It's that time of the year again and new gear is being announced at IFTD. I figured this may be a fun place to gather all our thoughts and comments about what these companies are doing. I know gear rarely makes a difference in fly fishing, but it's kind of fun to geek out on the tech stuff sometimes too. Below are some of the things that caught my eye. I'm curious to see what else everyone else thinks or if other products piqued anyone else's attention.
I think the biggest news is Orvis's Helios H3 - I've got an H2 and love it, but they're touting the H3 as the most accurate rod ever built. Not sure how finely that means they're splitting hairs because the H2 is pretty damn accurate. It seems like rather than go with the tip flex / mid flex designation they're using a more consumer friendly distance vs. accuracy modeling. Oddly enough Bloomberg has the first review of it. Not sure I'm digging the white on the bottom of the blank, but we will see how it feels.
Sage has updated the Salt model with the Salt HD which is supposed to be more versatile. That means you can find the old Salt for a pretty steep discount now.
Loc: Brazoria County
Enjoyed the Bloomberg piece on the H3. Orvis has 15 percent of the rod market. That's pretty low.
I feel like the fly rod and gear folks don't do much in terms of products and marketing to pull people away from spinning and baitcasting gear. Maybe that's by design, to sort of bolster the elite and selective image. Maybe the fear is that opening it up to mass appeal and consumption the elite big spenders will be turned off.
Thanks for sharing. I wish a show like this would come to Texas. Would be nice to see some of this equipment first hand.
For awhile the bass tournaments wouldn't allow a rod over 8 ft. so some of the fly rods companies began making a bass legal model at 7'-11" I think trying to get into that market. Now, the tournament rules have changed again and I believe up to 10 ft. is allowed. From some of the comments I get from other bass fishermen when they see me fly casting from my boat on Lake Conroe I don't see many taking up the sport.
My reaction to the $850 H3 is mostly unprintable. Its touted for accuracy, LOL.
I'd offer that accuracy is 99% a function of the caster and not the fly rod. If you are willing to pay $850 for that extra 1% then I'm reminded of that saying "a fool and his money are soon parted" line.
The biggest deal about the new rod may be in the distinctive appearance...elitists love to show off and will pay anything to gain an "edge" in appearance if not in fact performance.
I reviewed the lists of new products and really didn't find anything I would be interested in at the prices they quoted.
A new sling pack from Umpqua caught my eye until I saw the bottom line of $100. Just not worth 5 times what excellent sling packs(without fly fishing labels) cost.
Nope, not very interesting overall. mostly grossly over priced gear, IMO.
I am with Meadowlark - accuracy is a function of the caster. That said, I also think a good rod can help an average caster. For the longest time it was distance, distance distance. Now, it's accuracy, accuracy accuracy (my journalism mantra by the way). Seems like it's never affordable, affordable affordable. I also like Karstapo's point on pulling baitcasters into the fly world. The big exception - TFO. I believe that company has done more to make fly fishing accessible to the public than any single fly fishing company out there, and they have stuck with their program of doing so.
I found it interesting that a few of the comments above focused on elitism in the fly fishing industry. I grew up in fly fishing and in the 90s it was definitely a county club sort of sport where old white guys in their vests would go out and fly fish when they got bored with golf. However, I really think a big shift has occurred in the market and the sport and manufacturers are actively trying to pursue a wider demographic, especially with regards to women. I see a lot more women fly fishing and in fly fishing ads and there is a great movie about three female anglers trying to pursue a saltwater grand slam. If the counter culture movement hasn't fully taken hold yet, I do think it's on its way and the sport is at least taking steps to shed its old image.
I like reading G&G but they are given to hyperbole in their product "reviews." Nevertheless, there is a lot of buzz around the G series rod and I've got to say I'm excited to try it as well. I casted the Meridian and it will be my next saltwater rod, Scott has a good thing going.
... The big exception - TFO. I believe that company has done more to make fly fishing accessible to the public than any single fly fishing company out there, and they have stuck with their program of doing so.
I have 2 H2 rods and love them. I also have a Orvis superfine carbon and an entry level clearwater. There are several rod companies that make good quality products, its just like shoes, everyone has their own preference. I do think there is a big difference in some of the higher quality rods, again its personal preference. If Orvis or TFO works for you then use it,but a side note, most of the time you get what you pay for!