J. Griffin

J. Griffin

SW OK

J. Griffin's Passions

Fly Fishing
Hiking & Camping
Running
Skiing
Climbing

J. Griffin's Bio

Interests: Backcountry skiing, ice climbing, mountaineering, running, hiking, fly fishing

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J. Griffin

J. Griffin wrote a review of on March 4, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I paired this with an NRX LP (5WT) and it is superb. It loads reasonably well at short distances, but I think where it shines is it maintains loop stability at longer distances due to a nearly 10 foot longer head length compared to the Grand. I feel I'm able to cast farther with less "work". I've got the Grand on my 8-wt, but it's also a completely different rod. The Grand should be better for ultra fast action rods due to the shorter and heavier head. Consider your rod's action and also how far you anticipate you need to cast. Remember the majority of fish are usually caught in the 25-40 ft cast range...

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J. Griffin

J. Griffin wrote a review of on March 2, 2014

Great quality for the price
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

My first thermoplastic net. I was tired of hooks getting stuck and my net sticking to brush/trees on the river. This net solves that. It also is easier on the fish, as they won't get all tangled up in it when they are thrashing around like they can with nylon nets. The wood work is fantastic, and apparently you can replace the net if it ever breaks or wears out. I don't know how this one compares with other more expensive Brodin nets in terms of weight, but it feels a little on the heavy side. Then again, I was used to a smaller net with nylon. That being said, I don't feel burdened with it hooked to my back. I was fortunate to land three fish the first time I took it out. This should last a lifetime. Highly recommended.

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J. Griffin

J. Griffin wrote a review of on November 3, 2013

Good rod...
4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

...But I really have nothing to compare it against, other than a cheap Okuma fly rod. This is my first serious rod and I've enjoyed fishing with it as I've progressed as a fly angler. I got an 8-wt to battle Alaska salmon, but not so heavy as to be solely dedicated to big fish. I've caught more small fish (rainbows, dollys, grayling & baby kings) with it than anything. I've also caught some bonefish and jacks and it has no problem handling salt water. Although the weight isn't ideal for most trout, I can still throw out small dries, nymphs and others all day without getting tired of casting. Of course this just wet my appetite for a lower weight, higher quality rod--go figure.

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J. Griffin

J. Griffin wrote a review of on November 3, 2013

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: Runs small

Pros & Cons: Same as previous review. Only a tad bit of green has rubbed off on my socks but this was without a full on sweat fest. Wished Altra offered a few more color options. Tread is thin, but seems amazingly durable--no signs of wear yet after a few outings. The tread picks up the occasional small pebble, but they are usually easy to get out.

I normally wear a 9.5 and sized up a half size as Altra recommends. Fit is great. Also, if you're switching to forefoot style strike, follow Altra's recommendation and ease them into your workouts. Your calves/lower legs will scream in soreness until you get used to them.

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J. Griffin

J. Griffin wrote a review of on October 20, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

If you don't clean your fly line, you're wrong. If you don't treat your line with this stuff after you clean your line, you're very wrong. Your line will shoot farther, float higher, shed water much better and last longer...RIO has some great youtube videos on how they recommend cleaning/treating fly lines. Good fly lines are not cheap--make them perform and last longer with this stuff.

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J. Griffin

J. Griffin wrote a review of on October 15, 2013

Pretty good with some caveats...
4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size

Having loved the original Sparks, I picked up a pair of these (although for far less). Overall they're a great shoe, but there are a few things to consider. First, due to the GTX insert, these will not stretch out a little bit like the normal Sparks. Even from the get-go, they feel narrower than the Sparks, so if you have wide feet, you better try on a pair. Second, I stress fractured the top of my foot a couple of years ago and these shoes (due to the tight fit) occasionally put somewhat uncomfortable pressure on that particular spot--usually only during walking, not running. Anyhow, that's not really the fault of the shoe, but an issue I have. Third, as others have mentioned, the grip is good on these shoes, but the rubber wears out pretty quickly, especially if you use them on the road at all. Scarpa should use a different rubber compound, however it might cost them some weight savings. Last, for going down trails fast, I feel the narrow fit doesn't provide as much control as my Altra Lone Peaks.

