Monday, October 21, 2019

Our picks of new products from IFTD 2019

There were a bevy of new products showcased at last week's International Fly Tackle Dealers trade show in Denver, Colorado.  While not as many as the last several years, there were some significant new entries.  Due to the show being much later this year - they broke from their merger with ICAST - many of the new products have already hit stores.  We couldn't make IFTD this year, but thanks to the wonder of the internet - and press releases - we kept our finger on the pulse of things. And identified at least 10 new products we think are worth mentioning to our readers.

Flymen Fishing Company - Shilton Reels

Under a new partnership, FFC will distribute South African-made Shilton Reels in the USA for the first time. Trusted by guides worldwide in some of the toughest fishing conditions, Shilton was previously unavailable to the USA market. The reels have a hard anodized finish and depending on series, utilize higher degrees of processed cork disc drag. Expect prices from $300 on up.
Simms - G4 Collection, G4 wading boots

If you're looking for premium quality in waders, jackets, and boots, then Simms has their new G4 collection with over 16,000 hours of field testing, lighter materials, greater comfort, durability and breathability, and extremely resistant to abrasion and punctures. Sounds great... but better be prepared for sticker shock. Prices for the jacket and waders range from $699 to $899. The wading boots will sell for $299 and come in Vibram or felt soles. IMO, spending a small fortune on waders is unnecessary, but never skimp on boots. Your feet will thank you later!  If the G4 Pro is as comfortable and durable as advertised, it might pay itself off simply by outlasting other boots twice as long.
Sage Payload fly rod

The Sage Bass Series has been replaced for 2019 with the Payload Series. Designed to cast big flies to big fish, these rods feature fast action tips transitioning to a more moderate butt that allows for relaxed casting and greater leverage when fighting big fish. The rods also feature Sage's HD-Konnetic technology.  Series ranges from a 8'9" length in 6 thru 9 weights along with 9'0" in 10 and 11 weights.  MSRP is $550. Blanks are also available.  All Payload rods are made at their factory in Bainbridge Island, Washington.

St Croix Imperial Salt fly rod

The new Imperial Salt is an extension of their Imperial series, using Sea Guide (R) PVD coated stripper and snake guides, premium-grade cork handle, and double coats of flexcoat to withstand the rigors of saltwater. They come in a beautiful aquamarine color. The rods use St. Croix's Integrated Poly Curve mandrel technology with SCIII carbon to make for a light, fast-action rod with quick dampening. Built in the USA, these rods come with St. Croix's 15-year transferable warranty backed by their Superstar Service. Models are all 9'0" in length, with weights ranging from 7 thru 12. MSRP is $340 to $370, depending on weight rating.

Taylor Revelation reels

For the last several years, Taylor Fly Fishing has become a major player in the direct sales market. The foundation of their business has been their attractive, lightweight and affordable machined fly reels. The new Revelation is a hybrid of their most popular models, the TYPE1, the Enigma, and the Revelation Z.  With a carbon-fiber stacked and sealed drag system, and with up to 15 pounds of maximum drag (7-9 weight model) the Revelation can be used in most freshwater and saltwater situations. That drag is adjustable to 3.5 rotations, allowing anglers to dial in to the exact setting. MSRP is $299.

Fenwick Fenlite Salt fly rod

Nano resin technology is only a decade old, and perhaps for that reason it's been reserved to rods costing $600 or more. But in the last year, we've seen the price point dropping. The new Fenlite rods offer the 3M Powerlux 1000 nano resin technology for only $349. What does nano-tech offer? A rod with incredible strength at a very light weight. The fast-action Fenlite Salt comes with AAA cork handle, machined anodized reel seat, and fighting butt.  All lengths are 9-foot, with line weights ranging from 7 thru 12.  Fenwick has a limited lifetime warranty on Fenlite rods for defects, and a service charge for accidental breakage.

Scott Sector fly rod

It's hard to imagine that Scott would make a better saltwater fly rod than their Meridian, but that's exactly what their rod designers have supposedly done. The new Sector series utlitizes their ReAct technology with new tapers and their new "Carbon Web". The Carbon Web technology improves torsional stability and durability by encasing the unidirectional fibers in a web of ultralight multidirectional carbon fibers. Uni encased by multi, got it?  According to Scott, this will reduce torsional forces for better tracking and reduce micro factures from stress and impact. Sector rods also feature all new CeRecoil stripping guides with super slick Zirconia inserts. All this great technology comes at a premium price - MSRP is $985.  All Scott rods are made beginning to end at their factory in Montrose, Colorado.

Scientific Anglers Amplitude Smooth Infinity Salt fly line

Longtime readers know I'm not a huge fan of textured fly lines, even if they do add a wee more distance to long casts. So while SA has come out with their new Amplitude Infinity Salt textured line for 2020, they've also come out with a smooth version. It features their AST Plus slickness additivie for increased shootability and durability. It's also a half-weight heavy to turn over big flies on windy days. What's best about it is the extended head length... that means more accuracy and aerialization than those short shooting head lines.  Again, cutting edge technology comes a premium price. MSRP is $129.

Douglas LRS fly rod

While this rod was actually introduced late last year, this was the first year of it's "new" status at IFTD. Founded in 2014, Douglas rods have been near the top of several reviews, and from personally casting the Sky and DXF series, the hype is real. Sadly, their budget entry was well below the competition. Their new LRS Series hopes to change that. These fast-action, lightweight rods have much improved performance. LRS stands for lake-river-sea, which implies that they're built for all types of fishing, depending on rated weight.  The beautiful gloss blue blanks, carbon matrix reel seat, and accented grip and fighting butt (7-9 models) make for a great looking rod. MSRP is $249.
Fishpond Thunderhead Pouch

A fully waterproof construction similiar to other products in their submersible line, Fishpond's Thunderhead Pouch features a 1680D TPU coated nylon fabric and fully waterproof zipper. Large enough to slip in your smartphone or digital camera. Hypalon panels on the front and back can be used for attaching accessories or securing to wading belts, float tubes, or kayaks. Measures 11" long by 7" high by 2.75" deep (maximum expansion). Weight is 5 ounces. MSRP is $99.