Steve & Pete's Favorite Things 2017

Steve and Pete’s Favorite Things 2017 – A look at all the must have fly fishing products for 2017.

Each year Oprah Winfrey and her team go through the daunting task of sorting through and testing the most innovative and trend setting products in the marketplace. What they end up with is a must have list of Oprah’s favorite products that will help to enrich people’s lives on a daily basis.

This year we are unveiling our third installment Steve and Pete’s Favorite Things for 2017.  This is a compilation of fly-fishing gear that as obsessed fly fisherman and guides we can’t live without. We feel that these products will be beneficial to all of you as anglers also. After all our time on the water is limited. While we can’t give you more time on the water, what we can give you is a list of the must have fly fishing gear to help you make the most of each experience.

We hope you enjoy this third edition and maybe you will pick up a few of these items for yourself as you plan your fly fishing journey’s for 2015! If only each of us had the money of Oprah we would have everything on the list! Please find the coupon code below as a thanks for your patronage over the years.

Steve Galletta is the Co-Owner/Outfitter of the Bighorn Angler Fly Shop & Lodge in Fort Smith, Montana. “Like a woman who loves high fashion and shoes, I love gear. There is nothing better than a product that increases your performance on the water, is extremely durable and offers an angler a great value. I look for fishing tools that meet these three criteria. Each year a few products emerge throughout the industry and become a staple in my boat.”

Pete Shanafelt is the Co-Owner of the Bighorn Angler Fly Shop & Lodge in Fort Smith, Montana.“Compared to 10 years ago, there are a ton of great products in the fly fishing industry. The tough part is sorting through all of them and deciding what to buy. The products featured here have repeatedly produced positive results time and again and are amongst the best out there today.” 

Favorite All Around Five Weights – Sage X has taken the top spot for us this year in becoming the best all around five weight on the market. It simply can do anything you need it to on the river. The Orvis H2 has been out for several years and is still producing at the top of its class as a do anything five weight. The Orvis Recon is our favorite rod in that middle price point. If you are looking for an American made rod that is high on performance and won’t break the bank this is the best choice and it is very nicely finished.

Best Bang For your Buck Five Weight – The Fenwick HMG for $159 bucks and a lifetime warranty is still hard to beat if you are looking for the best bang for the buck. The Fenwick HMG is incredibly versatile and has become one of our go to value rods on the market. If you are looking for a little more back bone in your five weight the Fenwick Aetos and Echo Carbon XL are great options under $200.  

Favorite Nymph Rod – For the Bighorn and any other river I fish in Montana with an indicator nymph rig I always prefer to use a 9’ 6” fly rod. The extra six inches is a huge benefit for controlling your line, mending, line management and feeding line into your drift without fatiguing your arm like a 10’ rod would. When I get into longer length rods I like a fast action rod that can handle a fly line with a heavy taper and can turnover split shot, an indicator and two flies. For that the best rod is the 9’ 6”6 Weight Sage X. Another excellent choice is the Hardy Zephrus  9’ 6” 6 weight. If I was going to go with a 10 foot rod to maximize my time high stick nymphing it would be a 4 weight Orvis Helios 2

Bang for your Buck – Sage Bolt

Favorite Streamer Rod –  Two rods really stand out for us in this category. Both of these rods will do double duty as your favorite streamer rod and will also second as pretty good nymph rod when needed. These would be the Orvis Helios H2 9’ 6wt Tip Flex Saltwater model or the new Sage X 9’ 7 weight. Both of these companies have infused incredible castability into these powerful fast action fly rods. They are by far the most versatile streamer rods you can find. They are light in hand and can cast a seven foot Rio Versileader as well as they can cast a 24ft Sinking line. 

