Day Two of the International Fly Tackle Dealer Show gave us more opportunity to test rods, pull apart reels and try on some of the cool apparel samples on display in New Orleans. Here are some of the items that made it to our list of intriguing 2012 products:
- The LL Bean Pocket Water 6’6″ 3-weight was a surprisingly fun little rod that, while designed for small streams, still threw a nice, tight loop at 50 feet. It’s very difficult to produce a graphite rod at this length just because of taper requirements, so kudos to LL Bean for getting this one right both on performance and price ($195).
- Orvis has some new super-slick new Hydros fly lines coming out next year. A couple of features worth mentioning: out of the box, the line feels as slippery as any line we ever touched; and the front taper is floated with plastic micro-balloons filled with methane, rather than the typical mix of glass and gas. Orvis says this will make the new fly line tips float higher than ever.
- The new Hardy Ultralite fly reel really is a sharp-looking product. It won the vote for best new saltwater fly reel in last night’s count of the opinions of media and retailers, and we wouldn’t be surprised if that was because of cosmetics alone. The clear-anodized reel offers and ultra-large arbor and tool-less conversion from left- to right-hand retrieve.
- Fish Skull’s “Crafty Deceiver” saltwater flies are some of the most appealing baitfish imitations we’ve seen. The way the eye/head is positioned on the shank makes this an improvement even over their previous deceiver, which was already a big hit.
- While they didn’t land in the Best of Show winner slots for apparel, two items by Redington really impressed us: the new Sonic-Pro Jacket and their Shuttle pants and shorts (Redington’s women’s Sonic-Pro Waders did win in their category). The Sonic-Pro Jacket looks very sharp and offer the same stitchless seams as the waders for around $299, and the Shuttle pants are tailored from an attractive textured nylon fabric we’ve not seen before.