On the plus side, these shoes keep you dry, they're light, and they have minimal drop. I use them on the road, on the trail, and everywhere else. I like their styling and they don't unnecessarily stand out like some other trail running shoes which means I can wear them with jeans or whatever and not look like a complete dork.

If they had a more durable outsole, I'd give them 5-stars.

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J. Griffin

J. Griffin wrote a review of on October 7, 2013

Super!
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size

Derek pretty much said it all. These provide a great balance of feel versus protection. I've found them to dry quickly and not get in the way of anything I'm doing on the water. Perhaps that's their best feature--I forget I'm wearing them. They've helped prevent me from dropping small, slick fish and have kept my hands warm enough fishing in 40-45 degree F cold with light rain. These were a very solid investment. I have sort of small hands and the S/M fit great.

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J. Griffin

J. Griffin wrote a review of on September 23, 2013

Great tool
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

4 tools in one! Like Brandon, I do perfection loops on my leader to the fly line, but it gives me some peace of mind to know I could tie a nail knot if I had to. Sharp hooks are also a must. I wound up breaking off the hook eye cleaner (intentionally) because I kept stabbing myself on it every time I'd reach down to grab the nippers (the D-ring would always fold down exposing the needle). So far I haven't missed it. Instructions are great too, but I usually end up tying an improved clinch, palomar, or a perfection loop to tie on flies or hooks.

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J. Griffin

J. Griffin wrote a review of on September 22, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I replaced my SA GPX with this line and I like it quite a bit better. It shoots faster and I can get more line out there with fewer false casts. It's easy to pick up 50+ ft of line and throw it back out there with no false casts. Also, leaders seem to dig into the loop connection less than the GPX (removing a heavily loaded leader was damn near impossible). I also like the dualtone marking system a lot. My rod is a med-fast action. I almost got the Gold, but my local fly shop talked me into this one.

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J. Griffin

J. Griffin wrote a review of on September 22, 2013

3 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

It's the soul mate of your leaders & tippet. It just works!

*Revised* - Downgrade to 3 stars. Perhaps I put too much pressure on the pads when straightening out my leaders, but this leader straightener started developing gashes in it that would coat my leaders with a black film. It was possible to remove most of the film, but very, very annoying. I bought a straightener from a different company and will see what happens w/ it. This one still gets the job done, but if my new one doesn't coat my leaders with a film, I will have to not recommend this one.

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J. Griffin

J. Griffin wrote a review of on September 22, 2013

3 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

The small plastic circle where the tippet holder and chamois attach somehow cracked all the way through on mine. With enough force I could snap everything off. If this was sturdier plastic I'd give it 5 stars. Fly chamois is of low to moderate usefulness. Big flies completely saturate it. My t-shirt usually works better.

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J. Griffin

J. Griffin wrote a review of on May 4, 2013

4 5

The Tracker2 is the gold standard for fast and simple effective beacons. The harness fits snug and comfortable--you'll almost forget you're wearing it. My only complaint is you have to be careful about pushing the search tab back in when you are digging. You can put the beacon back in the case, but you cannot fasten the buckle without it pushing the tab back in and going back to Send (which is a good safety feature honestly when you're about to drop in). But, the beacon could fall out of the case, getting in your way, or also bump the tab back in, causing you to have to stop and pull it back out again. More of a minor annoyance than anything, and the beacon will beep at you and let you know you've gone back to transmit mode. Despite this, it's still awesome.

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J. Griffin

J. Griffin wrote a review of on March 16, 2013

5 5

This is my go-to shoe. I wear it daily for just about everything. It's performed well on trails, roads, indoors, with yak trax on, and in light drizzle. The tread is showing some wear, but that's it. They breathe extremely well and are super comfy right out of the box--never had any blisters or hot spots. At 9.5 oz w/ a low drop, it gives you somewhat of a barefoot feel, but provides plenty of cushion and support when and where you need it. I have two pairs already, and will be buying these again!

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J. Griffin

J. Griffin wrote a review of on March 12, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Everyone else pretty much hit all the highlights. Don't buy into the "anti-fog" stuff though. They are pretty easily to fog up during hard/fast skinning, especially with light or no wind conditions. Anyone that says otherwise is either moving too slowly or has sufficient air movement through the vents. Regardless, I really like the Explorers.

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