Manchester Life 2021 - Page 81

Life in the

Cast

Lane

The knowledgeable experts at Orvis cast light on the history and craftsmanship of the legendary Orvis fly rods .

An experienced angler wades out into a clear and cool stream . After finding a suitable spot , she pauses to situate herself , then surveys the scene for noticeable signs of activity . As she holds her rod and flicks her wrists back and forth with elegant flair , her casting line waves through the air in a mesmerizing two-step dance . Casting her line forward , she watches intently as her fly falls onto the water , making subtle and nuanced adjustments to alter its course as it travels downstream . Suddenly , the surface of the water starts to churn imperceptibly . There is a rush of excitement as the line begins to tense . Moments later , it is clear that a fish has taken the bait . As the angler pulls the fish back in towards her , she is overtaken by a satisfying feeling of primal fulfillment as she finally secures it in her hands . It ’ s just another day out fly fishing in Southern Vermont , but for one priceless moment , the whole world seems to stand still .

People have been experiencing similarly unforgettable and triumphant moments in Southern Vermont since the day that Charles Orvis first opened his tackle shop in 1856 in Manchester . Over the course of the last century-and-a-half , Orvis has grown into one of the most beloved and well-known outdoor lifestyle brands in the world . As Orvis continues to expand and broaden its market reach to include a wide variety of high-quality products , the Orvis fly rod development team is moving the sport of fly fishing forward with its innovative line of fly rods . Some are made with cutting-edge composite materials and use state-of-the-art technology . Others are carefully crafted with high-quality natural materials that offer a uniquely luxurious and timeless fishing experience .
Over the years , Orvis fly rods have gone through several distinct phases of evolution . According to Orvis ’ Director of Product Development and Design Shawn Coombs , it all began with the creation of the world-famous original Orvis fly reel in 1874 . “ The Orvis Fly Reel was a significant advancement in terms of fly reel technology , because it was mounted vertically and featured a ventilated spool . Before the Orvis Fly Reel , vertically-mounted fly reels existed , as did ventilated spools , but the Orvis Fly Reel was the first to combine the two of them together . It really set the stage for the development of more modern reels , such as the ones with disc brake systems that we see today .”
STORY BY BENJAMIN LERNER PHOTOS COURTESY ORVIS
The introduction of the original Orvis fly reel occurred during the first of four distinct phases in Orvis fly rod development . Before the emergence of modern fishing technologies , the earliest Orvis rods were made out of wood . Orvis ’ early rods were made mostly of ash , lancewood , or greenheart wood . According to Coombs , the wood rods were essentially a modernized and refined iteration of a primitive fishing stick fashioned out of a flexible tree branch . “ I consider the
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