'THE DRIFT' Fly Fishing Blog

the drift fly fishing blog, beginner fly fishing, how to articles, fishing reports, gear reviews

Check Out the 2019 IFTD Product Awards Results!

by
New Gear For 2020, Gear Reviews


We just returned from 4 great days in Denver at AFFTA's IFTD Show, and an awesome day on the Colorado River. The annual fly fishing show did not disappoint, with great attendance and a lively, vibrant atmosphere with manufacturers unveiling their latest and greatest products. This year’s new products aren’t to be missed, so check out who and what took home the coveted top awards below!

New Product Showcase Awards

Best of Show: Scott Sector Saltwater Fly Rod

SHOP SCOTT SECTOR FLY RODS NOW!

Imagine a rod that casts tight high line speed loops effortlessly and turns over your leader straight into the wind; a rod that delivers the fly on target with just one false cast, and can pick it back up and redirect if the fish changes course; a rod that is intuitive so you can focus on the fish instead of your cast; a rod that feels light and alive in your hand and has the touch and feel needed to make short quick shots or float the fly in quietly. All that, plus a rod handcrafted with the very best components to ever grace a fly rod – Introducing the all-new Sector Series of high performance, handcrafted fly rods from Scott.


Best Fly Rod Freshwater: Sage TROUT LL Fly Rod

SHOP SAGE TROUT LL FLY RODS NOW!

With a delicate touch and medium action, the TROUT LL family has been designed with the trout angler and dry flies in mind. Through blank taper optimization and specialized length offerings, the TROUT LL is perfected for wade fishing, closer casts, small flies, and light tippets. A relatively supple tip maximizes light tippet protection and gives way to a smooth easy-loading mid-section that increases feel and feedback throughout the casting stroke. When the hatch is on, the TROUT LL is an angler’s best friend.

Best Saltwater Fly Rod: Scott Sector Fly Rod

SHOP SCOTT SECTOR FLY RODS NOW!

Imagine a rod that casts tight high line speed loops effortlessly and turns over your leader straight into the wind; a rod that delivers the fly on target with just one false cast, and can pick it back up and redirect if the fish changes course; a rod that is intuitive so you can focus on the fish instead of your cast; a rod that feels light and alive in your hand and has the touch and feel needed to make short quick shots or float the fly in quietly. All that, plus a rod handcrafted with the very best components to ever grace a fly rod – Introducing the all-new Sector Series of high performance, handcrafted fly rods from Scott.

Best 2 Handed/Spey Fly Rod: Sage TROUT SPEY HD Fly Rod

SHOP SAGE TROUT SPEY HD FLY RODS NOW!

Featuring KonneticHD technology and new fast action, the TROUT SPEY HD series of rods bring ease to lightweight spey techniques. Five rods from 10’3” to 11’3” excel with a variety of spey lines that are currently offered in 175-350gr sizes. The TROUT SPEY HD rods are primarily designed for spey casting as opposed to Switch rod-style actions previously captured within Sage’s Trout Spey category, and features an action designed for Skagit and Scandi style casting techniques with trout appropriate sized flies.

Best Freshwater Fly Reel: Ross Reels San Miguel 

SHOP ROSS SAN MIGUEL FLY REELS NOW!

Since Ross Reels started in 1973, there has been one model that epitomizes what a Ross Reel is: the San Miguel. It defined the ultimate in class and finesse, and now, over two decades since it was first launched, the classic returns

Best Saltwater Fly Reel: Abel Vaya Fly Reel 

SHOP ABEL VAYA FLY REELS NOW!

VAYA: Spanish for ‘Go!’, as in go outside, go explore, go fishing! 

Crafted by avid Colorado anglers, the VAYA series debuts an all-new technical look and feel paired with outstanding performance. The partially-ported VAYA frame offers the unique combination of minimized weight, incredible rigidity, and just enough surface area to highlight Abel’s hand-anodized finishes. The frame interior also features varying sets of CNC-milled fly patterns, relevant to each size of reel.   

The large-arbor spool features a precision-balanced, dual-pawl drag engagement design that eliminates the need for a counterweight. The spool’s mechanical incoming click compliments the audible, smooth feel of the outgoing drag. The carbon / stainless multi-disk drag system produces substantial resistance, while providing a wide range of adjustability for delicate tippet.

VAYA: the new ‘go-to’ reel for everything from freshwater to light salt.

Best Men's Waders: Simms G4Z Stockingfoor Waders

SHOP SIMMS G4Z WADERS NOW!

Our most durable wader features a new, proprietary fabric from GORE-TEX® proven over 16,000 hours of field testing. Make the most of your time on the water: Head out in the most feature-laden, abrasion-, puncture- and tear-resistant wader made.

Best Men’s Outerwear: Simms G4 Pro Jacket

SHOP SIMMS G4 PRO JACKETS NOW!

Cut from advanced GORE-TEX® Pro Shell 3-layer fabrics and kitted with ingenious fishing details throughout, the G4 Pro Jacket is our highest-performing, most durable jacket, a statement proven during hundreds of hours of field testing by professional guides in the harshest conditions

Best Men’s Wading Boots: Simms G4 Pro Boots

SHOP SIMMS G4 PRO WADING BOOTS NOW!

