It’s time to make my annual predictions for the fly fishing world in the coming year. But first, let’s look back on last year’s fishing predictions, and see how I did.
First, I said the Rockies would have a terrible water year. That was surely the case in the southern Rockies, though the northern Rockies did a bit better. 2012 was not only an extremely dry year, it had one of the worst wildfire seasons ever. I wish I had been wrong on that one.
I said three major manufacturers would start selling direct. Simms and Thomas & Thomas did. A few other, smaller companies did as well. Admittedly, that wasn’t a wild prophecy, as those rumblings had been going on for months.
I said carp competitions would take off, and they did. From California to Denver to Montana and points east, carp tournaments attracted more anglers and raised more money for good causes than ever before.
I predicted that a U.S. manufacturer would break $1,000 for a graphite production rod, and we now have the Sage One Elite ($1,295).
Rods $200 or less would comprise the bulk of domestic sales in 2012. I don’t have the data yet, but my friends in the industry say that’s true. And more pricepoint products would be made in the United States–there are indeed some upstart companies making rods in America, like the Beaverkill Rod Company.
I said the world record bonefish would be caught on a fly, and I whiffed on that one. You folks in Hawaii should have tried harder.
I also was wrong with my prediction that Tim Romano would fish 50 percent less this year, now that he and his wife Ellie have a baby daughter (Mabel). My misfire doesn’t prove anything other than Romano has a very cool wife.
Lastly, I predicted that Sayfu would say I didn’t know what I was talking about at least 100 times. That probably would have happened if Sayfu hadn’t dropped off in production recently. Maybe he got tired.
Never fear, here are my 10 predictions for 2013, which should give all of you plenty of reason to wonder if I’m nuts or not.
1. We will have another dry winter, but an unusually wet spring and summer will save our bacon in the Rockies. Next year will be a banner fishing year from coast to coast. Admittedly, I’m just hopeful that ’13 will not be unlucky.
2. Certain members of the “flat earth society” will use that as an argument that climate change is a myth, although they’ve told those who are worried about climate change that the recent trends of droughts and storms were anomalies.
3. By this time next year, at least three MORE major brands will sell direct. In fact, it will be such the norm in this industry that there will be only a handful of companies left that will use the fact that they don’t sell direct as the key marketing platform to attract fly shop business.
4. Patagonia, Cortland and Thomas & Thomas will make dramatic gains in market prominence. At least one major rod company will go bust. And two others will be acquired by other companies.
5. 2013 will see more than a few companies start making and marketing worthy and interesting products for women anglers, going beyond the “pink it and shrink it” philosophy. Redington, Simms and Orvis are already leading the way.
6. Tenkara will continue to grow in popularity, proving it is not a fad. In fact, Orvis is already selling Tenkara USA rods, and TFO is making its own. I expect at least two other companies to follow suit in producing a tenkara-style rod model.
7. Carp will continue to boom in terms of relevance and popularity, and a pretty cool new book called “Fly Fishing for Carp” will be released next spring. (Okay, that doesn’t count as a prediction either. I have an inside scoop with that one.)
8. We’ll see at least three new “online” fly fishing magazines pop up, which will replace the three that will go belly up.
9. Politicians of both parties will not, unfortunately, make the connection that to compete in states like Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Florida, Colorado, and New Mexico, they should reconnect with the hunting and fishing heritage that people in those places (of all political persuasions) hold so dear.
10. And the fly fishing world record fish that will be caught in 2013: an all line class tarpon, off the Atlantic coast of central Africa.