The evolution of fly fishing gear and costs....

Last week, I decided to head to a spot I knew a few wheelies would be holding.

So, the night prior I am spinning a few extra flies and realize I am out of the super-duper sparkle chenille I like to use on these bodies.

All fly shops are closed as it is evening so I go into a local mall-type Sporting Goods store.

There I find the color I want and it is $3.99 for the small card of chenille.

Everything I look at is so expensive. If you were a newby or one considering this sport you'd choke on the prices unless you had someone helping you along the way.

THANKS goodness we have a forum like this where we can sell uses gear. I always help out the ones new to this awesome culture.

Skip Enge

Active Member
Everything I look at has gone up substantially...I seem to search the clearance bin at the local Sportsmans warehouse often for little packages of tying materials.

Big Rob

Active Member
This just landed in my mailbox on Saturday. Maxcatch Avid 3/4 ($40)
Machined bar stock. Anodized.
Tight tolerances and smooth retrieve. Light outgoing click. Click drag adjust knob. 1 year warranty
For the budget angler looking for a sub $150 reel, this should be mentioned.
Much of the time we are just looking for a line holder in smaller weight reels. This one does that and more.
The drag startup...silky. Drag click has nice adjustment range.
I'll get it rigged up and fish it soon. Time will tell, but so far, i'm quite impressed.
(My comp reels...Ross Evolution, Orvis BBS, Galvan Rush)
20180303_160955.jpg 20180303_161015.jpg


Active Member
If you look at companies who make both gear and fly rods, you’ll see a big difference in price between their flagship models. Loomis, for example, sells their top of the line 9’ fly rods for just under $1000. Their top of the line 9’6” steelhead spinning rod with longer cork sells for $560. Companies definitely ignore the true cost of materials and labor, and charge what they can get away with. We are definitely being gouged due to the “elitism” and demand that drives the fly fishing industry. The only way to get a fair price is to get last year’s model fly rods for half price. They can’t complain that we do it, it’s their own doing for over charging and introducing new models so quickly.
No reason you can't keep up that relationship at the fly shop. Give them a chance to get your business. It won't always happen but ask them what they have or can get in the range of the price you are considering. They know what they are up against and will most likely compete for your business. I have seen good fly shops and bad ones. Worley Buggers for example, great fly shop. Fly tying nights, friendly and engaged fishing nuts working the store, excellent local knowledge, and gobs of great materials. Other places it seems like I am bothering them just by showing up. The relevance of a retail store has vastly diminished these days with the internet making everything available at the click of a button. A fly shop needs to provide community and not just utility as fruity as that sounds. The successful shops understand that.


Active Member
I'm pretty confident that if you went in and spoke with Anil and told him your budget he would do whatever necessary to find an outfit to suit your needs.[/QUOTE]

I agree with that 100%. My first time visiting his shop, Anil explained how a $100-ish Redington pre-packaged setup would work very well in comparison to what was only higher end stuff in the past (paraphrasing, don't hold him accountable for my memory). He didn't try to upsell me, and worked with my budget.

Truth be told, I am currently fishing with a few Cabelas setups, on top of a lower-end Sage I picked up from Anil's shop. I can definitely tell the difference, but the Cabelas setups (for like $90 on special) still fish.
High cost does not mean vast superiority in a rod! A few years ago I was in the market for an 8 weight rod for a limited amount of use for winter steelhead. I checked out rods by Loomis and Sage and looking at upto $800 for a rod. BS I said and went out on a budget looking trip and ended up with a Grigg,. Now it only cost $42 and was it as nice as the rods that cost 15 to 20 times as much. Well no it isn't but the other rods were not that much better in my opinion. Certainly not 15 to 20 times better. I can cast 60 feet of line with the Grigg which is plenty for fishing purposes.

While looking for 8 weights I played with several different rods of various weights and found not a few that were quite serviceable and many under $100.

If you are into appearance and status then maybe big bucks rods are great if you can afford them. Necessary for fishing purposes, hardly. My every day rods are a Scott V2 in a 6 weight, $200, a Sage 6 weight at $200 and a Scott A2 in a 7 weight that cost $200.

If you just want to fish and not spend a bundle of money it can be done. If you think a $800 rod is going to improve your casting you are very wrong. I suggest you spend some money on casting lessons and when you have done that and learned the dynamics of fly casting you will find that you can cast nearly any rod effectively.


Rob Allen

Active Member
Here is an example of "greed" in action..

An American manufacturer spends 350 to manufacture and sell a rod to a retailer. They sell it to said retailer for 750. Said retailer sells it for 1000.

An American importer brings a rod in from China for 15 bucks then sells it for 350.

Who ia "greedier"

High prices don't indicate greed they indicate a very high cost of doing business.


Active Member
There are plenty of low end rods, lines and reels (many in combos) that put the crap we fished with over the past decades to shame, in terms of quality. Fly tying materials were always expensive relative to income. Start out slowly and build up over's like equipping your shop with tools.

A MUCH bigger problem is lack of access and degradation of aquatic habitat.

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
I've got hundreds of $$ worth of fly tying materials, and I don't tie that often any more. I'm going to cull out the materials that I use for the flies that I tie, and maybe some necessary for flies that I maybe intend to tie, and also some of the really expensive or exotic materials that would be hard to replace, and then sell or donate the remainder. Heh...that remainder includes 80% of the crap that was in a "Fly Tying Kit" I bought in a fly shop.

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
With the future of anadromous fish runs in jeopardy, I'm glad that I never did bust loose with the $$ necessary to buy switch or spey gear. My most expensive rod $ reel, an older Fenwick 9'9" 6 wt with Orvis Battenkill LA (made in England) with extra spool and two decent used lines of the brand I prefer, Airflo ridge lines) was bought used from a forum member for around $200. My first flyrod purchased back in 1964 was a Fenwick priced in the mid-$30s...slightly more spendy, but a lot better than the same sized Eagle Claw going for around $27.95
Here is an example of "greed" in action..

An American manufacturer spends 350 to manufacture and sell a rod to a retailer. They sell it to said retailer for 750. Said retailer sells it for 1000.

An American importer brings a rod in from China for 15 bucks then sells it for 350.

Who ia "greedier"

High prices don't indicate greed they indicate a very high cost of doing business.
Have you noticed stick on eyes for flies come down in price over the last couple of years? More new companies selling packs of 10-20 eyes for a couple of bucks! One of the guys from Fly Fish Food mentioned a year or two ago on another site he got 14,000 holographic 3D eyes direct from China for $80!

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