It is a tradition I enjoy; this thing called the Pick
of the Show. Most years it goes something like this:
Castwell picks the coolest high-tech thing he can find,
LadyFisher chooses something cute or nostalgic or at least
traditional, and I pick the best bargain. So much for
traditions. This year Castwell got nostalgic, Ladyfisher
found something old-looking and traditional, and I decided
the best bargain at the show was something that could make
That isn't to say that I didn't find any bargains. On the
contrary, I found so many bargains I couldn't choose the best
one. In fact, if I noticed any trend worth noting, it was
the bargains. Well, I did notice a trend in fly rod warranties,
but the biggest trend seems to be bargain prices. I handled
at least a dozen new rods that feel great, but will retail
for less than 150 bucks.
On the idea of fly rod warranties, I noticed a sharp turn
in warranties, and that was pretty much across the board.
It looks like the days of unconditional lifetime warranties
are either over or nearly over. If the company offers a
no-questions-asked warranty, it is now usually associated
with a handling fee or more. Even the guy who first started
this craze has abandoned the idea of unconditional warranties
on his new line of fly rods. The days of busting a fly rod
to get a replacement because the handle got dirty, are over.
If the rod you bought with a no-fault warranty breaks,
plan on paying something for the replacement. In the case
of Sage and Redington, that fee is twenty to thirty bucks,
and over-the-counter replacements are a thing of the past.
Loomis will replace it fast, and the fee will be about
fifty bucks. However, I also noticed a shift to a lower
price point in many of the rods being offered as new models.
Let's face it; we all have been paying for the warranty
anyway. Some abused it, some didn't break their stuff
because they took good care of it, and some folks were
fortunate that their accident was covered by a no-fault
Reel prices are all over the board, but it seems a lot
of new reels under 100 bucks are in the new offerings
this year. Want a nice, lightweight, disk drag aluminum
reel with a true large arbor for about $85 retail? There
were at least a dozen of similar design at the show this
year. While the big guys continue to shoot for the stars,
a few have started aiming the other direction too. You
don't have to shell out over a hundred of your hard-earned
dollars for a quality reel anymore.
Fly lines, clothing, tying tools, flies and materials to
tie your own are all being offered at new lower prices;
if not by the old guys, then by the new guys getting into
the supply market. Even the big fly distributor who told
me five years ago that they didn't need to budge on
wholesale fly prices budged this year. It didn't matter
to me; I made the switch five years ago when they told me
they didn't need my business and the other guys wanted it
So, this year I had a choice of over fifty new and tempting
bargains, but I decided to switch gears for one show and
choose something I thought was different enough to make me
laugh. While the others were going retro and picking stuff
from the past, or at least re-creations from the past, I
went for the one product that had me rolling in the aisles
of the show. In fact, I dug some bucks out of my wallet
and bought the thing right then and there. It reminds me
of the conversations I have had in the chat room and the
threads on the bulletin board. When I look at it, I think
about fish-ins of the past and fishing outings I have shared
with fellow FAOL members in recent times. In fact, it reminds
me of one of the main reasons I enjoy this sport so much.
My pick of the show is this sign, which I bought on the spot.
I had plenty of other things to choose from, and some of them
tempted me a lot, but I couldn't pass this one up. So guys
and gals, from all the choices I had, I chose the one thing
that made me think of you. After all, the pick I usually
make is all about you and what I think you need to invest in.
In this case (especially after the last year), I think we
all need to lighten up and enjoy a few laughs once in a
If you think you might want one of these signs, or any of
the other fun signs I saw, you can contact Erik Pieper at
His address is:
Signs And Stickers Inc.
383 Curtis Street
Evansville, WY 82636-0128
I'll see some of you at the Idaho Fish-In. The rest of you
will be on my mind every time I look at my new wall ornament.
Until then my friends, tight lines.