagonia here at Backwater Angler. We’re enjoying some proper spring weather and the local rivers are really coming to life, now is a good time to check out some new gearr before going out on any long trips. Stop in and have a look at what we have!

  • M’s L/S Sun Stretch Shirt – $99
  • M’s Graphic Tech Fish Tee – $55
  • Foot tractor wading boots size 10 – 14 – $249
  • Ultralight Wading boots size 5-14 – $189
  • Rio Azul Waders – $249
  • Rio Gallegos Wader – $499
  • Middle Fork Packable Waders – $349
  • W’s Spring Creek Chest Waders – $399
  • Gunnison Gorge Wading Pants – $299
  • Neoprene Wading Sock w/ Gravel Guards – $45
  • Stealth Chest Pack – $79
  • Stealth Hip Pack – $119
  • Classic Hip Chest Pack – $89
  • Stealth Atom Sling – $119
  • Hybrid Pack Vest L – $99
  • Mesh Master II Vest – $179
  • Sweet Pack Vest – $199
  • Vest Front Sling – $99
  • Black Hole Duffel 45L – $119
  • Black Hole Duffel 60L – $129
  • Black Hole Duffel 90L – $149
  • Black Hole Duffel 120L – $169
  • Black Hole Wheeled Duffel 40L – $299
  • Black Hole Wheeled Duffel 70L – $329
  • Black Hole Wheeled Duffel 120L – $349
  • M’s Tough Puff Shirt – $199
  • M’s R1 Hoody -$159
  • M’s Minimalist Wading Jacket – $199
  • M’s Cloud Ridge Jacket – $249

Locally Sourced Dry Flies Available for Mail Order at Backwater Angler

Phuny emergers (left to right: March brown, female and male Hendrickson)

With warm springtime  temperatures just around the corner, now is the time to sort out your dry fly patterns so you’re not without the right pattern when on the water anytime in the upcoming weeks. Besides presentation, having quality flies can make a big difference in helping you catch more quality fish.  Backwater Angler has received a beautiful selection of Hendrickson and march brown emergers, red quill parachutes and caddis patterns tied by Mike Bachkosky of Calicoon, New York.

Mike has spent 57 years exploring and fishing the upper Delaware river watershed. In doing so he has perfected his bug imitations for the all most important hatches on Eastern trout rivers.  Not only will his flies catch fish, they importantly will withstand a lot of use, remaining buoyant and effective. His phuny and unusual emerger patterns – as simple they may be, are his go-to pattern when the fish are keyed in on the emerging mayfly. If they can trick the large, wild brown trout of the Delaware – little wonder they work so well on the Gunpowder! Mike formerly tied 3000 + dozen flies a year commercially to many small fly shops that have since gone out of business with increasing numbers big box stores opening. Here at Backwater Angler we’re always grateful for the time he puts in to keep us stocked with fantastic flies that catch lots of fish, not just on the Gunpowder, but across almost all our favorite trout waters between Maryland to New England.

If you have any fishing trips planned in the upcoming weeks in any trout waters throughout the mid Atlantic states, now is the time to get your flies ready, consider us to mail you a quality selection of these for you to fish the next few weeks.

Give us a call at 410 357 9557 or email info@backwaterangler.com. If we are closed leave us a voicemail or an email and we’ll get back to you soon after we’re back in shop.

Red Quill Parachute

New Umpqua UPG LT and HD Fly Boxes

The new Umpqua UPG LT and HD fly boxes are here at Backwater Angler.  Using self-healing water repelling High Grip Inserts, these boxes have the highest fly capacity per inch of any on the current market. Shop staffer Stefan Babij says

“Personally I love my HD walkabout fly box, I am able to consolidate 4 boxes into one! Thus giving me more room to pack other essential fishing items.”

I like using the LT boxes as they are light and thin, with a strong magnets that keep it sealed effectively. The Magneto and the LT standards are ideal for those who want to keep things simple and secure. The HD (Heavy Duty) range of boxes are 100% water proof. No worries about soggy dry flies and rusted hooks with these.

  • LT Standard (Gray/Blue/Olive) $19.99
  • LT Daytripper $24.99
  • LT Midge $24.99
  • LT Magneto $24.99
  • LT High $24.99
  • LT High Weekender $29.99
  • LT High Bugger $29.99
  • LT High Magnum Midge $29.99
  • HD Medium (Gray/Blue/Olive) $19.99
  • HD Daytripper $24.99
  • HD Midge $19.99
  • HD Large $34.99
  • HD Weekender $39.99
  • HD Magnum Midge $39.99
  • HD Walkabout $59.99

New Simms G3 Guide Waders in Maryland

Simms G3 Guide Stockingfoot Waders

We have a size run of the fantastic NEW Simms G3 wader here at Backwater Angler. Here is the Simms description of them:

Time on the stream is time well spent. And with the G3 Guide™ Stockingfoot wader, those precious hours can be comfortable and well-ventilated. The G3 has all the in-river essentials you need, with legendary Simms durability that can stand up to heavy use in rugged conditions. Rigging a hopper-dropper combo just became a little easier with the help of a flip-out Tippet Tender®™ pocket with dual-entry zippers and Super-fly Patch® with integrated utility tabs. And numb, sore feet are a thing of the past with anatomically designed neoprene stockingfeet with a funk-fighting anti-microbial finish.

-Three-layer GORE-TEX® Pro Shell in upper.
-Four-layer GORE-TEX® Pro Shell in seat and legs.
-Zippered chest pocket.
-Removable flip-out Tippet Tender®™ pocket with dual-entry zippers and retractor docking station.
-Zippered reach-through microfleece-lined hand-warmer chest pocket.
-Super-fly Patch® and integrated utility tabs.
-Low-profile belt loops with 2″ stretch wading belt included.
-Patented front and back leg seams deliver an articulated fit that fights wear zones, bolsters wader longevity, and maximizes mobility.
-Adjustable elastic 1.5″ suspender with opposing YKK® buckles for waist-high conversion.
-Abrasion-resistant built-in Gravel Guards with boot hooks.
-Anatomically engineered neoprene stockingfeet with anti-microbial finish
Stop in and see what the fuss is about!
Simms G3 Guide Waders