Been here in wonderful Casper, WY. the last few days attending the Orvis Guide Rendezvous with guides, fly shop owners, and lodge operations throughout the west. It's always a good event for in that it gives us some powerful insights into one of our largest business partners' plans, products, and services that we don't hear about everyday. Of the various industry things I attend every year, this is definitely my favorite.
Charlie and I ended up fishing with a guide, Greg Mueller, out of the North Platte Fly Shop on Tuesday. He was referred to us by the Orvis endorsed operation, The Ugly Bug fly shop as they were booked up for the day. This was very cool of them as they still tried to make sure we were going to go out with a quality guide even though he doesn't work for them. I'm sure there are plenty of good guides around here and we probably would have done fine with any of them. Greg was great though and we couldn't have been happier with the day. We got lots of fish and had a great time shooting the bs around the boat all day. Will throw some pics and more of description of this in a day or two.
The rendezvous has been great too, just seeing everyone from other operations and the corporate side of Orvis is enough to make the trip worthwhile. Orvis is often perceived as a corporate goliath but their fly fishing team is collection of very talented folks with a broad skill set in everything from marketing, mechanical engineering, and operations management. They put a lot of r&d into the products and are always looking to tweak existing products as well as bringing innovative goods to market.
A few really cool things they have coming out this year include the Superfine Touch series of rods, a couple new jackets, and a line of waterproof packs and bags. One of my favorite things that they've done in the last year is replacing the handles on their mid-range reels. The new handles are more in line with what you would expect from a trout reel. Rather than using the bulkier paddle of years past, the know use a shaped delrin handle which is less bulky and feels more natural in hand. Small thing but a significant improvement.
We've got some more meetings this morning and then head back to Bozeman. I fly to Tx tomorrow with Christine and Matty (turned 4 yesterday - Happy Birthday Matty!). He's hanging out with my parents fro the week while Christine and I take a week off to Belize for our 40th Birthday year vacation. Really looking forward to just hanging out with my wife without the distractions of normal life for a week, I may or may not also be looking forward to trying to land a permit too!