Fly Line Management

| May 18, 2022 | 0 Comments

SAY HELLO TO MY LITTLE FRIEND!

The Clint V.2.1 is the culmination of a lot of discussion and thought about what makes the best fly line mat on the market even better. It took three molds to get it right, and to the end of the line (pardon the pun) on this shape and style of fly line spikes mats or whatever you want to call them. But, this is it. It’s my handmade mold, and has its own ruddiness and zits … and now a quirky dimpled backside as well. But, as The Talking Heads famously said, “Well, how did we get here?”

HISTORY IN THE MAKING

The idea for a new design came in early 2020, remember that pandemic thing? Well, when the pandemic hit, I was on South Padre Island, a guest at a DOA junket … and the phone calls started coming in to several other guests at that event. Panic was setting in. Their kids were being sent home, flights were canceled, people were trying to rent cars to get back from the Island, and we still fished it – HARD.

The boat I was on was captained by a conventional fishing guide who also had a huge fireworks business sales and shows. We live in the strangest of compromises to get our fix, don’t we. His scheduled fireworks shows were getting canceled, but we fished it – HARD. I was the only fly fisher on board, but he was prepared, and he liked the fly himself. Once we got out of the howling wind, I stepped up, but the line was still blowing off his platform.

“You need one of my mats,” I howled back at him, in reference to my new “Rounder” designed mat. “I have a mat,” and he pulled out this huge Carbon Marine blah green mat, came alongside rolled it up into a taco and laid it on the deck where it unraveled against the casting platform leg in a toothy square grin, almost but not completely … useless. That was my “Magic Moment,” my “aha!” The image, looking down at that mat, froze in my mind. A popular product that doesn’t work?

The idea was registered and percolating … and moved to the back of my mind for months as the life-and-deaths of the pandemic distracted for good reason. The round mat was good, but small-ish. You actually had to hit it, that is think about where you shed your strip and watch the fall of your line to the mat on the deck. It was too small, and round was aesthetically pleasing, but lacked mobility. It just didn’t fit everywhere.

I was out on the water with a hardcore believer in the “Rounder,” Clint (of Clint fame), and he was talking about these discoveries … arriving at the same place, the same critiques at the same time as myself. Great minds may not think alike, but obsessed minds sometimes do.

He said we needed something easier to hit, and I knew we (the skiff fly fishers) needed something that fit the decks, something more logical and ergonomic. And that is how the Clint fly line mat was conceived in late 2020.

With infinite time on my hands, thanks to the rampant virus, I decided to go with simple to sell and practical proportions, and add a twist or two for marketing. Nobody had reached for creating a mat 36-inches in length. And because 6-inches is a factor of 36? That made it easy to remember and explain. Add in a measuring stick of hash marks on the edge, and you have a USA universal yard stick. I then crated a stamp for the back of the mats – just to make sure buyers knew, “Made in Texas / USA,” and my phone number.

I really thought of the phone number as more of a lost-and-found feature than a marketing feature. And I still think of it that way actually (I’ve never been phoned yet!). But if lost, the finder just calls the number on back, and I can track down the loser (of the mat) in all likelihood!

The name “Clint” is based on Clint, and Clint Eastwood. Why Eastwood? Because he never misses, does he? And never missing the fly line mat is what this is all about.

STILL COOKING

The original Rounder fly line mat is still selling! And the loss of my Clint 2.0 mold lead to a brand new shape – called “The Tickler” which is 6X20 inches, has lashing holes on either end and is perfect for skiffs, kayaks canoes and for lashing down – on a poling platform, or on one of those increasingly popular drift rafts like you find in Arkansas. What’s next? Who knows? If there is an improvement to be made, I will never avoid it.

INFLATION

Unfortunately, inflation has taken hold of my materials in the month of May, 2022! Just as everything is getting more expensive, so will the price of these mats. The difference is: If the price of this silicone rubber ever goes back down, I will roll the price back as well. Who else is saying that?

THERE YOU HAVE IT. My recollections on a wonderful side adventure that is still unraveling before me. The fact that Clint (not Eastwood) was there to brainstorm with – made all the difference between just thinking, and making it happen. Heck! I might still be thinking if not for Clint. And, who would have thought anything like this would ever become a “topic” of fly fishing conversation? Let’s see how far this road goes … they say, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” and I guarantee there will be new styles coming from the big boys once they see the Clint all over Florida, from top-to-tip.

BEAT THE PRICE INCREASE!

The left column contains a PayPal buttoned ad for ordering. You know what to do before June 1 – order, and even if it ships after J1, you get the Old, OLD price. You can expect a mild increase for now, say $10usd. But is this crazy inflation over? Don’t take a chance! I am buying things and storing them as a hedge right NOW.

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Category: Equipment, Flats Boats, Fly Lines, Fly Shops, Industry, Store Merchandise, TECHNICAL, Technical Poling Skiffs, Technique, Texas Skiff

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I write. I photograph. I fish, and I live. Visit professional photography website at https://shannondrawe.com today!

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