Tag Archives: review

Review: Orvis River Guard™ Easy-On Brogue Wading Boots

Last spring I decided to invest in a new pair of wading boots.  Like most fly fisherman, I want to do my part in mitigating the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species.  I fish waters throughout Colorado and Wyoming, and I was told that the felt soles in my Cabela’s boots played host to these nasty diseases.  A 2007 study conducted at Montana State University on angler movement found that the average pair of wading boots sampled carried more than 16 grams of sediment.  The study estimated that in one year, angler boots moved more than 6,300 pounds of sediment between access sites in southwestern Montana and that nonresident anglers carried more than 1,600 pounds into Montana.

For about 4 months I examined the marketplace, looking for a boot that was rugged, sturdy and easy to get on and off.   I thoroughly evaluated boots by Simms, Patagonia, Cabela’s, Korkers and Chota.  It was the River Guard™ Easy-On Brogue that ended up on my feet.



Date Purchased

March 2010

Retail Price/Price Paid

$179.00/$154.00 (used a $25 Orvis coupon)

Manufacturer Description

The easiest on-and-off boot—now upgraded with EcoTraX™ rubber soles to help stem the spread of aquatic invasives. The Orvis-exclusive lug pattern with sharp leading edges gives better traction in the boot with legendary stability thanks to our hunting boot welt construction to minimize torsion and keep your ankles from rolling. They last a lot longer than competitive boots, too. All-synthetic construction resists shrinkage and expansion and wards off damage from rot, mildew, or sun. Support panels and main toe and heel made of rugged polyurethane. Recessed side-panel stitching prevents thread abrasion. Heavy-denier nylon uppers. Padded collar. Same durable zipper for easy on-and-off. PosiGrip™ Screw-In Studs included with each pair for better traction.


Who cares – the boots are generally under water or covered by my waders.  They could be hot pink as long as they were comfortable and kept me vertical.


  • Comfort: The boots are light weight but sturdy.  I have walked miles to my favorite spot and my feet are always fine.  No blisters or banged up toe nails which is a good thing.
  • Fit: I wear a size 11 shoe and usually wear Smartwool OTC Extra-Heavyweight Hunting Socks when I fish.  I purchased a size 11 River Guard™ Easy-On Brogues and the boots were true to size.
  • Access/Egress: I love the side zipper and Velcro closure.  After a long day of fishing (and walking), it is nice to bend down and simply unzip the boots.  Your foot exits as easy as it entered.  I give Orvis high marks for this design.
  • Traction: I have yet to wipe out during the last 18 months (10 trips and a lot of moss, grass, snow and ice beneath my feet).  The screw in studs in conjunction with the rubber sole, have kept me upright even during a spring trip to the North Platte when the river was flowing at 3200 CFS.  I do think that wary fish scatter after hearing the grind of the PosiGrip™ studs as they move over rocks.  That said I will gladly sacrifice a few fish in order to stay dry.


An extra pack of PosiGrip™ studs would be a nice addition.  Orvis sells a 20 pack of extra studs for $29.95.

Would I Buy it Again?

Absolutely.  I consider my Orvis River Guard™ Easy-On Brogue boots to be a great investment.   I expect them to last for years.  Orvis has fantastic customer service, so I know they will support their product if anything should happen to the boots.  Much thanks to Tucker Bamford and his crew at the Orvis store in Lone Tree, Colorado.


TaylorMade Rossa Monza Corza Ghost Putter Review

I admit I am a club junkie.  Golf Digest’s “Hot List” along with Golf Magazine’s “Club Test” issues remain in the bedroom throne for months on end.  When the manufacturers head to the range to unveil their new equipment, I ensure my calendar is clear so I have time embrace the tools that promise more distance, accuracy and feel.

Unfortunately golf-addicts cannot buy a better game.  It is ultimately your swing, stroke, balance, confidence and guile that allows for flawless execution of a golf shot – not your equipment.   That said, I believe that you can lever modern technology into making a marginal swing produce above average results.   How do I know that – I personify it.  Never has a more mediocre golf swing produced a better handicap (8).  The best thing about my golf swing is that I try hard.  I truly want to get better as I find the game so extraordinary.

