Fishpond Delta Sling

Pete Van Hattum Jamie Keown Fly Fishing Winged Reel

Written By: Jamie Keown

Photos By: Justin Dobson

A sling? A hip pack? Or the best of both worlds.

I’ve spent the better part of 20 years and a small retirement plan looking for the perfect pack. At some point I was a vest guy, a chest pack guy, a backpack-chest pack combo guy, and a minimalist sporting only a lanyard. While I still use the backpack-chest pack combo at times I’ve finally found my true identity… I’m a hip pack guy! That being said I’ve spent a large amount of time searching for the perfect hip pack. While it’s no huge secret, you ultimately end up choosing a pack of any kind by deciding on what features are the most important to you vs the ones you feel you can live without. Two of the most important features to me are organization and ample space. A lot of the manufactures seem to do a good job at giving customers one of these options while ultimately falling short on the other.

Enter the Fishpond Delta Sling. I received the Delta sling as a gift from my awesome girlfriend for Christmas and had actually not seen it in person until receiving it for Christmas. Upon first inspection I have to say I was blown away by the size of this thing. While Fishpond doesn’t specify the actual size in cubic inches on their site, this thing is big. The two zippered pockets are Continue reading

Hatchery vs. Wild Trout

We'll make great pets

Written By: Peter Van Hattum

Photos By: Peter Van Hattum, Jamie Keown

What are the Biggest Differences?

The discussion of the differences between hatchery and wild trout is one we have been having for some time. While I have had my opinions on the differences that I have seen, it wasn’t until recently that I had the opportunity to speak with people who manage fisheries and hear about their experiences. I also recently found a podcast by Tom Rosenbauer on the topic and found his thoughts to be very much in line with what I have experienced over time. Now that I have enough information to put together a post I thought I would start the discussion on the topic.

Before we get into the differences I would like to make a few assumptions clear. The first is that the comparisons are for trout living in rivers or streams. I have yet to fish a still water managed fishing environment so I am unaware of the differences in that atmosphere. The second is that we will examine the comparison of hatchery fish that have been in the water for over a month. We all know freshly stocked fish can be Continue reading

Making Memories

Socks for days

Written By: Justin Dobson

Embarrassing Photo by: Whoever was at the Gate 43 shed

It’s without a doubt one of the best things we take away from fishing is the memories. Even those with only a few years of fishing have already had a chance to earn memories on the water.  For those of us who have fished for many years our memory banks are chalk full of things that have made us into the anglers, or people we are today.

Some days are obvious as being a day to remember.  Days you may have caught your best fish, or a day you may have caught a ridiculous number of fish.  But most cherished days you come to appreciate later tend to slip by you disguised as just another day on the water until one day you look back and realize just how important that day was.

Combing back through photos gave me the idea to write this post.  I thought about all those memorable days I’ve had which have defined me and I wanted to share the oldest one I can remember.  Continue reading

Fern Valley on the Soque

Fern Valley on the Soque

Laying it down - Fern ValleyWritten By: Justin Dobson

Photos By: Matt Bornhorst

We just finished spending a great weekend taking photos and film on a Georgia River which I personally hadn’t had a chance to fish yet.  I’ve passed over the Soque River in Clarkesville several times prior in my travels but understood it had very little water which was open to the public to fish and had written it off.  However, among those many miles of private water lay a small oasis open to folks who want to take their chances at a trophy trout at an extremely reasonable rate.

A group of us recently visited Fern Valley on the Soque.  To be quite honest I had some preconceived notions of what to expect and all were proven wrong.  My notion was that I’d be fishing a deep silty river filled with jumbo pellet pig rainbows in a setting that was far from natural habitat.  Come to find out, Fern Valley is quite the opposite.  Well sure, they have the main ingredient; huge trout.  But the remainder was a pleasant surprise.  The section of river operated by the fine folks at Fern Valley has it all.  Deep pools, undercut and shady banks, runs and riffles.  It was awesome to see Continue reading

Keep Em’ Wet

Gone in 4 seconds - Photo By Matt Bornhorst

Written By: Jamie Keown

Photos By: Matt Bornhorst

Fad (noun)

Something (such as an interest or fashion) that is very popular for a short time 

Believe it or not I actually saw an advertisement for a stick that attaches to your phone in order to take selfies of your butt. It’s called a Belfie stick. I cannot make this shit up! The Belfie stick, I imagine, will join countless other fads that come and go like the changing of the seasons. Fads encompass all things in life and fly fishing definitely sees its fair share of them as well. The latest being a movement to “Keep ’Em Wet”. With all of the major brands and companies throwing around this new slogan it got me to thinking… fad or worth permanent adoption.

So I did a little research and according to the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences in an article published on The Physiological Effects of Brief Air Exposure in Exhaustively Exercised Rainbow Trout, air exposure does Continue reading

Simms Freestone Waders

Pete's Rainbow

Written By: Pete Van Hattum

Photo By: Jamie Keown

I feel like any time you review a pair of waders it better be after they have some miles on them. I would expect that all waders work for the first couple trips but what happens after they have been through briars, fallen in rivers and streams, and trekked through the stream side brush that has ripped nets, jackets, and even snapped a fly rod. Well, over the last year and half the Simms Freestone Waders have been on that exact journey with me and so far they are still performing flawlessly.

If anyone puts miles on something quickly it is me. I am a person who tends to be hard on everything and unfortunately for my waders I am also clumsy. Over the last year I have Continue reading

Fishin’ with Frugality

Matt Bornhorst - MB Photography

Written & Photos By: Matt Bornhorst

Anyone else besides me realize how much fly fishing equipment and camera gear costs?  Just saying those words causes money to disappear from my checking account like it wasn’t even there to begin with.  I like to think of myself as pretty frugal and always looking for a deal, but this frugalness also produces some ideas that I am proud to call cheap, yet effective. Continue reading

Evolve and Adapt Fishing

Justin Dobson - Fly Fishing

Written By: Justin Dobson

Photos By: Matt Bornhorst

I’m sure everyone has heard this one:

“You can never step into the same river; for new waters are always flowing on you. 
No man ever steps into the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he is not the same man.”

I spent the last Sunday of the year doing what I love to do; Standing in the middle of a creek catching nothing.  This time my lack of luck came because I actually wasn’t fishing.   I spent some time filming and watching the other guy’s fish.  It really dawned on me how much this particular creek had changed since last time I was here.  Thinking beyond that it was incredible how Continue reading

5 Wt. Shootout

Peter Van Hattum

Written By: Pete Van Hatttum

Photo By: Jamie Keown

If any of you are like me you are always interested in the latest in fly rods and reels. While I am not always in the market for new gear, I am always fascinated in the technology changes and where the industry is going. If you are in the market and didn’t get that 9ft present you were hoping for then this is the article for you.

If you aren’t familiar with Yellowstone Angler’s shootouts you are in for a treat. It seems like a couple of times a year they take an in depth look at the market place and put a wide array of products to the test. If you’re looking for Continue reading

2014 Year In Review

2014WingedReelDC1

Written By: Jamie Keown

Photos By: The Whole WR Crew

It’s that time of year again… the time when we all swear off booze for the coming year and make a “serious” commitment to eat healthy. I think we all know how that one plays out… It’s also the time of year when we look back and reflect on the year that was. For us here at Winged Reel, 2014 was a huge year! We were fortunate enough to have the chance to meet some great people and learn a lot along the way. We feel like we accomplished a lot but still have a long way to go as we strive to continue to bring all of you our perspective on our passion for fly fishing and the people involved. Continue reading