XS-Plus Thistledown 2 Fly Lines: Before even opening the box, you may notice something slightly odd about the outside labeling—the line weight ratings! Yep, both of Snowbee's XS-Plus Thistledown 2 lines are each rated for more than one rod size. While a typical fly line is weighted in grains and assigned a particular line weight, these lines stray from the norm. How is this possible? Read the following (long) paragraph from Snowbee for some insight:
"Understanding how it works is another story because when it states #2-5wt, there really is only one single line that can and does function amazingly on all weight rods, whether they be a #2, #3, #4, or #5wt! Now there is also the single #5-#7wt. line that again achieves the same. How? It comes down to simple physics and the optimum diameter and profile creates hardly any drag when casting. That means the “load weight” factor becomes less critical to casting performance and the nominated rod weight becomes less important in achieving the cast. The new and refined components for these lines, being Core, Primer and Nano-Tec coating, combine to give the thinnest, most supple, weight forward profile possible. They still weigh very little but deliver incredible stealth and accuracy at the same time. The silky-smooth finish and the thin diameter means the line speed can be maintained throughout the casting action and delivers the fly precisely where required, with minimum effort. Even across a gale force wind these lines have been used to great effect and will cut through almost any breeze with its drag coefficient being so small."
Simon Kidd, Sales and Marketing Manager at Snowbee UK, along with myself, took a 3-weight rod (sorry, can't remember specifically which) and 2/5 line to the casting ponds at IFTD for a quick test. During that brief casting session, I found that the line casted extremely well and was easy to handle. It felt a little different with less of a rod-loading sensation going on, but it didn't take any getting used to and was surprisingly capable of throwing quite far.
Each line features a new coating (that's higher floating and more durable) over a braided core. The line's overall diameter is thin and is geared towards more delicate presentations, so keep that in mind. Each line is 90' long with a 34'6" head, sports an olive/buckskin color scheme, and has a welded micro loop on each end. Right now there's two floating versions available including a 2/5 weight and 5/7 weight, each costing $79.99.
Spectre Fly Rods: Arriving later this year, the Spectre rod series will come standard with a very different design feature—microwave stripping guides! The blanks are built using primarily a 46-ton carbon fiber (blended with a bit of 40-ton) and sport a natural, matte finish. The rest of the guides are black nickel snakes, while the aluminum reel seats are all double-uplocking with cutout windows.
Available in lengths from 8'6" to 10'0" and line weights 5–8, prices are $299 for all models. A tube, sock, and lifetime guarantee comes standard.
Nivalis Down Jacket: These natural down (90% duck 10% feathers) jackets use an outer micro fiber polyester with DWR for water resistance. Waterproof and windproof, there's no external stitching to leak, waterproof zippers, two hand pockets and two inside pockets, a three-panel hood, velcro-adjustable cuffs, and two hem adjustment tabs. A non-hooded version as well as ladies versions will be arriving soon. Sizes run S–XXL at a current price of $249.99.