Given my perspective as an average golfer looking to improve, I will occasionally write reviews aboutsome of the equipment I purchase.  Despite the claims by the manufactures,  I do NOT believe that a golfer can put a club in their hand and increase their distance by 15%.  I do NOT believe that a golfer can put a club in their hand and all of a sudden spin a ball like a yoyo.  I do believe however, that a golfer can put a properly fitted club in play and gain the confidence necessary to execute solid golf shots.  The self-assurance obtained will eventually translate to better scores.

TaylorMade Rossa Monza Corza Ghost Putter 

Date Purchased October 22, 2010
Price Paid $110 (EBay, brand new) $160 (retail)
Specifications 34” Mallet
Rounds Played 1
Score/Number of Putts
  • 79 – 24 Putts (including 9 one putts)
Prior Putters
  • YES Olivia (2007)
  • TaylorMade Itsy Bitsy Spider (2008, 2009)
  • Scotty Cameron California Del Mar (2010)
Why I made the Change Actually, I have been putting pretty well with the Scotty Cameron California Del Mar all season.  That said, I was not comfortable with longer distance putts.  Beyond 20 feet, I could not easily create a continuous roll.  Understanding the issue was most probably my technique, I did receive instruction, but could not overcome a perpetual skidding issue.   I evaluated a few mallets, but did not find any of them pleasing to my eye.  The Monza Corza Ghost’s white finish definitely caught my attention.  The concept of a putter color that overtly contrasts the putting surface makes logical sense.   The aiming lines are prominent and very helpful when aligning for a putt.
What the Manufacturer Says TaylorMade‘s goal with the Rossa Corza Ghost Putterwas simple: Design a putter that’s easier to aim than any other. That’s where the white head comes in. Ghost’s “golf-ball white” color complements the white color of the ball, and also stands out easily and beautifully against green grass so you don’t have to strain to see the top-line. That takes the strain off your eyes and promotes a calm and confident state of mind, according to an expert in the field of color perception, who TaylorMade consulted during the development of Ghost. The three black lines on the crown lend further alignment support. The two outer lines are spaced as far apart as the width of a golf ball. Position the ball between those lines when you address your putt — you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to tell where the face is aiming.  The elevated crown merges seamlessly with the top of the putter face, making the top line extremely easy to see.  The circular hole at the rear of the putter head works in union with the three black lines on the crown and the golf ball to create a vivid secondary alignment aid that gives you complete assurance that your aim is true.  Rossa’s renowned AGSI+ (Anti-skid Groove System Insert) promotes forward spin for a smooth roll, while its Titallium construction delivers soft and satisfying feel at impact.Features:

  • Golf ball white finish stands out against green grass
  • Three black, easy-to-see alignment lines
  • Circular hole creates a vivid secondary alignment aid
  • AGSI+ Titallium Insert promotes forward roll
Results First and foremost, I like mallet-style putters. Almost every putter I purchase has a mallet shape.

  • Look: The putter’s off-white finish is unique.  The color is not a distraction and is actually appealing.  The putter is easy to aim as the lines on the crown of the club are inviting during set up.  The hole in the back of the putter, while obvious, is not a distraction.
  • Feel: The AGSI insert is soft and promotes a nice roll….period.  I was able to roll a few putts in from beyond 15 feet.  I was also able to cozy a few 25 footers within 2 feet on greens running at about a 10 on the stimpmeter.  Most importantly, the skidding effect was significantly diminished.  I like the stock Winn grip.  It is tacky and not overly soft.
  • Balance:  I have experienced mallet-style putters that flare open when they are grounded.  The Monza Corza Ghost face sets up square when laying the club behind the ball.
  • Forgiveness: I hit the putter square so often that I cannot tell if the putter is forgiving – more to come as my game deteriorates over the winter. 
Would I Buy it Again
  • Absolutely: I putted better than I have in years.  Every stroke (even when I missed putts), was confident and firm.  It is too bad that my season is almost over.  I will update this review next spring.   


Fishpond Gore Range Tech Pack or William Joseph Access Chest Pack

As a relatively new fly fisherman, I have come to appreciate the importance of having the right equipment available to me at the right time.  There are many variables that can dictate your success or failure during your time on the water.  A fisherman must adapt to uncontrollable and challenging conditions that include but are not limited to the weather, the hatch and the water temperature.  Beyond the rod, reel, line, leader, tippet and fly, there is additional gear that can help a fisherman (or woman) achieve success.    

