Denver Fly Fishing Show: An Exhibitor’s Recap
Each year, The Fly Fishing Show is held at multiple locations across the United States as an event for anglers to meet and talk with representatives from brands focused on fly fishing, scout out trips to take in the upcoming months or years, learn tips and tricks in seminars and from casting instructors or fly tiers, and get their hands on the latest gear usually at discounted show prices.
Our Boatsetter Fishing team hosted a booth at the Denver show this year in an effort to increase the representation of (1) boats to rent for fly fishing and (2) of fly fishing guides available to be booked on Boatsetter. After chatting with anglers stopping by our booth and with other entrepreneurs and professionals at the show, we came away with an optimistic view of how Boatsetter can meet the wants and needs of fly fishers and a reinvigorated sense of connection for our team within the industry after a couple years of missed shows due to the pandemic.
Are Fly Fishers Looking for Boat Rentals? Yes!
With plenty of power boats for the ocean and lakes, Boatsetter has seen and been serving demand for fishing from center consoles, bass boats, pontoons, etc. However, one of the reasons we decided to get a booth at the Fly Fishing Show was to get a feel for how much interest there would be for renting boats geared toward fly fishing, especially in areas like Colorado and other parts of the Mountain West where much of the fishing is done on rivers. As we shared the concept of what Boatsetter is with folks stopping by our booth, people kept asking if we had drift boats and rafts available or if those types of boats that they owned could be listed on the platform. These conversations were a positive indicator we hoped for, and now we’ll be helping set up the first owners of drift boats for renting their vessels through Boatsetter to test the demand for real.
In addition to interest in boats for rivers, fly fishers at the show were excited to see the options for skiffs (both solo skiffs and multi-angler skiffs), aluminum fishing boats, rigid inflatables, and kayaks for exploring in saltwater destinations such as Fort Myers, San Diego, and Tampa. There was of course interest in guided trips, too, and Boatsetter has guides ready in places like the Florida Keys, Miami, and Daytona Beach.
Old and New Friends in the Industry
One of the best parts of shows like these is the opportunity to connect with others in the industry. It was fun to see friendly faces we hadn’t seen in a few years, and we also got to meet the teams behind newer brands to add to our list of favorites. Here are some of the fellow entrepreneurs we had the pleasure of meeting and their companies:
- An impressive one-man show, Jarrett Voiles produces a fly box with silicone inserts as well as standalone fly patches made from silicone rubber that are longer-lasting and more sustainable than foam inserts or patches. The fly boxes float too, which an angler only needs one fumble in a river to know the importance of.
- Also, each morning after catching up on the activities of the day and evening before and hearing about the rest of his show circuit, we grasped how hard of a worker Jarrett is. If you want to support a hardworking small businessman, buy from Brook.
- Cross Current is another regular at each of the Fly Fishing Shows, and though they offer insurance services for boats of all types as well as other products and services, their focus and commitment to the fly fishing industry brings a specialized understanding to serve the needs of fly fishing guides and boat owners.
- Note: Boatsetter is partnered with GEICO Marine & BoatU.S. to provide its one-of-a-kind Peer-to-Peer Boat Rental Policy covering rentals booked on Boatsetter (for boat owners who do not have a commercial policy that includes coverage for boat rentals or charters). To be eligible for the Peer-to-Peer Boat Rental Policy, a boat does need to have personal coverage / a recreational policy (read more about the requirements here). If you’re interested in renting your boat through Boatsetter and do not yet have any insurance policy, you can reach out to insurance providers like Cross Current for assistance.
- Launched in the past year, Catchflo is a footwear and apparel company outfitting anyone who loves to fish with styles allowing you to “walk with passion”. Founder Dan Moyers is an angler from Indiana who runs Catchflo while also working full-time for 120Water, a startup focused on solutions ensuring quality drinking water, and while supporting fellow innovators and growth of the startup ecosystem in Indiana. From high and low tops to slides, Catchflo currently offers trout-inspired styles that catch the eye like a trophy brown to a stonefly. As a Seattle resident, I’m excited for the upcoming “home waters” style for Washington state similar to the Colorado Home Waters design we saw at the show.
- This was the first show for the Mac River team as a newcomer in the inflatable space, and their custom boat designs were one of the most exciting things we saw. Boat builder Mike showed an early prototype of their first model, the 30’ Expedition, that featured space for sleeping quarters — a great custom design option for overnight and multi-day raft trips. Railings along the edges of Mac River Boats not only provide safety but are ideal for hanging a hammock for rest during the day or night.
- In order to make fishing and other boating activities more accessible, Mac River Boats have space and the option for a wheelchair mount equipped with motorized functionality. What makes this possible is the boat’s composite platform providing a hard and flat open surface. Built into the platform, there are also protective storage compartments for all your gear needs. With a 12,000-ft facility in Montana for production, we look forward to seeing and fishing from Mac River Boats in the years to come.
- Based out of Ohio, Reel Grip’s team of avid anglers and rubber industry veterans produces no-slip grips and rod wraps for bait / spin rods as well as for fly rods. If you’ve ever come back from a full day of fishing with a raw thumb, you’ll be giving this product two thumbs up. They’re battle-tested by professional bass anglers and pro staff members Jeff Giarrizzo, Joe Balog, and Rod Lee, so you can trust them whether it’s a tournament or just a fun time on the line. Find Reel Grip in stores including Bass Pro Shops or order directly from their website.
- Fish shouldn’t be the only ones drippin’… if you’re looking to stock up on some fresh fly merch or equipment, check out Yakoda for hats, apparel, bags, and more. Their designs are sure to keep the Mountain West represented anywhere they’re worn all over the map, and they even offer a limited-supply quarterly fly tin subscription in partnership with Montana Fly Company. Yakoda’s crew is based out of Boulder, Colorado (’sko Buffs), with a new shop and HQ opening this year in Louisville. Soft goods and gear sourced and sewn in Colorado, hit ‘em up!
- Another plus of attending fly fishing shows and similar expos is to gain awareness about potential fishing destinations from resident experts. Our neighbors at the next booth over, representatives from Idaho (including a local fishing guide) shared knowledge of the Eastern Idaho – Yellowstone Teton Territory and gave out free copies of location guidebooks.
The Future of Fly Fishing is Now
Fly fishing is the fastest growing segment of fishing, and we believe community building and innovation are key to that. We were happy to meet plenty of people with a disposition towards sharing knowledge and resources. As with anything treasured, there are those who want to keep a good thing to themselves. If you’re new to fly fishing or thinking about getting into it, and you run into those people, keep on floating and you’ll come along ambassadors of fly fishing stoked to share their passion.
We continue to see more frequent casting clinics, new and exciting content, and innovative brands building in the fly fishing space. While fly fishing is often enjoyed simply by wading in water and from shore, we’ll look to do our part by making more boats and watercraft available for renting or chartering from peers who share a love for fishing.
If you’re looking for boats to fly fish from or guides to fish with, search by location on Boatsetter and if we don’t have options where you’re looking yet, we hope to soon. If you’re a guide or an owner of a drift boat, raft, skiff, dory, fishing kayak, or another vessel and you’d be interested in getting set up on Boatsetter, please reach out via our contact page or on social media (@BoatsetterFishing). We’d be thrilled to help.