Tim Landwehr, owner of Tight Lines Fly Fishing Co., was the first shop/outfitter in the Midwest to incorporate drift boats for chasing River Smallmouth Bass. Tim employs 9 River Smallmouth guides and still puts in countless days on the water himself. He has been featured in ESPN Outdoors, OLN, Fly Fisherman Magazine, Catch Magazine, Fly Fishing Film Tour, Badger Sportsman, Eastern Fly Fishing, and Sporting Classics and has hosted the Midwest Sportsman television program. Tim and his guides also authored Smallmouth: Modern Methods, Tactics and Techniques.
Tim is in and out of boats almost every day and relies on the best equipment to make his days on the water the best they can be. Tim runs hard boats, rafts and a jet sled, all of which incorporate the use of high-quality Sawyer oars. Tim has been a Hyde pro for almost 20 years and is proud to be selected for the Sawyer Ambassador program.
SMOKER Bandit Testimonial by Tim Landwehr
As a smallmouth bass guide, I have multiple boats in my arsenal to choose from for the different waters that we fish. I run a raft, a Hyde Lo Pro Xl drift boat and a Hyde Power Drifter Jet. On all of these boats, my oar of choice has been the Sawyer Square Top Dyno X. I am most certainly a creature of habit, and once I find something that works in my line of work, I stick with it. The Square Top Dyno X is about as good as it gets on just about any boat I have ever rowed.
This spring, I was talking to my friends at the Sawyer factory about a small piece of water that I guide with a raft and a rowing frame. The put-in and take-outs are next to impossible. The water is fast and narrow, and during the late summer months, it gets incredibly bony. It sounds like too much work, but it's full of fish and well worth the effort. For this technical piece of water, I need a boat that is incredibly agile and can handle the low skinny water of late summer. After explaining the water and the boat, Derek told me about the new Smoker Bandits and sent a pair over to me.
The box arrived at the fly shop, and the label said- To Tim from your friends at Sawyer. It was like Christmas. What I was most impressed with was the weight of them, 4.5 lbs for a 9-foot oar! My concern was, would they be rigid enough to dig in, and how durable would they be under the pressure of big fast water and the weight of the raft? After launching the boat on an exploratory trip, I could see that these would be the absolute best oars on the planet for this application. My raft never felt so agile, and the amount of effort in each oar stroke was cut in half. They changed the usual cumbersome, clumsy feel of the raft to a sports car. I really could not believe how these oars changed the entire feel of a boat I have rowed for years.
I have now had the Smoker Bandits for a full guide season, and they have held up great and truly are a game-changer. I understand they do break the norm of the classic wood grain style Sawyer is known for, but in application, they are perfect for a working guide. For a serious angler or river guide, these are an absolute must-have, in my opinion.
To my friends at Sawyer, I thank you! I thank you for producing the finest oars and pushing the envelope on design and technology in the paddlesports world. The Smoker Bandit is a perfect example of a company pushing the limits every single day to make our experience on the water the best it can be.
Tight Lines Fly Fishing Co.
Favorite Items On The Water:
- Favorite Oars and Paddles - Sawyer SquareTop Dyno X Shoal Cut and SMOKER Bandit Oars
- Favorite Fishing Boat (Rivers) – Hyde 16’ XL Lo Pro with Sawyer Oars
- Favorite Coolers – Yeti 65 with the bow seat attached. Centering a heavily loaded cooler gives me the best balance and performance out of my boat.
- Favorite Fly Rods – Sage X
- Favorite Fly Reels- Hatch Gen 2 Finatic
- Favorite sunglasses-Costa Loreto. I think, combined with my cowboy mustache, they make me look like an officer of the law.
- Favorite Boat Bag-I have had the same Patagonia Great Divider boat bag for almost 15 years! It is held together by aqua seal and duct tape, but I can’t replace her.
- Favorite conservation organizations-Trout Unlimited, Smallmouth Alliance, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers.