(Where to) truly demo fly lines / rods

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Ybsong, May 12, 2013.

  1. Ybsong

    Ybsong Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2010
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    42
    Location:
    Seattle, wa
    Every discussion of fly rods and lines pretty concludes with, "the only way to find the right one is to try them out yourself because everyone is has different physics, style, and purpose". So, ideally, there would be a shop that has 5 different fly line set ups of the same weight, all lined up on the same reel and same rods, and a spot out back where one could safely make some casts. Conversely, they'd also have 5 different rods, of the same weight, all with the same line and reel, so you can get a side by side comparison of different rod brands.

    Does this mythical place exist? I've never been to a fly fishing show. Maybe they regularly have such displays. I'd pay a small fee to spend 15 minutes to actually learn my gear preferences. Or even promise to buy my rod/line from the shop that did.
     
  2. docstash

    docstash Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Messages:
    344
    Likes Received:
    22
    Location:
    selah, wa.
    Red's Fly Shop on the Yakima River has most of what you are asking with a wall of rods reels and lines set up ready to cast. When you get to two handed they can also let you try several different lines on the same rods since they do have a line whore working for them.

    Craig@redsflyshop.com and I do resemble that remark.
     
  3. Old Man

    Old Man Just an Old Man

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2002
    Messages:
    22,406
    Media:
    29
    Likes Received:
    1,922
    Location:
    In a comfortable chair
    Try that shop out in Mill Creek They also have a casting pond in the back of the shop. It's called Pacific Fly fishers, I believe. They are a sponsor here.
     
    constructeur likes this.
  4. teedub

    teedub Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2010
    Messages:
    385
    Likes Received:
    112
    Location:
    Cle Elum
    Red's also has Craig who can fill in all the blanks and spaces between the hype, feelings and happenings when you test them all out. Not like a lot of fly shop hands who will try to sell you what they like. He actually listens more than he talks - rare!
     
    JesseCFowl likes this.
  5. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2004
    Messages:
    7,145
    Media:
    54
    Likes Received:
    1,215
    Location:
    Not sure
    At the risk of being the Grinch to your original question, consider the investment a shop has to make to have a variety of different lines available for folks to test.

    Each test line is one they won't be able to sell. Same with the reels and backing the lines are mounted on. Since those lines are almost always tested on abrasive concrete in a parking lot, they wear out quickly. How many different weights should be available? For instance, if all a shop offers is a WF5, how many customers are gonna be disappointed because they want to test a DT3? When manufacturers introduce a new crop of lines every year, all this adds up to a considerable cost-of-doing-business expense. Add in the very real phenomenon of 'showrooming' by people who come in to 'test' a line (or reel or rod) then leave and buy it for a few dollars less online, it's easy to see why so many shops have gone out of business.

    As a personal opinion, I don't believe there's much difference between the various brands of lines. They each need to perform some basic functions: floaters need to float; sinkers need to sink; none should coil excessively. In terms of option, it comes down to taper (WF vs. DT), true weight vs. nominal weight, and which color you prefer. Beyond that (and no matter what their manufacturers would have you believe), it's more skill and luck than a particular brand or model of line that determines how far or well an angler can cast or how many or how large the fish he catches are.

    I haven't bought a new line in perhaps 5 years, maybe longer; especially now when most premium lines are priced at $80 or so. Instead, I keep an eye on the classifieds for someone selling a lightly-used line in the type and weight I need, typically paying about 20¢ or 30¢ on the dollar of their original price. That way, I'm able to spend more than a couple minutes with each and come to my own conclusions without making a significant investment.

    K
     
    Porter and Steve Call like this.
  6. _WW_

    _WW_ Fishes with Wolves

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2005
    Messages:
    1,994
    Media:
    58
    Likes Received:
    701
    Location:
    Skagit River
    I guess that I would be another Grinch. In the trout department I have around a dozen or more rods and no two are the same. Different weights to be sure but everyone is from a different manufacturer. They were acquired because the price was right, not because this or that brand was better casting. I load them up with Rio or Cortland lines because that's what the nearest place, (not strictly a fly shop) has on the shelf. Brand loyalty is not my thing and expensive is not an ego boost for me - a good deal is.

    They all cast a little different and I think I am a better caster because of it. Every time I switch rods during the outing I have to adjust to make it work for me. Generally only takes a few casts for the memory to kick in and get it to perform.

    Buy what you can reasonably afford, get a line somewhere and learn to make it work. Keep in mind that a faster rod will soften some with more line in the air and softer rods will stiffen up some with less line out.

