On a recent trip to Maine, I had the opportunity to drop by the Maine Fly Company (https://maineflyco.com/) and spend some time with the founder, Jeff Davis. With a brief introduction and tour, I listened to the story of how Maine Fly Company began, and what impact his father had on its beginnings. Jeff explained Maine Fly Company was founded to celebrate his late father’s passion for fly fishing and for his love of Maine. He stated it’s the heritage of Maine fly fishing that keeps his father’s spirit alive, and he hopes to pass along this inspiration to his three sons, and to future generations everywhere.
“In his name, we celebrate the sport of fly fishing, show appreciation for fine craftsmanship, and remain committed to the sustainability of Maine’s lakes and streams,” he told me.
As we walked through the shop, I couldn’t help but notice the excellent craftsmanship of the rods. Being a “small batch” operation, each rod is inspected carefully with an emphasis on detail. The single-foot guide wraps add the finishing touches for an elegant fish-catching tool. Each individual fly rod blank is designed and manufactured right on site. The fly rod styles and names all honor the various watersheds around the state. I picked up and wiggled each rod type, length and weight, and pretended I was casting actual line. After much “testing,” I became enamored with the 5 wt. ”Kennebac,” named for one of the famous trout rivers in Maine.
My tackleholics disease reared its head when I saw this particular rod, as I indeed fish with 5 wt. rods quite often. Usually, I like to cast a rod with line before purchase, but after noticing the extraordinary workmanship, I felt confident the rod would meet my expectations.
A few days later, I went up to Lake Kennebago in northwest Maine and fished with my new rod. This 9’, 4-piece loaded very nicely. I was impressed with how easy line pickup was and how sensitive the butt section felt when loading 30’ of line on a single haul off the lake surface. My experience with single-foot guides in the past was one of aggravation, as some of my previous rods had a line “sing” as it passed thru the single-foot guides. But not with this one, nor any other Maine Fly rods I have cast since then. Again, this reflects the premium components used.
I brought the rod home to fish our Appalachian rivers, which consist mainly of roll casting, and again it loaded nicely in those small streams. I fished with a Scientific Anglers, Amplitude MPX 5 wt, and found it to match my casting style and load the rod flawlessly.
There will be other Maine Fly Company rods in my arsenal as time passes. There is something special about playing a fish with a true handcrafted, “small batch” rod, then returning to the cabin for a cup of “small batch” bourbon over the rocks, also created with profound attention to detail.