What is the Smith Creek Rod Clip for?
The Smith Creek Rod Clip or Rod Holder is a little gadget that you pin to your jacket, waistcoat or sling pack strap which allows you to hold when you're not fishing. This wearable rod holder lets you free up both hands so you can tie on flies, change leaders, unhook fish or pose for a quick photograph, all without needing to put your rod down. This makes for easier fishing and protects your rod and reel from scrapes and mud.
Where do you attach it?
You can attach it anywhere convenient, but I think it generally works a bit higher up your chest, on either your left or right side. This keeps the rod out of the way when you're tying on flies. It attaches via a simple but sturdy pin on retractor or zinger, so it's easy to put in place and reposition until you find the perfect spot.
How does it hold the rod in place?
The inside of the Rod Clip is lined with thick neoprene like foam rubber with grooves to help grip rods of different diameters. You simply wedge the rod into the spongy holder and it grips it firmly in position.
The shell is made from anodised marine grade aluminium, so you can even use it for saltwater fly fishing without fear of it corroding.
What is the zinger like?
The zinger or retractor on this feels solidly built. It has a metal body and a thicker retractor cord than you often find, so it should last ages before it wears out. Smith Creek says the zinger is tested to withstand 50,000 pulls which sounds enough to last many, many years of use for the average fly fisher.
The cord itself is fairly short - about 10-12cm - but it's just enough to let the rod dangle in the right position and keep it out of the way and stop it dropping out of the Rod Holder's grip.
Will it damage my rod?
This was my concern, but thankfully the neoprene grippy bit is very soft and gives great protection. One neat feature is that the anodised aluminium shell of the Rod Clip is also very smooth and curved and is set well back from the entry slot, so there's little likelihood of you scratching the rod blank as you insert and remove the rod.
What size rods is it suitable for?
It does take rods of various sizes (including light spinning or lure fishing outfits as well as fly rods) but it's arguably best suited to small and medium sized fly rods. My four, five and six weight Loop Evotecs all slot in snugly and don't fall out easily.
What is it like to use?
After years of tying on flies or attaching leaders with a rod shoved under my armpit it's a real novelty to have both hands free! It's only a small thing, but it makes a quite a difference and it's great if you're paranoid about getting mud in your reel, scratching it or stepping on your rod.
At first I was a bit concerned that the holder wouldn't grip the rod secure enough and my beloved Loop would drop to the floor and break. However, the level of grip is actually really good. Even larger rods have stayed in place.
Getting the right position to keep the dangling rod in just the right place takes a bit of adjustment, but once you find the perfect spot you'll have it dangling securely out of the way and your hands and line of sight completely free and open.
I picked a spot where I could get the rod to point away from my body and pushed in the rod just up from the reel. It works really well when attached to a waist pack or hip pack, but I often see people using them attached to fly vests and I've also used mine on my sling pack strap, too.
One nifty trick is to push the fly line inside when you place the rod into the holder. This gives you an even tighter grip and can stop the line dropping down.Wayne Smith shows how the Rod Clip works.
How much does it cost?
The Smith Creek Rod Clip rod holder costs around £24.99 and comes in three colours - blue, green and red.
I guess that's fairly dear but like all Smith Creek stuff, it has a really innovative design, it's beautifully designed, built to last, makes fly fishing easier and helps keep your gear in better condition too. It's also patented and has won awards.
I've seen a few river fly fishers using these, but I think they're also great for the fly fisher who fishes small stillwaters too. Some of my gear can end up looking very muddy at the end of a day on some stillwaters and a Rod Clip like this should help better protect them.
More information: Smith Creek
Available from: Amazon