Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Denver - A Baker's Dozen Of Cool

After a weekend of busy days at the show and a few late nights out, it's good to be home.  I went through the photographs from the trip on the flight back and came up with a baker's dozen of favorite things from the trip to share.  The list below is a mix of gear, artists, groups, and rod builders worth checking out.

You might not actually need these but that won't keep you from wanting a pair.  I've been playing with the Hybrid Hemostats for the past month or so and they are pretty damn nice.

The Hybrid Hemostats are available in a variety of finishes and fish graphics and can even be engraved with the Retro Fly artwork for those interested.  Email to inquire on price and availability.

There is a lot going on the show floor but there is always a quiet place at the booth where Dave Whitlock is signing, sketching, and speaking to people that walk by or purchase a piece of his work.

I've said it before from seeing Dave Whitlock work at past shows, but there are few things cooler to pick up at the show than a piece of artwork that has been signed and sketched on again by this living institution of fly fishing.

I'm kind of a sucker for new fly fishing gadgets or tools and I've found the EZ Tie is an easy way to tie blood knots when rebuilding leaders or replacing tippets.

This is a very quality U.S.A. built tool, made entirely of metal and not plastic, but it does come with a bit of sticker shock being priced at $28 each.  It's another one of those things that you're glad that you have it...once you have it.

The fellows at Hatch Outdoors went back to the drawing board and completely redesigned their soon to be released pliers that feel great in hand and include features like replaceable anvil style cutting blades and jaws, integrated bottle opener, and housed a high quality leather holster with lanyard.

The Nomad Pliers are not on the Hatch Outdoors website yet but look for them to be available sometime in February.

I'll be honest that I don't totally get the shitty tattoo aspect of the Pig Farm Ink idea as far as a way to spread the word on fly fishing.  Iron Fly?  That is a totally different story and there is quite a bit of momentum growing locally in the Colorado fly fishing scene that is extending to other places now like Asheville, Atlanta, and I'm hearing rumors of Iron Fly nights in the midwest this winter as well.

The premise is simple and is organized as a fly tying event, typically at a bar, and the night finishes with a competition using fly tying materials that are not disclosed until the contest starts.  These events breed good times but it's even cooler to see people that had never tied before get behind the vise and wrap up their own creation.

If you are a serious rod builder then you've undoubtedly had a hard time finding good agate guides over the last couple years and it was good to meet Joe Arguello and find that he and his wife have recently begun building their own in a array of colors and sizes which they offer on his website.

These guides are priced right and the level of workmanship very high.  Joe has some ideas brewing with fiberglass fly rods that I'll be sharing soon as well.  Stay tuned...   

I've been a big fan of the Kast Gear Steelhead Glove for the last several years and glad to see them extend the line up with the Raptor Glove which is windproof and warm. 

The Trigger Glove lets just enough of the thumb and index finger out of the glove for dexterity with fly lines and picking up flies from your fly box.  The Trigger Glove is priced at $50 a pair and a sure way to stay warm on that next winter trip.

The Stormfront family of packs grew by a couple recently but the highlight for me is the Sling Pack that is cavernous in space and of course completely waterproof.  

I have the Stormfront Pack and have been nothing but impressed.  The Stromfront Sling looks to be just as bomber with simple but excellent features for the angler that wants to keep gear organized, dry, and swings to the front easily for access when on the water.

Oh yeah...and thanks Bart for modeling.  I appreciate it.

The latest rod offerings from Tenkara USA are dubbed "triple zoom" rods which can be fished at three different lengths depending on the type of water and surroundings you're in. 

It's neat to see more innovation from Tenkara USA and if you haven't tried tenkara should.

The premise of The Greenbacks is simple and it's gaining a lot of support from anglers that may not relate to other conservation organizations in and outside of Colorado. 

The Greenbacks are a grassroots organization that are looking to solve local fishery issues and raising money through Indiegogo, film nights, and their yearly Surface Film event.  

I've been following the artwork of Josh Udesen for some time now and it was interesting to catch up with him at the show to hear that he started out as a full time teacher and that his art has now turned into his career while teaching part time.  It's really cool to see someone make their dream a reality and Josh's work is really excellent.

Josh's work has been featured on Midcurrent, The Drake, and also gear from Montana Fly Company and Patagonia.  I dig his style and his website is worth checking out as well. 

I've been meaning to highlight the fiberglass fly rod offerings from Tycoon Tackle for some time now and it was great to catch up with Tom O'Brien at the show and check out several of the glass fly rods  at the booth which are a collaboration with Mike McFarland of McFarland Rods.

Tycoon Tackle has several listed offerings on their website but will be adding to the line up in the coming months.  This is a company to keep an eye on as I think they have quite a few good ideas to build off of this year.

When you visit Scott Hunter at the Vedavoo booth you won't find piles of gear.  Instead you'll see and hold an example of each of the Vedavoo offerings available for order.  Scott has streamlined the ordering process with the use of his iPad and essentially he'll build a piece of gear specifically for you upon his return from the show. 

Scott Hunter builds rock solid gear and look for some new designs and ideas from the Vedavoo workshop later this year.

These are just a few mentions of many things that were cool at the Denver show.  We'll see what the trips to Winston-Salem and Pleasanton Fly Fishing Shows have in store next month.

1 comment:

shotgunfly said...

thanks for cutting through the hullabaloo and bringing such nice nuggets….