Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Natives Are Restless


The cooler weather has the South Jersey Barracuda thinking about bulking up for a long cold winter. This fellow followed my fly three different times before finally eating it and then putting on a brief air show. There is something nice about catching a fresh water fish on a four weight that would like nothing better than taking a chunk out of your leg.



This one was a bit better suited for the four weight but still put a nice bend in it.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Gear: For the Female Fly Fisher


Hilary's #IFTD coverage of a new fly rod complete with built in bling bling, got us thinking about the pros and cons of marketing gear specifically to women. To that end we started scouring the intertubes for examples. We found the usual pink revolvers, pink fishing vests, pink reels, and even this nifty rotary fly box complete with built in hatch calendar.
No word yet as to.....scratch that, whatever joke we make here will only serve to get us in trouble with the Editorial Trophy Wife. Feel free to make up for our fear prudence in the comments.

Friday, September 17, 2010

FlyFish Mag at IFTD--Part Fin

Ross Diamond Women's Rod
MSRP: $299-$319

The fine folks at Ross (follow them on twitter @flyfishpro) swear on Grandpappy's secret fishin' spot that the new Diamond rod is not dumbed down for women. New for 2011, the 4pc 3wt-8wt Diamond series is built on the Ross premium Rx graphite blanks with some women-specific attention, including a 25% reduction in the cork handle diameter, and a nice burgundy color. It's well-made, high-end-yet-affordable, lightweight, and has proper balance and power. But all this is unfortunately overshadowed for me by the feature that still has me scratching my head. Is it really necessary to gild the lily with a small fake diamond as seen in the picture above? Ross's own product description in the catalog states: "Custom cosmetics and a little bit of bling make this series a truly unique offering for female anglers who fish in style." I actually love to fish in sundresses and sparkly earrings, and my toenails are often painted in "sunrise poppy" so I'm not entirely sure why I take offense to the faux diamond accent on this rod. I guess I feel that when making women-specific gear, rod companies should think of us as fishing with style through our cast, patience, rhythm, presentation and love for water and wildlife, rather than fishing in style. And while I like wearing sparkly things on my ears, my earrings have nothing to do with my gear. I want my fly rod to be serious, solid, smooth and badass. Not foofy or glittery.

This is why I'm on the fence about this:
  • I like the Diamond rod itself, but I do NOT like its name, "Diamond," and I do NOT like the diamond.
  • I appreciate that Ross is paying attention to women, but I think the diamond indicates the wrong kind of attention.
  • I am relieved that the rod is not pink, but it might as well be pink if there's going to be "bling" on it.
Now, the most important thing is that if this rod gets more women fishing more often, then blingariffic! I have a feeling men will purchase this to lure their wives into the hobby. And that's great! So, I'd like to hear people's thoughts on this. Ladies, if you love the bling on this rod, buy it. It's a quality rod at a great price. If you don't love the bling, you can always slap some duct tape over it and fish on.

Ross F1 Reel Series
MSRP: $425-$525

The new F1 reel caused more buzz than a booth-full of bees at IFTD this year. And, at the risk of following the herd, my choice for IFTD "Best in Show." The words most associated with this reel so far are, "revolutionary" and "game-changing." The F1 is inspired by Formula 1 race car braking systems. With eight independent contact points to the friction system, the drag is designed to be the smoothest and most dependable on the planet with unmatched stopping power thanks to two-times the carbon fiber drag surface of other reels on the market. I'm told there's no start-up friction. The drag knob is cherry--it's a constant-torque, so you don't experience the prohibitive tension on the drag as you tighten, which can make you drop your rod tip and lose fish. The thing maxes out at 7 1/2 lbs of drag. The durable, heat resistant, totally sealed reel looks and feels like such a smooth machine, you'd think it had a motor. A carbon fiber stabilizer holds the spool as two fully-sealed stainless steel ball bearings offer a smooth rotation and great fit. And its unique, super-easy right/left hand retrieve conversion mechanism is the first like it in the industry.
Congrats to Ross Reels for being a leader in innovation and keeping us excited!

