For three days I had had the pleasure of attending the International Fly Tackle Dealer show (IFTD) in New Orleans LA. This yearly tradeshow is the biggest, most widely attended event in the Fly Fishing industry. From the minute you walking in the door EVERY rod, reel, line, fly, wader, and every imaginable accessory are at your finger tips and hour could easily be spent at every booth geeking out on features, functions, and materials. This is my attempt to roll what I saw into two posts (POST #2 CLICK HERE). While I touch on some terminal tackle, I tried to give attention to some products that might be brushed over by others.
Credit is due to AFFTA for a smooth and easy to navigate registration process. As you made your way on to the floor a massive casting pond (one of 2) was directly in your path, letting you know you had arrived.
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Scientific Angler was there in full force, and brought a few lines
The Mastery Textured GPX is a great line, all the benefits of their Sharkskin line without the need for a stripping glove. Another highlight of the past year is the newly updated website, which allows easy navigation through the vast inventory of lines. www.Scientificanglers.com
Regal and Partridge continued their pairing with a joint booth. Steve Silverio from Regal was showing off some amazing flies… and a prototype rotary tube (shoot Steve an email for more info). Partridge was showing off some new packaging that allows for a full hook view and descriptions more geared to the US market… a move that shows their commitment to upcoming extensive US distribution. AND something that Hatches readers are always asking about, access to barbless hooks.
OLD vs NEW
It was great to see some of Steve’ creations and understand the unique fly design around unique hook shapes.
Hands down, the winner for coolest booth was Costa sunglasses. A winnebago that provides a backyard BBQ feel. www.costadelmar.com
Options? Costa’s got em. My favorites were with Fantail
I also had my first introduction to the Tubology system. A style of tube-flies with a threaded head that allows for the removal and swapping of cone weights, colors, and style. Simply, tie your pattern and then decide on your head while on the water… pretty cool. www.tubeology.net
For the Kayak angler and solo boater, the idea of Stand Up Paddleboards (SUP) has likely crossed your mind. The ability to paddle like a kayak and then the versatility to stand (safely) to fly cast, is something not available in traditional kayaks or canoes. Diablo Paddlesports is leading the charge with their fishing specific SUPs.
I was also excited to see a YETI cooler in person. Was I a bit skeptical about a cooler that is roughly 5 times the cost of my Coleman? Yes. After learning more about YETI, do I think they are worth the extra money? ABSOLUTLY. The ice keeping ability and durability (check out those handles) make me confident that these are truly a lifelong purchase. HECK… these things can stop a Grizzly. Check out their online videos www.yeticoolers.com
Fishpond had 2 new bags that really peaked my interest, the Low Tide Lumbar pack and the Nimbus Guide Pack. Covering both ends of the spectrum, the Nimbus Guide is perfect for anglers who can’t leave anything in the car and always want to be prepared. While the Low Tide is a low profile, lightweight, and breathable, perfect for a flats angler with a single selection of flies and baking in the sun. www.fishpondusa.com
A new company Freehand Fly Fishing had an interesting product. Magnifying magnetic boxes. With an included neck lanyard the top of the box works as a magnifier for knots.
Clear Cure Goo was showing off an new HYDROS line that is almost as thin as water and perfect for penetrating the stiffest materials. Brain (CCG owner) was busy with his “showstopper” demonstration (see this video VIDEO)
I have been a huge fan of Spirit River’s line of tip-dyed marabou, and was impressed with their new tip dyed materials. Also they continue to innovate with infusing UV to natural materials and a tungsten tread. For Steelhead fisherman, an affordable Lady Amhurst sample pack and Intruder Hackle.
TFO was a busy booth with Lefty Kreh milling about. But there were are few prototypes on the rack that sparked my interest, mainly an new 2hander and a Flip Pallot 7wt. There was also a new BVK super large arbor reel. Sharing the name with there super sucessful line of rods, the reels feature a super smooth drag in side the ultra lightweight ported reel. www.templeforkflyrods.com
Airflo has been a longtime choice for technical and innovative fly lines and pushed innovation with their “Compact” versions of Scandi and Skagit lines. Now their new intermediate tip Skagit head is sure to cause a buzz in the two-handed community. While traditionally Skagit heads were produced as strictly floaters with sink tips attached, this new line allows a smoother transition between the float and sink connections. Another change is the printing descriptions on lines that replace the old color coded systems. www.airflofishing.com
With the ongoing topic of invasive species and the role felt soled wading boots, Korkers has a new answer “Svelte”. What can only be described as “synthetic felt”, Svelte is 5x less water absorption and dries 4x faster than felt. This new sole is available in their award winning OmniTrax line of interchangeable soles. There were also 2 lines of “mocs” that look to be the perfect pre and post fishing shoe, but styled for everyday wearing. And, rumors of the discontinuation of their cleat that slide over boots were proved untrue. www.korkers.com
The Simms booth was PACKED the entire show, where they launched their new rain bib and jacket line (best in show winners). There was also a strong focus on sun protection and commitment to not only functional, but sun-safe products. On the on the other range of temperatures, this fall will see the launch of the new Merino Wool line of layering (both tops and bottoms). The show was also the first showing of their new line of super comfortable sandals and an innovation pack system that uses hooked magnets for add on storage options. www.simmsfishing.com
Twintail clothing was a new-comer to the 2011 show, and made a strong showing with some witty hats and a awesome homemade booth.
The second casting pond was always the place to find a Beulah rod or two. My favorites were the Platinum series 9’ 5wt and the 5wt spey. There was also a 13/15wt that gave a few of us a sore arm and a pride swallowing experience. I’m not sure if I’ll ever have the chance to cast to billfish or monster tuna… but its nice to know there is a rod out there for it. www.beulahflyrods.com
Montana Fly Company had a very strong show. The first ones to launch the now widely adopted fish-camo finish, this year showed their expanded adoption of a range of artist in both fresh and salt water. From the award winning iPad cases, flasks, fly boxes, to phone cases… MFC has got it covered. But I was equally impressed with a giant and versatile new boat box. So much cool new stuff, you could almost forget their strong roots as a fly company. www.montanafly.com