By King Montgomery
Some of the many neat outdoor items I used in 2009 are reviewed below. Any of them make great gifts for fellow outdoors folks including yourself. (There’s no rule that says you can’t buy yourself a nice Christmas or Hanukkah or just-for-fun gift.)
In 2006, I recommended Patagonia’s Great Divider as a superb waterproof carrying case, and this year’s gift lineup with its little cousin.
The Patagonia Sub Divider is a smaller version of the popular Great Divider model, and it serves my waterproof bag needs very well. This compact, soft-sided boat bag protects cameras, cell phones (and other electronic doo-dads), and even lunch from moisture, standing water and rain. With my expensive digital cameras aboard, I don’t leave home without it.
Most of the major fly rod companies now have 7-foot-11 or 8-foot bass-series fly rods designed to be legal in sanctioned bass fishing tournaments. (Why one would choose to fish a fly rod in a conventional bass fishing tournament is beyond me.) But they are great rods for fresh- and saltwater applications where casting large flies are the rule. I’ve tested three manufacturer’s lineups and found them all worthy of report.
Sage makes 7-foot-11, 4-piece rods for bluegills and other small fish (230 grain line), for smallmouth bass (290 grain line) and largemouth bass (330 grain line). The Sage package includes the rod, the appropriate grain line and a carrying case to hold your reel.
Temple Fork Outfitters has its Mini Mag bass series of three-piece, 8-foot rods in two models: one for a 6-8 weight (200-300 grain line) and one for an 8-10 weight (300-400 grain line). TFO designer Lefty Kreh uses a 9-weight line on the latter model and he effortlessly casts most of the fly line, even on a windy day.
The rods alone cost $199.95 and a kit including rod, line, reel and case goes for $299.95. www.templeforkflyrods.com
Ross Reels, maker of some of America’s finest fly reels, came out with a line of rods a few years ago, and they have joined the bass bandwagon. The FlyStik series has 4-piece, 8-foot rods in 6, 8 and 10-weight models.
My reels of choice are from Ross Reels. I use them in freshwater and saltwater and never have had a failure in many years of use.
Hunters, anglers, shooters, skiers and anyone who spends time outdoors need a good, solid pair of polarized sunglasses. The most important place to have a good set of glasses -- and mine are prescription -- is on the saltwater flats of tropical climes. Smith Optics offers a full line of polarized glasses, both standard and prescription, to cover the gamut of outdoor activities.
The final item costs less than 10 bucks and it’s worth a lot more. Coghlan’s Cooler Light is a nifty light that illuminates whenever you open your ice cooler, tool kit, storage chest or any top-hinged container. It is so easy to use: take it out of the packaging, activate the battery (included) and stick it onto the inside top of the container with the double-sided adhesive tape. Open the lid and it comes on; close the lid and it goes off -- very cool.
Our outdoors editor King Montgomery is a sucker for nice equipment and he does his best to stimulate our sagging economy by buying lots of outdoors stuff. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Issue 143: November 2009