    There are way too many lines out there and trying to have one for every specific situation will put you in to bankruptcy. A decent weight forward line will do 99% of what needs done by even the above average fisherman.

    Some of the best fishermen I've met had rods with some of the guides taped in place and dirty old DT lines from the last ice age. :)
     
    Jeff Dodd, Old Man and Kent Lufkin like this.
  7. Ybsong

    Ybsong Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2010
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    42
    Location:
    Seattle, wa
    I'm a grinch myself, so you're preaching to the choir. That said, given how much fly gear costs, and how strong people opinions seem to be about gear, I still wish there was a service like this described. As for the complexity of the number of rods and fly lines, that's not a fair excuse. Sure there are thousands of permutations. Fine, just simplify it. How about three fly lines with three rods, and two additional rods each with different fly line? I'm not even asking for every combination of the three (which would be 9 rods/lines). Just a simple experiment that would test cheap, moderate, expensive versions, in a controlled way (5 rods and 5 lines). And just do 5 weights, as a baseline. As for cost, I'd hope manufacturers would be willing to provide demo lines and rods. If not for the small shops, certainly for the big guys like Cabellas (who'd have plenty of room to cast rods on a long roll of faux grass). If the concern is they get trashed on the concrete, then organize weekend events a couple times a year at local parks. There many simple solutions to the logistical challenges.

    Of course, the high-end manufacturers would not be incentivized to support this, where the lower end would. As for the shop itself, I'm not sure if their margins differ across the lines. The point is, whether they admit it or not, how a rod or line fits a fisherman is a huge mystery for most fishermen. As such, brand names carry huge premiums. Given how scientific most fly fishermen are, it just seems logical that the industry would provide an empirical platform for folks to decide for themselves. Or maybe not. For some of my friends, the mystique of certain brands hold immense value. I'd rather have an opinion based on my own experience, and think the industry would be better for it.
     
  8. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2004
    Messages:
    7,145
    Media:
    54
    Likes Received:
    1,215
    Location:
    Not sure
    Sounds like an opportunity for an entrepreunerial kinda guy. Maybe it's you . . . ?!

    K
     
  9. Jim Darden

    Jim Darden Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2004
    Messages:
    931
    Likes Received:
    223
    Location:
    Bellingham, Wa.
    Yes, this mythical place exists....the reason you have trouble finding it is that a lot of folks go to the place and then mail order the gear from someone else. Most of the fly shops I know go out of their way to give you a chance to try out a rod you are interested in and will also give you a couple of lines to try it with. Lee at Orvis in Bellevue has done it for me, the Head Hunters in Craig, and certainly Ed at the Confluence shop in Bellingham has done it on many occasions. You can also try out a lot of rods by borrowing your buddies gear and doing a test at the local park and trying a couple of different lines on each rod. It ain't that difficult but you need to exercise some initiative. Searching for Nervana ain't easy, been doing it for 50 years.
     
  10. miyawaki

    miyawaki Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2002
    Messages:
    3,285
    Likes Received:
    967
    Location:
    Kent, Washington, USA.
    Now we don't sell anything else other than Orvis rods but anglers can cast any of our rods and compare one to another (H2 vs Acess vs Superfine etc.). We have "lot" lines - those that have already been abused by casting on asphalt and we have written out.

    Leland.
     
  11. cabezon

    cabezon Sculpin Enterprises

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2004
    Messages:
    1,774
    Media:
    224
    Likes Received:
    286
    Location:
    Olympia, WA
    When I was looking for a spey rod, I knew that peculiarities of my casting stroke (newbie at spey casting at the time) and lines would determine which rod was right for me. I arranged a half-day with shop owner Mike Sturza to try several rods on the Cowlitz River. He gave me some very clear instruction on basic casting (snap T and double spey) and I cast three rods in the same weight range with the recommended lines with both casts. I found one that fit my casting style and bought it, a new reel, Scandi and Skagit lines, and a variety of tips. He set it up with backing and knots, etc. It doesn't get better than that and I could have even caught a steelhead to boot.

    Steve
     
    aplTyler likes this.
  12. JesseC

    JesseC Active Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2009
    Messages:
    2,097
    Media:
    5
    Likes Received:
    851
    Location:
    seattle, wa
    Red's has a river and also craig. He knows more about lines than anyone I've met. They also have a river in the backyard you can test everything out on. Hard to beat.
     

Share This Page