On The Fly
Looking to gear up and start fly fishing? Check out our essentials from Ozark Angler
By Mel Jones
Orvis Fly Fishing Reel
From Orvis, the Access Mid-Arbor fly fishing reel takes the mid-arbor concept to a new level of performance, allowing for faster line pick up. The totally sealed carbon and stainless-steel drag surface guarantees durability and longevity, and the reel is available in sizes I through V.
Boron III SX Rod
R.L. Winston Rod Co.’s super fast-action Boron III SX rods are capable of generating very high line speeds, and have the strength, reserve power and advanced boron technology needed for demanding angling situations. These rods are remarkably lightweight and easy to cast, delivering flies with incredible accuracy.
Smith Optics’ ‘Serpico’ Sunglasses
Smith Optics’ ‘Serpico’ sunglasses are a unique spin on the classic aviator. Available in gold (shown), silver, gunmetal and matte desert, these shades feature polarized-brown carbonic TLT lenses that absorb stray blue light and sharpen visual acuity while reducing reflected glare.
Buckhorn Sling Bag
Carry your entire fishing kit over the shoulder in comfort with Fishpond’s Buckhorn sling bag. The zippered main storage compartment offers secure fly box storage, and the structured back air-mesh panel helps carry loads and keep you cool. The Buckthorn also includes an exterior Velcro attachment for foam, tools or accessories, seven zippered pockets, an integrated guide net slot and even a water bottle pocket.
Simms G3 Guide Jacket
Simms’ all-new G3 Guide Jacket is 25-percent lighter, while ratcheting up performance thanks to rugged, rip-stopping three-layer Gore-Tex shell fabric. The guide-tested jacket includes two large top-loaded fly box pockets and zippered chest, internal stash, and micro fleece-lined hand-warmer pockets. The stowable three-point Storm Hood adjusts to fight the fiercest downpour, while Simms’ proven Dry Cuffs keep water out of the sleeves when tailing, and releasing, fish.
Simms Coldweather Pant
Cold morning? No problem. Simms’ Coldweather pants combat the conditions thanks to micro fleece-lined internal and hand-warmer pockets. Angler-appreciated extras include COR3™ fabric technology, an adjustable waist with a corrosion-fighting center-front snap, and articulated knees for bolstered durability and massive mobility.
Patagonia Foot Tractor
Patagonia’s new Foot Tractor wading boots with next-generation aluminum bar technology will keep you sure-footed on every surface. The new bars are just hard enough to cut through algae and slime, yet soft enough to conform to rock surfaces. They also grip well on muddy trails, won’t accumulate snow and don’t hold moisture. Made with fast-drying synthetic leather and Venergy monofilament mesh panels, Foot Tractors offer industrial-strength support and protection in a light, comfortable boot.
From legends like Cotton Cordell to relative newcomers Golden's Baits,
Arkansas has a wealth of bait companies dedicated to the art of the catch
By Mel Jones
G-Hooks Crappie Killer
Located in Paragould, Gideon Hooks (G-Hooks) began as a manufacturer of crappie jig heads, but is now creating custom-designed bass crankbaits as well. All of G-Hooks’ products are assembled and painted in northeast Arkansas, including this Crappie Killer lure with two-toned round head and Southern Pro plastic. gideonhooks.com
Watermelon Dater Shad
Golden's Baits in Centerton offers made-to-order, hand-injected soft-plastic baits that are designed to hook nearly any fish on your list. Available in a variety of styles and colors, including the watermelon Dater Shad, shown here, Golden’s Baits have become increasing popular with kayak fishermen and other Arkansas anglers. goldensbaits.com
Cotton Cordell C.C. Spoon
Cotton Cordell, Inc. was established in 1952 in Fort Smith by the man himself, Cotton Cordell, when he began manufacturing lures for other companies, and two years later he was branding his own designs. The Cotton Cordell C.C. Spoons, shown here in chrome, flutter into the strike zone like incapacitated baitfish before striking back with an iron-clad hook set. The CC Spoon is one of professional bass fishing’s most-successful jigging spoons, and a must for every tackle box. cottoncordelllures.com
AIM-7 Suspending Jerkbait
Hindsville-based Skirmish Baits was founded by Chris Turner, a veteran with more than 12 years of service as a tank commander in Iraq, Germany and Kosovo. Specializing in hard baits custom-painted by Bait Werks, Skirmish offers a number of designs, including the AIM-7 Suspending Jerkbait, shown here in the “Holographic Clown” custom color pattern. The 4.5-inch long lure is rattling and has a weight transfer system for long casts, and suspends in approximately 55-degree water. skirmishbaits.com
Jewel Jolt Spinnerbait
Located in Mountain Home, Jewel Bait Company has been in business since 1989. The Jewel Jolt Spinnerbait, shown here, was originally designed for fishing the ultra-clear waters of the Ozarks on summer nights, but it also excels at fishing muddy water. Perfect when you need a bait to cover a ton of water with a bunch of thump. jewelbait.com
Salty BC Craw
Founded by Bob Carnes in the early 1960s, Arkie Lures began as a quest to make a better bass jig, and today the Springdale-based company continues to develop innovative fish-catching designs that are Arkansas made. This Salty BC Craw is a 2-inch crawfish imitation, and is great for using as a jig trailer, or as a stand-alone crawfish on a grub head, and will trigger even the most finicky fish into biting. arkiejigs.com
Chart Blue Buzzbait
War Eagle Lures In 1996, War Eagle spinnerbaits were made in two garages in northwest Arkansas by two serious bass fishermen, and sold locally in five tackle stores. But after pro angler Mike McClelland won two back-to-back BASS events on a War Eagle spinnerbait, and then pro angler Gerald Swindle won a major FLW event on a War Eagle spinnerbait, the company quickly began to spread to other parts of the country. The 3/8-ounce Chart Blue Buzzbait has a prism blade and a flat “keel” head for a quick rise and “instant squeak” that drive fish crazy. wareaglelures.com
Trout Magnet Crank
Searcy-based Leland’s Lures began in 1997 with one lure: The Trout Magnet. Today their number of products is in the dozens, all of which are sold across the country, but the Trout Magnet remains a star. This new 3.5-inch Trout Magnet Crank features a larger and stronger bill that allows for deeper fishing. It combine a fish attracting body design, extra-sharp hooks and rattles, and provides for a unique “stop and go” action when fished with a jerk bait-type retrieve. troutmagnet.com