Finally from IFTD, here is a link to youtube video of Ross Worldwide's Jeff Hickman at the spey pond talking about the new Ross switch rod.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

FlyFish Mag at IFTD--Part 3

I heard someone at IFTD say, "thank goodness Redington got rid of that Rubbermaid logo!" I didn't dislike the old logo, but I do think the new one looks pretty slick on Redington's new apparel line. But the logo isn't what had me all touchy-feely in the Redington booth. My fingerprints were all over their new products, especially since their purchase-friendly pricing is enticing.
Redington Deschutes Rain Jacket
MSRP $149.95
After seeing it at the show, I've been thinking a lot about Redington's new Deschutes Rain Jacket for women. Especially yesterday, when we got stuck in a torrential downpour on the Elk River in British Columbia. This jacket should catch your attention with its good looks, but further capture you attention with its price. For 150-bucks, it's a great value, especially considering it is a technical piece featuring 2.5 layer Red Storm waterproof/breathable fabric with fully taped seams, four-way stretch, adjustable hood and cuffs and pit zips. Even though it's a rain jacket, it's not crunchy or loud. The trim-fitting cut is very flattering, and I think most women will agree that the moss color is beautiful. It's great to see Redington's new apparel line feature a head-turning technical piece at price that will encourage women to stay out in the rain long after the boys have bagged it.

Redington Crosswater Youth Outfit

MSRP $139.95

It's clear that Redington is a leader in the charge to make fly fishing fun, more accessible and affordable to anglers of all ages and ability levels. The new Redington Crosswater Youth Outfit is a great example of how easy it can be to get young people into good gear. Teens and beginners can rest assured that this is not a "kid" rod package. It looks legit, and I'm told it fishes very smoothly for a solid entry into the sport. The 8'6", 4-pc 5/6wt setup comes with a Redington Crosswater reel and pre-spooled Rio Mainstream line and knotless leader. Oh, and even a sleek rod case! And the whole thing, with fish facts and information printed on the box, is under 140 bones.

fishpond Tundra Tech Pack
MSRP $239
With more and more outdoor enthusiasts adding fly fishing to their list of chronic adventures, the need for a backpack/fly pack combo is ever-prevalent. Fishpond has responded to the demand with its new Tundra Tech Pack. The 1524 cubic inches of space offer plenty of room for overnight gear, while allowing a separate space for fishing accessories with the modular chest pack. The chest pack can be worn together or separately from the main pack, and can be moved to attach to the back when accessing fishing supplies isn't necessary. Now that's what I call a proper appropriation of integration and separation! The entire system is designed to be comfortable and low-maintenance with an internal frame, integrated rod tube system to carry two rods securely and a 100oz hydration reservoir.

Tomorrow, in my final IFTD report, I'll post about a rod that has me on the fence about women-specific fishing products, I'll link to video I shot of a hot switch rod, and I'll freak out about my pick for "Best of Show."

FlyFish Mag at IFTD--Part 2

So I have a bit of a drooling problem when it comes to fly fishing gear. Here's what I found at the International Fly Tackle Dealer show over the weekend in Denver:

Buff Pro Series Angler Gloves
available now: MSRP $40

At one point over the summer, my brother said to me, "Your hands look like hell." Wait, calloused palms, sunburned knuckles and cracked stripping fingers aren't sexy? Shoot. I have never before worn angling gloves. And I have the claw-like cramping in my hands to prove it. So, with a stacked fall season of fishing in the NW and Canada ahead of me, I'm ready to put Buff's solution to the test. The Buff Pro Series features UPF 50+ breathable Italian comfort stretch fabric with a Clarino Diamond aquatic suede grip--similar to the kind found in golf gloves. The accordion grip in the finger joint area is designed to enhance your fingers' surface area on the rod and prevent fatigue. The gloves are comfortable, good-looking and come in four sizes--which do not include XS, so some small-mitt women and kids will need to wait until next year when the company plans to add an XS size.


Smith Optics
Tenet ($159-$199), Precept ($159-$199), and Scientist ($159-$179) Techlite Polarized Sunglasses with TLT Lenses
available October 2010

By now you've hopefully basked in the fish-fabulousness of the premium Techlite Polarized Glass collection from Smith. The only problem with the impressively-light glass is that it allows me to see so many fish in the water that I start corking in circles and frothing at the mouth. The lenses are on par with quality typically featured in the highest-end telescopes, cameras and microscopes. I think the catalog writers at Smith should add the words "X-Ray Vision" to the product descriptions.
The Tenet, the Precept and the Scientist styles are the latest in the collection. The Scientist is pretty hot. (Especially with all this talk of microscopes and telescopes.)


