UPDATE: Like so many other public events, this show has been cancelled out of concerns for the public's safety. Towson University, where the show was to take place, has put a halt to all public events. Please support the vendors who were to appear at the show & plan on being there next year.
If you're going to be anywhere near the state of Maryland on Saturday March, 14th (even if you're not), make plans to attend the 2020 Maryland Fly Fishing Show. Unlike other big shows that are lead by the big companies in the fly fishing industry, the Maryland show is much more personal. However, don't think that means it's small - 'cause it's not. This paragraph from their website says it best:
"The large commercial Shows certainly have their appeal, but if you really want to experience fly fishing through the eyes of professional bamboo/graphite/glass rod builders, classic tackle dealers, national known artist and authors, regional guides not to mention our local fly shops throughout Maryland and Pennsylvania then this is a must attend event. We will have on display more than 70 vendors and booths chock-full of everything fly fishing—ALL FOR SALE AT SHOW PRICES!"
As you can see, there's plenty of something here for everyone who fly fishes. Unfortunately I won't be able to attend this year, but please go & check it out. I'm betting that you'll be very glad that you did. You can find out all the details about the show on their website HERE. It would be a great way to kick off your fly fishing season this year!
I'm sure that most fly anglers are familiar with the writer John Gierach. If you aren't, then please get yourself a copy of one of his books - any one will do - & I'm sure you're in for an enjoyable time. Those of you familiar with Gierach's writings know that he's a big proponent of bamboo fly rods. They come up in every one of his books & he even dedicated an entire book to the subject.
Last year he wrote a brief article about bamboo rods for Bloomberg News. In the article he address the mystique of bamboo fly rods, & touches on why some folks prefer them to rods of other materials. When addressing the question of why someone would spend so much more money on a bamboo rod then a modern graphite fly rod, his answers is, in my opinion, really good:
"It’s a fair question with a vague answer. Part of it is the way we value the Yankee workshop-like tradition of fine handwork done with what we now consider to be primitive tools, as well as the antique virtues of skill and patience.
But there’s also some unapologetic nostalgia at work here. Bamboo fly rods can recall a time when life was simpler, fish bigger (and more numerous), and fishermen fewer and farther between. Or so we like to imagine."
He goes on to talk about the differences of bamboo rods - how each rod is unique & feels slightly different; how many anglers like the feel of casting bamboo - how "warm" they feel & the "friendliness" of a bamboo rod.
One point he makes that I think is really worth mentioning is that a bamboo fly rod will 'break in' as it ages & is used. Bamboo rods have a tendency to 'warm up' after they are fished for a while. I've never been sure if this is the bamboo material being tempered over many casts, or if its a psychological thing where we anglers get more used to the feel & rhythm of the rod. Whatever it is, I know that the vast majority of bamboo fly rods get better with age, where graphite or fiberglass rods will (after many years) wear out. As Gierach puts it:
"And bamboo rods, like violins, are said to evolve with use, so even if a rod doesn’t have a personality the first time you string it up, it will after you’ve fished with it for a few seasons."
I couldn't agree more with that.
You can read the entire article on the Bloomberg News site HERE.
There are a lot of talented rod makers out there. When you decide to have a fly rod custom made for yourself, you have a lot of choices. It seems that every time I look at the work of the really good custom rod makers I'm impressed & inspired by the quality of their work.
Recently, I was honored to be considered with two of the better rod makers working today - JP Ross & Shane Gray. Both of these guys produce excellent fly rods, so I was truly honored to be counted among these folks in a recent article by Bang For Your Buck Outdoor Reviews.
The article focuses on rods of graphite, fiberglass, & bamboo. I was featured for my work in bamboo fly rods. This was truly an honor for me. Anytime someone takes notice of my work it makes my day. Seriously, as rod makers we work long hours, alone, & it takes a constant discipline to ask yourself many times if the work you are doing is at the level it should be. When someone praises my rods, it reaffirms to me that I am on the right track in my work.
Thank you to Bryan - the brains behind Bang For Your Buck reviews. I truly appreciate - & am humbled - by his kind words about my work. Heavy in detail, the article is very well thought out & written (& I'm not just saying that because I was mentioned - it really is!)You can read the entire post about the three of us rod makers HERE.
If you like what you see & are interested in having a custom rod made for you or a special angler in your life, please feel free to contact me & I'll be happy to answer any questions that you might have.
I've just published this year's Holiday Gift Guide to help you find that perfect, unique gift for the special angler in your life. On the list of items you'll find a gift idea for every budget, including some of the most popular items I make & offer.
