CrKent's Picks


Deep Water Indicator

By popular demand, here is the indicator I designed and have been using with clients for deep water nymphing - the Slide-a-cator™. 

The way it works is the leader passes through the center hole alongside UV resistant rubber, which is built into this "corky" like indicator.  It can be adjusted by simply sliding it up and down, but when you cast it, the rubber acts like a "Chinese finger trap" and grips the leader so no slipage, even for you power casters.

For deepwater nymphing, you reel it in until the Slide-a-cator™ comes up to the tip top on the rod, then you either just keep cranking or I prefer to reach up and pull a long strip (like 4 feet) of leader through the indicator and then let it back so you can then reel in another four feet.  Repeat this a second time and you are ready to net the fish.  Float tubers may have to do it a third time.

I use Rio Extreme tippet with the Slide-a-cator™ for this application as it has almost zero stretcth making those deep-water sets more positive.  You can see the  complete set-up with Rio FluoroPlus, tippet ring, and split shot.  Oh yeah, don't forget the flies!

Now, for the "fine print". . . (Since I am always politically correct and thinking of my stillwater breathren)

Yes, since the leader passes through the indicator you must remember to attach it before you rig everything to your fly line and secondly, never pull the leader completely out of the indicator as there is no way to get it back in.  (They do make nice, lightweight marbles for your kids if you forget.)

But, don't fret, the Slide-a-cator™ comes with complete instructions which cover how to install it on a new leader so you can use the indicator over and over. Lastly, you must remember where your indicator was before you caught the last fish so you can reposition it to get the same height off the bottom each time.

I believe the extra steps necessary are far outweighed by the one big positive . . . being able to fish at depths up to 25 feet opens up at least twice the fishable area on the lake.  'No more crowding into the "hot-spot" with six guide boats, five other midgers, nine float tubes, and twelve bait-dunkers.   Use your fish finder to spot a couple of big ones in the middle of nowhere and anchors away.

The Slide-a-cator™ is made in the USA by highly trained fly-fishing addicts and is available at the shop for a mere $2.49 plus tax or three for $5.95 plus tax.

 We are also now carrying Mickey Barron's Sungicators for you yarn aficionados when not going deep.  -k

Bottom Reading Thermometer

This little item probably looks more at home stuck to the side of a barn than it does on your boat or float tube but it can be a huge asset when looking for fish on the lake. It is a min/max thermometer and it is the least expensive way to accurately and quickly measure the temperature of the water on the bottom (where the fish are). Trout like 56°F –57°F water and if you find that temperature you will almost always find a good concentration of fish.

That impressive digital readout on your pricey fish finder only tells you the surface temperature, which correlates poorly with the bottom temperature due to the fact there are always currents on the lake so it is almost useless in estimating the temperature on the bottom.

The way it works is that floating on top of the two mercury columns of the thermometer are little steel pins (yes, floats - mercury is almost twice as dense as steel) and when the mercury goes up and down as far as it can, the pins stay behind to read the highest and lowest temperatures since the last time the thermometer was reset. That little red gizmo on the string is the attached magnet used to reset it.

You simply pitch it overboard on a string, wait about 5 seconds, pull it back up and read the minimum temperature – that is the temperature on the bottom. These sell for a little over $20, one third the price of the electronic equivalent and are five times faster than the cheapo ones enclosed in a chamber which take forever to read and are not nearly as accurate.

If you happened to have purchased the underwater video, “Crowley, an Underwater Perspective” note the temperature readings when a fish is coming by the camera every ten seconds. You’ll be a believer in bottom water temperature like I am! -k

Perfect Crowley Fly Rod Holder

I don't know why I never thought to put this item on Kent's Picks as I have been using it for about ten years and it is the best boat fly rod holder ever devised for the type fishing we do on the lake.

