Posted on October 02 2007
If there is a technique that might serve as a metaphor for what has happened to our sport in the past twenty years, it is what I’ll call the “Slip and Load:” release a little line into a fully loaded rod and see if you can get an extra five feet without really trying.
Coming to our senses after Robert Redford decided to serve up fly fishing as a channel for divine intervention in the early 1990s has not been easy. In truth, the market had gone begging for new gear, new venues, and new techniques for a long while. What it seems to have gotten, in exchange for a rush of new candidates for the Life-Changing Experience, was subscription marketing, bright colors, and the re-authoring of patterns discovered in granddad’s fly wallet. Fortunately the great appeal of fly fishing still remains: it takes us outside of our element and, for some, outside of our zone of comfort. In our opinion, more new products that simply make us more competitive in our own ballpark — the kinds of things we brag about at the office — aren’t the answer. They certainly aren’t the answer to the problem of fewer young participants in our sport. Our guidelines for evaluating 2008 products were easily followed: we asked ourselves, “Will this product make us want to fly fish more?” and “Will it encourage us to try something new?”
For our full review of 2008 rods, reels, waders, apparel, eyewear and accessories, read “Four Feet of Anything.”