The Saltwater Edge

Gear Review: Van Staal X-Series Spinning Reels

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Gear Review: Van Staal X-Series Spinning Reels

van staal x-series

Gear Review: Van Staal X-Series Spinning Reels

One of the most proven products in saltwater fishing is the Van Staal VS Series Spinning Reel. It is often the preferred choice of surfcasters, kayak fisherman, light tackle tuna chasers and saltwater gear heads. Their preference is based on proven performance in the harsh environments in which they fish. Van Staal reels are tough (as in overbuilt) to perform reliably, completely sealed against saltwater intrusion and sized for applications from bonefish to bluefin.

Van Staal recently introduced the new X Series Spin Reel and there are two new features that create significant benefits that hardcore saltwater anglers should be aware of.

Here’s a recap of the product improvements discussed in the video

1) New traverse guide which slows oscillation optimizing line management
– better performance with braids at high drag pressures – will not dig in on itself
– 10% more line on the reel
– increased casting distance due to reduced line friction coming off the reel

2) Increased count and pitch of threads on the main shaft increases drag range
– greater drag range than the current VS series
– allows more precise drag settings
– audible clicker informs the angler to the relative amount of positive/negative drag

van staal reel serviced
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How To Get Your Van Staal Reel Serviced

van staal

How to Get Your Van Staal Reel Serviced

If you are done fishing for the season and feel it’s time to get your Van Staal reel serviced by one of their authorized service centers here is the most expedient way to do so. First, download the Service Form and fill it out completely.  Describe any particular issues that you might be experiencing or concerns that you may have.  Second, go to the Post Office and get a small “cube” box. These are the perfect size to ship your reel.  Third, choose a service center. We recommend either River’s End or White Water Outfitters most frequently.**


Van Staal Service / Warranty Center, 6109 E. Apache, Tulsa, OK 74115, Phone: 800-718-7335

van staal reel servicedO

Shipping via UPS Ground for most northeast destinations is generally a 1-day affair, USPS Priority is usually 1-2 days.    Priority Mail shipments include tracking and $50 insurance so be sure to request additional insurance if you desire.  Pack your reel with the completed form (might want to make a copy of the form) and perhaps a little cushion and send it on it’s way.

van staal reel serviced

Professional service of and replacement typical wear items is  $49.95. You can expect a call from the Van Staal technician if any serious issue are uncovered.  It is well worth the time and effort to  have your reel professionally serviced periodically, to keep it performing it’s best for many years.


false albacore
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Gear Review: GLoomis Short Stix Fly Rod


GLoomis Short Stix

Lyle with a 18lb Harkers Island albie! Photo Credit: Captain Bill Murphy

The GLoomis Short Stix fly rods have received a lot of accolades including the 2014 ICAST New Product Showcase Winner for “Best New Fly Rod”. You can’t do much better than that and I can tell you they make a great first impression. Light in the hand, nice cosmetics and it reeks of power; but how does it fish? We reserved judgement until we got some time on the water and settled into a new shorter casting stroke. We used the best albie season in years to test the fishability of the Short Stix.

Here’s what we found:

As mentioned these rods are optimized for the aggressive tapers found on lines like the AirFlo Sniper and Wulff Ambush. Use of these lines will minimize false casts. Still some casters made the adjustment to the shorter casting stroke quickly while others seemed to have a moderate challenge to find their groove required by the shorter rod length. That said the Short Stix seems to offer castability benefits that both the novice and the expert caster can appreciate.

The fishabilty is superb/stellar/fun and that starts with the light in the hand “throw it all day” feeling you have with a Short Stix in your hand. The rod is accurate and powerful; delivering distance with minimal false casting. You need that to land 6 albies on the fly from the stones!

PRO 4X Short Stix

Alex with West Wall albie #6!

The 2014 albie season put the Short Stix to the test and the consensus is there is not a better fish fighting fly rod that we can think of. The relative stiffness and length puts the pressure on the fish more reminiscent of a spinning rod. The 18lb albie at the top of the page “never saw the backing”. The heavier Short Stix is ideal for reefs and boulder fields were they fly rod can be over matched.

In summary, the GLoomis PRO 4X Short Stix has attributes that fly rodders of most any ability can appreciate. Most will gravitate to the fast load and minimal backcasting needed to generate line speed. Often only two backcasts are required and your fly is back in the water…where the fish are.

View the PRO4x Short Stix series here.

