Michael Bennett

Michael grew up fishing along the Umpqua and Rogue rivers in Southern Oregon. He is a passionate steelhead aficionado but also enjoys Washington's outstanding stillwater trout fishing, bass fly fishing, the occasional tropical saltwater trip, Montana's rivers, and just about anywhere else where the fish will take a fly. He has fly fished from Alaska to Belize for bluegill to blue marlin.

Dubbing Loop Material Clip

Dubbing Loop Material Clip

More and more modern flies are being tied with rabbit hair that is removed from the hide and put into a dubbing loop. This tying method is used for the head area on many Intruder-style flies and I have used it for years on my pattern, the Exasperator. After years of using my hands, the Dubbing Loop Material Clip makes it so much faster and allows you to put more hair in the loop much easier. It is also very effective for ostrich, rhea, and even other things like various flash materials.
This is a product we make here at the shop. It is really just a clip you can buy at an office supply store but then we line the inside of the clip with foam so that it holds onto the materials better. There are other products on the market to do this but they are much more expensive and aren’t as wide to hold as much material as this one.

Sheila’s Sculpin

Sheila's Sculpin

Love this fly!  I have had great success with the Sheila’s Sculpin on both trout and bass, but it is a great Bull/Dolly fly as well.  It has just the right rate of fall for casting to docks for bass.  I like to fish it on an intermediate sinking line for bass on the docks, keeping the line just taut enough to feel a fish picking the fly up on the fall, then twitching the fly a couple short strips, then letting it fall again.

Bennett’s Halo

Bennett's Halo

This is a fly of my design but I have to include it.  The Halo just gets it done for steelhead in late summer and fall when the rivers run clear and the steelhead have been in fresh water for a while.  The fly was designed to have a “buggy” appeal to those steelhead that have been in the river long enough to start going back to their trouty ways.  Ninety-percent of the time you’ll find me fishing the Halo on a floating line, but it has had some great days for me on sink-tips as well.  I fish the Halo in conjunction with its brother, the Last Light, preferring the Last Light in low light situations first thing in the morning and last light of the evening.

Lite Brite


This super thin, soft, flashy material is useful for so many things. I constantly use it in everything from steelhead flies (like the Halo, Last Light, and Exasperator) to trout nymphs. In fact, last night I was using it to add some flash to EP Fibers while tying tarpon flies.
Thinner and more supple than Angel Hair, Lite Brite is also great for mixing into just about any dubbing to add flash. To do this, just chop up some Lite Brite and fold it into the dubbing by hand.

Intex Quick-Fill Electric Pump

Intex Quick-Fill Electric Pump

Next time you’re inflating a pontoon boat from 0% to full, ask yourself if you’d pay 25-bucks to have it done in a few seconds!  Although you will still need a hand pump to get the pressure you need, this electric pump will inflate 90% of each of those pontoons in about 20 seconds.  Then just use the hand pump to top them off to proper pressure.  Quite the back saver!

Bennett’s Exasperator

Bennett's Steelhead Exasperator - Black/Blue

Yes, another one of my patterns but how could I not mention a fly that I fish 90% of the time in winter?  This fly doesn’t have that much “fly bin appeal” but wait until you get it in the river and watch it swim in the current.  Designed to promote as much movement as possible, the Exasperator creates a vortex behind the head and pectoral fins.  This vortex creates turbulence and therefore movement in the tail.  It also causes the rabbit strip tail to flare in the water to produce a larger silhouette.  The trouty colors of olive and natural brown are also great for dollys, trout and bass.

Regal Medallion Vise

Regal Medallion Pedestal Vise

I’ve owned the same Regal Medallion vise for over 25 years and she keeps on getting the job done. I’ve tied everything from 8/0 marlin flies to miniscule size 28 midge dries in this vise and I just don’t have reason to get anything different.
Regal vises don’t require any adjustments when jumping from one hook size to another. Just open the jaws and put the hook in. I personally don’t see the need for anything other than the standard jaws, although Regal does offer the smaller midge jaws and larger big game jaws… as well as stainless steel jaws. Over 25 years and literally tens of thousands of flies, the only problem I have ever encountered is some rust and squeakiness due to packing a pair of salty flats boots near the vise on a return trip from Christmas Island.

Outcast Blade Rite Oar Stops

Outcast BladeRite Oar Stops

I put these guys on my pontoon boat oars and can’t live without them.  Especially on rivers, I love that I can grab the oars and instantly row, instead of having to take a second to angle the oar blades before beginning to row.  Some guys love them.  Some guys hate them.  I definitely love them.

Redington I/O Fleece Pants

Redington I/O Fleece Pant

Redington I/O Fleece Pants are super thick fleece and keep you warm on the coldest days. I always wear them on those super cold winter steelhead days. I also always have a thin, tight-fitting, wicking layer under them which wicks better and holds heat closer to your body.
The Redington I/O Fleece Pants come with stirrups built-in to keep them from riding up when you pull your waders on. This seemed like a great idea, but I quickly cut my stirrups off. The pants are tight enough around the ankles that I didn’t feel the need for them and it just makes them quicker to put on and take off.