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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Driving back from a week of skiing I stopped in Manchester, VT at the Orvis flagship store. It was quite a sight to behold, all those items out on display in one place. I had been to the NYC store which is also impressive, but this was even bigger. They had a all the fly fishing rods out to look at and feel. They even had a pond with fish in it...inside the shop. They had everything...the Highland Tweeds, the Rhinohide pants, all the fishing gear including hundreds of different flys, even a section of guns. Outside was a much larger body of water that you could tell would be useful for trying out rods in warmer weather.

I would like to note that the salesman who helped me was particularly great. His name is Arnie Bean. If you're ever up there ask for him. He even took me to the break room for a cup of coffee when I mentioned I was driving all the way back to Baltimore that evening.

Anyway, it's a nice shop. And they have an outlet right next door. I didn't venture in there, maybe next time if I have more time to spend.

Danny
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well in this day and age every store like this is riding the line between authenticity and caricature. I'd say Orvis is very much riding this line...delicately. They sell a heavy 'narrative' to baby boomers about leather, dogs and fly fishing...AND they also make actual fishing gear and useful, stylish clothing. Once they start tipping too too much toward the first of those two things, I'd say it might start to ring hollow. It's a tough balance to strike.

Danny
 

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I've been an Orvis customer since about '76, and first visted the Manchester store in '80. This was before the expansion, and I believe that it was then the only store. I think the new building was built perhaps a dozen years ago. In the summer, they used to hold fly fishing classes at the outdoor pond. Over the years I picked up a number of things from the bargain basement. (And it was!) Perhaps the nicest was a blouson style windbreaker of genuine loden cloth at half price. What a beautiful jacket!

Even if Orvis isn't all I could want, it's probably still more than I could hope for in this era.

What did you think of the Highland tweeds?
 

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I'm embarrassed to admit that with all the time I've spent in Vermont, somehow I've never gone down to Manchester. So I've never seen the Orvis store, or the outlet mall, the Equinox, or Hildene. All of which really must be rectified.

I do love Orvis though. While the Vermont Country Store might be selling "intimate" items of a more participatory nature, I don't think there's anything better than silk long johns. Thin, soft, and very very warm. Mmmm...
 

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Orvis

Gentlemen

I agree about the changes Orvis has made. I have been buying since the 1970 time frame. When they, Abercrombie were one store.
Like Brooks, I have seen the decline in Orvis stuff. I do not buy any of their clothing items.
As far as fly fishing.
I am a dry fly fisherman myself sine the mid 1960.
Orvis was a great bamboo place. That still goes on it seems.
Nothing else. I, while in Europe got my early fly fishing gear. And have since bought from Hardy since. I have everything I need. Orvis used to use the Hardy company to make their reels.

I dont recommend them for fly fishing. Although their rod look great though. The rest, especially equipment, is outsourced. Their flys are terrible.There are so few tie maker, but they are their. I recently bought some AC best myself. Big difference

I do recommend their outlet. I have bought tropic weigh shorts, slack from hr.

Still, their bamboo rods are nice. Except you can pick up a vintage Crocker, Heddon, Granger much cheaper. Their store is great though.

Nice day
 

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I will differ slightly with Jimmy on some of the Orvis rods and reels. I find the Clearwater rods to be an excellent value, either for entry-level or beater rods (or spares for clumsy friends).

(I especially like an 8'6", two-piece, 3 weight number they were giving away a few seasons ago. A great dry fly rod, and a great teaching rod for my young cousin.)

And the same series reels are dirt cheap and extremely rugged - again, a great value.

That said, the marketing hoo-hah about the Super-Duper technology of the high-end stuff is pretty hard to take. You can do as well for much less. The Lefty Kreh/Temple Fork series, for instance.

I haven't tried their new bamboo rods. They cost more than my car, for starters, and I have a bunch of my father's cane rods from the 1950s that are still going strong.

I got a tattersall shirt for Xmas, it is very nice.
 

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Clearwater

Patrick,

I am in agreement with you regarding this rod. And the original battenkill reel is a good buy as well.And a great price to boot. You can do both for under 200 bucks.
I am blessed with great stuff, so am spoiled.
I have used other stuff, and am confident with a lot of american makers in saying there is a lot of crap these days.
I have had bad luck, with Orvis in getting odd and end stuff. Flies for instance.
There are a lot of good entry rods and reels to be had here Patrick.
A lot of stuff, is made elsewhere.
Orvis outsources. Unless it states it is made at their shop.
I like their fly weight rod Patrick, it is a sexy rod. It looks, and feels like the Hardy angel rod I got.I have been tempted to try one of these, and not a bad price around 12 hundred bucks I think.
Also, they do great bamboo. I just happened upon some great classic stuff in my life.
Patrick, even Hardy is outsourcing these day!
I am lucky I have all English made.
I am told though, their stuff is great anyway. And cheaper

Nice day Patrick
 

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And as with a lot of things, a hefty price tag is no guarantee of anything.

