Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. One of My and Cat’s favorite shows to watch on TV is Shark Tank. We have watched nearly every episode and I can’t tell you how many times a product comes out and we laugh and say who would buy that, and so many times over the years we have heard the Sharks say that you have to identify a need and then create a solution. It has been a while since I have written a product review and so in the Shark Tank way, I will identify the problem and then let you know if I think this is the solution.
I wanted to start by identifying the problem. I have been using Rio Fluorflex Plus tippet for years and I absolutely love my tippet. It is so consistent and strong and depending on what size I am using, I really have a great feel for the breaking strength, and yes I still break off my share of fish, but normally it is unusual circumstances. What I don’t care for is the elastic band and metal grommet that is supposed to “keep” my tippet in place. I normally keep 6 guide spools on my lanyard with two spools of 4, 5 and 6x tippet each. What I have found so frustrating over the years is the amount of times, my tippet has come out of the grommet and began unraveling. Before every guide trip, I take them off my lanyard and make sure that each spool is in perfect condition with one inch or so sticking out of each spool. When the spools are brand new, they usually hold pretty well but when you carry several, you know the dates are varied. It happens more times than not, nearly every trip out, half way through the day I have to re-tie or completely re-rig and I look down to grab my tippet and I have a ball of line tangled up.
Cat spends much more time in the shop than I do and has seen other problems than just the unraveling. A few months back, she had one guy in the shop complaining that his fluoro had gone bad. It was not Rio, but he said it was fine when he first starting using the spool but as time went on, he thought the tippet had deteriorated. Cat took a good look at the spool and noticed that the grommet was breaking down, from pulling tippet out, and had developed a small and sharp groove that was actually damaging the tippet.
I do the majority of my fishing sub-surface and almost exclusively use fluorocarbon so UV does not break down my tippet the same way mono-filament is damaged.
One of the parts Cat really enjoys about working in the shop is the number of “odd” products which people have come by and tried to sell. She has had several “tippet keeper solutions” over the years and in her own Mrs. Wonderful way, she would say yes there is a problem, but is this really a solution and a needed product. She had one “solution” where a guy said all you need is a drill and a six inch clamp and a…….. and a……. and this product will be a life saver. Another guy had a big plastic box with a few open slots. Outwardly Cat would always smile and say we would give it a try, inwardly she might be thinking “you are dead to me”. She had never seen a true solution to the problem.
A few months back I was browsing my Fb page and an article came up about a product called Probands. I’m not sure why I opened it but as I was reading it and my first thought was, Wow. It seemed so simple and how could something so simple, really fix such a problem. I went to the reviews and the majority were really positive and then one guy claimed that Fly Fishers are such idiots and just make up problems so they can buy more gadgets, I’m guessing he fishes with a water bubble and Pistol Pete. I was intrigued so I went ahead and ordered two sets.
So, here is my review of Probands. I wanted to first say that I don’t know if this is a problem for everyone, but for me, it definitely was. When I first got the Probands I put them on all six of the spools on my lanyard. They slipped on super easy and seemed to hold the tippet perfectly. The first day out, when I went to grab my tippet, the little tabs on the bands caught my shirt and skipped while I was pulling out my tippet. I noticed with the six spools, everything was a little crowded on my lanyard and since the water had come up, I took one of my 6x spools off and the spacing was perfect. I had no more problems grabbing tippet. I used them until run-off and then again last week at the Taylor and I can’t tell you how excited I am about the product. I have NOT had my tippet make a mess since I put on the Probands. When I purchased mine, I got two red, white and Blue bands and have set them up as red for 4x, white for 5x, and blue for 6x so it is super simple to pick the correct tippet size. The Probands also claim to protect your mono from any damaging UV rays. The only potential problem that I could foresee with the bands on, is that you cannot see how much tippet you have left on your spool. Since I always carry two of each, this won’t be a problem. I have only used the bands for a few months so I’m not sure on the durability, but after looking at the material, they look like they should last for years.
I am in no way associated with probands and make no commission off of them but if you are tired of fighting with your “tippet keepers”, try the Probands. The website is getadriftoutdoors.com and is super simple to use. Pick out what brand tippet you are using, how many you want, pay, and they will be on the way. As always, Connell, Mrs. Wonderful, Winston, Probands and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading……..