Each year, The Fly Fishing Shows offer excellent opportunities to visit with rod, reel and other gear manufacturers, fly tyers, lodge owners and more. On the gear front, the shows offer not only an opportunity to explore the newest offerings from the industry’s biggest names, but some of fly fishing’s precocious smaller manufacturers as well.
Over the course of two days at this year’s show in Somerset, NJ, we had the privilege of visiting with gear makers both big and small and hearing about as well as getting hands on with the products they were passionate about. And while there were a great number of exciting products on display at the show, there were a few standouts.
Patagonia Women’s Fly Fishing Collection
Over the last year, we’ve noted often that the women’s demographic is the fastest growing in the world of fly fishing. Not only is it growing rapidly, many in the business consider women in fly fishing to be one of the most important aspects of the sport’s future.
There is no doubt that the companies that drive the industry are noticing this phenomenon, but with the introduction of an expansive line of women’s fly fishing products this year, Patagonia has made it clear that no one is more focused on this developing trend than they are.
With over a dozen new women-specific products, most of which are not only designed with innovative features that will uniquely appeal to women but are also noticeably stylish, Patagonia is courting the female demographic with demonstrated intent.
Bozeman Reel Company Reels
More than ever, anglers are paying attention to where gear is made, and often factor that information into their buying decisions. As a result, products that are made domestically are becoming more and more attractive to anglers. Though it most certainly is not always the case, products made in the USA are often known for using higher quality components, featuring superior workmanship and so on. They also mean domestically created jobs, a commodity sorely lacking in this day and age.
Bozeman Reel Company is a relatively new reel maker whose products are designed, machined and assembled entirely within Montana. Spending time with BRC’s Dan Rice resulted in a great deal of insight into BRC’s guiding principles -- which, put simply, revolve almost entirely around building quality high quality shit that’s made in Montana -- and getting to play with a couple of their beautifully designed and machined reels. We also got to talking about some of the ideas BRC has in the pipeline, several of which sound uniquely innovative and ambitious.
SmithFly Cooler Kilt
This isn’t the first time we’ve talked about the SmithFly Cooler Kilt. The kilt is designed to be snapped onto coolers like the YETI, transforming the exterior of the cooler into a wildly versatile gear holder thanks to the MOLLE webbing system that most of SmithFly's products is based on. For places like drift boats, skiffs and the like -- where gear and flies are notoriously tossed to the deck, set on the bow, to eventually end up sliding around, tripped over or stepped on -- the cooler kilt is a day improver simply waiting to be employed.
Allen Fly Fishing Omega Reel
For many years, Allen has been designing excellently valued rods and reels here in the US. But, for most of those years, virtually all of Allen’s products were manufactured overseas. The result has always been high quality products at incredibly attractive prices. Over the past year or so, however, Allen has been gradually moving production on select products to the states and has managed so without big price hikes. The latest of Allen’s domestically made products is its new Omega reel. Beautifully designed, and featuring a truly truck-stopping drag, the yet-to-be-released Omega has a few tricks up its sleeve that are sure to impress. Stay tuned.