Following up on last week’s question about the future of fly fishing blogging, I thought I’d take a look at what is actually happening out there in a little more detail. Looks like indie bloggers (like, say, me) don’t have to worry just yet.
Many of the companies below do have social media of one stripe or another, but what I’m looking for is something that is a blog associated with the company. There are some companies who are clearly leading the pack, others who are getting underway and others who appear to have lost their way or never started. Most fit in that last category.
First… Who is doing well.
- Deneki – Updated very, very frequently, this is one of the top fly fishing blogs, indie or industry.
- OrvisNews – They get it. They’ve been early and loud in their support for the blog format.
- Skinny Water Culture – Just a good read. A small, upstart company that is outplaying many established players in this space.
- Idylwild Flies – Their blog is called “Marinated in Awesomeness” and it is.
- Costa – The blog, but also their major push behind GEOFISH… solid.
- Headhunter Fly Shop – A destination shop with a pretty big footprint.
- Angling Destinations – This is Scott’s blog and it is still fairly new, but he gets it… he’s putting out fresh, original content at a decent clip.
- The Caddis Fly – An Oregon fly shop that has been churning out goodness for a while. I’ve found many saltwater fly tying videos from them. Good stuff.
Not Bad, for a Start. These blogs have started, have some content and have potential.
- Sage – A good start, but needs more stories to give readers a reason to check in.
- Rio – Pretty much same as above.
- Thomas & Thomas – Another good start. Hope they keep it going.
- Patagonia – “What? Why is Patagonia not an all star? Don’t they have an established blog?” Yes, they do, but it would be a stretch to call it a fly fishing blog. It is primarily a hiking/mountain climbing/surfing/kayaking/other-outdoors-activities blog. You have to go 11 posts back to find anything about fishing. I really like Patagonia gear, but sometimes they are a little coy about their fly fishing love.
- Yellow Dog Fly Fishing – With so many destinations, such talented resident phtogs and so much experience it is easy to see why they have a blog. It is a little hard to find on the page, but it is worth reading.
- Flywater Travel – Some really great posts in here and some great photography.
- Leland Fly Fishing – Another fly shop with a fair effort to start
- Blue Halo -A company with that New Company Smell still, they are putting in a decent effort.
- William & Joseph – Some good content, there just has to be more.
- Echo – While they still have the “Just another WordPress.com Site” tag, they have some decent content too.
- Simms – They have a blog, check. It feels like it should be a lot stronger.
- TFO – I thought they didn’t have a blog… mainly because there isn’t a readily identifiable link on their home page. Turns out they DO have a blog, and it is a decent start. Odd to not make that easier to get to from the home page. TFO, like others, appears to be investing more in FB.
- Scientific Angler – Another blog I missed on my scan. This looks like SA+Ross and there is some good content there. Another blog to watch.
The Forgotten. These are blogs that showed an intention to get off the ground and then just didn’t. All of the following get a grade of “Incomplete.”
- Hardy – There is a “Fin and Fly” that I think is a blog, but I don’t see any content there. There is a newsletter they do, and that may be it, but this link returns a blank page for me.
- Umpqua – One day of blog posts and then… silence.
- Hatch – One blog post in 2012
- Cliff Outdoors – They have a Cliff’s Notes section with one post.
- Loon Outdoors – Pretty classic. One post, called “Coming Soon,” from Oct. 2011. That’s it.
- The Fly Shop – Two blogs here, one last updated in 2008.
Absent. These companies have no voice in the blogosphere (or not one I could easily find).
- Abel – Nippers they have, but no blog voice.
- Tibor – Not much coming from the big reel company.
- Redington – I’m guessing that FB is where the effort is being put, as they have a pretty active Facebook presence.
- Nautilus – They may be “Tested on Animals,” but they aren’t sharing those experiences through a blog.
- Galvan – This is a smaller company, so not surprising.
- St. Croix – I still miss my Legend Ultra that was stolen in Mexico, but they have no blog.
- Scott – Nope. No blog from this big rod maker.
- Winston – They do have forums, so, there is something, but they are leaving the storytelling to their fans as opposed to telling their own stories.
- Cheeky – I’m a bit surprised that Cheeky doesn’t have a blog, given they are so young and new. I’m thinking they may be investing in Facebook over a blog.
- Allen – A smaller company, I think, so maybe not surprising.
- Fishpond – Fishpond seems like a company that would have a blog, so that is a little bit surprising.
- Dan Baily – They have a big catalog business and make some of their own gear (I’ve had several pairs of their waders over the years).
- Lamson – Nothing from this well known reel maker.