Everything from fine leather accessories like fly wallets to leather leader wallets......
........to these classic & unique canvas fishing bags........
.....even the popular Mini Pack.
These & more accessories are listed on the Holiday Gift Guide.
If you're looking for a truly memorable gift for your special fly angler this year, you can't do better then a custom fly rod!! But how can I know what they would want their fly rod to be? To solve that issue for you, I offer gift certificates for custom made fly rods. You make a down payment on a rod (or pay in full if you prefer) & I'll send you a personalized gift certificate for a custom made fly rod that you can wrap up & give to your angler. Then after the Holidays, they contact me & your angler & I work out all the details of what they want their fly rod to be. This makes it so easy for you to get them a custom made fly rod!!
Maybe you don't fish but you're looking for a fly fishing gift for a loved one & you've stumbled upon my website? I understand how confusing & difficult it can be to get a good gift for a special angler - especially if you don't fish yourself. If you aren't sure about a fishing related gift idea, please feel free to ask me any questions you have - even if it's about something I don't offer. I'm here to help in any way that I can. I want to make your Holiday gift giving as easy as possible for you. I'll give you my honest opinions & advice where I can.
I sincerely thank you for considering my products & services this Holiday season. Please contact me with any questions that you might have.
No matter how you celebrate the season, I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!
I will frequently get approached by folks who are 'reviewers' of fly fishing equipment. I think all rod makers & producers of fly fishing equipment do. Most of the time the approach follows a pattern: an individual contacts me, explaining how they review fly fishing gear, how many followers they have on social media, how everybody in the world reads & trusts their reviews, etc. They then ask for my highest grade of bamboo fly rod to be sent to them, gratis of course, in exchange for their telling everyone how much they enjoyed my rod.
Now, I'm not opposed to this, but more often then not there is a problem. When I investigate & look into their reviews, I find they haven't actually reviewed anything - maybe one or to products at most. They don't have a large following & they haven't been at it for very long, so they don't have a reputation in the business yet.
But when Bryan Pearson of Bang For Your Buck Outdoor Reviews approached me, it was different than any other reviewer in the past. Rather than just blatantly ask for a free high-end custom bamboo fly rod, Bryan introduced himself & showed me his work & background writing reviews of all types of outdoor gear. He then invited me to take part in his operations in anyway that I wanted - i.e. he wasn't just after a free rod & it would be on his dime!!
Well that was certainly different for me! So I looked into his work & lo & behold, here was a reviewer who actually did have a large social media following. Here was a reviewer who was truly bringing a large number of different outdoor gear to people's attention in an honest & clear way. Imagine that, someone actually giving honest reviews of gear they think we should all be aware of!! I totally appreciated Bryan's honesty & professionalism. This was someone I could get on board with.
So if you're looking for different alternatives for your outdoor gear, or you want to discover some maker of a product that you might not of heard of before, check out Bang For Your Buck Outdoor Reviews. In addition to fly fishing gear, the reviews also cover camping equipment, travel advice, even artwork! Bryan pretty much covers it all. You'll even see some reviews of my stuff there as well. Be sure to follow him on facebook & be sure to check out his website, too. In these days where you're told to question every review you read, it's refreshing to see someone doing it right!!!
One way to really personalize your custom fly rod & make it truly unique is to have some of the metal hardware on the rod engraved. Many times folks will want something engraved that is very personal & specific to them - something that holds a lot of meaning for them.
One such example on a recent rod was a client named John who wanted his company logo engraved on the butt cap. John has spent many years of hard work making his company a success & so he wanted his custom rod to reflect the passion he has for his work. Upon looking at his logo, I knew that I would need the help of a skilled engraver for this task.
That's when I asked Kodey, of HD Laser Engraving for help. She was easily up to the task & had the end cap engraved in a very short time. I must say, I was extremely impressed with how well it came out! Kodey is very skilled in her art & I can't thank her enough for the great work she did helping me make John's rod just the way he wanted it.
As I said, engraving is a great way to truly personalize your custom fly rod. A company logo, your name, a design or image that means a lot to you specifically - if you can think of it, we can probably engrave it onto the metal hardware of your fly rod.
Do you have questions about this, or any other unique thing you want on your custom fly rod? Feel free to contact me & let me know. Personalized engraving is just another way to make your custom fly rod truly unique to you!
