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...