Review from Denver - Fly Fishing Forum
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Old 09-10-2003, 07:58 PM
kjackson kjackson is offline
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Review from Denver

Hi gang--

The annual fly tackle show in Denver was once again a prodigal (returning to the sport after a 15-year hiatus) fly fisherman's dream. There was so much gear and gizmos of so many different kinds that I'm still having trouble not drooling.

While there weren't any quantum leaps of improvement in tackle, there are some trends that are worth noting. First, quality gear is getting less expensive. If you're after function, you can find it for a LOT less than you might think. Second, top quality gear is getting MORE expensive. In both cases, I'm talking more rods and reels than anythng else, but the price tags on some of the waders and rain jackets leaves me coughing up a hairball. I am philosophically against spending $700 for a rod or $500 for waders, period!

Since I had to work the show, covering it for a trade magazine I write for, I couldn't take my time casting rods or schmoozing with folks. So, with the exception of G. Loomis' new Streamdance rods, I didn't do much but hold some very nice rods. The new Streamdance rods are sweet, and if anyone wants more info on them, ask. I'm spending some of my wife's money on a 9'6" for a five in the GLX series. It will be perfect for searuns and resident silvers. Loved that rod!

Here are some random and disorganized observations:

Returning to trends, I saw more spey rods than the last two years. It seems most rod companies offer at least one. The C-N-D speys look sweet, and I can't wait to play with a Puget Sound beach special. I also saw more spey lines-- SA has several coming out along the lines of the Windcutter and Midspey. They've also redone their shooting head system and lines-- perhaps it's just a labeling change, but it seems to be easier to use. SA also is coming out with a flexible epoxy that is supposed to get rid of any hinging in home-made loop connectors.

Manufacturers are branching out into other areas such as clothing to offset the flat market from the last couple of years. Look for more tech shirts, shorts and so on.

One of my favorite trends is toward low price-point reels that have excellent drags and good line capacity. Redington, Albright (new company for teh former owner of Redington), and Echo all have what look to be pretty good reels for less than $100. The ones I saw might work for smaller speys.

I also saw several "trout" spey rods introduced. G. Loomis has a 13-something for a 5/6 in the Streamdance series.

There are more Scandinavian and UK manufacturers represented than in previous years. For example, Grays of Alnwick will be selling in the U.S. this year. Gray's is the Redington of Hardy-- lower to middlin' high price gear that includes rods, reels, lines, vests, waders and clothing. The retail prices I saw looked really good. Gray's currently owns about 20 percent of the business in the UK.

There also does seem to be a ton of new fly tying stuff out there. Perhaps it's me, but I noticed that a lot of it is very suitable for salmon and steelhead. For example, Cascade Crest Tools is bringing out anodized coneheads made of aluminum. The colors fairly glow, and while there isn't a lot of weight in the heads, a little lead wire on the shank will still get the flies down. There is also a wider variety of variegated chenilles, especially those that blend mylar into the weave. Mylar tubing is being offered by nearly everybody, but this year I saw way more in pearlescent colors that will make some pretty decent salmon flies.

Also, there are more colors of flash and tinsels than we've seen in a while. I really like the looks of the "Midge Flash" that will give a subtle bit of sparkle for clear water. Hedron has some heavier flashabou that looks to be the ticket for heavy duty use or toothy critters.

Flex Coat has a new fly dryer that is taking some of my money. This battery-operated turner is built with a small motor and supposedly runs forever on a couple of AA batteries. It turns a bigger wheel (in one model) and will hold a bunch more flies.

Another thing I saw that seems to be a natural is Partridge's gold-head hooks. Basically, the company has developed a series of hooks with bead heads already in place. Talk about taking the challenge out of tying!

One of the coolest things I saw was the use of Sili Skin (Umpqua). This stuff is a thin, stretchy rubber-like material that is adhesive on one side. With it, you can tie a "Gummy Minnow" as well as a lot of other patterns. The GM and Gummy Sand Eel are about as lifelike as you can make them. The Sili Skin comes in a bunch of colors from silver to mother of pearl.

The Gummy Minnows are fairly easy to tie, although that is not really the process. Here's a quick recap: build up an underbody with lead wire and thread. Cut a piece of silver SS to cover the body, leaving a short section for the tail. Split the piece half way of the length, remove the paper backing, place it on the hook and fold together. Trim to shape. Cut a longer, thinner strip the color you want for the back of the minnow. Remove backing and carefully place it along the back of the silver body and extending out. Fold in half, firmly pressing the halves together. Place a pair of stick-on eyes in the appropriate place. Cut a longer, wider piece that is large enough to have the belly dimension and length you want. Remove backing and place above the back color, fold in two, press the halves together. Trim to shape. That's it. The above isn't meant as a tying instruction but rather an illustration of how easy it is to create flies with this stuff. With practice and thought, you should be able to tie tough sand eel patterns that are a foot long.

