Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Day 86 - Gear Hound

With Christmas fast approaching the number of magazines or catalogs that have shown up at my door advertising new fly fishing gear is invasive. In a previous post, I make no bones about my passion for fly fishing gear. The new, the sparkly, the ingenious... they all make me smile and beckon me to open my wallet (however this year I am saying nay-nay).

In a previous work life, I got to play with all the new cool stuff (and if the occasion was right it even came home with me). In fact, there was one instance where I got to be the impetus for one particular gear bag that is being offered by a particular hunting, fishing, and camping retailer. I had always heard about men and women who did these fly trips and then would take off for a day trip for this species or that species. I thought it would be nice to have a "base camp" for all your gear. And if you go to one of these stores you can see the outcome for this idea.

I digress. The point that I am trying to make is that I am a Gear Hound of the highest degree. I love the interesting the new the exciting the impossible made possible... arrgh! I get excited just thinking about it.

I'm thumbing through the Dec 09/Jan 10 issue of FlyRod&Reel. Fishpond's Trailhead Gear Bag gets me dreaming of a new bag for the Trout-mobile. It looks as if it will hold four rod tubes (9 foot rods broken down into 4 pieces). It rolls, has two inner compartments and a couple of exterior pockets.

My thoughts on this bag is that it is close to perfection. If I was the designer, I'd keep the rod tube compartment, but I'd add a lower compartment that is waterproof & has a net webbing for waders and boots. The top compartment would then allow you to pack your fly vest, a couple extra fly boxes, a travel vise for on stream creativity, and maybe even a change of clothes. I picture this bag as being my base camp from the back of my Saturn Vue. Just a thought.

Another interesting piece of gear advertised/promoted in the magazine is the Lamson Konic Reel. It's a cast aluminum alloy reel that is really supposed to hold up under the fishing pressure. A 5-weight will cost about $130 from the world's foremost outfitter. Seems to be a decent price for a solid reel.

And now moving to my personal favorite piece of gear: Scientific Anglers Sharkskin Fly Line. I have to be honest and say that I am partial to Scientific Anglers. In case you don't know they are a subsidiary company of 3M, and I used to live almost right across the street from the corporate headquarters (right behind the Sonic actually). I was still working on the buying team for the fly fishing department when this product was being introduced. It was crazy to hear about all the buzz around this one item.

I used to hear that the fly line would cut through poor fly guides (or at least leave grooves in the good ones), that it would slice through your fingers after a long day of fishing, and that you had to sell your firstborn to even afford the line. OK, that last one I made up, but at $100 you can kind of get my meaning. I brought these questions up once when I met some guys at a fly fishing expo. Some were true, some exaggerations, and some completely false. However, I was never able to get a hold of a sample, so I'm left to speculate.

Even within this last year I've been in some conversations of some pretty cool gear ideas that are trying to come to market. I can't say too much due to confidentiality, but I would expect that the next few years may seem some new rule changes in fly fishing tournaments if these products do as well as the hype that I've been hearing. Should be a lot of fun for us all.

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