Written by: Bill Reed, Orvis Director of Wholesale, Rod & Tackle
Last week, I had the pleasure of spending time working in our Andover, England, office helping to host a couple of European dealer/distributor meetings. During these meetings, we educate and train dealers and their staff on our new product offerings for the upcoming season, business how-to, and also learn from them on how we can become better partners to help grow their businesses.
The real highlight of these meetings for me was on meeting day two, which was spent on the Orvis Kimbridge beat on the River Test. This year, as we roll out our new Helios 2 rod series, we made sure to have a full arsenal of H2 rods on hand for our dealers to cast and fish throughout the day.
The angler skill level within both groups was very high. By lunchtime of the first session, I actually started to feel sorry for the fish. Because many of the trout were holding on the far bank, and since most average anglers can’t fish consistently at distances of 70-80 feet, I’m sure the fish felt secure. After our second group, I think the fish were considering a mass migration to a different beat on the Test just to get the taste of iron out of their mouths.
The Helios 2 feedback was fantastic, and as many of us in the office have experienced, fishing these new sticks is way better than casting them on a parking lot or lawn. The rods received high praises for how effortless they cast overall, their smooth tracking abilities, and how accurate they are. Also, many were impressed and commented on the ability to easily shoot line great distances with limited effort or false casting. I had one dealer comment to me that the 10-foot 3-weight H2 rod actually “cast too far”!
It was also very apparent that the social-media bug has hit Europe. Many were so jazzed about using the new H2 rods that they’d catch a nice fish, take a quick hero photo, and promptly post it to Facebook for their shop “friends” to see.
My personal gain was in discussing all the various angling techniques I saw being used, the why’s, and how’s, looking at the different fly patterns, and talking fly design. We had representatives from France, Germany, England, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, and Italy all demonstrating slightly different nuances in presenting a nymph or surface-fishing technique, and all were successful in catching fish. I can assure you that fly fishing is a never-ending learning game; we just need to keep our minds open and spend time exploring new and different methods to catch fish—which really helps to keep our sport fun.
Bill Reed is director of wholesale for Orvis Rod & Tackle, based in the Vermont headquarters.