The runoff is settling down, the water temperature is rising and the hatch is on. There is no better time to be a fisherman than right now. For centuries fishermen have found solace and escape from everyday worries while on the water, there couldn’t be a better time to continue that tradition. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced angler we’ve got some picks for you that will make sure you get the most out of your time on the water.
Abu Garcia Revo X Low Profile Combo
Abu Garcia Revo X Low Profile Combo Starting at: $142.60 Looking to step up your game to bait casting setup? This combo from Abu Garcia is the perfect entry point. A one-piece rod constructed from a 30-ton graphite blank yields a tough, but sensitive rod. Fitted with foam grips this rod feels good in your hand for hours of use. The 7+1 stainless steel bearing system creates and incredibly smooth retrieve making this combo a dream to use. Constructed of a corrosion-resistant X2-Cräftic alloy frame ensures this reel will be in your kit and working smoothly for years to come. The Carbon Mag Trax drag is strong, consistent, and easily adjustable. The Revo X Low Profile Combo is an incredible value for anyone looking to get setup with a baitcasting rod and reel.
Redington Vice Fly Rod
Redington Vice Fly Rod Starting at: $136.48 If you are looking for your first fly rod the Vice might be your choice. As a beginner, it is difficult to justify some of the astronomical costs of some fly rods on the market. The Vice is a little more budget-friendly than some of the other options on the market, but it doesn’t compromise on quality. You can certainly get a cheaper rod, but you’ll likely be looking for an upgrade as your casting improves. We took the 8 weight 9 foot model of the Vice out to the Flats of Belize chasing bonefish and whatever else would take a fly. The anodized guides and reel seat keeps the rod in top condition when faced with corrosive saltwater. Consequently, the first fish hooked with this rod was a baby tarpon off the deck of our hotel. The 8 weight had no trouble standing up to the king of the flats and paired with the strong drag of the Behemoth reel our tester was able to bring in the fish without issue. With the tarpon out of the way, there was little doubt that the rod could stand up to some of the smaller species we are after. From bonefish to mangrove snappers this rod stood up to them all. The fast action made sending out long casts with heavy flies a breeze, even when the winds picked up the Vice still punched straight through and delivered the fly.
Yeti Hopper Cooler
The perfect companion on any trip to the water? The guy who brings the beers. The Yeti Hopper will outlast even the most diehard fisherman when it comes to keeping food and drink cold on a long session at your secret spot. Like the rest of the Yeti line, this cooler is virtually indestructible. Drop it, drag it, drown it; just don’t let the soft outer layer fool you—this cooler is tough. The puncture-proof, antimicrobial and waterproof features guarantee that you’ll never have to celebrate the catch of the day with a warm beer again.
Redington Rise Fly Reel
Redington Rise Fly Reel Starting at: $181.96 The good looks of the Rise reel from Redington are backed up with an incredibly well-performing reel in a lightweight compact package. With its large arbor reel, the Rise takes up line quickly so when that fish makes a run straight for you, you can keep tension on the line. We paired this with the ultra-lightweight Hydrogen rod for an ultra-lightweight setup that still packs a punch and handles bigger fish. The powerful carbon drag system is stout enough to handle hard-fighting fish, yet the lightweight construction doesn’t way you down when you are fishing backcountry streams for small brookies where the reel serves more of a line storing function than anything else. Pick up the Rise reel and you’ll be ready for a variety of angling opportunities.
Fishpond Waterdance Guide Pack
We love Fishpond gear here at Active Junky, a Colorado-born company just like us they make some of the best fishing gear in the industry. This Guide Pack is for the serious angler that likes to be prepared while out on the river. With 2 large main compartments, you have plenty of room for storage of multiple fly boxes, spare spools, reels of tippet, snacks, and whatever else you would need for a day on the water. On each side, you’ll have mesh water bottle holders, although, our tester found that normally his was filled with a beer rather than a water bottle. With a breathable mesh padding and compression straps, you’ll stay comfy all day whether you are wearing this as a lumbar or chest pack. The classic fly shelf with replaceable foam gives you a work area to change flies quickly when the dry flies start hatching. There is a reason guides across the industry use this pack, you won’t be disappointed if you decide to make this your river companion.
Redington Behemoth Fly Reel
Redington Behemoth Fly Reel Starting at: $109.20 This thing looks like a Behemoth. An impressively large v-shaped arbor and modern styling make it look like this reel is ready to fight any fish, and we’re here to tell you that it performs as well as it looks. With one of the strongest drags in its, the Behemoth can easily stand up to some of the fastest fish in the sea. The smooth strong drag was a welcome feature when fighting tarpon. The large arbor was also found quite useful when our tester hooked his first bonefish and it came running straight at the boat. The ability to pick up line quickly is a huge advantage in these situations. The reel feels smooth while peeling line off in preparation for a cast. This thing just performs, you’ll forget about your reel and focus on your fishing. If you are heading out to chase big and fast predatory fish, you’ll want the Behemoth on your side.