Tag: durability

Gear Review: Smith Optics Elite Tactical Sunglasses

gear bagSitting at a lunch meeting, my colleague squints and rubs their eyes.

“Peeps bugging you?” I ask.

“Yea, it’s these damn sunglasses. Every time I drive for more than a few hours with them on my eyes get really tired.”

“Hmm … are they polarized?”

“Yep.”

As a fisherman, I’d come to wearing polarized sunglasses almost exclusively. Every place, every day, and experienced the same, worn, tired eyes after prolonged face time. But I was loathe to seek an alternative, likely requiring I give up the matte-finish, full-coverage frames I’d grown accustomed to.

Smith Elite Tactical Sunglasses

Full frame AND maximum impact resistance

Aww, scratch all that bullshit above. After the jump comes the real reason I switched to these sunglasses (spoiler: it ain’t because I got a “hookup”) …

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Rod Review: Scott S4S 908/4

gear bagI spent a few months in Florida over the winter, ostensibly for work. But with Tampa Bay just around the corner I decided that was as good an excuse as any to update my gear selection. After a bit of test casting and chatting with guides, I decided a Scott S4S 908/4 would be one of the new rods in the lineup. Unfortunately, Florida experienced a really bad, lingering cold snap, and I only got one day of wind-blown redfish chasing in before heading back to Colorado. Now, with a week of Andros Island bonefishing under the belt, I’ve had enough time with the rod to offer semi-credible thoughts.

What you should be looking for in a saltwater rod is a combination of casting and fighting performance. That’s correct…a quick test run in the shop parking lot alone doesn’t necessarily cut it – you need controllable power to push flies through stiff wind and tippet-safe force to turn those noses once you hook them. You also want a rod to have the general toughness to withstand a lot of time banging around in a rod well, being dropped on the deck, and finding itself on the receiving end of a liquid that can eat through steel-reinforced concrete like I eat through pepperoni pizza. Scott hit all points spot on, which means the folks in Montrose are either really fishy and whip-smart, or they have a spy camera hidden somewhere in my dining room.

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First thoughts: Cloudveil 8X Pro Shell waders

gear bagEverybody and their mother knows I can give fly fishing waders a good swift kick in the crotch pants. As gear goes, waders are what I am toughest on, and as a result I generally don’t scrimp when it comes to them. The last full-time use pair, Simms Guides, have just about had it. And while I’m all for pushing the limits I’ve been going through enough Aquaseal nowadays that I figured I might as well ante up. I bought the pot of Gore-tex – a pair of Cloudveil 8X Pro Shells.

I’ve had these waders out just one full day – in other words the jury is still deliberating. But that day was warm (at least by spring in the Rocky Mountains standards), and the water cold. The terrain was intermediate, and I took a few spills (go figure). My guess was it’s as good a time as any to set forth some uninformed opinion. [side note: click any picture to see a large view]

Looks aren’t everything, but they sure help

cloudveil1If the Cloudveil 8X Pros were made of recycled sandwich bags and held together with Elmer’s Glue, you’d still think they were designed by Donatella Versace. These suckers look goooooood. The color is called vetiver, which is another way of saying gray, green, beige and none of the above, simultaneously. The material, with the exception of the lower legs, is lightweight ripstop fabric and silky to the touch. Shoulder straps and belt (a integrated job) are made of stretch elastic, and colored to match the rest. All the zippers, stitching, and related unimportant stuff is carefully crafted. Just looking at it screams ‘refined’ owner.

Nevertheless, John Gierach wisely noted that if you want to be thought the expert, one tactic is to wear beat up gear. Unfortunately, that was before digital SLRs and Flickr existed, and now you have to look your best even if the photos of you sitting on the bank trying to untangle your three fly rig are the closest thing to respect you’re ever gonna get. These waders do that for you in spades. I’m just happy when there are some grass stains on the knees – while I spent some time scrambling around rocks trying to net a friend’s fish in a tough spot, those knees are still pristine. Bummer.

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