Another Fly Fishing show is in the books. Having just returned from 2 days at the Somerset event, I would say the state of the industry is quite well. If you have never been to one of these events, you really owe it to yourself to check one out sometime. Sure, like any trade show, you are in a slightly dingy
convention center all day with baseball game quality food and beer offerings. But the Fly Fishing Show is a really cool celebration of the sport we love, with every manufacturer, celebrity and tyer you could think of all under one roof. At any point during your day, you have the freedom to walk directly up to Andy Mill and ask him for tarpon pointers. The same goes for a whole slew of celebs and personalities like Bob Clouser, Lefty Kreh, Bob Popovics, you name it, they are probably there and willing to talk with you. There are not too many sports within which you can hob nob with the legends so easily. Personally, I enjoy crossing paths with all of the friends that I have made from the many years I have been involved in the sport. I ran into so many great old friends including old bosses, fellow guides, customers old and new, too many to name. It felt great to see everybody, some for the first time in many years.
It is all there. If you are a gear junky, which most fly fisherman are, you will be in heaven. All of the newest, latest and greatest is there as well as heavily discounted merchandise from around the industry. Looking for that perfect neck or saddle? Options abound for material shoppers. This may be the coolest component of the show. It incorporates a massive tying symposium within itself. You could spend all day just in the tying areas and be fully entertained. Many people do just that.
The turnout this year appeared to be down slightly from last year. It seemed less crowded to me and those that I posed the question to agreed. It was certainly well attended. It simply seemed easier to navigate in that it was less crowded. It was quite civilized really, with not too lengthy waiting times to demo rods in the casting area. Lefty’s casting seminar was well attended as usual, but I showed up 5 minutes into it and could still comfortably navigate to a spot where I could hear and see him as he addressed the crowd of riveted spectators.
One could spend everyday of the year trying to cover all of the amazing gear that is available in our industry these days. The show really provides a seemingly endless stream of great new products or modified products that are simply better than the previous generation. For the purposes of this Somerset wrap up, I cannot cover all of the killer gear I got to handle there. We will definitely attempt to cover it throughout the coming months, and look forward to doing so. That said, there are a few items that I’d like to mention just to get the ball rolling on it:
Scott Radian R905/4- This is a really cool stick and created quite a buzz at the show. I casted it and was instantly impressed with the lightness, power and accuracy. This is a really versatile rod, capable of delicate presentations from any distance. “Fast meets feel”, is the Radian’s company line, and it is really an accurate one. If you are in the market for a premium trout rod that will be the workhorse of your arsenal, go cast one a Radian. ($795.00, available in line weights #4-#8)
Hatch Outdoors Pliers- Hatch has remodeled their pliers and come up with a great set that is, interestingly, quite different in design from their previous effort in the plier market, the Tempest. With their newest creation, Hatch has put the precision cutter back on the inside of the jaws and incorporated a bottle opener into one of the handles. Machined with beauty and finesse as you’d expect from Hatch. ($280.00)
Brine Fly Pulse Disc- This is a cool little innovation that achieves that quite difficult feat in providing lateral movement on a fly. Jim Matson has come up with a pretty cool innovation with his transparent pulse discs that are threaded onto a loop of tippet material in front of the head of the fly. This allows Pulse Discs to be added to any fly while rigging. We have yet to cast them but Jim insists that the freedom of the disc to slide and pivot on the leader cuts down on the wind resistence when casting. I can say that the flies he demonstrated the product on did move seductively with impressive lateral movement. ($7-$9/pkg. of 6)
3-TAND T-90 Fly Reel- From the mind of Rob Koelewyn, the man who designed the Van Staal and ZeeBaaS reels, comes the 3-TAND line of quality machined products, namely the T series fly reels. These are beautiful reels and Rob’s reputation for quality engineering and design precedes him. In his latest magic trick, he has created a fly reel that is durable, gorgeous to look at and light on the wallet. It has a sealed silky smooth carbon drag system designed to stop the most tenacious and brutish fish. ($369.95)
RIO Products Switch Line- Switch rods are all the rage and RIO is always one step ahead of the game when it some to spey lines. The Switch line is a great line that caters to the needs of the switch rod angler, whether he be casting overhead or spey casting. Its long head, allows anglers to mend and control the way the fly fishes at distance. Dual tone visually indexes the taper while RIO’s strong welded loops make rigging a snap. ($89.95)