March 2, 2015

Gear Review - The Original Ferris Sporting Bolo

Yeah, I know what you're thinking, what the F*** is a Ferris Sporting bolo?

It's only the the most fashionable fly fishing accessory on the water...or at Jack Rabbit Slim's... 

BTW, Pulp Fiction came out 20 years ago, man...I feel old...

Ok, let me reset this really quick...a bolo (at least as it relates to fishing) is what many of you might call a fly fishing know, that "necklace" that allows you to hang your tippet, nippers, hemos, and other random widgets around your neck while fishing. I've always been a fishing bag sort of guy, so this set up never really appealed to me.

The Original Ferris Sporting Bolo
Image Courtesy Ferris Sporting

Enter Ferris Sporting, a fly fishing company that I honestly had never heard of, but makes a really solid product. After an innocent tweet of a video they posted to YouTube, a sample arrived at my door to give a test drive.

Before I tell you what I think of it, here are the specs and a little marketing sizzle, taken from their website.
"The Ferris fly fishing lanyards keep things simple. There are plenty of options to keep close your fly fishing tools. The bolo design is Patent Pending. Take a closer look, this is not what you expect in a fly fishing lanyard. 
The SRB, MBR and TRB models include a spool keeper that can store up to 4 spools of material. With a list price range of $24.99-39.99 there is a bolo for every budget. Your bolo will be packaged in a hinged lid, reusable plastic box. All Ferris bolos are covered by the Ferris warranty. The Ferris bolos are extremely well made, quality throughout.
  • Fully adjustable to a wide range of torsos
  • Multiple points of connection
  • Type IV 750 commercial grade paracord
  • Herman Oak leather collars, spool keepers and rosettes
  • ABS plastic fittings, durable and UV resistant
  • All metal is black nickel finish
  • Includes hardware kit to customize your bolo"

I've attached 2 spools of tippet, my nippers and pliers, a small fly box, a fly bobber (a drying patch which they also sent to play with), and I use the clip on the back side to hold my fishing license.  The clip is really supposed to clip to your shirt so when you bend down the lanyard doesn't dangle loose, but I've been pond fishing, not rock hopping, so it found another use.


The bolo basically holds almost everything I usually take out when I go to fish with my tenkara gear.


  • It is well built, the paracord is solid and the ends are finished off well with rubber aglets to avoid fraying

Image Courtesy Ferris Sporting

  • The basic split-ring, snap hook, and utility string hardware included makes attaching whatever you want pretty much a snap. The "industrial strength" retractor reel (or zinger, not pictured) is not included, but a worthwhile might be the best zinger I've ever used

Image Courtesy Ferris Sporting

  • Safety first, it does have a breakaway feature to make sure you don't get hung up in a dangerous way. Actually all of the plastic hardware is really well executed...not "cheap" at all
  • It's easy. Everything's already attached, you just need your rod and you're fishing.


  • It's not a bag. It won't 100% replace your fishing pack, at least if you don't have pants pockets. I usually at minimum throw things like my cell phone, wallet, point and shoot camera, tenkara line spool, and maybe a granola bar in my Vedavoo Tighlines Sling when I'm out fishing. Unless I bring my pack, those things don't really have a home. I could probably MacGyver some way to put a tenkara spool on there, but there's not one "out of the box."
  • It's loud. When you have a lot of widgets hanging around your neck, they tend to rattle around as you move around. It's not overly annoying, but figured it was worth a forewarning.


So I've fished with the Ferris sporting bolo three times since I received it at the end of January, and I can't believe I'm saying this, but I actually like it quite a bit. It will never replace my sling pack, nor do I think it'll become my primary way to bring gear to the pond or stream, but for a quick grab n' go fishing session, it's pretty convenient.

I think long term, it's going to be the "tackle box" I stash in the glove box of my SUV for those impromptu fishing opportunities that seemingly pop up all the time, but I've left my gear at home. Keep one of these in the car along with a collapsed tenkara rod, and I'll never have to pass over that tempting water again.

Now is it for you? I'm not sure. If you like fishing lanyards, I'd say it's worth a look. As I mentioned it's well built and is comfortable around the neck. Other than the noise when moving, you almost forget it's there. Additionally, for those of you have gone the tenkara route and subsequently pared your gear down, it really does make for an excellent fishing companion.


The Ferris Sporting Bolo, retractor reel, & fly bobber featured in this product review were provided to me at no cost, but carries a suggested retail price of $44. I currently hold no association with Ferris Sporting, and didn't solicit them for the product for review. It was simply offered and I accepted, no strings attached...HA, get it? I crack myself up...

As with all independent gear reviews at Troutrageous! I try my best to keep my reviews honest and unbiased. If something is good, it deserves applause; if it sucks, I'll comment on the experience, but rather than write an uncomplimentary post, inform the manufacturer my opinion of their offering directly outside of this blog. (For real, you should see some of the stuff I haven't written about...) This policy pertains to items both purchased and provided at no (or reduced) cost.


  1. I tried those when they first hit the scene about the time Pulp Fiction was ruining young minds everywhere. ;) I thought the idea seemed great, but I kept finding my fly line wrapped around my gadgets and (the one I had had a clip that clipped it to your shirt to keep it still ) the clip kept pulling at my shirt funny. Add to that the clanging and the stuff getting hung on tree limbs as a ducked and dodged them, and I quickly went back to a "fanny pack" or vest like thing. Of course, those things aren't perfect either. One day someone will invent a tackle holding device that fits everything into your hat and then we'll be set. The Agneta Port-a-Pack All Tackle Sportsman's Hat? Sounds good to me. :)

    1. I like the hat angle. I could see how one of these could be a pain all rock hoppin and whatnot. Fortunately, it's been great for pond fishing, so that's what I think I'm going to use it for.

  2. I've never been a lanyard type of guy and I'm quite happy with my Vedavoo Sling Pack. That being said, I thought we were talking about those old fashion bolo ties. I used to wear one!