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THE GREAT OUTDOORS — Walking into a fly shop can either be akin to setting foot in heaven or some form of purgatory. Walls lined with racks of new rods, reels, waders, vests, sling packs, boots and who knows what else makes wallets shudder but excites most fly anglers.
The only problem with all that gear is the lack of time to effectively test it all out for yourself.
That's where we can help. The gear listed here represents some of the best fly fishing gear for 2019. Whether you're fly fishing on a tight budget or you've saved enough money to splurge on something really special, you'll find something for your angling game on this list.
Budget Buy: Douglas LRS 9' 5wt ($249)
The Douglas LRS is a fun rod that debuted late in 2018. It's still making its way to fly shops around the country, though, making it new to a lot of anglers. This is a medium-fast rod that's surprisingly good in close, if not as effective out past 60 feet as some anglers would like. The best part is the lifetime warranty and wallet-friendly price.
Best Overall: Orvis Helios 3D 9' 5wt ($898)
The Orvis Helios 3D isn't cheap, but it's hands down the best fly rod on the market. It's incredibly accurate, light in hand, and has the backbone to turn even the biggest of trout. In a 9 inch 5 weight configuration, it's perfect for almost all the fishing you can do here in Utah.
Budget Buy: Orvis Clearwater III ($129 w/line)
This reel may not win a ton of beauty contests, but it just flat out works. Made from cast aluminium and designed with a large arbor, the Clearwater III reel is a phenomenal reel for its price. The drag is buttery smooth but has enough power to put the clamps down on running fish.
Best Overall: Ross Evolution R ($455)
The Ross Evolution R doesn't come with line, but it's nearly impossible to find a better trout reel. The drag is fully sealed carbon fiber, and all models weigh less than 5.2 ounces. While it may not have the stopping power of reels like Hatch or Hardy offer, you don't need that much power when trout fishing.
Budget Buy: Korkers Redside ($139.99)
These aren't new, but Korkers Redside is still the best entry level boot on the market. No other company has put something out that rivals what Korkers offers for less than $150. The interchangeable sole system, drawstring lace system and light weight combine to make the Redside a phenomenal boot.
Best Overall: Korkers Devil's Canyon ($199.99)
It was hard to leave out other great boots, but Korkers just can't be beat right now. The new Orvis Pro wading boots deserve a look, as do some of Simms' redesigned offerings, but the Devil's Canyon is still the bar for longevity, functionality and price when it comes to wading boots.
New fly fishing gear doesn't always have to drain your bank account, even if you're a seasoned veteran. Anglers of all experience levels can find fun gear at any price point, and this list should be a great starting point for those new and old to the sport.
Do you have any gear you'd add to this list, or own any of the products mentioned? Let us know in the comments.