Here’s what GLoomis says about the PRO 4X Short Stix :

” Designed to make 80-foot-plus with less effort than traditional 9-foot rods, the new short length, fast-action PRO4x Short Stix are a true breakthrough for fly anglers. Using today’s new generation of short head fly lines, the 7-foot-6-inch rods load easily and offer exceptional casting distance especially with big, bulky, air-resistant flies. The four 3-piece ShortStix fly rods are inherently lighter and stronger – in hand they have the feel of a 9-foot 5 weight. Rods offered include an 8/9 weight for use with 300- to 350-grain fly lines; a 9/10 weight for 375- to 425-grain lines; a 10/11 weight for 425- to 475-grain lines; and a 11/12 weight for 475- to 525-grain weights.”

saltwater fly tying
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Saltwater Fly Tying Programs

Saltwater Edge Fly Tying Programs


One of the best ways to enjoy the off season is to learn to tie saltwater flies. There are a number of reasons to develop your tying skills. Saltwater flies aren’t cheap, selections can be limited or off color to your local needs and lastly the satisfaction that comes from catching a fish on a fly you tied. We have three programs at the shop to help you fill your fly box.

Saltwater Edge Vise

Designed to hold larger saltwater flies and jigs securely

1) Introduction to Saltwater Fly Tying with Steve Cook – Steve is a professional fly tier as well as a saltwater shore guide. His beginners seminar covers tools and materials and then a series of patterns that will form the building blocks for more many flies. Steve’s class is highly recommended for anyone who wants to produce quality flies and a prerequisite for advanced saltwater tying. Patterns include: Rays Fly, Lefty’s Deceiver, Clouser Minnows and White Water Witch. The class is offered the 2nd Saturday of the month. Cost $45

2) Guide Flies with Guest Tiers – These are topic focused seminars taught by experts. Topics we plan to cover include Striper Flies, Albie Flies, Critter Flies (crabs, shrimp and worms) and Bonefish Flies. In addition, to covering the patterns these more focused classes will cover tackle and tactics as well. Cost $45

3) Saltwater Edge Fly Tying Nights – Every other Thursday night (first and third) starting at 6 pm. These are not teaching sessions so much as a chance to tie with friends you haven’t met yet. We often have a topic; but just as often we go with the flow. Tying experience required.

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New Location @ 1037 Aquidneck Ave

We have moved to 1037 Aquidneck Ave in Middletown

1037 Aquidneck

Entering it’s 23rd year the Saltwater Edge continues to expand by moving to 1037 Aquidneck Avenue in Middletown, RI. The new location has over 50% more retail space, a parking lot big enough for boats to turn around and an open floor plan. This is location is less than a mile from our previous location and abuts our earlier Aquidneck Avenue location.

You will find all the surf, fly, inshore and offshore tackle The Saltwater Edge is known for and in the coming months a further expansion of our kayak fishing department.

Winter Hours:
Monday- Wednesday 9-5
Thursday and Friday 9-6
Saturday 9-4

24/7 Online at

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Tautog – Show Us Your Teeth Photo Contest

Show Us Your Teeth and Win a Cabo!

Send us your best photo of a tautog and win a Quantum Cabo 50! White Chinners might not have the majesty of a striper or the palette of an albie; but do your best to capture the fun of tog fishing.


The Quantum Cabo 50 is our best selling boat reel. It’s strong, smooth and tough with a formidable drag stack.  Another feature “boat guys” like is the nitinol bail wire that recoils to it’s original shape should you bang it on the gunwale. Many thanks to Quantum for sponsoring this contest.


To enter send your photos to We have committee of three judges including two folks who have had their images purchased by magazines and manufacturers. They know their stuff and then there’s me.

Here’s the legal mumbojumbo. You enter the image we have the right to use it. Contest ends 12/15 just as the tautog season does.

Have at it!!

My first albie!
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Quantum Smoke Bonito/Albie Photo Contest

Quantum Smoke Bonito/ Albie Photo Contest


Winner Announced

My first albie!

On the fly!

First Place: Here is a photo of Pete Jackson landing a fly rod caught false albacore amidst the mayhem of a full blown, all morning blitz at Watch Hill. Photo submitted by Phil Sheffield

Way to go Dad!

Way to go Dad!

Second Place: Adam Durants girls admiring Dad’s handiwork!

quantum smoke

From the Yak!

Third Place: Joe from landing a yak caught albie of an SI Epoxy Jig

Phil contact the shop to claim your prize. Thanks to Quantum for sponsoring this contest and to you for all the excellent submittions.

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Gear Review: Stormr Surf Top

The Stormr Surf Top stands as further proof of Stormr’s ability to listen to the needs of the user. As with the rest of the Stormr line, material selection and fit are two strengths inherent in the design of this top. Similarly the build quality is excellent as all the seams are glued, blind stitched and thermal taped to keep you dry. Stormr style.

