What is the XSM Minimalist Fly Trap?
The XSM Minimalist Pro Series Fly Trap is a compact fly patch and tool holder gadget distributed in the UK by Orvis. It does everything a lanyard does, from holding those flies you've just used to storing your spools of tippet, your nippers and your forceps. However, rather than going around your neck, it's designed to be attached to your wader straps, zip toggle or your bag or pack.
How do you attach the Minimalist Fly Trap?
There's a plastic spring clip on either end of the Minimalist Pro Series Fly Trap. You can attach one or both of these to almost anything small and narrow enough, from a tool loop on your vest or sling pack, to a zipper, fabric loop or even the straps on your waders. It's fairly versatile.
Where do you put your flies?
Your flies are pushed into a red silicone rubber cylinder, which works in the same way as those EVA foam ones you get on a fly fishing lanyard. However, while the EVA foam ones will wear out and shed flies as they gradually crack and fill up with holes from years of use, and can't be replaced, the silicone rubber barrel affords a tighter grip to flies and is replaceable with a spare part available from XSM. Depending on the size of your flies, you can probably fit five or six on here.
How many spools of tippet will it hold?
There's a spool tender built into the Fly Trap which will take up to three spools of tippet. These attach in much the same way as the spools of any other tippet tender and rotate fairly freely, giving easy access to leader material. Getting them on is easy enough if a little fiddly compared to the twist lock mechanism found on many lanyards. To add spools you slide off the clip, remove the washer, slide on the spools and then reassemble.
Where do you attach tools?
There's not a great deal of space for attaching tools, but you can attach them via a small central clip located between the fly patch and spool tender. This is suitable for small tools only but offers enough room for you to attach a pair of nippers, maybe some silicone floatant like Gink and perhaps an amadou patch. Forceps are a bit trickier to attach, though, so I'd clip them somewhere else instead.
What's it like to use?
The XSM Minimalist Fly Patch is very tiny. It's about 15cm across in total, and much of that is made up by the clips. There's really just a tiny fly holder, a spool tender for up to three spools and a very small attachment point for nippers and other tools. It doesn't take up much room at all, but also offers half the storage capacity of a typical lanyard, so the minimalist name is quite apt. However, for short trips, this might be all the space you'll need.
"The minimalist name is quite apt, but for short trips this might be all the space you'll need."
The fly patch barrel is small and thin and you have to poke the point of the hook right through, but you do get a fairly good hold and flies don't fall off too easily. Space is a bit limited though, so you can see why Fly Trap offers additional rubber tubes on the larger models of this product.
Annoyingly, it doesn't come with any attachments to let you fix your nippers or other items to the central tool holder component. A few lengths of thin bootlace like cord would be helpful to receive with the Fly Trap, so you can tie on your tools.
It can be clipped onto zips and tool attachment points, but the clips fitted are quite small, so you may find it won't fit over straps and things. Wider clips that comfortably fit over webbing straps would be helpful. It's comfortable to wear and easy to use but given the choice between a Fly Trap and a lanyard I think I'd favour the lanyard every time.
How much does it cost?
The XSM Minimalist Fly Trap is available in the UK from Orvis for around £10.95, which is less than the price of the average fly fishing lanyard. There's also a slightly larger model available which holds additional spools and flies. It's OK if you think of it as a spool tender with added features, but I think I'll be sticking to the extra versatility of the lanyard for most trips.