fly fishing
Our Jim Coveney displaying the Fishpond Dakota Carry-on Rod & Reel Case

“Vests vs. packs, boxers vs. briefs, it’s pretty much the same thing,” says Jim Coveney, Fishing Manager at our Chapel Hill shop, when discussing the two main gear-toting methods preferred by fishermen.

Which camp does Jim fall into?

Boxers. Er, packs.

“The problem I have with fishing vests is that they hold so much I have a tendency to want to fill every pocket,” says Jim. “Before you know it, I’ve got a 50-pound vest.”

San Juan Vertical Chest Pack

fly fishing
Fishpond San Juan Vertical Chest Pack

One option Jim likes for traveling light is the Fishpond San Juan Vertical Chest Pack. With shoulder straps and a belt, you can wear the compact pack on your front, giving quick and easy access to your flies and other accessories. It even has a fold-down fly bench work station with a foam pad to help with mid-stream, on-the-fly changes. Attachment points on the outside  accommodate a range of accessories — a tippet holder, perhaps, or scissors — and large, protected inner pocket holds your fly box, even a snack. Everything you need, in a compact, 5” x 4” x 8.5”, 180-cubic-inch pack.

Everything? you ask.

River Rat Beverage Holder

fly fishing
Fishpond River Rat Beverage Holder 2.0

Well, it doesn’t have a beverage holder. Luckily, Fishpond also makes the River Rat Beverage Holder 2.0, the answer to every angler’s thirst-on-the-water needs. The insulated River Rat features rugged 16800 TPU-coated recycled nylon to protect the 12-ounce can or bottle of your choice. Best of all, since you need your hands free to concentrate on the business at hand, it includes a webbed strap so you can hang it around your neck. Got someone who loves to fish on your shopping list? The River Rat 2.0 makes for a dandy stocking stuffer at just $19.95.

Back to the Fishpond San Juan Vertical Chest Pack. It’s ideal for two types of fisher-people: the beginner, who doesn’t need a lot of distractions and thus a small pack to carry just what he needs, and the expert, who knows exactly what she needs and doesn’t need a lot of extra room. 

Flathead Sling bag

fly fishing
Fishpond Flathead Sling bag

For the fisherman in-between, there’s the Fishpond Flathead Sling. There’s not a wasted inch of space with the sling. The inside — it has a whopping 10 liters of space — has two dividers to help keep things organized, a removable foam fly patch, an elastic pocket and a zippered pocket; various tool attachment points on the top, sides and shoulder strap; a molded back panel with both right- and left-hand net slots. And it has not one, but two water bottle holders.

A large clamshell opening provides access to the entire pack, and in addition to a wide shoulder-strap sling, it includes a cross-body stabilizing strap to keep the bag in place. Quickly swing the bag around to your front when you need something, let it rest on your back when you don’t. It also has a quick access magnetic pocket on the front.

Dakota Carry-on Rod & Reel Case

Speaking of organization, do you keep all your fly fishing gear in a Tupperware container in the back of your truck? If so, you shouldn’t.

For one, it’s so … messy! Things are hard to find with everything floating about here and there, and all the jostling in this free-form environment makes it easy for stuff to get bent and broken. Besides, don’t you consider fly fishing to be an art form? Would you expect Yo-Yo Ma to show up for a concert with his cello in a big plastic bin?

Just as accomplished musicians transport their precious instruments in handsome, padded comfort, you should arrive in style with your rods, your reels, your flies, your maps also safely and smartly stored, in the Fishpond Dakota Carry-on Rod & Reel Case. It has three mesh interior pockets, three laminated see-through exterior mesh pockets (for keys, phone, airline tickets), adjustable padded removable dividers for your reels and a strap-down rod compartment that holds three rods in tubes, at least four stored in socks. Includes both a shoulder strap and a braided handle made of climbing rope. Imagine the hush from your fellow anglers when you pull up stream-side and remove your Dakota Rod & Reel Case from your trunk. Baseball’s catchers have their tools of ignorance, with your Dakota you’ll have your tool of envy.

Echo rods reverberate with economy

Echo fly rod

Finally, let’s say you’re new to fly fishing. Maybe you’ve gone to a demo class, maybe you borrowed a friend’s gear. You want to get into it, but you also realize that to truly enjoy and grow in the sport, a bamboo pole and twine ain’t gonna cut it. You also know that dropping upwards of a grand on a rod isn’t going to make it through the House Budget Committee.

Jim has good news for you — new news, too. Now in our stores are Echo fly rods which, Jim says, are getting rave early reviews. “People are enjoying them to a substantial degree,” says Jim, adding, “and the price point is quite reasonable.”

“I could tell instantly that they have a very intuitive feel,” says Jim, who’s been with us for 11 years and fly fishing for nearly twice as long. 

“We’ve got five Echo rods right now,” says Jim, “two for Euro nymphing, one that’s good for medium action, one that’s good for fast action, and a salt-water rod.”

Asked to elaborate on that “intuitive feel” thing, Jim hesitates, then tries to channel his answer in zen-like terms.

“It’s a good extension,” he says, “of the mind to the hand to the rod.”

At one with the rod, as it should be.