Product Reviews

BT's Fly Fishing Products
by Al Campbell

I'm normally pretty fast with product reviews. It doesn't usually take long to decide if a product is worth buying or one to avoid, but this time I took 14 months to evaluate a sampling of products sent to me by BT's Fly Fishing Products. Al and Gretchen Beatty are very pleasant people who market some nice and unique fly fishing products. I warned them that it might be some time before I was ready for a review because I had a few questions about the durability of their products. They said to take all the time I needed. I think I can truthfully answer questions about reliability and durability now without questioning the long-term qualities of what I'm reviewing.

First, the Dan Vise. This is a rotary vise with a bobbin holder and adjustable jaws, that has composite components in its design. Some people call these parts plastic; but really, they are a composite that holds up well to repeated use. I have tied several hundred dozen flies from size 20 midge imitations to size 4/0 tarpon flies on this vise in the last 14 months. I've used the rotary feature and all the vises' components repeatedly. Not only does this vise hold a hook as well as any I've used, it has done so without a single problem. It's as solid today as it was 14 months ago when I opened the package it was delivered in. The adjustments on the rotary features and the jaws don't change with repeated use, and the odd looking clamp that holds it to the table grips better than most all-metal vises I've used in the past. In all, this is an excellent choice in the roughly $80 price range.

I also tested the Dan Reel on several rods with several line weights. This is a large-arbor reel of composite construction. The drag is a simple clicker and any additional resistance is applied by palming the rim. I'm not real fond of click drag reels, so I wasn't sure I'd like the Dan Reel, but it turned out to be a nice reel in the $60 price range. What I like most is the way it gobbles line I have coiled at my feet when a fish grabs the fly. This was especially helpful while bass fishing in several of our local lakes. It held up very well to repeated use and hasn't shown any of the wear I expected might happen. It's a good reel for freshwater lake fishing or any time you might need to get your line back on the reel fast. However, I don't think I'd use a Dan Reel for anything in the saltwater. I think a good disk drag would be a better choice for the salt.

Their fly tying wax is a low-tack wax that reminds me of the old Wonder Wax I used until they discontinued that product. If you're dubbing with a spinning loop, I'd use a tackier wax, but for fine dubbing this wax excels. The price is right and the applicator tube is handy.

What can I say about fly floatant? Most of the stuff on the market either works well, or it doesn't. BT's works well; as well as any of the other products I've tried. The price is about 50 cents below the average for comparable products.

Their head cement works about as well as the stuff I make for myself. I started making my own head cement because I didn't think many products on the market worked as well as what I made myself. I'm guessing they use a similar formula to what I use for mine, and it works the same way mine does. Good penetration and firm, flexible hold. Priced at about $4.50 a bottle, you're gonna save half a buck.

I don't put stuff on my nymphs to make them sink. If I want them to find the bottom, I either tie them that way or add weight to the leader in front of the fly. So, when Al & Gretchen sent several bottles of their fly sink formula, I handed them off to several friends who use that stuff. They said it did the job very well. I'll take their word for it since they asked if I had more.

The very best product they have, they don't sell. That's the friendly and pleasant way they do business. If all other things were equal, I'd do business with Al and Gretchen just because they do business the way it should be done; with a smile and a warm handshake. In this world of mega-malls and indifferent store clerks, that's a priceless commodity.

For a product catalog or more information, give Al or Gretchen a call at 1-888-243-FLYS or e-mail them at

Or, you can mail them at:
BT's Fly Fishing Products
560 Willow Wood Lane
Delta, CO 81416

They have a web site. Visit them at ~ Al Campbell

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