Make plans to attend next year's Maryland Fly Fishing Show. It promises to be a really great event loaded with a lot of vendors from every aspect of fly fishing, rod makers, collectibles dealers, fly shops, & more. Guest speakers at the show will include nationally recognized fly fishing writers speaking on a variety of fly fishing & fly tying topics, & even fellow rod maker Per Brandin. It will no doubt be a very fun & educational time!
Be sure to save these dates & get ready to have a blast at the show!!
I can remember when I first felt an Airflo fly line. Boy, have they come a long way since then! While I'm an old-school type of angler, I appreciate & respect the thought & attention to detail that Airflo puts into their fly lines. Their use of modern technologies is very cool because, in my opinion, they integrate modern methods not because they can (like some other line companies do) but because it allows them to make the type of fly line they want.
I don't endorse any brand or type of fly line. For Bamboo & glass fly rods I typically recommend other brands of line to folks who ask me, but for graphite fly rods I say you can't go wrong casting an Airflo fly line.
Below is a short video about the company - a little of their history, accomplishments, & a very interesting look into their factory.
I don't think there's any aspect or item associated with the sport of fly fishing that someone doesn't have a collection of. Leather fly reel cases, in the traditional style, are no exception. Sometimes folks have an old reel & they want a case that would have come with the reel originally, when it was new, to make a nice outfit. Having a matching case will increase the value of your vintage, collectible fly reel.
However, some folks have modern made reels that they cherish & want to protect better than a soft-sided case can. Maybe they have a modern reel that's made with classic aesthetics & they want a vintage-style leather case to house it in? A perfect fit for those folks would be the clamshell or D-block reel cases I make & offer on the Leather Accessories page. Considering what some of the vintage leather cases can sell for, my cases can be a very affordable & appropriately styled alternative.
The video below discusses these vintage cases, what's collectible, & the prices that they can fetch. If you've got one or more gathering dust on the shelf, or if you enjoy collecting these cases, you might find this information very interesting. You'll also note that it's mentioned in the video that while Hardy, Farlow's, & other reel makers were often assumed to have also made the cases for their reels, they did not. The vast majority of the English made vintage reel cases were made by Wheatley - the same folks who were famous for making those luxurious metal fly boxes!
A lot of time & work go into making the clamshell & D-block reel cases that I offer on the Leather Accessories page. I'd like to talk a bit about some construction details of these cases. Hopefully this info will help you to better judge the quality of fly reel cases & leather cases overall.
Whenever you make a case, box, briefcase, piece of luggage, etc that's made from leather & requires stitching, we use a particular type of stitch called (you guessed it) a "box" stitch. Whenever two pieces of leather meet to form a corner in a case, there are a couple of ways to do this.
The first way to join two pieces of leather in a case together is called a butted joint. This is where the leather of one piece simply butts up against another. Almost every reel case you'll ever see uses this method:
This butted joint will leave one of the two pieces with it's end grain showing, as you can see from the photo above. The advantage of this type of construction is that it's much faster to make cases this way. In fact, they can be sewn & mass-produced on a machine when the leather is joined butt to butt.
This is NOT the way my reel cases are made.
The way I join the leather pieces together in my reel cases is to use a miter joint. The leather is cut down on the edges to a 45 degree bevel by hand with a specially shaped knife that is kept very sharp. When the two pieces of leather are stitched together there is no raw edge, end grain, or seam showing.
It takes a lot more time & skill to make cases this way & once mitered, they can only be hand-stitched. Just one glance will show you how much neater & cleaner the edges & corners are in a case made with mitered edges. Compare: the photo below shows a mass-produced reel case that was machine sewn & made with butted joints or seams.
Take a closer look at those seams to examine the butted joint:
Now compare that to the seams & edges on my cases, which are made with mitered joints & stitched by hand:
To the best of my knowledge, besides myself there is only one other reel case maker who uses this method of construction (mitered joints), & he is generally considered the best in the industry. There's a reason why, out of every craftsman & company making reel cases, there's only two of us making them this way.
Maybe in the grand scheme of things these are just details - one seam versus another - but when you're looking for the best made case you can get for your fly reels, those details add up. I want these cases I make to be among the best you can get. A quality case will protect your fly reel, in style, for a lifetime.
The Pliant Rod
News from the shop of Chris Lantzy, Custom Rod Maker along with industry news, profiles of interesting characters, reviews, history, & whatever else strikes our fancy. Your comments & feedback are welcome. Please email me your thoughts.
Cases, bags, wallets, & other fine leather angling accessories.
DISCOUNTED REEL CASES