Obsessed With L.L.

Mama said knock you out?

No, not that one.

I received the L.L. Bean fishing catalog in the mail the other week.  I'm not sure what it is about that book, but I not only want, but can justify to myself owning pretty much every piece of gear in the book.  Perhaps it's because it's not overwhelmingly large like Bass Pro Shops or Cabela's...maybe it's because the prices are a touch less than those found at Orvis.  I don't know...there's just something about the stuff.


Now, I have to come clean.  I have a bit of a backstory with L.L. Bean and fly fishing.  I first learned to cast a fly rod on a whim at one of their Outdoor Discovery classes at a store in South Jersey.  My first fly rod outfit was a 3-weight Quest II also from L.L. Bean.


Today, L.L. Bean products still makes up a fair portion of my fishing gear.  While I have somewhat retired the old rod & reel, my wading boots are Gray Ghosts & when needed, my wading jacket is the Emerger.  I also have some technical apparel in the form of fishing shorts, zip off pants, and Cool Weave shirts.  I love each and every piece of gear.  It works great, is low maintenance, and it's good knowing it's all supported by a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
  
After paging through this year's book I love the upgrades (in concept) to the Silver Ghost rods and reels, the addition of stitchless Kennebec waders, and I'll probably own every piece of L.L. Bean tropicwear by the end of the summer.  Heck, if I lived closer to trout water, I'd probably close the deal on the Pocket Water rod & click reel to compliment my tenkara rods...I've had my eyes on that outfit for over a year.


I guess the reason for this post is to wonder aloud why L.L. Bean gear isn't discussed more in fly fishing circles?  Value fly fishing brands such as Redington and TFO get lauded often in print and online, yet L.L. Bean goes largely unrecognized...even in places like message boards and forums.  Is it because the large majority of their offerings are private label, and unlike Orvis, not made available for wholesale (i.e. you won't find it in fly shops or trade show circuit)?  Is it a pay for play thing, where if they're not paying for sexy advertising they're not going to get the love?  Maybe it's something else...who knows...?

And no, I'm not being paid for this post.  (Although I'll accept all donations!)  I'm just a fan.

So end of day...you've got preferences as an angler, I've got preferences as an angler.  I'd just say that if you're in the market for new fly fishing gear, especially as someone making the jump from spin fishing much like I did 5 years ago - I've been nothing but satisfied over the past few years with the offerings from L.L. Bean.  

Now if they'd only compliment their private label merchandise with Tenkara USA rods and Vedavoo packs...

Comments

  1. I originally geared up at LL Bean. Still used the rod & reel, waders, and a lot of the accessories. I'm with you, I LIKE 'EM.

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  2. Michael, honestly I don't look at LL Bean that much. I really didn't know they deal in fly fishing gear. I just might have to check it out. I still want to try fly fishing.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, probably not the first retailer that comes to mind, but they do make good stuff. It's the "guarantee" (warranty) that really makes them stand out. If you're looking to try fly fishing, their Quest II rod & reel can't be beat.

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  3. Have a few L.L. Bean products. Like them just fine. Would enjoy a visit tp the store.

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    Replies
    1. Me too. They had some stores local to me in the Northeast, but none down here. I need to get to the Freeport store one of these years. Road trip?

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  4. Beans are the best! Solid products that work.

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    Replies
    1. No doubt. Bean boots are boss. Thanks for stopping by Tom!

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  5. I've been a long time L.L. Bean fan, and a lot of my better gear has a Bean label on it. I think about 15 years ago, they were still relevant to a lot of fly fishers, because their rods were made by Loomis and were highly regarded for quality. I actually have some of their last Loomis made rods. Now everything is made in China, which Bean euphemistically calls "Imported" in the catalogs and on the website... like it's French wine. I think, and I may be wrong, they lost a lot of their loyal following when they made that move. I still search for their good stuff regularly on Ebay, and I've also wanted to get my hands on a Pocket Water rod, but L.L. Bean is just no longer a big contender in the fly fishing game. I think the value brands that you mentioned may have a lot to do with it too. I mean if you're gonna buy something "imported," there's no sense in overpaying for that product.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah...the imported thing...I could see that being an issue for some.

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    2. You inspired me to write. http://naturalistsangle.blogspot.com/2014/02/ll-cool-beans.html

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    3. I enjoyed reading it Jay. Some wonderful equipment you've accumulated.

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  6. Mike, like you, my first fishing gear was LL Bean...and so was my young sons'. Totally agree that they are oft overlooked in today's angling circles which is a shame. I'm also a huge fan of their hunting gear (although like fly fishing, they've whiffed a few times).

    Each year, my father and I make an annual trek from CT up to the Rangeley Lakes region of Maine and make it a point to stop by the Freeport flagship store to gear up (usually in the middle of the night)...truly a magical place.

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    Replies
    1. I'd love to get to Maine one of these days....the store would definitely be a destination!

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  7. We have a Bean outlet store about 20 min. away in NH. We have picked up great deals on fly fishing rods, lines, fly boxes, boots, waders, etc... Also like their casual wear as well.

    Best part is they stand behind their products. If anything breaks or wears out, you can usually replace it for little or no money.

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  8. One of my first glass rods was a Bean Featherweight. Great rod...made by someone else. I like Bean, but I'm guessing they are a lot like Orvis. Their products are built by someone else and branded for them.

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  9. Orvis has a nasty habit of buying up good ideas and slapping their name on them, too. I'm a fan of some of their rods ( last I checked they still make them in Vermont I think?) but the other stuff they sell has become alot of fluff and horsefeathers. They're big into dog beds now, too. Go figure.

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