Lately I've become frustrated with the fly fishing industry. I guess I can say not just the industry, but also the people within. We are a fickle bunch - one day we're complaining about something, the next someone is praising it as the next great thing.
There are fly guys out there that still wear the same vest and use the same cane rod they've been using for 50 years. Other guys go out and buy rods and reels as fast as the manufacturers can kick them out of their factories and small shops alike. To each their own, but it seems more and more of this industry is being driven by what's "popular".
This is really a rant, mainly driven by what I see going on in the market place, especially when it comes to vintage rods. With the help of Cam over at The Fiberglass Manifesto, the fiberglass fly rod has not only become relevant again, it's become the "thing". I can remember when I built my first fiberglass rod 3 years ago. I'd wanted one for about 4 years but didn't think I had the skill to make it happen. When I walked in to Coren's in Chicago and told Eric Heckman what I wanted to do, build a Lamiglas 3/4. He was the only one that didn't look at me sideways. Fiberglass? Once the guys in the shop and at our tying group had the chance to cast it, they understood why it made sense. A short rod at 6'6", but with a finesse to match the Scott F4. A perfect dry fly rod for the Driftless. I haven't bought a graphite rod since and have added some outstanding rods to my arsenal recently. Since that first Lamiglas for me, there's been a big movement with major name brands producing some great rods (Orvis (see Nick Volk at Orvis Yorktown), Echo, Redington to name a few) and some gems coming from the mid size and small shop blank builders (Swift's Epic (Carl McNeil at Epic), Yasuyuki Kabuto, Kazutomo Ijuin, the Steffan Brothers and Tom Morgan for example).
I think it's great, but at the same time, this new popularity has taken away some of the uniqueness that was there before. Not too many people had cast fiberglass before and it was always fun to introduce new people to the thought of glass.
With fiberglass rods here to stay, every photo on my Instagram feed tagged with #glassisnotdead or featuring their Epic glowing in the sunlight, I find myself wanting to get the rod building gear back out of the garage and start working again. I've got a couple of projects waiting for me and hopefully some time in the future to get it done. One I'm hoping will be ready to chase salmon and steelhead later this month. I'm glass to see so many people geeked on glass. It's only going to make the market stronger and blanks better, benefiting us all.
To see a recent couple of builds, head on over to Revive Fly Mag for an article and interview I did with Cam from TFM as well as an Epic and Kabuto build.