Saturday, October 23, 2010

MidCurrent 2011 Gear Guide Reactions

Last week, the folks over at MidCurrent published their 2011 Gear Guide, covering rods, reels, lines, and literally every other aspect of our sport.  From the looks of the guide, the biggest thing next year will be nano-silica resin in high-end fly rods.  I won't get into the science-y specifics, but suffice to say that its an (arguably) improved way to glue your blank together.  The other major trend seems to be toward fully-sealed, 'maintenance-free' drags in reels.  Unlike the nano-silica resin, this is a more directly observable change, and one that I suspect will be more of a game changer in the market.  I own a few reels with fully-sealed drags, and functionally, I notice little difference from other comparable disc drags in terms of performance, but the mechanism itself does seem more robust, and less susceptible to environmental challenges like mud, sand, and ice.

In the wader/wading boot arena, Simms is (predictably) backing up its big talk against felt, and Korkers continues its competitive lines of boots with an upgraded interchangeable sole system and a felt alternative that looks like something I might be able to live with.

My personal high point of the whole thing was seeing that Diamondback is bringing back their Diamondglass series.  I love my 7 foot 4wt Diamondglass, and wouldn't mind adding a 2wt to the lineup at some point, hopefully as a custom build, but lately DG blanks in any configuration are the hens' teeth of the rod building community.

The guide itself is a great piece, and pretty thorough; however, the actual subject matter, to me, leaves a little to be desired.  Maybe it's just a side effect of having a few years of fly fishing under my belt now, or maybe it's this way for everyone, but, to me, it just seems like more of the same (other than the fully-sealed drags).  Don't get me wrong, I think a logical gradual development is preferable to erratic leaps and bounds in any field, but the new things slated for 2011 seem like more marketing than substance.  Give the average fly flinger two unmarked rods, one with nano-silica resin and one without and ask him to tell you which is which and I'm guessing he'll be right about half the time.  Felt became the didymo scapegoat, so any wading boot maker with a semi-awake marketing department will be looking into felt-free soles.  (I was pleased to see that they also considered the material of the boots themselves too, as much as I think the felt-hate is unwarranted.)

The tying sector is particularly offensive (and my personal low point of the guide): 'Fish Skulls'...basically a somewhat flattened cone head with eyes...selling for 70 cents per, and being far and away the current sensation among those who tie streamers.  I mean...sure they look cool, but functionally, the only extra advantage you're getting over a cone is that your fly looks cooler when you show it to a buddy, and you'll get other tyers asking about it.

Of course, this is just my admittedly biased opinion.  For me, a big part of the joy of tying comes from using materials that, in and of themselves, don't necessarily look like fish food, and incorporating them into the fly in such a way that they do.  The more pre-made, molded, painted, textured, 3D glamor you add to a fly the more it becomes 'assembly' and less 'fly tying'.  How much does Hareline, Wapsi, or Spirit River have to do before they're effectively selling tying kits where you open up your 3 packages, get a hook out of one, a cast, weighted head out of another, and a pre-formed silicone body form the third...thread the head then the body onto the hook, glue into place and you've tied a fly?

How do you feel about fish skulls, prefab fly parts, and the gear guide?  Comment below.


Post a Comment

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More

Top Web Hosting | manhattan lasik | websites for accountants