Before I list off all of its product features/advantages I will digress momentarily and tell you why you need a rod holder on Crowley.  Setting your rod on the deck with your fly still in the water is dicey at best.  Most of the time when a fish hits your fly you hear the line going thru the guides and you just grab your rod, but it is only a matter

of time until a fish takes the fly spits it and foul hooks himself.  Then what you hear is whoosh, bump, bump, splash.  Best case is you are going for a swim and worst case is you say goodbye to that pricey rod, reel and line.  Unconditional guarantees from Sage, Winston, et. al. do have one small condition in the fine print . . . you must have something to send them back besides a sad story.

With that said, here is what is cool about this product. You simply set the rod in and out of the holder with one hand . . . no clips, straps etc to deal with, which makes it very fast to grab when a fish hits the rod in the holder.  Once you set the rod in the holder, those little bars in the photo rotate and hold the rod securely.  You can even grab the rod above the cork and lift the tip quickly to make the set as you rotate the rod out of the holder rather than just lifting straight up.

Even if you don't grab the rod, the line and reel spool are free to move and the fish just pulls out the line against the drag while you are running over to grab it.  Gee mom, midging with "no hands"!

Of course, it can be adjusted up and down and horizontally and it even comes with two bases, one for rail mounting as shown above and another for mounting on a flat surface.

At the shop for a mere $19.95 or you can order by phone at (800) 637-6912. -k

Doug Uyematsud's Callibaetis

This is a great fly for fishing the shallows on Crowley.  You can download the complete instructions by clicking here DOUG'S CALIBAETIS

Deep Nymphing Indicators

These cool little indicators have a unique design that allows you to release the indicator while playing a fish so it will slip down the line. So what, you say?

This means early in the season when the fish are typically in 20 ft to 25 ft of water on Crowley you'll be right there "midging" as usual.

You will need to practice adjusting the release pin so it doesn't come out when you cast but does come out when you have a fish on and give it a jerk, but once you get that figured out they are sweet.

So, you can be out there amongst the fleet of bait dunkers and get to hear them say those oh-so-sweet words . . ."He's got another one . . he's got another one!


Scientific Anglers Sharkskin

The $100 fly line has arrived. This stuff is truly revolutionary in that it has a texture molded into the exterior of the fly line so what is touching the guides on the fly rod and the surface of the water is a bunch of bumps (an over-simplification) rather than a smooth surface.

SA says this makes for less friction and it sits higher on the water for easier pick-up. This isn't hype - my degrees in science and engineering from a former life bear this out. I haven't fished it yet but it does cast like a dream and you can definitely hear the line going through the guides. Otis said he can now assess whether his clients are casting properly without even looking at them - probably true.

As to the cost, sure it seems pricey, but if it lasts you a hundred days of fishing which pretty much all modern lines do, its a buck a day versus sixty cents. You can check out all the specifics . . .

Click Here to download spec sheet (adobe pdf file)

Rio Gold

Here is the newest offering from Rio and at a more traditional cost of $64.95. I have also casted this line and it is really tough to tell if it shoots better or worse than the Sharkskin as it also flies out of the guides like nothing I've felt before and it would take a side-by-side to tell if one is actually better than the other in shootabilty.

I actually like the feel, taperwise, of the Gold as it really lets you feel the line through the entire casting stroke and seems to more effortlessly turn over when your "stop" on the forward stroke is more like a blur than a stop like most of us suffer from occasionally.

RIO's AgentX and Super Floatation Technologies are incorporated into this line which I also think are real science and make a difference.

You choose!

Click Here to check out what Rio has to say

Master guide, and irrepressible practical joker, Pat Jaeger, (ask about the time he told the crusty old wranglers on a back-county trip that Kevin was gay) has even another talent - woodworking. He has been making these bulletproof wading staffs for a couple of years and is finally putting them on the market. They come in ultra-light Birch or Oak, both at $49.95.

No, they don't break down to fit in your briefcase, but if I found myself half way across one of those ball-bearing-lined streams and knew I'd made a big mistake, this is the one I'd want. Check 'em out!


