L.L. Bean Waders Getting Radical Redesign

September 24, 2008 By: Marshall Cutchin

After the FFR show ended last Tuesday, we had a beer with our source at L.L. Bean, who fished some secret plans out of his pocket and placed them on the table between us. “You can’t talk about these,” were his first words. What he showed us were drawings for an inventive way of cutting material for fly fishing waders that may end the arguments over seam placement once and for all. “Well, when can we talk about them?” I asked. “Probably after the New Year,” he said. “They will come to market in the spring.”
So, sorry to offer only the tease, but we were pretty impressed by the ideas on that paper, especially since they come from a “catalog company.” In fact it got me thinking about fly fishing innovations in general, and how the trend seems to be that many of the more clever ideas in recent years are coming from engineers in the larger companies. Without suggesting whether that is good or bad, it does say that the bean counters still see value in cool new products for fly fishers — even when fly fishing is only a small part of their overall business.