IFTD Day One Wrapup
Day One of the IFTD trade show is drawing to a close. The Drake Magazine fly fishing video contest will go down in a few hours. Showgoers for the most part have expressed satisfaction with the New Orleans location (except perhaps for those who spent a tad too much time on Bourbon St. last night), but rumors are circulating that next year's show will return to the West--potentially to Reno, Nevada. Attendance is down from its peak in the early 2000s but does not appear to be much worse than the last two or three years. No doubt the ongoing economic doldrums have a lot to do with that.
Meanwhile it's always fun to look for the unexpected gems that stand out. Everyone expects the next Sage flagship rod to be great, but how about the Springbrook Graphite Wading Staff. This little prize will retail for about $80-90. It is a four-section, very robust graphite wading staff akin to a camera tripod leg, with solid machined aluminum fittings with no play. Even cooler, it has a machined aluminum cap which unscrews to reveal a 3/8ths inch camera screw fitting, rendering the piece an instant monopod. The cap itself appears robust enough to tolerate a little additional modification. Clamping a replacement net hoop onto the heavy duty cap would make for a really nifty break-down guide's net, for long hikes into places where big fish hide.
Ross is better known for its reels than its rod lineup (in fact, until recently the company was known as "Ross Reels"). Their RX rod series was new last year, but they've added new 8-12 weight rods to the attractive toffee-colored lineup. These were seriously eye-opening sticks; plenty of backbone for nice tight loops on long casts for the mid-$200 range.
Some companies just like to have a little fun. Nautilus Reels brought an example of what goes wrong when the lathes break down; a heap of aluminum slag that once promised to be a fly reel. Their NV Monster is the biggest reel they've ever made. Nautilus is an egalitarian company which will occasionally turn the reigns of designing a fly reel over to an experienced machinist with an idea, and while the seashell theme remains consistent, you can see a lot of individual expression and design flare across their line.
We were also big fans of two separate new clothing companies: Howler Bros. and Twin Tail. Both had colorful, creative, and somewhat humorous takes on men's accessories like trucker hats, and even an awesome (but expensive) hand-hammered Monkey Belt Buckle (the monkey is Howler Bros.' logo).
Howler Bros. Monkey Belt Buckle
Twin Tail Clothing Hats
We took the time to demo some of the stuff we'd only learned of through the grapevine. Scientific Anglers' Magnum taper was especially satisfactory for booming monster casts, while the Sage One went a long way towards living up to the (considerable) hype. We especially liked the in-hand feel of the One's wells grip. The Scott M series was just as beautiful as is promised to be, while Thomas & Thomas surprised everyone with a 10' bamboo switch rod, which might be the prettiest rod at the whole show.
Several artists were in residence, including the very bright talents of Paul Puckett (catchandreleasepaintings.com) and Derek DeYoung, who was plying his trade inside the Abel Reels booth.
We'll have more details, photos, and hopefully some video tomorrow, so tune back in! If you have questions or would like us to seek out information especially, let us know in the comments section.