Fessing Up About Product Review Whiffs

As many of you know, we are now knee-deep in the trade show season; when new products for 2013 are being unveiled at breakneck speeds and the hype machine is running full throttle. I admit to having been made a sucker by that hype machine in the past. The benefit of hindsight and many months of actually fishing with some of these products has helped me realize that, in some cases, I probably drank a little too much PR Kool-Aid. So in the interest of clearing my own conscience (before I start gulping the next batch), I want to come clean on some cases where I whiffed.

Sharkskin Fly Lines
I was completely amped about 3M’s Sharkskin at a time when, even out of the gate, a good percentage of my angler friends weren’t believers. I forgave the annoying sound (like fingernails on a chalkboard with every stroke of the rod) because I believed the theory that bumpy surfaces on a line’s coating enhanced floating and shooting performance. But the 5-weight line I had broke 20 feet from the tip for no good reason after a few months, and the 8-weight grabbed so much grit and grime that the last 30 feet won’t float anymore, despite my best efforts to clean it. And for $100 (for a line?!), an angler should expect better. No wonder Tenkara fishing is gaining in popularity.

Korkers Svelte Wading Soles
I like Korkers boots a lot, and I love the BOA laces. I’m one of the few guys in my fishing circle who hasn’t left an interchangeable sole on a riverbank somewhere. I’ve tried two generations of Svelte, and wished very hard that it would be a solid alternative to felt. One lasted a month, and the other lasted about two weeks longer before they looked like tattered, stringy Brillo pads hanging off my boots.

Cloudveil Waders
Actually, I have no problem with any of the Cloudveil stuff I’ve worn. I’m still wearing much of it. It’s comfortable, durable and functional. But the company was sold twice (that I remember) and now fly fishing isn’t even an afterthought on the corporate radar. That’s a shame because the original owners were real anglers and they made good stuff. There was promise there, but now it’s gone.

Moffitt Angling System
I’m going to take a little bit of a pass here and say that I was never convinced on the premise that hooking fish in the sides of their faces was a kinder, gentler approach to catch-and-release angling. But Romano fell for it. At least a little. Now that fad is gone. I guess we can chalk that one up to consumer buying habits being the ultimate judge and jury. Good for you.

Polarized Sunglasses with Interchangeable Lenses
They don’t work. The lenses fall out. They get scratched. You think you’re scoring a two-for-one or three-for-one deal, but trust me, find one pair of lenses with a tint you like and stick with them. The gimmicks don’t last.

But honesty does. And I promise to shoot as straight as I can with the stuff I see in the coming weeks. You should expect nothing less.