The Next Big Development……

old picture I know, but the rod was a 110 years old when I was fishing it in this picture!!! Smiles not dollar signs.

I was not on the forefront of any movement in this sport. Nor do I claim to have invented anything in this wonderful microcosm in which in have invested my life. Then, I feel it has been a long time since something truly new, and fresh has come along in the game of advancement in equipment or technique. To be honest, things in the R&D deparment of our industry have been in a state of arrested development for a while now. All and all this wound not seem to bother me as much as it has in the past few years, but looking at the new ideas of “high end” industry standards one cant help but wonder.

Winter Steelhead Fishing

There are tons of choices out there be sure and cast them all educate yourself on what you want/need instead of just throwing money at it.

Now I have also caught fish of numerous species on all types of quality and price range dispersion of fly rods and reels. I have even had some real sweetheart setups over the years, that I still find pleasing to fish today. When confronted with the modern forms of marketing, one almost feels that the days spent on the water were worthless and the fish taken with at times great personal sacrifice were a farce, because you did not have the latest and greatest rod on the market. I can honestly say that no rod or reel has ever set an alarm for me, nor has one helped me hike or get to where I need to fish.  Fishing should be out of passion and enjoyment. Fly fishing should stem from the heart, not the pocket book. I feel the equipment you own should not reflect how much you love the sport on price but on how dirty the cork is, how worn the ferrules.

Nice bundle of diversity there!! No one better than the other, all frozen, lol

We now are consumers in a time in fly fishing history where boutique rods are being out priced by standard out of the box high end models from the large corporate companies. Now I am not saying don’t buy nice stuff or that the high end stuff is not good or nice… i am saying that the new rods I have cast both on the market and to come in the near future, are still just like to one you own. I am saying a fancy new color, or name that is tough to pronounce is not worth over a grand. These types of things push people away from our wonderful sport. I want to get more people involved not scared. I want to own a fly rod not mortgage my house.

This might be a few to many for a day trip!!!

All this has been my 2 cents, but I hope other start to see it too. If you new rod is that good, that much better then what we have had show us. When the next big this comes we will all be ready. All I am saying. Hope you all are getting out and fishing somewhere for something!!!! Enjoy.

3 replies
  1. Tim Rawlins
    Tim Rawlins says:

    Great post, Travis. I couldn’t agree more. Weird how fly fishermen love gear and we buy into the marketing hype. The most visited forum on Spey pages is the classifieds. So buying the latest and greatest second hand is also trending.

  2. Wayne Schantzenbach
    Wayne Schantzenbach says:

    Travis, your most recent blog, “The Next New Development” is right on target. Technology can really lead us to live under the illusion the what we have is now obsolete and the new latest greatest will improve our casting immeasurably. Spey casting has taught me more than any other endeavor that there are no short cuts or quick fixes that substitute for technique and practice not even $1000.00 rods! Thanks for saying it.

  3. Don Lerner
    Don Lerner says:

    Travis, Love the blog!! Truth hard to swallow for many. In addition to your truths above, the fact of the matter is that ‘latest greatest’ rod A may cast beautifully in the hands of the guy at the shop or the owner/craftsman of the boutique company but in the hands of the “average” spey casting consumer this is quite not going to be the case. I’m an unfortunate perfect example. I own some rods that after fishing just a short while are not suited to my style of casting (still searching for whatever that is). The same for lines. Joey fly shop expert says to get an xyz grain line for my rod but in fact I may actually like a heavier line that allows me to feel the rod load better. But Joey is reading off of the manufacturers suggested line weights for my particular rod. To wit manufacturers leave us consumers in a quandary when giving suggested grain weights for a particular line say 450-650. Seriously? There’s no standard of the industry and if you want to bring new people into the sport you have to provide guidance. Because as the ‘newby’ to the sport one has no concept of up/down, right/left. Steve Jobs of Apple helped to somewhat illuminate this concept by insisting that the products produced by Apple should be not what the people want but what (Apple) the manufacturer thinks you should have. This may seem extreme but it worked didn’t it? On the one hand the meteoric rise in fly line selection covering almost every scenario possible is fantastic. But soon you have fly line pouches filled with today’s greatest only to become tomorrow’s leftover. And I could rant the same about hooks and manufacturers. The nomenclature is horrible. A size 2 hook from Gamakatsu is far different from a similar shape/forge hook from Tiemco size 2.
    While you may claim to have not been at the forefront of this movement or invented anything in this sport, you seriously underestimate your voice. You have earned the right to offer an opinion as a professional and one who has achieved what only a handful of others can boast. So speak out. Choose your forums wisely and present in a manner whereby others want to listen. To paraphrase and old commercial (EF Hutton), ‘…when Travis Johnson speaks, people listen.’


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

    Leave a Reply

    Want to join the discussion?
    Feel free to contribute!

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published.