One of my best rods is a hearty chunk of graphite I think of as "The Lunker Clunker." A two-piece, nine footer for 8 weight line, from Cabelas, a whopping $89 including a case, a reel, line and backing. (This was five years ago, they might have caught up to it by now.)

I got it for largemouth bass, but I also use it in high-water situations for trout.

I don't know why it is, exactly, but the Lunker Clunker just suits me - great balance and accuracy, even with wind-resistant bass poppers and stuff.

This has nothing to do with Orvis, but it's fun to be thinking about fishing. I've had enough winter!
 

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That said, the marketing hoo-hah about the Super-Duper technology of the high-end stuff is pretty hard to take. You can do as well for much less. The Lefty Kreh/Temple Fork series, for instance.

I haven't tried their new bamboo rods. They cost more than my car, for starters, and I have a bunch of my father's cane rods from the 1950s that are still going strong.

I got a tattersall shirt for Xmas, it is very nice.
They come out with some crazy new "technology" every 3-4 years or so! A complete load of nonsense. I have 3 of their bamboo rods that belonged to my father, all of which were made in the late 70's - mid 80's and which are still in great shape.

I have a pair of Orvis waders and I still buy leaders and misc. accessories from them every year, though if I buy a rod from them it will be one of their superfine graphites rather than the high end Super XT9000 NASA Grade something or other.
 

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I have lots of Orvis stuff...clothes and fishing gear. I have a Clearwater 8'6" #6 I use for bass fishing. Some old Shakespear fly rods from the 60's and 70's too. I like some of the Orvis shirts, especially the heavy long sleeved cotton ones..forgot what they call that line. Took an Orvis safari jacket on a recent trip to warmer climes and it worked well with its many pockets.
 

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You know, I never even bother going to the main store. I just go to the outlet in the building out back. It's hit or miss, but I've found some great stuff out back (Barbour jackets, sweaters, etc.) at great prices.

I worked at Orvis in Manchester in the late 80s one summer in college making rods in the rod shop - mostly making graphite rods, although I did some prep work on the bamboo and also make rod cases on the metalworking machines. All for the princely sum of $4.65 an hour.

I'm not sure how much has changes since then in terms of quality, but the people there then definitely were skilled craftsmen and created a very good rod product, especially the bamboo.

I still remember having to go to the bamboo warehouse on the other side of town and unload the bamboo that was shipped over from China. Occasionally, a Chinese rat/mouse would jump out of the bamboo bundles and run off into the Vermont woods...

Anyway, the showroom is nice, but the real deals are definitely found out back.
 

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Cane,

Gentlemen

I think cane is a great , even cheaper buy than many new rods. I have a Heddon Model 17 the Black Beauty I got for under 300 bucks. It is an 8/6 and I use a vintage Hardy Perfect I got for under 300.I use a 5 weight here.
The Hardy reels over time have climbed. This one is valued around 900 bucks now. There are a lot of other makers I recommend that are cheaper.
I use the Hardy as a 5 weight.
Patrick, I notice you use a 3 weight on your 8/6.Many rods vary in weight. How does your rod do with this weight?
For my 3 weight I have a smaller rod.
You must fish small, very small streams like myself?
The Battenkill is a sad story, sad.
Anyway, I think cane is very nice rod alternatives.
Your Payne and Leonard is like getting a home, what they are going for.

Nice day gents
Only 30 days!
 

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Jimmy, the rod I was referring to is a graphite 8'6" designed for the 3 weight (although one time I brought the wrong bag and had to use a 5 weight on it, which made for some interesting adjustments).

I like a medium-long rod and a light line weight for some of the medium-sized streams here in NW Conn and over in the Catskills, even some decidedly small streams. This might seem counterintuitive, but sometimes a roll cast executed while lying on your belly is a lot easier with and extra foot or so of rod.

Maybe we should start a fishing thread elsewhere. I tried once but it went nowhere.
 

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Patrick

My friend

ROFL, that was funny!

I think Orvis has done a beauty with their graphite lightweights. I think th next thing is going to be minus 8 oz rods!

Have nice day Patrick.
Have to run

30 days!
 
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