New 2016 Goods From Umpqua Feather Merchants
Umpqua Feather Merchants has been a staple in the fly fishing industry for some time now. Historically know for flies and fly tying goods, Umpqua has branched out in the past few years to carry a whole host of other fly fishing products that have made a mark in fly shops across the United States.
Josh, our rep from Umpqua, made his annual fall stop in the shop today to show us a few of the new 2016 goods. Now we don’t have the ability to discuss everything new from Umpqua (there is a ton), but we would like to highlight a few new items that we thought were interesting and noteworthy.
A small sampling of the new Umpqua Zero Sweep lineup. From Top to bottom: Bandolier ZS Sling Pack, Ambi-Sling ZS, and Ledges ZS Waist Pack.
Umpqua has put together a full description of their new Zero Sweep collection of packs and bags which you can read here. The short of it is they built these packs, vests, and bags to cut down on snags and tangles with your fly line or foliage while bushwacking (not to mention all the snag-friendly spetsnaz soldiers you will be neutralizing). High speed, low drag type fly fishing.
It is no small thing that Umpqua redesigned their ENTIRE lineup of packs, vests, and bags with the new Zero Sweep features. That is a bold move to change everything, so it was nice to be able to get these items in hand to check them out. The biggest thing we noticed was obviously the Zero Sweep sweep functionality in regards to forceps, nippers, and zingers. As Umpqua puts it:
We have done this by creating a unique system of ports and attachment points for our go-to tools that are snag-free yet still at our fingertips. Retractors are attached inside on high-wear hypalon tabs and threaded out of ports where tools are stationed snag-free.
Top row shows the zinger port from the Umpqua Ambi-Sling ZS, inside and outside. Bottom row shows the same from the Umpqua Ledges 650 ZS Waist Pack.
Left to right: Umpqua Ledges 650 fly box filing system, front of the Ambi Sling, the ZS Bandolier sling in use.
One of the most interesting pieces had to be the the ZS Bandolier Sling. This sling would make for a great “grab and go” simple option for just the necessities. It is also a great option to add a few more carrying options to your current kit, just in case you need to add more ammo….er….fly boxes.
Finally (of course we don’t have a photo), the Zero Sweep Swiftwater Tech Vest is a very unique fly fishing vest. Unique in that Umpqua actually took into account how the load is carried with a vest. What they did is add a load carrying belt as well as an 800 cubic inch backpack to balance the pack. Weight from gear and fly boxes tends to pull vests forward that can cause neck fatigue. The Swiftwater Tech Vest eliminates this fatigue with the balance of a backpack, load bearing belt, AND padded shoulder straps. The references to black ops/Jack Bauer/local SWAT Team may come when you wear this vest, but it won’t matter because you will be carrying your gear in all day comfort.
New Umpqua Flies
Most know Umpqua for their flies, and this year’s new bugs do not disappoint. Great patterns from the likes of Charlie Craven, Andrew Grillos, Matt Bennett, and Lex Hochner just to name a few. Here is only a small sampling of all the new flies that we are pretty excited about…
2016 streamers from Charlie Craven including the Double Gonga, Baby Gonga, Dirty Hippie, and the Double Dirty Hippy. (Made for the classic streamer junkie, but will probably be swug with a two handed rod by a lot of us).
New Flies from Andrew Grillos including the 64 Impala (a low riding salmonfly…get it?); and a shop favorite, the Hippy Stomper (the Royal is going to be killer). Not picture is the Laser Pointer which is a very unique Green Drake pattern.
Top left shows just a few of the many smallmouth bass poppers Umpqua is showcasing this year (Did we mention Mark Engler is slaying smallies with poppers right now?). Also pictured on the left is Matt Bennett’s Lunch Money$. The Lunch Money brown trout color is going to be money for monster Animas trout. On the right is Lexo’s Pop Up Crab. This bug is tied on a 45 degree jig hook and has the “fighting crab” action that should entice a lot of bonefish and permit.
All in all, there are a lot of innovative things to keep an eye out this year from Umpqua that we are pretty pumped on.