While I didn't see anything earth-shaking at the show, there was enough there to make me think that this could be a very good year from the standpoint of tackle and a bad one from the standpoint of my bank account.

Keith
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Old 09-11-2003, 08:56 AM
Eddie Eddie is offline
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Thanks Kieth!
Anyone else go to the show? What did you see?
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Old 09-11-2003, 03:56 PM
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FlyFishAR FlyFishAR is offline
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Keith:

I wonder if you and I ran into each other in the Loomis Booth. I spent most of the show in casting pool B demonstrating the new Stream Dance rods. Rajeff did a terrific job with the design on those rods. I went back and cast a TCR again to compare it with the new high line speed GLX. The new Max was like driving a Ferrari vs the TCR which casts more like a 1963 sooped up Pick-up. I guess it's a matter of taste, but the new Max almost casts itself in my opinion. I did however like the new Xi2 That Sage has come out with. It is a vast improvement over the previous RPLXi.

Tell me if this face rings a bell. I'm curious if we cast together.

John
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Old 09-11-2003, 04:26 PM
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juro juro is offline
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Originally posted by FlyFishAR

Tell me if this face rings a bell.
Yeah baby! She sure was a hottie. Oh you mean *your* face
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Old 09-11-2003, 05:03 PM
Eddie Eddie is offline
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So... Juro and John...what did you guys think of the show?
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Old 09-11-2003, 05:10 PM
kjackson kjackson is offline
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John--

While the face looks familiar-- a wanted poster maybe or perhaps the side of a milk carton? JK -- I did my casting before the show and not in the pond. I really didn't have time at the show to do much of anything but chase manufacturers.

I am a big fan of the GLX rods; I've got an 8 weight that keeps telling me I need to develop a better casting technique. That's one reason I covet that 9-6 for a 5... I figure that between the two of them, they'll get me straightened out.

However, before I started working on the Max rods, I cast several of the Metolius rods, and those impressed me as well. I could be very happy with any rod from either series. In fact, I could be happy with all of the rods from both series...

Keith
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Old 09-11-2003, 09:30 PM
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FlyFishAR FlyFishAR is offline
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Hey Juro.....

Eddie; truthfully I was a little taken back by the lack of development in the "total" show. Frankly as an industry there was very little that was "new". The new Loomis rods were introduced this year mostly because they were about 8 years in development. It was just time to put them on the market. Juro sprung the CND rods on the world at the show. I noticed that the spey casting side of fly casting is growing more every year. From an industry perspective it was fairly mundane. Maybe next year we'll see some real developments. Hopefully, the economy will improve between now and then, or someone will come out with a fly fishing movie.

Keith; I was "really" suprised by the value of the Metolius series. The GLX you would expect to fish like a Ferrari. But the Metolius rods offered superior performance at half the cost of most of the rods on the market. And it had a terrific look to it as well. I don't know what Loomis is thinking but personally I think they are "giving" those rods away. Maybe they are looking to build a customer base or something. Oh and the 9 foot 8 weight Cross Current is a Cannon. Let me know if you want and I'll send you a video of a friend of mine casting one 138 feet with a "fly line" (no shooting head) at sea level, and with a wind off his right shoulder. The darn thing about it was he threw 138, 136, 135, 137, over and over and over again. He was trying to put it in a 2 foot hula hoop at 135 feet. I about pooted my pants.

John
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Old 10-10-2004, 04:43 PM
Steve_sullivan Steve_sullivan is offline
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[QUOTE=kjackson]Hi gang--

The annual fly tackle show in Denver was once again a prodigal (returning to the sport after a 15-year hiatus) fly fisherman's dream. There was so much gear and gizmos of so many different kinds that I'm still having trouble not drooling.

While there weren't any quantum leaps of improvement in tackle, there are some trends that are worth noting. First, quality gear is getting less expensive. If you're after function, you can find it for a LOT less than you might think. Second, top quality gear is getting MORE expensive. In both cases, I'm talking more rods and reels than anythng else, but the price tags on some of the waders and rain jackets leaves me coughing up a hairball. I am philosophically against spending $700 for a rod or $500 for waders, period!
ENDQUOTE


The high end I knew of was $425 for g3 waders. What are the new waders that cost $500??
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