After initially purchasing a basic fly vest from Cabela’s, I quickly realized that a more technical pack would remove some of the complexity and effort related to the sport of fly fishing.   I first purchased the Fishpond Gore Range Tech Pack, then acquired the William Joseph Access Chest Pack for fishing during the warmer months. 

Here is what I think:

  Fishpond Gore Range Tech Pack William Joseph Access Chest Pack
Price $139.00 $69.00
Product Description Lightweight with versatility and expandability. Adjusts to fit all weather conditions. Zip-down fly benches have mesh expansion pockets for tippet spools. Large mesh back pocket with additional horizontal zippered pocket for stowing extra gear.

  • “One-size-fits-most” adjustable shoulder and waist strap design
  • Signature, zip down fly bench with replaceable foam
  • Lightweight, waterproof and breathable fabric
  • 17 exterior and interior pockets
  • Mesh backing for ventilation and warm weather comfort
  • Vertical chest pockets hold large and medium boxes
  • Mesh pockets on fly bench for tippet spools
  • Gear attachment tabs, cord loops, and D-ring net lash
  • Hemostat keeper
William Joseph’s Access Pack is ideal when packing light for a fishing trip to a remote creek is more important than packing every single piece of tackle you own. The Access Pack’s compact design offers a surprising amount of storage space, and it’s outfitted with a built-in retractor, zip-down workstation and tippet control system. The lightweight, less is more design of the Access Pack ensures easy access to accessories and comfortable fishing.

  • A built-in retractor and zip down workstation
  • Docks to the William Joseph Drifter and the Exodus Backpacks
  • Loads of pockets, dividers and compartments to keep even the biggest gadget-junkie organized
  • New TCS (Tippet Control System), keeps your tippet organized and neatly tucked out of the way
  • Fully adjustable for a “one-size-fits-most” pack
Durability The Gore Range Tech Pack is built to last.  Zippers and stitching are high quality. I have worn this vest under extreme weather conditions, and it has performed well.  I will update this blog in 12 months and tell you how the product has held up. The Access Chest Pack is light but solid in construction.  Zippers and stitching are high quality.  I will update this blog in 12 months, and tell you how the product has held up.
Functionality The Gore Range Tech Pack has a lot of pockets and access points.  Truthfully there are so many choices, I end up forgetting what I have put in each pocket.  The zip down fly bench is fantastic.  I am able to easily get at flies without fumbling  through pockets looking for the right fly box.  Unfortunately, the 360 degree swivel retractors comes separately (and are expensive – $18.00 per unit).   The Access Chest Pack is simple yet so efficient.  The pockets are accessible and easy to utilize.   Just like with the Gore Range Tech Pack, the workstation is a wonderful convenience that has allowed me to remove the fly box from my arsenal.  The Tippet Control system is my favorite feature as it saves me time and energy when changing rigs.  It would be helpful if William Joseph adds one more built-in retractor to this pack in the future. 
Fit Very comfortable (I am 6 foot, 190 pounds).  Easily adjusted and very comfortable (I am 6 foot, 190 pounds). 
Customer Service Months back, I needed to purchase additional foam inserts for the fly bench (they are replaceable and attach via Velcro).  I phoned the store where I purchased the vest and they could not help me.  I emailed Fishpond and they never got back to me.  I called Fishpond and they recommended I call some stores that carry their product.  After calling three Fishpond merchants, one eventually took my order and mailed me the inserts six weeks later.  Truthfully, not a great  customer experience.  Recently, I needed to purchase additional foam inserts for the Access workstation (they are replaceable and attach via Velcro).  I emailed the company, and got a personal response in less than 24 hours.  The product was mailed to me within days my inquiry.  Kind of makes me want to buy more William Joseph products in the future. 
Would I Buy it Again Probably.  The Gore Range Tech Pack is a quality technical vest that any fly fisherman would appreciate.  Yes.  The Access Chest Pack gives me everything I need to be successful at a good price point.  I consider the Access Chest Pack to be a better overall value. 


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