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Orvis: Fly Fishing

To  some fly-fishing is a sport; to others it’is a way of life. To the folks at Orvis it is a passion. Founded by Charles F. Orvis in Manchester, Vermont in 1856, The Orvis Company specializes in fine quality fly-fishing tackle, outdoor clothing, and sporting arms. As the country’s oldest mail-order company, Orvis pre-dates Sears and is the oldest fishing rod manufacturer in the world. When some of us expressed an interest in learning more about fly-fishing, we could think of no better place to start than at our local Orvis store. The basic equipment for fly fishing is pretty simple (rodreellineflies), but the variety of these components can be dizzying. Fortunately for us, the folks at Orvis are experts and were happy to help us sort it out.

For folks who are just getting started, Orvis can get them into the action with a complete kit for less than $200. This is probably a great way to go for anyone who wants to get out on the water the same day. For those of us who like to look at all the gear and ask a ton of questions before deciding, the process can take a little longer 🙂 The folks at Orvis were very low-key about it. They assisted when asked and left us alone when we just wanted to wander. We spent the morning perusing through all of the gear, asked a lot of questions, and had ourselves quite an excellent time.

We learned that for 2011 Orvis has a new mid-price Access line of rods and reels. As explained to us by Ty Patton, Fishing Manager at the Dedham store, the new line offers strength, performance, as well as light weight. Access’ exceptional strength-to-weight ratio is achieved by combining carbon composite blanks with an epoxy-based resin. The resulting rod rivals higher-priced models in feel and performance at a price that will be surprising to many. While this rod does cost a bit more than an All-In-One kit, it seems like a great value even for someone just starting out.

We like companies that stands behind their products and we always point it out when we come across it. Orvis is one of those companies. While all Orvis rods are guaranteed for life against production defects, higher end rods such as the Helios and Access are UNCONDITIONALLY guaranteed for 25 years. So breakage for ANY reason will be repaired or replaced. All the owner pays is a small shipping fee of $30. Beginners and experts alike will break tips and other parts due to one reason or another. With the guarantee, ones worry about costly equipment damage has been removed. This is how a company that puts its customers first behaves and we are happy to help spread the word.

One of the obvious challenges with fly-fishing is staying dry. Another is carrying all the bits and pieces. Waders, vests, and water-proof boots all help one get outside and stay outside. However, Orvis’ gear is constantly being refined to be more comfortable, wear longer, and be more environmentally aware. Take the EcoTraX soles in their boots for example. They were not just designed to give sure-footing, but updated to help control the spread of invasive Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS). Orvis’ new River Guard Wading Boots with EcoTraX™ Soles help stem the spread of ANS because ANS doesn’t cling to them as well as they do to felt soles. EcoTraX soles also dry exponentially faster than felt, which can take days to dry thoroughly enough for the absorbed ANS to die. While these soles alone won’t solve the problem, they will be a big step toward that goal.

Being able to drop by an Orvis store to check out the latest gear in person is definitely a luxury. Orvis has 49 retail stores and over 500 authorized dealers. If you are not fortunate enough to have an Orvis store or dealer within driving distance, then bring their store to you by visiting their site or send for one of their catalogs (free upon request).

While we were extremely tempted, we exerted self-control and did not buy anything on this visit. We decided that our next step should be to attend one of Orvis’ local fly-fishing class and get some hands-on time with their different rods before making any equipment investment decisions. We’ll keep you posted on how we made out.

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