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Big Money=Big Performance?

February 26, 2009

Lately I feel like fly fishing has gotten a little unrealistic.

As I flip through the pages of my countless fly fishing catalogs, I can’t help but notice countless rods, reels, and apparel for disgustingly expensive prices. You see them painted in the beautifully colored pages like trophies, just taunting you to pick up the phone and blow a half years pay. Honestly, while these companies preach new technologies, special editions, and any other number of bullshit sales pitches, I always wonder if you truly get what your paying for. Take the Helios rod for example. (Sorry Orvis, ILU) A 2 wt.  6 foot rod for $750? Really? Don’t get me wrong, Orvis makes quality stuff and will stand by it faithfully, but enough is enough. I consider myself an every day fly fisherman. I walk through the woods beating my fly rod off trees, rocks, and the ground. I drop it in the water, throw it in back of the truck, whatever. If I was using a big money rod, or a flashy, colorful, hand painted reel I don’t know how I would get to the water every day.It would probably go something like this:

  • Wrap gear in newspaper and bubble wrap.                         Bang bang
  • Secure newspaper with rubber bands, add more newspaper/bubble wrap
  • Carefully place gear into metal lock box filled with foam popcorn
  • Call Helicopter and wait patiently in my bullet proof panic room
  • Wait until police escort knocks on the door to the tune of “Eye of the Tiger.”
  • Enlist the help of 6 secret service agents to “transport the package for loading”
  • Contact coast guard to patrol the water I’m fishing
  • Set up a 4 mile perimeter in all directions with snipers in the trees

I could go on, but you get the picture. Are we really getting what we pay for these days? I pick on Orvis, but there are many companies who seem to go out of their way to make their products unattainable by the average fisherman. Personally, I’m an L.L. Bean fan. Call it Maine Bias, I call it an outstanding warranty. Sure, other companies might have similar warranties, but few are as genuinely helpful and understanding as the people at Beans. I’ve sent back countless items for repair or replacement at no cost to myself. I’ve even received a new fly rod without sending a single piece of my broken one back. I’ll stick with what feels good, and right now that’s my Streamlight 6wt. Some call it an entry level rod, but I just call it a good feeling. If I’m catching fish and enjoying my time on the water, why change a good thing?

The proof is in the pudding. Try calling Orvis and telling them you threw away your Helios on accident and want a replacement.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. February 27, 2009 10:41 am

    Ouchhh. Wheres the love al?
    My gripe with Orvis is not with MOST of their products, and I don’t doubt they would replace their products without question. (Though I would discourage snapping your rod in the store). I was more or less referring the high prices of many products, including the high end Orvis rods, or different companies like Abel reels, etc etc. I can’t justify paying almost a grand for something that surely did not cost them even close to that price to make. It’s ripping off the little guy, who ultimately drives the sport.
    They make many models that can come closer to appealing to the budget fly guy, but look at the price jump from those models to the high end models, its unreal.

    With that said, I have heard mixed reviews from people dealing with L.L. Bean in the past few years. Call me lucky I guess, but I can still appreciate their customer service because it’s been more than fair to me. I still feel like L.L. Bean is a Maine thing, and will continue to support them for a few reasons. I like the automatic donation to M.I.F.W. when you purchase their products through Beans. On the flip side of the equation, Orvis is playing an instrumental role with Trout Unlimited in the Penobscot River Restoration Project that will remove dams, install state of the art fish ladders, and reintroduce many sea run species to their native waters of the past. To the best of my knowledge L.L. Bean is not involved, which is sad considering their long history and grassroots in Maine.

  2. February 27, 2009 8:39 am

    I don’t know though… Orvis’s warrantee may be limited to 25 years, but its a 100% NO QUESTIONS ASKED deal… if you walk into Orvis with a perfectly fine rod, snap it in half right in front of them, they’ll hand you a brand new one without a blink. Beans used to do that, but more and more its a “Limited Lifetime” deal, as in only covering workmanship etc…. its not the deal with everything, but Beans is no longer a Maine thing, it’s a yuppy from Freeport thing. Personally, I’m done with Beans.

  3. February 26, 2009 7:24 pm

    It is Maine bias. I love Beans as well.

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