The show is over, but now the party begins for gear junkies, as news of new fly fishing rods, reels, lines, packs, and more have fueled anticipation for getting some of this gear on the water. At the annual International Fly Tackle Dealer Show in Orlando this year, industry dealers, guides, and anglers descended into Florida from all over the world and got a first look at what the fly fishing world will see soon in new gear. While there is too much to report on (and even see!), here are some initial thoughts about what stood out at the show:
Thomas & Thomas
One of my first visits at the show was with Thomas & Thomas, and it took no time to notice things have changed with this company. On one hand, T&T has stayed true to both their tradition and also fine rod craftsmanship. On the other hand, Thomas & Thomas is taking a new direction under new leadership, and a great lineup of rods with a focus on innovation was on display at the show. The ever-changing needs of anglers are fueling changes to the current lineup of rods (from rod color to rod action) and also bringing additions that serve the changing sport, such as a bluewater rod. More to come on Thomas & Thomas soon.
To check out more from Thomas & Thomas, click here.
Simms brought a number of new products to the show, and racked in a total of eight awards – pretty remarkable. Among their notable new offerings was their footwear. From wet-wading boots to boat shoes, the footwear stood out. The former Mariner boat shoe had several great features that are now improved upon with the addition of the Westshore Shoe – a boat shoe that will be easy to slip on and off and will not have laces to worry about (both with tying and catching line).
To check out more on the new Simms products, click here.
While the waders from Patagonia will keep the same names, there are significant changes to the waders that will be well-received from anglers. Among feature changes, the fit will be improved by tightening areas of the waders that were previously too baggy, including the top of the wader. In addition, the manufacturing process will be highlighted in a new program that follows wader production and enhances quality. Get ready to hear more about Patagonia fit and manufacturing.
For more from Patagonia, please click here.
While the Sage ACCEL pleased anglers looking for a medium-fast action rod from Sage, some still sought an offering from Sage with all of the finest components and Sage’s Konnetic Technology®. The MOD received a good buzz at the show and will be a popular trout and steelhead rod. There is a history of medium-fast Sage rods that are no longer in production that anglers have treasured for years. The MOD will likely have that love with improved materials and function.
For more on the Sage MOD, click here.
Nautilus X Series
Nautilus has been killing it at the show for the last few years, and the new X Series reel not only generated a big buzz but even won Best of Show for both freshwater and saltwater categories. The look of the reel reveals both durability and progression. The look is somewhat different that the FWX reel but still maintains the classic Nautilus style.
For more on the new reel from Nautilus, click here.
Winston Jungle Rods
When Winston innovates using their boron composite, anglers pay attention, and with the release of the Boron III PLUS series, fresh and saltwater anglers have something to get excited about. Fighting power and line speed are among the focuses of the design of this rod, and there is a wide range of line weight offerings for application in a vast number of fly fishing scenarios. Among such scenarios, Winston has rods designed specifically for the jungle and related species such as golden dorado and peacock bass.
To check out more on the new rods from Winston, click here.
While 3-TAND delivered a new reel at the show (more to come), their pliers are what caught my eye. Lightweight and strong, these pliers would feel almost like nothing around the waist or even in a board short pocket. They also have a nice grip that might prevent slipping with wet hands. In a way, they could serve as a hybrid between big saltwater pliers and hemostats. Perhaps they will replace my hemos on the river.
To check out more from 3-TAND, click here.
Fishpond Packs and Accessories
Fishpond was also an award winner (Best of Show) for their Thunderhead sling that also got a nod for best eco-friendly new product. The waterproof new pack is brilliantly designed with their CYCLEPOND® recycled material that contributes to impressive durability while maintaining a focus on sustainability. And when the pack seems like it couldn’t be better, a net slot is built in to the back of the sling to hold your net securely in place.
To check out what’s new from fishpond, click here.
Titan Rod Vault for Switch and Spey
For switch and Spey anglers, the new Titan Rod Vault will be well-received. Personally, breaking down a 11’9″ switch rod to drive 15 minutes to the next beach is something I wouldn’t mind eliminating from my surf fly fishing routine. Or when a steelheader wants to start or end his or her day without putting together a rod in the pouring rain, the new Titan Rod Vault for these bigger rods will make life a lot easier. (For me, this can’t come out soon enough!)
To check out more from Titan Rod Vault, click here.
There is more to come on what went down at the show, and there are a number of related photos posted on Instagram @venturingangler. Stay tuned!
– Tim Harden