Sunday, September 23, 2007

FFR Show 2007: Reflections from the casting pond

The wife and I just got back into town from the retailer show in Denver, Colorado where we were able to look at copious amounts of new fly fishing gear, hang out with old and new friends, and get a general feel for the direction of fly fishing as an industry from folks who make their living at the sport we so enjoy. We will have more detailed postings about gear and such later on but for now here are a few of our impressions from this year's show:
Patagonia Pals
First things first, we have to mention Patagonia, Inc. For the past two years they have acted as our host at the show and thanks to folks like Brian Bennett and Steve Stracqualersi we have always been made to feel very welcome. They are a great organization that makes excellent fly fishing product and more importantly does a great deal of good for the environment. A few of their programs that deserve mention are 1% for the planet, Common Threads Garment Recycling, and supporting the World Trout Initiative. A few their products that caught our eye include the combination FishingVest / PFD , and their Pack Vest which combines a fishing vest and back pack in one package. We will be posting about additional Patagonia products in the near future.
New Rods
On the upper end of the spectrum we got our hands on the new Orvis Helios and can say that it has to be the lightest fly rod we have ever held. It will be available in 2008 for around $755.
The big news from Sage was their new line of bass rods. We didn't get to try one of these at the casting pool but with their old school yellow finish they sure did look nice. Their 7'11" length might just allow Sage some inroads into the world of competitive bass tournaments.
Brad Beefus of Ross Worldwide took us through the paces with their Mel Krieger endorsed Essence fly rod series. The rods come in three levels of "trim," with slightly different actions, the FC, FS and at the top of the line the FW. With rods from $99 to $199 and complete outfits from $199 to $249 these rods are an affordable option for anglers. Ross designed these rods and their tapers from the ground up and it seems to have made a difference in the end result. We test casted a 3 weight from each of the three rod classes and found each of them to have a very nice feel. The rods and outfits will hit the market in October of this year.
Ryan Harrison, managing partner of The Waterworks /Lamson sat down with us and took us through his line of super light weight reels. He explained the company's revolutionary drag design featuring a completely sealed conical clutch as well as their almost bomb proof hard alox finish. The company's big news was the introduction of $120 price point reel called the Konic. The Konic features the same drag as their $400+ models but is die cast and has a salt water safe polyurethane finish.
Polarized Eye wear
We will have more detailed posts on this later but we were able to spend time with three of the players in fly fishing eye protection and fish spotting.
Smith Action Optics - Long time friend of the fly fisher. Tons of anglers wear them.
Panoptix - Started in Cycling - Flip Pallot wears them.
Kaenon - Italian design - proprietary lens material. Conway Bowman wears them.
Seattle outfitter Filson debuted their new five layer fishing waders which will be available March 1st, 2008 at a $310 MSRP. I can say that they look and feel just like what you would expect in a Filson wader. They have built in gravel guards, wool lined hand warmer pockets with brass buttons.
We will continue our coverage with additional products from the show in these and other categories so be sure to check back often.


Anonymous said...

Hey Murdock!

I skipped the show this year as I had an event a week or so earlier that kicked my butt... had I known that you and Chandler were prowling downtown Denver together, I would certainly have gone!

Thanks for the mention on the Helios... glad you had a chance to cast one!

James Hathaway
The Orvis Company

Murdock said...

Mr. Hathaway,

I even asked about you at the Orvis booth. The show was fun for us but I know from experience that trade shows can be hard work for the exhibitors.

I am not sure that Denver could have handled the three of us in one place at the same time.

Keep in touch

Lee Murdock

Anonymous said...

Please do call me James... I am certainly not deserving of a "Mr."!

PS> did you note that Tom said he was taking some time off from blogging, only to post TWO stories today?? I knew he couldn't keep away.

Murdock said...


If I could ditch this annoying day job I could take days off like Tom too!

Unfortunatly the wife likes to eat and I like to take fishing trips.



Luz said...

Excellent post of fly fishing gears!! I also prefer to browse Orvis for broad collection of fly fishing gears.