A Fly Fisherman's Christmas
(Reprint from Flies, Ties, and Lies in the Boulder Daily Camera)
By Paul Prentiss

A few days ago, a glossy, 4-color fly fishing catalog arrived in the mail. The artfully displayed merchandise carried descriptions making it clear that future fishing expeditions would be seriously compromised without these items. As I flipped through the pages I realized, "They're right, I do need this stuff." My wife had been after me for a list. Why not order the products and save her a shopping headache? I could accomplish this task while watching football or fooling with the computer. Even better, I could take care of everyone else. I was overwhelmed by this simple plan and my ability to make an executive decision - - something that has eluded me following retirement.
As I contemplated the order, I recalled the story written by Richard Scarry that I read to my daughters 30 years ago, "My Piggy Christmas." On the other hand, I was good throughout 2005, ate all my vegetables, and, after all, it was Christmas.
1. Another Winston Boron IIx Fly Rod was first on the list. In my opinion, these are the finest fly rods Winston has ever made - the finish, weight and action are incredible. This model is in its second year of production and it's significantly different than anything Winston has ever produced. Boron IIx is the second generation of the boron/graphic composite the company started using in 1997. The composite material utilized in the butt section is followed by stiff mid sections and softer tips. The net result is a rod that can deliver delicate casts at short range and generate the high line speeds required to deliver a fly at long distance. One of the most striking things about the Boron IIx is extreme low weight. When you pick up a 6-weight you'll think you're holding a 4-weight.
2. The rod decision created the need for a matching reel. For me it's simple choice, a Ross Evolution with an extra spool. Ross is a Colorado Company located in Montrose who lightweight reels out of aircraft quality bar-stock aluminum. These products are a great match for today's lighter weight fly rods. Their smooth action, quick release spools and drag systems make them particularly attractive. They come in a slate blue or black finish. I just like the look of the slate blue.
3. Either the new Cortland Dyna-tips or the RIO "Grand" fly lines are a good choice for the rod and reel. Although I decided on Cortland product, I aso considered getting another RIO "Nymph" line. My first one was sent to me a year ago. They are not only fantastic for nymph fishing but easily turn over big dry flies and streamers. Once you try one of these lines you'll be sold on their design and functionality.

4. I have a lot of accessories but I was drawn to a couple of stocking stuffers that I don't have - a pair of Able pliers and a Boga Grip. The Abel Pliers are spring-loaded precision-machined tool with replaceable jaws and built in cutters. Pinching down barbs, releasing fish, and cutting 7x tippet to 175 pound braided wire is easily accomplished. The Boga Grip is an ingenious tool built to safely land large fish without damaging the fish or the fishermen's fingers from hooks and sharp teeth. It was originally designed for saltwater but it has tremendous value for many freshwater species. My first experience with this device was for Pike fishing - it's a definite must have.
With my 'Piggy Christmas" list completed I moved forward with gifts for my friends. I decided on the new System-X Fly Boxes with extra inserts. They're light weight, waterproof and you can load various inserts with organized fly selections. As a general rule most fly fishermen can always use more fly boxes. An alternative gift in the same class is the Cliff's Bugger Barn. These are terrific containers for large streamers, bass bugs and salt water patterns. Larger flies are always a pain to store and this product makes it a snap.

I needed to find something for a member of the family who likes to fish but pursues other outdoor activities. After looking at the kit and travel bags manufactured by Fishpond, the decision was easy. A kit bag was the best choice, but I was torn between the Big Horn and Prairie Grass models. Both have wide mouth easy openings and lots of pockets and pouches. I ended up choosing the later because it has an extra 200 cubic inches of storage.
My Grandson was next. I wanted to get him a fly fishing outfit but I wanted to keep the cost reasonable and quality high. This is much easier these days with many great values offered by various manufacturers. I not an advocate of hand-me-downs for someone who has already expressed interest in fly fishing. My advice is to get equipment geared to their size and ability. A Temple Fork 4-piece fast action rod with a matching Ross "FlyWater" reel and RIO "Classic" fly line seemed to fit perfectly. It can be done for under $350 and it's an outfit he'll have for many years to come.

I was tempted to order gifts for my wife and the rest of the family, but sense of foreboding gripped me as this option was more carefully considered.

Perhaps my Christmas list will give you some ideas for your friends and family