IFTD 2014 Highlights: Accessories, Fly Boxes, etc

A great number of new products are debuted at the annual International Fly Tackle Dealers show. Each year, a handful items stand out among the crowd of new introductions. In order to help highlight some of the new products, IFTD allows attendees of the show to vote for their favorites in its New Products Showcase. While this helps bring attention to some great products, there are many that don't win awards or that aren't entered in the showcase which don't always get the attention they deserve.

Allen's Omega Wants to Change the Way You Think About Fly Reels

We've been patiently waiting for a chance to talk about the new Omega fly reel while the team over at Allen Fly Fishing has been perfecting the design and details over the last year or so. The Omega has briefly reared its head a couple times before being formally introduced in this year's new product showcase at IFTD in Orlando, but only briefly and without the lid really being lifted on what the Omega was all about. The Omega's driving feature, an interchangeable drag unit that can be swapped between spools and frames, is a first in the world of fly reels and one that may change the way you think about -- and buy -- fly reels.

Allen Omega Reel - Drag Unit
The fully removable drag unit (in red) of a prototype of the new Omega fly reel from Allen Fly Fishing.

Fly fishermen have long been accustomed to being able to buy interchangeable spools for their fly reels allowing, for instance, a saltwater angler to carry a nine weight reel spooled with a floating line but also tote along two extra spools loaded with intermediate and full sinking lines. The swappable spools turns one reel into three, with the minor inconvenience of restringing a fly rod. But Allen's new Omega fly reel takes this concept to previously uncharted territory, seeking to add even more versatility and give anglers an even greater value for their dollar.

IFTD 2014 'Best of Show' Winners Announced

At its annual "party at the pond" last night, IFTD announced the winners of its new products showcase at this year's show. Over 1,000 attendees voted, selecting their pick for the best product in 28 different categories which included several new women-specific categories. Simms and Sage stood out from the crowd, with Simms walking away with seven total awards and Sage winning both fly rod categories as well as taking home 'Best of Show' honors for its new SALT fly rod series.

Sage Salt Fly Rod
Sage's "Best of Show" winning SALT fly rod.

Other multiple category winners included Nautilus, which swept both fly reel categories and Fishpond, which received honors in both the chest pack/vest, eco-friendly product and the luggage categories. The full list of winners at the 2014 IFTD show in Orlando, Florida follows.

Vedavoo Little Bugger Sling Pack
Vedavoo's Little Bugger sling pack, winner for "Best Youth Product".

Simms Outs New Boots, Waders, Bags, Packs and More for 2015

With the International Fly Tackle Dealers show (IFTD) in Orlando just days away, Simms has released its list of products that it will debut for its Spring 2015 lineup. Included in the list of new offerings are additions to almost every category of products that Simms manufactures, including a number of new items designed specifically for female anglers.

Simms Dry Creek Z Backpack
Simms' new Dry Creek Z backpack.

Simms popular Dry Creek line of water-resistant bags is seeing many of its existing bags upgraded from water-resistant storage to waterproof storage through the addition of waterproof TiZIP zippers. New incarnations of the backpack, duffel and hip pack have been adorned with the TIZIP waterproof closures and will wear the moniker "Dry Creek Z." The new bags/packs will retail for $299.95, $349.95 and $199.95, respectively.

YETI Introduces the Hopper, New Soft-Sided Cooler

Until YETI introduced its original cooler almost a decade ago, there weren't very many people out there that could get excited about a cooler. After all, we had all been toting around different versions of what amounted to the same clumsy cooler for years. These cheap plastic doppelgängers required lots of ice refills to keep things cold and ended up being fairly disposable, since their flimsy construction didn't offer up much durability. But they got the job done, we were satisfied. That is, until YETI came along and showed us we were setting our expecations way too low.

YETI's flagship Tundra series holds ice for over a week in some cases, offers up bomb-proof (read: bear proof) construction, is dry ice safe and is packed with other should-have-thought-of-it features that for many years now have made an ice box into a conversation piece, something to covet, and a very serious piece of gear. YETI unquestionably revolutionized how we think about coolers, and now they're back to try to do it again.

The all new YETI Hopper.
The all new YETI Hopper.

On Wednesday, YETI introduced what it is confidently referring to as product that is just as game-changing as its hard sided cooler. The new YETI Hopper is a soft-sided cooler, designed from the ground up to provide much of what its hard-sided coolers provide -- long-term ice retention, robust durability and thoughtful features and construction that address the shortcomings in the industry standard of design -- only in a vastly more portable package.