1. Best Saltwater Fly Rod: Scott Meridian. Clearly a game changer. Been fishing with it for a month. It’s an incredible mix of power and feel, which isn’t easy to pull off in a salty rod. The counterpart to the Radian upholds the standard and was worth the wait.
2. Best Freshwater Fly Rod: Sage MOD. Moderate action. Somewhere between the ONE and the Circa, using the company’s Konnetic technology. The exact right action for most trout situations. A masterpiece.
3. Best Waders: Simms “Warriors & Quiet Waters” models. Significant proceeds go to support an extremely important cause. We need more cause-related marketing like this, and we salute Simms.
4. Best Freshwater Reel. Orvis Hydros. Great finish. Great aesthetic design. Great pricepoint. Really, really great sales potential. Should be an automatic.
5. Best Saltwater Reel. Nautilus X. Same deal. Kristen Mustad cooked up yet another winner.
6. Best Accessory: Hatch Outdoors Nipper. $100 nippers? Nobody will ever sell $100 nippers! Oh wait… we said that about those things that are hanging around every die-hard angler in America’s neck. These have some serious performance advantages.