R.L. Winston Rod Co Boron IIIx
available end of September 2010
MSRP: $775-$822

The news out of Twin Bridges, MT is that the Boron IIx is being replaced by the new Boron IIIx series. The new B IIIx is a 4pc made with a lighter, stronger third generation Boron/Graphite composite. The product developer tells me it features a quicker recovery and offers fishermen a broader application with more line speed control. Meaning, while you'll still feel that smooth butter you know and love from the green stick, you'll also enjoy a faster action in a lighter rod that is more for forgiving in variable casting situations than its predecessor. I love R.L. Winston and still fish the old discontinued IM6. It's a sentimental thing--the first rod I ever had with my name handwritten in cursive on it. So it was fun to check out the company's latest and greatest.

I've still got drool-ables to talk about...including my choice for "Best of IFTD"...stay perched for Part 3 tomorrow.

Monday, September 13, 2010

FlyFish Mag at IFTD--Part 1

Sure, I'm as distracted as the next gal about all the jazz, beads and feather boas glimmering at us from the future. In a year from now we'll be recovering from IFTD 2011 in New Orleans; telling our trade show tales with spent voices, squinting at blurry phone pictures to figure out who flashed us, and saying over and over, "One fish, two fish, redfish, redfish."

But today I'm still happy to be stripping in the good times and great gear found at IFTD 2010 in Denver September 9-11.

First off--here are some immediate things that caught my attention:
  • An AAFTA board member asked my honest opinion on how to make fly fishing less exclusive
  • Logo changes for Redington and Sage
  • People introduced by their Twitter handles ie: @troutscout @kyleindenver @roughfisher @midcurrent @deneki @fbrglssmnfsto @fishykid @fethastyx @tundralove @flyfishpro @outsidehilary @iftd
  • Ross F1 Reel Series
  • Free Moose Drool (Made in Montana)
  • Not even close to free internet access (Made in NEVERland--as in, I ain't never payin'! )
  • Watch out fishy men--the polite, capable and informative fishy kid Tyler Befus could do your job if he was legally old enough
  • Tough-guys-turned-art-aficionados standing in line to have their copy of The Drake autographed by Derek DeYoung
Here are some pics from the points above:






Tomorrow I'll be breaking down the features of some of the show's top products, including those from Ross, Sage, Redington, Buff, R.L. Winston, Big Sky Inflatables, fishpond, Smith Optics and more.
And I'll explain why the Ross F1 Series is my "Best of Show" choice.
Hilary

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sneaking into Orvis


Not your typical class A office space but class A none-the-less

Well we didn't exactly sneak. While almost every other member of the fly fishing industry (including our own correspondent Hilary) was busy at the IFTD show in Denver, Colorado drinking free beer checking out the newest gear and gadgets, we (the Editorial Trophy Wife and I) took it upon ourselves to do some hard core journalism and managed to gain access to the inner sanctum of one of the outdoor industry's largest players, Orvis. Our visit, courtesy of Orvis' Sr. Manager of Communications, Conservation, and Social Media, James Hathaway, confirmed a lot of what we already suspected about the company and also yielded a few revelations.

Located in Sunderland, Vermont and situated in a location that you would be hard pressed to find even with the aid of the most up to date navigation system, The Orvis Company's corporate office sits on a wooded mountainside. Upon entry into the unmarked lobby and signing the registry noting our US citizenship, we were issued our name tags and greeted by our host. James gave us the following tour of their offices. Note that before we could enter any area, James was required by corporate policy to go fifty paces ahead of us crying out "Blogger on the hall" so as to give the employees time to shape up.


One of our first stops on the tour was Perk Perkins' office. James would not let me take his picture sitting behind Mr. Perkins desk but he did let me hold the giant fly tied for the Orvis Giant Fly Sale Video by the legendary Tom Rosenbauer.


Our next stop was the Orvis commissary. Due to the remoteness of their offices, the company provides dining facilities. The employees do not eat for free nor does the menu consist entirely of venison and roast pheasant. In a definitive nod to conservation, no wild brook trout were on the menu the day of our visit.



