New Players

I don’t know what the total number of rods sold a year is, but I’m guessing it isn’t a mind-staggering number. I’d think that gear making is a tough business to be in and you are either high margin (like, say, Winston) or low margin, high volume (the Albright model). Still there are new players entering the fray. I find it amazing people are still looking to enter the game.  Entrepreneurship is still alive and well.

Here are a few companies that are pretty new, trying to capture a piece of the pie for their very own.

Rise Fishing Company – Not totally new, so the Sophmores of the group. Rise makes fishing rods inspired by the North East fishing culture. I have one of their early 8 weights and fished it in Andros in 2011. I liked it.

Blue Halo – These guys are very much out of the gate. They have fiberglass blanks (TFM is happy about that) and they have reels, including a higher end reel called the Lola, which, they tell me, is suited for the salt.

Colton – New or just new to me? I’m not really sure. Have not heard of them before. When looking for my new 10 wt. I had a couple people suggest the Colton Leviathan. I didn’t go that way, but it did make me want to learn more about them.

Cheeky – They make reels and reels. They have a distinctive look that some love and others hate, but their gear seems to hold up.

Are there other new gear companies that you are excited about?

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  1. The Blue Halo reels (yes, the Lola too) are easily recognizable China reels in a custom colour… not too bad, but available under 30 brands and sometimes a lot cheaper…

    One example of another Lola:–7/9-3144

  2. Well… that’s pretty interesting.

  3. I wanted to add 1 company and talk about one you already listed.

    The new company is “Clutch,” which recently employed my friend as a salesperson. They make some darn good looking rods. Fast-action, simple unpainted blanks with minimal flex coat. They make fresh- and saltwater models. Check them out here:

    And secondly, I wanted to say I’ve fished Colton products fairly extensively with great results. Their flagship reel–The Torrent–is a real tank. It is heavier than other reels, but the good thing is no worries dropping it on rocks or trusting it to airline handlers. It is well made, good looking, and has stood up to saltwater during several trips to Montauk to fish the surf and from a boat. In the NE surf, you must be able to dunk a reel often and fish it the next day. I’ve also taken it to the Keys/Everglades area and again, no problems. The Torrent is a steal of a deal, and half of the time Bob (Colton’s owner) has them on sale 35-40%, making it ridiculous. They are made in the U.S. in factories in NJ and PA. As for the rods, which are made in the UK, I can only speak for the original Tradewinds series. It is very fast action. The reel seat on the 7wt had a little give on the foot of several of my reels. The stripping guides on larger models should be much larger to reduce drag on shooting. I have spoken with Bob about this and he says the new rods (the Tradewinds XS and Leviathan XS) have solved these issues. The new XS rods are lighter and a bit softer in action while still being fast, a trend many manufacturers are engaging nowadays (think BVK). If you call their number, you will speak DIRECTLY with Bob, the owner, founder, and designer of their products. That is pretty darn cool in my book. And he’s a good guy who will never screw you; his whole model is keeping costs low by being manufacturer-direct. He will not sell to shops. So don’t be fooled by the low prices. It’s not cheap labor; it’s cutting out the middlemen.

    It would be great if you’d review either of these company’s products. I think the Colton 7wt Tradewinds with the Torrent T-789 would make a killer combo for Bahamian Bones.


  4. Ditto on Colton! Outstanind products & great service to boot. Bob is great – though is you speak to him the conversation will not be short (;-)!!!!!!

    I have several CRGII reels & they are amazing for a great price. I dunk them in the SW & have had no issues. Juts clean with fw & oil. They blow away the competion.
    He just came out with a new rod series — I do have a 6wt slipstream which is super nice. Ihave moved so I was near the SW I would be getting one of the new rods for sure.

    He has a Christmas sale going on — stock up!!


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