What is this about? I will try to explain…. In a previous life I have been making my living with trading (wholesale) fly fishing tackle, from fly rods to Tiemco hooks. (Did you know that Tiemco stands for: Tokyo Import Export Manufacturaring Company?) Wonderful company, delightful people, great products.
During those years I have been puzzled (but also annoyed) by the bullshit, wrong information and plain lies fed to us by the manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers. I almost (I said “almost”) forgot some of the “famous” fly tiers and fly fishermen which do the same thing. Well, I decided to write this blog to kick some of those “masters in making bullshit”…….! (But it’s meant to be with a smile 🙂 )
Let’s face it, quite a lot of the tackle we buy today is utter crap. I buy a jacket, it leaks the same year and the zipper is stuck for ever. I buy some waders, they leak from the start. I buy a fishing rod and it breaks on the first trip. What the hell is going on?
I wished I was talking about cheap tackle….but no, I’m talking about stuff for which I paid a lot of money, thinking like Oscar Wilde; “I am a man of simple taste, only the best will do“. I wished it was me, not looking after my stuff, but no, I do really care for it. Well, “the best” just seems to get worse. Let me describe a disaster….
Crap Wading Shoes
For my trip to Patagonia in 2004 (it was my 40th birthday) I bought myself a nice pair of new Reddington wading shoes. I think I paid about $ 90 .= USD for them and I don’t think that that is cheap. (It was 2004) They looked kind of “ok” to me and yes, I did enjoy them in Patagonia. Right, I get back to Europe where I start to fish my local rivers, using the same shoes. What happens? To my horror one shoe is completely split open at one side! What the.. %$#@)#% is going on? How is this possible? I have used those shoes for about 12 fishing days in total…! (The last pair of Orvis shoes lasted me about 10 years) By coincidence I meet the Dutch wholesaler, Mr. Jaap Muda at a tackle show and I tell him about my experience. His reaction: “Oh, well, you must have been to rough with them”. Thank you very much.
So my friends, this is what we get today; crap tackle and lousy after sales service. (Not always, I realize) However, I am glad that not all manufacturers are like this but it is getting damn difficult to find good quality stuff nowadays, I’m telling you. By-the-way; I just heard that Sage bought Reddington, well, I wish them good luck!
Fast fly rods
Let’s be honest; “fast” fly rods for those #2, #3 and #4 lines are just made for 1 line class heavier. (#3, #4 and #5) There, I have said it! They make it a soft tip which will help you with casting the first couple of yards. (“A rod on a stick” is what one of our most respected sport fishing journalists, the late Mr. Kees Ketting, use to call them.) And everybody is casting like a true champion during those tackle shows; “look daddy, 30 yards !” (Unfortunately most fish will lie right in front of your feet…) Those sensitive tips also brake a lot, like when a goldbead nymph hits it, very nice when you’re out there in the middle of nowhere, trying to enjoy your precious day off, huh ? (It should also teach you to leave those damn goldbeads alone, that’s not FLY-fishing, is it ?) Again, during a salmon fishing trip this June (2014) in Canada I broke a Greys Platinum XD (what’s in a name?) #8 on a 2 lb trout. I was pulling the fish in to release it, bend the rod a bit backwards (it was, after all, a trout) and SNAP. The tip broke, for the second time. (The same thing happened before with the same rod a couple of years ago. I had it repaired, after fighting Greys about the repair costs. They changed the fee you see. Although my original guarantee clearly stated an other -lower- fee.)
And what about those code’s they’re using; IMX, RPL PLUS, HMG, GL3....ha, ha, even at NASA they never heard of it. In a while the shortest rods available will be 8 feet otherwise they won’t be able to put the code’s on. What a delicious (but annoying and confusing) nonsense.
Last-but-not-least, let’s mention the ridiculous prices we have to pay nowadays for a “top of the bill” model….USD $ 900 or more…pardon me, but I think that’s crazy. No wonder they can afford to give us “live-long guarantee”….
Breathing waders and jackets
Right at the moment when I thought that the fishing tackle industry was running out of brilliant idea’s to get more money out of our pockets, some smart-ass had an other trick up his sleeve. Get your credit card out ! comfortable fishing in so-called, breathing waders and hat Now, we have waders that can breathe…really, it’s true. Some guys (sorry girls) have invented a fabric which stops water going in but, at the same time, does let water (stinky sweat) go out…wow, that’s smart ! At first we could only buy coats -and hats, see photo- made out of this fantastic fabric, terrible expensive but revolutionary. (At least, if you would believe the commercials) So I HAD to have one, you guessed…. First a nice short Patagonia wading jacket, over-sized hood and with lovely big pockets for all the junk I carry around. If I remember it well did I pay about $ 250.= US for a tiny coat. (We’re talking at least about 12 years ago)
Well, to be frank, I discovered rather quickly that the term “water-proof” is a bit “stretchable” because if I stayed out in the pouring rain all day (guess those guys didn’t count on idiots doing such a thing in real life 🙂 I did get some water in, all in all, it was OK, I guess. But “BREATHING” ?? I don’t think so.. To give it some proper testing I wore it during an endurance bicycle trip, you know, with lots and lots of sweating involved. According the instructions on the label, my sweat should have disappeared to the outside, like a miracle. As you know, miracles don’t exist and breathing coats don’t either. You see, those coats are very comfortable to wear but please, do not talk about “breathing” it makes me sick.
A bit later “breathing” waders appeared, we could have waited for that. Again, terribly expensive but it looked very good indeed. After 4 years fishing and a lot of walking along riverbanks in “breathing” waders of various brands I came to the conclusion that, again, they have pulled our legs (so to speak) and stretched our credit limits…. Sweat remains on the inside and, with a bit of luck, water on the outside. Still I think those waders are worth their money because they are very, very comfortable to wear, just as if you’re wearing an extra pair of jeans. And, to get more comfortable while fishing I don’t mind spending a couple of bucks (Euro’s) more. But if a sales guy has the guts to start talking about “breathing waders” I’d like to pull a pair over his head and close it real tight around his waist, see if he still thinks they can “breathe” after a couple of minutes…:-)