Bang For Your Buck – Echo Boost and G Loomis Pro 4X

Favorite Dry Fly rod –  We like to use two different rod models for our dry fly fishing. We like a 8’ 6” 4 weight for our match the hatch dry fly when casting to pods of fish or stalking single risers. This length and weight puts a premium on accuracy, line control and feel. Our preferred rods would be the Scott Radian 8’ 6” 4 weight and the Sage X and Sage Accel 8’ 6” 4 weight. For situations where we are fishing larger flies, dealing with wind or casting dries from the boat we prefer a nine foot four or five weight. Here we like the Hardy Zephrus, Scott Radian and Sage X.

Best Bang for your Buck Dry Fly Rods – Fenwick HMG, Orvis Recon and Sage Accel.

Favorite Trout Reel – This has not changed yet again for 2017. You simply do not need a $400 or $500 trout reel. 3-Tand TF Series covers every basis we need for our trout fishing. 3 Tand has models to accommodate lines 2 – 8. The most popular model we sell is the TF-50 which sells for the incredible price of $199.95 and accommodates a 5 or 6 weight line. I jump up a size to the TF-70 for my longer length nymph rods and streamer rods and jump down a size to the TF-40 for my dry fly rods. These reels are amazingly light, strong and have very reliable and smooth drag systems. Best of all for the price they offer the best value of any fly fishing product on the market. If you wanted to spend the money on something American made the Lamson Litespeed is a perennial favorite in the premium market and continues to see updates every few years.

Best Bang for your Buck – Redington RiseLamson Remix($159) or Lamson Liquid($99)

Favorite Fly Lines – Your rod is only as good as the line you put on it. Period. The taper and action of every rod demands a line that suits it best. There is a wide variety of lines on the market to meet the demands of the wide array of rods on the market today. Below are our favorite line choices for specific fishing conditions.

All Around Line- Scientific Anglers MPX, Scientific Anglers Amplitude MPX, Rio Grand, Arc 99+

Best Nymph Taper –Rio InTouch Xtreme Indicator, SA Mastery Anadro, SA Mastery MPX

Best Dry Fly Taper – Arc Dry Fly, Rio Trout LT, Scientific Anglers Wavelength Trout

Best Bang for your buck – Scientific Anglers Frequency

Favorite Wader – Simms G3 Waders have been our go to wader since they came out and have been hard to beat for their durability for as long as they have been around. They seem to only get better with each update Simms make.

Best Bang For your Buck – Orvis Silver Sonic Waders($279) or Hodgman H3

Favorite Wading Boots – Simms Headwaters Boot– After a short hiatus these boots are back and offer anglers tremendous value and performance. I have been wearing these boots since their inception and haven’t looked back. They are extremely easy to get in and out of and provide remarkably good support for having a ratcheting lace system. This is my go to boot for when I am floating the river and getting in and out throughout the day. If I was going to be doing more wade fishing and walking long distances this would not be my go to boot I would prefer the Freestone Boots instead.

Best Bang for your Buck – Simms Freestone Boots

Favorite Leaders – Rio Trout Leaders There is no other leader on the market that provides as good of turnover as these and can be applied to a wide array of fishing situations.

Favorite Tippet – It is amazing how much time and research anglers will put into buying a rod and reel when your tippet is probably the most important part of the equation. Trouthunter Fluorocarbon Tippet is simply the best material I have found for both nymph and dry fly fishing. It has amazing knot strength and because of its co-polymer makeup it has the best knot strength out there. Its price tag sometimes confuses anglers being that it retails for $22.95, but what most don’t realize is that you get almost twice as much material. At 45 cents per meter, its price per meter is the same as Rio Fluoroflex plus.

Favorite Fishing Tools - Tie Fast Nippers I have yet to find something that trumps this tool for me in overall functionality. It has long lasting nipper – been using mine since 2006, has an easy to use nail knot tool and a hook sharpener. Other items we are without: Corqs ¾” indicators, Dr. Slick mitten clamps with scissors, Super Doux Split Shot assortments and a stomach pump.

Favorite Floatants – Shimizaki Dry Shake Liquid, Fly Duster Desiccant, Bighorn Angler Amadou Patch and Shimizaki Dry Magic. If you have these four floatants you will be covered to properly fish any dry fly ever created.


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