It’s time to gaze into the crystal ball and and make my predictions for the sport of fly fishing in the coming year. 2011 was a challenge for some, with lingering sluggishness in the economy, unusually high water throughout much of the country, and only a few really great new products to drive the market. Still, we saw some records fall, fishing in the Gulf Coast rebounded nicely from the oil spill, many guides I know reported boom seasons (once the water was right), and holiday sales seem to have added some year-end cheer for many in the industry.
Looking downstream, here’s what I see in 2012:
1.) Based on the snowpack so far in the Rockies (and what I hear from my water manager friends), we’re looking at an almost total reversal from last year. Where there were floods, there will be very low flows. I sure hope things pick up on the moisture front. When will Mother Nature give us a nice, balanced water year?
2.) Last year, Redington announced it will be selling products directly through its website. In 2012, I expect at least three other major companies to follow suit. I’m not talking about the small brands. I’m talking about major players.
3.) Fly fishing will see successful competitions happen that will actually promote the sport. Only they won’t revolve around trout. (We tried, but it’s hard to find a fair and legitimate format; one-flies are for fun). And they won’t revolve around bass. (That market is already cornered, and the bass people don’t want us). It’s going to revolve around carp fishing with flies. Just you watch.
4.) Some manufacturer will break the mythical $1000 (US) barrier for a fly rod made of graphite. It will be billed as a very, very special graphite rod, mind you, but the jury is still out on whether or not that will fly.
5.) Meanwhile, perfectly workable rods that cost $200 or less will sell more than anything else.
6.) More low pricepoint products will be made in America and marketed effectively.
7.) About 75 fly shops will go to Reno, Nevada, to take part in a trade show at the end of the summer. Then afterward, the manufacturers and reps will slap themselves on their backs and say they see “new energy” with the show, when what they’re really thinking is that they do all their business away from the show, and wonder why they even bother anymore. (That’s not really a prediction, that’s just what happens every year at the trade show).
8.) The world record bonefish will be caught on a fly, somewhere in the Hawaiian Islands.
9.) Tim Romano will fish at least 50 percent less than he did in 2011. (His wife is due with their first child any day now.)
10.) Sayfu will tell me that I don’t know what I’m talking about at least 100 times. But we’ll all still have fun, catch fish and trade info on Fly Talk.
Happy New Year everyone!