This is a look inside one of Orvis' many sample rooms. Orvis maintains one of everything they carry on the premises with the idea being that if a customer calls up about a problem with a specific item, someone can walk down the hall and take a look first hand. Orvis also contacts any person leaving a rating of three out of five stars or less on their website's review system to try and resolve any issues. Since most of the fly fishing gear was out of the building and on display at the IFTD show, we were spared the mandatory pat down and moved on to the next part of the tour.


This is not the shotgun testing room (or so they told us).




We are posting these two photos for all who dream about escaping the corporate world and working in the fly fishing industry. This is fly fishing legend, Tom Rosenbauer's, cubicle. Also note that even fly fishing legends must complete the proper HR forms if they want to take a day off fishing.

For comparison here is Hathaway's cubicle. Note that the PR guy's cube is just as nice as the fly fishing legends. Just sayin'...


Our host, James, elicited this type of response in many of the departments we visited. These HR employees didn't like the fact that he questioned Rosenbauer's fishing absence request being denied.


The maintenance department gets the award for most "Orvislike" decor.


The Orvis Podcast Studio gets the award for least "Orvislike" decor. However, we checked the labels on the moving blankets on the wall and they were knitted from 100% Tibetan alpaca wool.


Now for one of the revelations we promised. We walked in on Hathaway working on something in the podcast studio that at the time of this writing, no one outside of the Orvis Company has seen (except for FlyFishMagazine.com's readers).


A little surreptitious use of the zoom feature on our camera reveals a new website in the works. OrvisNews.com, described as a news / uberblog site, should be launching in a few weeks. It will focus on stories rather than specific products and will feature content about fly fishing, dogs, hunting, and travel all in a central location and fulling integrated with social media. Orvis has always been one of the first to adopt new media trends and this site promises to keep them at the front of the pack.


This is less of a revelation but we also managed to get our hands on a 9 weight example of Orvis' newest fly rod, the Access. The Access is a $350 -$450 price point version of Orvis' highly popular Helios fly rod. It uses much of the same carbon fiber technology and upon casting, although a bit heavier, feels a lot like its pricier cousin. Think of it like driving a Porsche on Volkswagen money.


Hathaway explaining some of the features of the new product line. I am thinking "that sure is a big reel for wild brook trout."


Hathaway and I discussing how this product can even make my casting style look good.

Rumor has it that if you pull the fly rod from this stone in Manchester, VT you will be crowned the next Lefty Kreh.

With that we ended our inside look at the Orvis corporate offices. Thanks to James Hathaway and all the Orvis employees who we managed to distract from their day to day hard work (including the President of the company in that important meeting, sorry James).
Contrary to our own popular belief, Orvis employees do not spend their days lounging by the corporate casting pond (they do have one) trying out all of the gear. They work hard, sit in cubicles, write copy, provide customer service and sell product. They make catalogs, run retail stores, manage dealer relationships, do podcasts and probably compile TPS reports. The company has donated ten million dollars over the last ten years to conservation related causes. That fact alone puts them pretty high up on our list.
Stay tuned for more from our visit to the Manchester, VT area including inside looks at the Orvis Flagship store, Orvis Outlet, and the American Museum of Fly Fishing.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Guess Where?

While Hilary is out in Denver covering the IFTD show, no doubt drinking free and gathering up wheelbarrows of schwag, the Editorial Trophy Wife and I decided to take a fly fishing related trip of our own. Here are a few hints to help you figure out where we are hiding out:

1. It's in Vermont (That should narrow it down for you)

2. The town is home to an American Museum and a major retailer / mail order company's flagship store, outlet, & school all related to, "the quiet sport."

3. It's not far from that same Major retailer / mail order company's corporate office.

4. The sidewalks here are paved with Marble.

5. Tomorrow we will be sneaking into aforesaid major retailer / mail order company, and purveyor of fly fishing gear's corporate compound and will be bringing our readers some exclusive dirt content.

Bragging rights to whoever can guess our location...

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

IFTD Coverage: Hilary Hutcheson Live from the show floor


Our favorite television star / PR guru / and FlyfishMagazine.com correspondent, Hilary Hutcheson will once again be roaming the show floor at the International Fly Tackle Dealer Show, September 9-11th. She will be scoping out all the new products for our readers while attempting to take photos of industry types in compromising situations for blackmail purposes (not as hard as it sounds). Stay tuned for your personal look at this industry insider only show.