The G4 Pro wading boot was engineered from the ground up to be the highest performing wading boot ever built. The perfect combination of durability and agility, the G4 Pro will provide season after season of comfortable, sure-footed wading.

Best Freshwater Fly Line: Scientific Anglers Infinity Smooth Fly Line

SHOP SCIENTIFIC ANGLERS AMPLITUDE INFINITY SMOOTH FLY LINES NOW!

The Amplitude Smooth series of lines are, simply put, the highest-performance smooth fly lines in the world. With up to five times less drag and eight times the durability of traditional lines, this will change the way you look at fly line performance.

Best Saltwater Fly Line: Scientific Anglers Infinity Smooth Saltwater Fly Line

SHOP SCIENTIFIC ANGLERS AMPLITUDE INFINITY SMOOTH SALTWATER FLY LINES NOW!

The Infinity Salt is technical, versatile, accurate and simply the most advanced saltwater line available. Featuring the revolutionary AST Plus slickness additive for superior shooting ability and increased durability the Infinity Salt will handle the most rigorous of conditions year after year. The Infinity Salt is a half-line weight heavy to turn over any fly on even the windiest of days. The extended head length makes it more accurate then short shooting heads so that you can land your fly to spooky fish in the most efficient manner.

Best Leader/Tippet : Scientific Anglers Absolute Trout Tippet

SHOP SCIENTIFIC ANGLERS ABSOLUTE CLEAR TROUT TIPPET NOW!

Absolute Tippet is made with proprietary copolymer blends that are designed to drastically reduce water absorption while maintaining an optimal suppleness for high knot strength. Absolute nylon leaders and tippets have a 29% higher wet knot strength compared to our previous material and up to 40% higher wet knot strength when compared to our competitors.

Fly Tying Materials

Hareline Dubbin, Bling Rabbit Strips™

Flashback zonker strips?! Yes, please!

Eco Friendly – Gear

Patagonia, Black Hole Gear Tote

Check out our article on Patagonia’s new Blackhole line, here!

Fly Pattern – Freshwater

Flymen Fishing Company, Micro Changer

Fly Pattern – Saltwater

Umpqua Feather Merchants, Skok Strong-Arm Crab



Men’s –General Apparel

Simms Fishing Products, SolarFlex UltraCool Armor

When relentless heat threatens to cut short a pleasant afternoon tossing carefree casts, arm yourself with cool comfort and keep chasing those elusive fish. The Simms SolarFlex® Armor Shirt features hard-working COR3 technology, with all-day odor-fighting and moisture-wicking protection. The shirt shields against the sun’s harmful rays with a UPF 50 rating. Coolcore® fabric chills down as it gets wet, giving you natural relief from the heat. Mesh panels on the sides and arms add breezy ventilation that will keep you feeling fresh on the water from dawn until dusk. It is finished with a full-coverage built-in gaiter for all over protection.

Best Women’s Waders: Simms Women's G3 Guide Z Wader

SHOP SIMMS WOMEN'S G3 GUIDE Z WADERS NOW!

G3 Guide is synonymous with guide-trusted wading performance. Women’s G3 Guide Z Waders carry on the legacy, with a breathable, stay-dry GORE-TEX® Pro Shell design and pivotal executions like the patented TIZIP® side-zipper that simplifies the on/off process, while answering Ma Nature’s call—once and for all. Patterning and fit are G3 Guide Z hallmarks, and whether you’re stacking on the layers or embarking on a minimalist multiday, these versatile mainstays have the mobility and all-day comfort you crave. Hardworking features include waist-anchored suspender straps for custom strap fit and easy high-waist conversion on sticky days, a plush reach-through, fleece-lined hand warmer chest pocket for when temperatures crater, and a removable flip-out Tippet Tender with a retractor docking station for corralling flies, tools, and other river essentials. With everything in its place—anywhere, in any weather—Women’s G3 Guide Z is your higher-performing wader that brings it all together.

Best Women’s Outerwear: Simms Women's G3 Guide Jacket

SHOP SIMMS WOMEN'S G3 GUIDE JACKET NOW!

Women’s – General Apparel

Patagonia, Women’s Bugstopper Leggings

Accessories – Under $100

Simms Fishing Products, Pro Nipper

Accessories – Over $100

RISING, Travel Net

Gift Items – Under $100

Danforth Art, Danforth Art

Youth Product – Gear/Apparel

Fishpond, Tenderfoot Youth Vest

Entertainment/Education

Anglers Book Supply, STEELHEAD FLY TYING

Fly Box/Storage System – Gear

Fishpond, Fly Dock

Fly Hooks – Gear

Umpqua Feather Merchants, XT050 Stubby T (#10-18)

Fly Tying Vices and Tying Tools – Gear

Renzetti, Streamer Pedestal Base

Luggage (Bags, Backpacks) – Gear

Simms Fishing Products, GTS Roller Duffel – 110L

Chest-Pack/Vest – Gear

Fishpond, Flathead Sling

Boat/Personal WaterCraft – Gear

Outcast Sporting Gear, IK Angler 11