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 #1 CLICK HERE). While I touch on some terminal tackle, I tried to give attention to some products that might be brushed over by others
Cheeky Fishing made a strong showing with their line of made in the USA reels. With a few additional product lines in the future, people are expecting good things. They had the ambush (green and gold) and the mojo (blue and gold) series on hand, plus some soft goods and cozies being put to use. www.cheekyflyfishing.com
Al Ritt from PEAK had a cool new tube vise. It incorporated a chuck-style head along with full rotary features. Al put it to work, and showed me the speed and precision this new vise offers. It also fits all existing Peak accessories. www.peakfishing.com
Redington had a good bit of buzz after a successful OR (outdoor retailer) show, bringing a new audience to their rods and soft goods on display, they may be blazing a new path for the Fly industry. The new clothing lines were packed with technical features, but with looks that work anywhere. I was especially impressed with the lineup of women’s apparel. It was refreshing to see functional women specfic’s items that didn’t pander with flowers or tacky “girl-power”-ish logos… just clean functional designs. www.redington.com
Flymen Fly fishing company (same people who launched fishskulls) had a new product for this year, Sculpin Helmets. With the same application as fishskulls, the Sculpin Helments offer a profile and the weight for some great innovative patterns. www.flymenfishingcompany.org
Larva Lace had a few products that caught my eye. A new blend of Angel Hair , a product that I have heard nothing but great things, yet I’ve never tied with it… I think that will change. Also their Soft Floater heads, honestly something that I would have missed without a closer look. These pre-made soft foam bodies are a perfect platform for a floating/shallow running bait fish pattern, all you need to do is add a winging/tailing material.
Ross made a strong showing launching their new brand look. They had a large range of rods on hand, with stand outs in the Reach line of spey rods and the RX series. But most of the talk was centered around the F1 series of reels.
A newcomer to the industry, Howler Bros, caught my attention. While strictly soft goods (shirts, hats, ect) there were a few fishing technical pieces that can hold their ground in the industry. A lifestyle brand that appears to be geared to the under 40 crowd, Howler Bros should be showing up in more stores soon or you can order direct from their site www.howlerbros.com
Solitude Fly Co had some interesting new patterns. A few uniquely named dries and a whole panel of meaty streamer goodness.
I really liked the C16-B Crippled Emerger hook from Gamakatsu!
Umpqua had a very strong showing with a WIDE range of products. Starting with a varied line of there UPG line of boxes, there was a configuration for any type of fly or fishing application. I was especially interested in the new boat box, that features foam on the exterior, enabling easy access and drying of flies when the box is closed. For the anti-indicator nymphing crowd, the RED-HOT leaders (built with an indicator section) are worth checking out. A range of new flies were on display (including the Texas Ringworm, which is featured in the new issue of Hatches). www.umpqua.com
Kast, another newcomer, had some uniquely styled products geared to the younger “Extreme” market. I was impressed with the materials and construction of their softshell. www.kastgear.com
It wouldn’t be an 2011 IFTD post without touching on Sage and the “ONE”. Believe what you have heard, it is amazing rod. I cast 5wt, 8wt, and a 10wt, and loved each. But there was something else at the Sage booth that caught my eye, the Softshell Insulated Hoody. A hooded softshell with the casting and rowing friendly insulation footprint of a vest built in. Only problem… it doesn’t come out until spring.
Wapsi had a wide range of their Anglers Image line of boxes on display. These super low-profile boxes are available in a range of sizes and configurations (slit or magnetic). Small enough for a shirt pocket, but with the capacity for a full day.
The Smith Sunglasses booth was a personal stop. I love their glasses, but always end up with scratched and chipped lens (my fault). So I really want to check out their interchangeable lens that allows for an easy swap of damaged lenses or for a location specific tint. www.smithoptics.com
Cliff Outdoors had a wide offering of products and some new eye catchers. The “Top Shelf” is a great vise organizer with hackle and hook gauge and a large magnetic surface to hold hooks in place. There is even a foam strip for holding completed flies. The “Intruder” box is a newer product that is perfect for intruder or leech style patterns. A coiled cord holds the fly in place by their head. There was also a wooden tarpon box that was pretty cool. And for after a long day on the water a box that holds a dice set, deck of cards and a cribbage board. www.cliffoutdoors.com