Friday, August 25, 2006

FFR Update - Underwear, Axes, Shades, & Reels

This morning's session on the show floor seemed to revolve around sunglasses because we spoke to reps from three different manufacturers of shades. Oakley Eyewear has a large booth and Zugbug was particularly taken with their new Oakley O Rocker glasses that include an MP3 player with a wireless connection to your IPOD.

Smith Action Optics is promoting their line of photo chromatic polarized shades with precision ground thin glass lenses. They also have a polycarbonate version at a lower price point. Smith also has a unique Rx program that you should check out if you wear prescription sunglasses.

Finally, Costa Del Mar is showing several new products including their new Costa 580 lenses with blue and green mirror lenses with the mirrors actually embedded between layers of glass for greater durability. Zugbug was impressed with the C-Mates line that includes sunglasses with bifocal magnifiers that can be a big help to anglers trying to thread small hook eyes with even smaller tippets.

Overall, it looks like the trend in sunglasses seems to be more towards fashion while still keeping the basic functionality that anglers require. The manufacturers want anglers and non-anglers, men and women, alike wearing their product.

We spoke to the folks from Korkers. They sell a wading boot with a system of interchangeable soles that allow you to have one pair of boots with your choice of a lug sole, felt sole, studded felt sole, and even soft spikes for golf. Their outfitter boot has a lot of features for its $129 price point while many of the same features can be had in the $79 wetlands model. One feature that all their products have is an extra wide opening and speed laces that make pulling your wading boots on a cinch. This one is a company to watch and will probably get a vote from us for best new product at the show.

We stopped by the Outcast booth and drooled over their pontoons and float tubes. Anglers looking to expand their fishable water will want to have a serious look at their products. Our take on them was that you got a lot of extra features for your money.

As we were walking through the show floor, I looked over and zugbug was holding a large axe. I keep trying to tell him that this is a fly FISHING show but he has this thing for weapons of destruction. It turns out that the axes were pretty cool. They are hammer forged in Sweden by Gransfors Brucks Inc. Check out their site for a handy guide to axe throwing.

From axes we ended up at the Woolpower booth looking at underwear. As you can see things were going downhill quickly. I won't even begin to go into how zug got us into an underwear booth but they do have a great product that will give you a new outlook on wool underwear and socks. Their products don't itch and keep you warm and dry at the same time. If you don't think wool can be comfortable ask someone who works on a North Sea oil rig and they will probably tell you that this is what they wear out in the cold.

After the underwear and axes I managed to drag Zugbug into the Waterworks Lamson booth to have a look at their new batch of fly reels. Particularly interesting was their Velocity series mid arbor reel with a hard alox finish. The hard Alox finish is scratch resistant to keep your reel looking nice and everything has a precision fit to keep sand and grit from gumming up the works. The conical drag system has a quality feel to it that you should expect in a reel with a $200 price point. Mark Ferris designs the reels for Lamson. He got his start designing mountain bikes before moving into the realm of fly fishing.

That is the update for this afternoon. Tonight we will be spending some time with our fellow fly fishing bloggers and the good folks from the Patagonia Company. Our next goal is to actually look at some fly rods and may even venture out into the country side to check out the scenery.

Stay tuned for more show info. We would have some photos but blogger is being hard to get along with today so we will have to save them for later posts.

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