- G. Loomis – A bit of a surprise as they have a big conventional business too, so have a lot of customers to talk to.
- SS Flies – A smaller company, so maybe that’s OK.
- Cabelas – They do have some forums, so they are doing something, but they are a pretty big company to not have a blog.
- Albright – A company which sells all on-line, but doesn’t have an on-line voice. Kind of surprising.
- Sea Level – I’ve seen these guys at fly fishing shows for a while and they don’t seem like a high tech kind of group.
- Bauer – Very nice reels, but a smaller company.
- Loop – This big European player is silent in the blogosphere.
- Frontiers – They used to be the undisputed kings of travel, but have faded in recent years, although they still do some business. It is important to note that most of the other big and growing travel companies are heavily invested in social media/blogs.
It seems some companies are focusing on Facebook over Blogs and I think there are some pretty solid reasons for doing so in many cases. There are also some companies that have forums or other ways of communicating with their customer base. There are also just a lot of companies who have not hopped on the Social Media train just yet and maybe that’s a good idea. It’s better to go out with a plan and an objective as opposed to just throwing something out there and hoping it sticks.
The top category is an interesting group and I’m not sure I can put it into words, but I’d say they are forward looking and willing to take a leap, both in the medium and in the voice they use. They inject a bit of personality into their writing, sometimes a lot of personality.
Here’s to seeing where the future takes us.
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Tags: blogs, fly fishing, fly fishing industry
Thanks for the love BOTB.
I wish my favorite fly fishing companies had more to say too.
Guess they are too busy designing new stuff for us to fondle…
Squeeky Oar Lock
TFO certainly does need help with their web stuff, but they have done a pretty good job promoting their new blog on their Facebook page.
Interesting! Creating a good blog takes time and effort with an indirect return. It’s not a surprise that many of the businesses don’t have one.
I had not found it on their page, so thanks for that. I’ll move them up.
Bjorn, We blog! We blog!
Ahhhhh… thanks Geoff… another blog I missed. I’ll move you up.
Curious to see what your top 20 independent fly fishing blogs are and what you think the state of this part of the blogosphere is. If I missed this from a previous post…sorry and please direct me to it. Thanks Bjorn.
Bjorn, That was a ton of work-nice, and thanks. Neat to see people on your list blogging in.
Great job putting together a really comprehensive list – I know how much work it is to come up with posts like this. There are a lot of folks out there posting great stuff, and your report is a really handy way to keep track of what various companies out there are up to.
I think this is an excellent example of the fact that, even for the ‘big’ companies in our industry, putting out a steady stream of quality content is a lot of work!
Thanks for the good words.
Thanks Andrew. I think it will be interesting to see where things are in a year. I think many companies are choosing to focus on FB over Blogs as it is easier to claim some sort of success there with the number of fans or likes you can attract. Developing a voice in a blog is a much more difficult undertaking.
I’m interested in where it goes from here and what new directions things will take.
Reading this and looking at the list that doesn’t have a social media presence, it got me thinking of some of my own gear choices and how I came about buying stuff.
Most of my purchases, like my Scott rod and my Tibor reel (both on the absent list), were influenced by fishing with them with guides or on friends’ or fly shop recommendations.
Maybe I’m antiquated in that way, but on a gear level, I still think guides and fly shops are the industry drivers. (As well as third-party reviews in traditional media but I’m biased in that dept.)
Which may explain why some of the fly shops like The Caddis Fly in Oregon (not on your list but it has a big audience: http://oregonflyfishingblog.com/) and Headhunters are content leaders and some gear brands aren’t.
Put it in non-endemic terms: I drink Guinness above all else. Do they even have a blog? If they do would I read it? Hell no. But I’m drinking it.
The Caddis Fly does do a pretty good job. There are others that probably do to, but I couldn’t go through all the fly shops… that was a little too ambitious.
For me, social media does play a role, I’d say. I convinced my dad he needed a straight 5 wt. and he got a Redington outfit. That was probably due to social media in part.
My newest reel is a Lamson and they don’t have a blog at all and I don’t recall anything on FB that led me to that purchase. It was more the price, that I could buy it off Amazon (gift cards) and I remember Aaron Adams saying he was a fan of the brand.
I’ll be getting a pair of Sonic Pro waders (buy them) and blogs certainly played a role in that… that and that my current waders are sucking and leaking like a sieve.
I drink Newcastle and while they don’t have a blog that I know of, they are on Facebook and they are kind of hilarious on there.
Thanks for the love man, We have really enjoyed the blog, and are frequent readers. Thanks for taking the time to put that post together. That would have taken forever to do, but it was very informative.