The Stormr Surf Top features neoprene wrist gaskets which will help you stay dry while providing more comfort than the latex style gaskets found on other tops. The adjustable neoprene neck gasket features a velcro closure which allows the wearer to choose between having the neck open to breath or closed to maximize dryness. The waist has a 2-way adjustable seal (utilizing both velcro and drawstring adjustments) to create a snug fit and the overwrapped neoprene waist helps to create a seal.

Stormr has designed some great hoods on their other jackets and the Surf Top is no exception, you’ll find a 2-way adjustable hood so you can really “batten down the hatches” if need be.

One of the most interesting and innovative features of the Stormr Surf Top is the large, catch-all pocket located on the front. The way this pocket is attached to the top allows your surf belt to slide BEHIND the pocket, allowing both your surf belt, and the pocket to serve their intended purpose. The design also allows use of the pocket as a hand-warmer, which can definitely come in handy when trying to tie knots under adverse (cold, raw, wet) conditions.

In addition to Stormr’s masterful use of neoprene there is material they have incorporated called “stretch fleece” that makes the top noticeably lighter and less inhibiting than anything else we’ve seen to date. As soon as you put this top on and pick up a surf rod to cast you’ll notice what we’re talking about. Maybe the best way to put it is that this jacket has that “not wearing anything at all” level of comfort. That is hard to come by in a top designed to be used under harsh conditions.


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Fishing Report 9.26.14 – The Perfect Time

fishing report

Fishing Report 9.26.14

It is the perfect time for surfcasting under a new moon, enjoying the best albie bite in years or making the most of the weather window to battle bluewater species. The weather looks to be spectacular as well. Get out and fish!!

Striped Bass – The amount of peanut bunker has got some better stripers sporadically in the stones. No reports of mullet thus far; but they should be in the wash by now. The current tides, temps and bait supply seem ideal to kick off the migration and get the bass that are around thinking of bulking up.

False Albacore and Bonito – Bonito have uncharacteristically hung around despite the best albie season in years. Typically the bonito get here first, get shouldered aside by the albies and then if we are lucky a bigger 8 -10 lb version fills in for a short visit in October. As we have discussed before find the bait and structure and your likely to find the funny fish most days. We are getting positive reports the length of the Ocean State and from Block. If you find them “picky” try to mix up the pace and the color of your lure or fly. More thoughts on that here and the Top Five Lures For Albies here.

Bluefish – Big and angry what’s not to like! Not many reports from the Bay; but they are mixed in with the albies some days and otherwise wreaking havoc on their own out front. Great fly rod fish!

Scup, Black Sea Bass and Fluke- Fishing remains solid and should improve with cooler temps. Tidal Tails have been very effective on tautog.

Offshore – Recent weather has kept anglers in port and searching for the weather window. Sunday looks good.

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Wally’s Lures: Wood That Works

Among the Saltwater Edge selection of wood lures is a builder from Cape Cod that we simply know as “Wally”. Following the successes our customers experienced with the darters that he masterfully crafts, we’ve continued to add from his diverse line up. We now feature three sizes of needle fish, pencil poppers, his very popular darters and a variety of metal lip swimmers.

wallyneedle wallysmetal

Wally packs 50 years of experience into his wood turning and designs. He has tailored his plugs for specific areas throughout New England and it is fascinating to listen to him recount the where’s and why’s associated with the development of his lures from time spent fishing Charlestown and Watch Hill, the Cape Cod Beaches and up the coast to the New Hampshire shore.


Pictured above is a bass recently taken on one of Wally’s LONG 9 metal lip swimmers and below is Wally with a nice fish of his own. From an interview with him recently ” I put a lot of emphasis on making my plugs durable. I use all marine grade oil based enamels for color coats, a marine grade oil based primer, seal my plugs by soaking them in a linseed oil based sealer and top coat them with Industrial grade Urethane based top coat. I add pearls and flake to attract ultra-violet light. I do not use epoxies that is why my finishes do not peel after they become chipped. I put great emphasis on durability, I do not consider my plugs to be works of art; I do not strive for that. When I build a plug I build a well engineered fish catching machine period.”


A carpenter by trade, his passion for plug building was the result of the inability to find the lures that met his particular needs. The lures that he builds are his own designs and are extensively tested with a focus on their action and cast ability. Other consideration in his designs, which place emphasis the habits of predatory game fish and their response to wounded bait fish are inspired by his daughter, who studied marine biology.  This passion, experience and knowledge results in a selection of lures that Saltwater Edge customers can fish with confidence. Wally makes a very well built lure out of great materials.