Outdoor Writers Association of America
This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm

September 18th, 2000

Show Time

Salt Lake's Salt Palace

The show is over. I didn't hear the fat lady sing - but exhibitors were tearing down their displays and packing up. Guess that was our cue to leave.

We were still trying to get through the rest of the show! Unfortunately I know we missed some neat products and nice people. To have some idea of how big the Salt Lake Fly-Fishing Retailer Expo was, here's a little idea (we will cover more next week with lots of photos): there were 305 exhibitors. A special section just for new products (313 NEW products) Scientific Anglers had the largest exhibit with 2,100 sq ft., (more on that next week.) The whole show was huge. Attendance by both exhibitors and buyers was up substantially.

We flew in on Wednesday afternoon and headed over to the Salt Palace to meet with one of our sponsors J.Austin Forbes. Set-up day is always a bit of a panic. If you're lucky everything shows up. Some folks were still waiting for deliveries late Thursday! One exhibitor from Argentina was late due to a snow storm. A show this size is really a neat experience. I can only imagine the feelings of those who are buying - without a plan one would be lost.

We met up with Al Campbell (AC) who was heading his group of buyers for the Scheels Allsport stores. They indeed had a plan, knew what items they wanted to add or replace and had a complete schedule. Al has his Pick of the Show too, click here . . . it really is neat.)

JC and I usually do our separate Best of the Show. We each have a criteria for that choice. This year I was back looking at fly rods. I had promised some of our Chat Room folks I would check out the titanium rods. I cast rods from all three of the manufactures. Lamiglas has a rod consisting of a titanium tube encasing part of the graphite rod butt section. ADG International Marketing has the titanium threads in a design on the exterior, Redington ground the titanium up and mixed it into the resin. In my opinion the titanium rods are a work in progress, but Redington does seem to have an edge on the technology.

Sage Rod Designer Jerry Seim and the 5 piece

The rod I fell in love with is a saltwater rod. While I think saltwater fly fishing has not yet received the sort of attention it deserves, I applaud Sage for producing a real winner. It truly is a winner, since it won my Best of Show. There is a bit of a story on this rod, the designer Jerry Seim designed it as his personal saltwater rod. We do have some saltwater fishing here in the northwest, but like others who love to fish, Jerry does a lot of traveling. This rod is just perfect for the salt - and traveling. It is the five-piece Sage RPLXI. The one I played with was the 8 wt, 9 ft, but it comes in larger sizes, and with a fighting butt. The rod is fast, smooth, and one I could happily fish all day. The other important part is the rod was designed from day one with the intent it would play and land big fish. This can be a real problem when fighting big fish close in. Lots of rods are broken at this point. The Sage RPLXI will bend where and when it needs. And it takes up no room at all when traveling. Neat concept - super rod! Congratulations Sage! I do need to mention price, the 8 wt is $635, for this type of speciality rod I don't think that is a bad investment at all.

I do want to mention a couple of other rods which I found very interesting. Greycliff Publishing has produced a fly rod! Not exactly what one would expect from a publishing company, but the rod was designed by Gary LaFontaine (who is also an owner of Greycliff) and carries his signature. I particularly like the 3-piece 6 wt. 9 ft. which was really a nice rod. If you have the opportunity do try this series out, prices in the $250 range. One more which is really terrific for those just getting into fly fishing (or who have kids who want to join in) from Gallatin River Tackle, rod and reel for under $100! The rod is just fine - not junk, the reel simple but adequate. Al Campbell pointed this one out to us.

Fin-Nor's Fin-ite II Ok, now for Castwell's pick of the show. His priority this year was a saltwater reel. (As you can see we aren't fishing nearly enough - too much day dreaming.) The winner is Fin-Nor with their Fin-ite II. Very light, but very durable, fully machined, ported with an oversized cork disc drag, direct drive, with Castwell's favorite feature, a one-way bearing. The reel is very easily converted from left to right, and comes from 2/3 for a trout reel all the way up to 10/12. In the saltwater sizes the 8/9 will comfortably hold 250 yards of 20lb Micron backing. (Castwell uses 30 lb.) This is really a light, beautiful reel, priced at $329 in all but the largest 10/12 size. For those who also spin-fish, you just have to see the Fin-Nor Tycoon series Spinning Reels! Absolute jewels.

New Teton 2

A couple of other reels that you should look at, Teton has done it again. Wes Ament has ported, polished and produced an American reel for the entry-level fisher that won't be matched for a long time. It's the Teton 2. It will handle just about anything you want to catch - priced around $150. Certainly deserving of Honorably Mention!

Loop Evotec LW Redington has added another reel to their already well-accepted entry level reels. G.Loomis has a new reel at about $100 (both made off-shore) The Loomis frankly looks a little light weight, and we were unable to get any information at their booth on the hardness and/or durability. The award if there was one for innovation goes to Loop Sweden for the Evotec LW, this one has an entirely different drag design and body style. And it is so light about the only weight would be of the line and backing. I'm sure some would consider it very radical! We will try and have more information for you on this one too.

A new product, very inexpensive, which all of us should have was a very neat idea. It looks like a film canister, with a strip of Velcro around it. On the bottom is a series of pie-type slits. Marketed by Clean Stream this little device designed as a place to stick your discarded leader pieces (the velcro traps them) and if you have small trash - like trimmed off knots or ciggy butts, they get stuffed through the slits in the bottom to be properly disposed once home. They call it the Streamkeeper. Super idea. Every fisherman should have one!

There will be more on neat stuff and photos from the show next week.

We always enjoy the show, it's a chance to see folks we don't see often enough, make a new friend or two. (Not to mention I didn't have to cook for several days!) A thank you to all our Sponsors for their support and personal friendship. It was great to meet so many of you in person! Watch for some new Sponsors here soon. We sincerely hope they will also become our personal friends too.

Little America

A final thank you to Little America, our home for the past several days. Little America is still the best place in Salt Lake, the service is outstanding, and the food wonderful. We were able to get on-line with our lap-top without any problem. The main desk was happy to tend to our bags all day even though we had checked out, and their free airport shuttle service is outstanding. Drats that we didn't take our bathing suits - the outdoor pool was very inviting. (I forgot how warm it is in S.L. in mid-September.)

Watch for new goodies at your local fly and tackle shop - neat new things coming your way! It was a great show. ~ LadyFisher

Do check out Al Campbell's Pick of the Show too!

If you would like to comment on this or any other article please feel free to post your views on the FAOL Bulletin Board!

Archive of Ladyfisher Articles

[ HOME ]

[ Search ] [ Contact FAOL ] [ Media Kit ] © Notice