LewLet's face it, there are more variations of strike indicators than any other item in the fly fishing world and of course everyone thinks the one they use is the best. I really liked this one when I first tried it primarily due to the fact it is in-line (leader passes down the center of the indicator), has no little rubber tits sticking out of either end to catch your line on, and is fairly aerodynamic which makes for better casting.

It comes in various sizes and is very easy to put on and moves up and down the line by just grabbing it and sliding it where you want it, but has enough grip to not slip on its own, even for those of us who can't help but over powering our casting stroke. Also the two-color design gives you two options on what color you see in different lighting conditions.

The only negatives are that it is a one-time usage item as you can't take it off and reinstall and you can't install it after you already have a fly tied on but it might be one you'll love, Check it out. -k



The Sage Z-Axis isn't new, being introduced last year as the Sage XP was discontinued, but it is novel, or better put, revolutionary. I was totally skeptical when Sage dropped the XP as it was the best trout rod for our local area I thought possible and I voiced that position loudly to the Sage rep when he first brought the new Z-Axis for demos.

"Bring this new Z-Axis in a 4-wt with a Rio Grand line on it and we'll do some side-by-side comparisons to find out if this is just a cosmetic change, so Sage has something new to peddle or if there is any substance here.", I believe is a mild version of what I said.

Eyes closed, casting one then the other, not knowing which rod I had in hand, it was amazing. My XP felt great but the Z-Axis had more feel through the entire casting stroke. Period. A significantly better rod.

If you are looking at a new rod this summer come try our Sage Casting Analyser for free and we'll hook it up to your old rod and to the new Z-Axis and I'll bet you'll see the facts in black and white . . . The Z-Axis will make you a better caster!



One of our European internet customers told me about this stuff. I ordered him some and some for the shop to give it a try. I've been using old candle wax for years and this is vastly better. One, you won't find yourself considering vise-grips to dissassmble your rod sections on a hot day and two, it seems like magic in keeping the rod ferrules from getting loose over a long day of casting.

My high-modulus graphite rods seem to suffer from this problem. Case in point, my 8-weight Sage TCR rocket launcher, I love this rod but I invariably find myself every few hours apparently trying to stab the bonefish with the top two sections of my rod flying down the line at him. This stuff cured the probem and now I only occasionally look stupid from stripping in the top two sections of my fly rod instead of a fish. -k


This new product replaces the meager attemts we have all tried at sliding and thin yarn indicators which can slip through the guides so you can midge (stillwater nymph) deeper than 15 ft. It is pretty simple and works pretty well but takes a little practice on how firmly to press the plastic pin into the floating part so it comes loose only when playing a fish and not when just casting.

The basic idea is when you give it a tug as playing the fish the plastic pin comes out letting the indicator now slip freely down the line. It comes in two sizes and plan on the larger if you are going to try 20+ feet deep as you'll need a couple of split shot to get your flies down in less than a lifetime.

I can't wait for next opening day week when the fish are in 25 ft of water and I can invade the bait fleet and stick a few!

Click Here to See Previous Week's Picks


Now here is a liitle hidden gem in Mammoth that I found out about the other day. 'Tucked in around the corner from Nik 'n Willies and the Mogul on Tavern Road is the "Latin Market".

Skip the market part unless you crave Coke bottled in Mexico or the dulces that are the same color as fluorescent indicators but don't miss the take-out food they have in the back of the store.

The menu only has four items - Casa Dias, Tortas, Tacos and Burritos but this is the real stuff like you get in Mexico and delicious. The portions are huge and cheap prices to boot. They also have some picnic tables out front if you want to "dine in".

When I say "real" you have your choice of tongue, tripe, chorizo etc in all these dishes if carne asada and carnitas are not adventurous enough for you. 'Just like you were dining at a roadside Taqueria 100 miles off Highway 1 in Mexico someplace.

I mean . . . Is that like a Mexican poncho or is that a Sears poncho?     -Frank Zappa, 1973.

Tell them the Troutfitter sent you. -k





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