A Note About Product Reviews - The Compleat Angler

November 16, 2014

Over the coming weeks and months, I’ll be publishing a few product reviews for New England on the Fly and The Compleat Angler. Given that, I’d like to start with some ground rules — rules grounded in personal experience.

Every decision made on a river is a personal decision. When not matching the hatch, fly choices are informed by years of history, of reading, and of superstition. If you’ve ever been fishing with a guide, you’ll know what I mean. Take this story.

In fishing with a guide on a famous atlantic salmon river, I fished a productive pool with a set of guides who told me they fished only one pattern. The next day, the same river, and a different set of guides it was a different pattern. Both caught fish, and both guides had their beliefs confirmed.

And so let’s be honest about something here: every selection made while fly fishing is a highly individual, if not downright personal, decision. Many decisions work, but on any given day on the water, usually only one feels right. And so it is that I read any review of fly fishing equipment that attempts to be as comprehensively quantitative as only partially complete. These reviews often lack feel. They lack soul.

In reviewing products I’d like to clarify that my approach will be to review the product and the experience with the product. After all, we’re all after not just a world class product, but a world class experience.


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