Most serious fishermen know that to get to the prime spots, free from crowds, you need to put in some sweat equity. Whether hitting rugged trails to scout distant streams, muscling a kayak to prime waters, or diving deep in the ocean for the perfect shot, those who aren’t afraid to push their bodies for the ultimate catch reap the biggest rewards. But to get to those remote areas and nab a once-in-a-lifetime catch, you need the right fishing gear.
The latest advances in lightweight fly-fishing equipment mean you can easily run in to your favorite river in the morning with a full load of waders, tackle, and rod and reel—without feeling overloaded. Advances in pedal propulsion technology make getting to, and maneuvering around, your honey hole a look-ma-no-hands affair. And for those who take to the ocean for spearfishing, new gear has made diving for elusive game more efficient—and with better results than ever before. Take a gander at the best new fishing gear and upgrade your arsenal accordingly.
The Best Gear for Angling, Spearfishing, and Kayak Fishing
1. Patagonia Swiftcurrent Packable Waders
You’ll be astonished at how compactly Patagonia’s truly ultralight (36-ounce) waders fit into the included stuff sack. Moving away from bulky neoprene booties to thin but tough synthetic rubber means that toting waders to far-flung locales is no longer a hassle.
2. Maine Fly Company Tumbledown
At 17 inches broken down, there’s no excuse not to pack this hand-built rod on every hike. The seven-piece, 9-foot Tumbledown weighs only 3.6 ounces and is made from a carbon blank, local-birch reel seat and with bio-based epoxies.
3. Orvis Mirage LT II
For a light, strong reel to match a packable rod, Orvis updated its workhorse to this lighter, narrower version, which retains the drag system that goes from zero to full in one knob rotation. Though milled from aluminum, its titanium shaft reduces weight and adds strength.
[From $349; orvis.com]
4. Altra All-Wthr Low
Co-founder Brian Beckstead regularly runs 20+ miles in the Lone Peak trail shoes to get to his favorite (and remote) fly-fishing spots in Utah. This updated version of the legendary trail beast has, along with the signature wide toe-box, updated cushioning, weather resistant membrane, and an ultra grippy outsole to get you confidently to the most isolated spots, whether you run or hike.
5. Simms Flyweight Wading Boot
Don a capable, weather-resistant trail runner to get you confidently to the most isolated fly-fishing spots. Then, instead of toting (and changing into) bulky wading clunkers, slip on the slim and svelte 40-ounce boot. They provide full wading function with a sticky Vibram outer sole (stud-compatible), a tough upper, and a springy midsole for all-day comfort.
6. Dragon Shore X LL Polar Sunglasses
Polarized shades are a fishing must. Don’t worry about dropping these sport sunglasses, featuring floatable tech, in the drink. Just snag the light and comfortable frames (with rubber nose pads and temple tips) before they drift away.
7. Old Town Sportsman BigWater PDL 132
Cover more miles fishing in the pedal-driven kayak. It maneuvers precisely, forward and backward, without having to put down your rod (though it includes three built-in rod holders). The 13-foot-long hull cruises smoothly in open water while providing the stability to stand. And for those long days, sealed bow storage and a bungeed stern allow for a cooler or bait bucket.
8. Astral’s V-Eight Fisher
Toss your ratty life jacket and treat yourself to a sweet upgrade. This offers D-rings for attaching tools and side pockets for other angling essentials. The cooling, mostly mesh back with higher padding works well with kayak seats.
9. Abu Garcia Zata Spinning Combo
Remove any fishing-rig guesswork with this beauty. You get an innovative reel for smooth casts and retrieves mated to a tough, light graphite rod ideal for a wide range of target species—salt or fresh.
[From $210; abugarcia.com]
10. Headhunter’s Guerrilla Sling 3.0
New to spearfishing? If you struggle with a traditional (often shaky) pistol grip, pick this up. The unique design puts all of the force on your forearm, increasing stability and making tough shots in deep water a cinch—a nice boost if you’re working on underwater comfort and breath control.
[From $220; headhunterspearfishing.com]
11. Moana Euro Fins
Improve mobility, speed, and stealth by leveling up to stronger, lighter carbon fins. A multiaxial design reduces twisting, which leads to much-improved efficiency underwater. The shorter, 74cm length also allows for powerful surface swimming and turning in tight quarters while pursuing prey in deep grottoes.
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