When I attend the Fly Fishing Retailer World Trade Expo (that really big fly-fishing
show in Salt Lake City), I have one purpose or motive that drives me; I want to find
the best products at the best prices to pass on to my customers. That sounds simple,
but really, it isn't simple at all.
Walking the aisles of the show is like playing dodge ball when you are the only one
left on your side of the court. Every manufacturer there is hoping they or their
representatives (reps) will manage to entice you or lure you into their grasp where
they can explain in great detail everything they make or sell. If that rep represents
several lines, it could take half a day to see everything he wants you to see. The
show is just too big to let that happen if you want to see everything that's available.
Weeding through the hundreds of thousands of items offered at the show can be
confusing enough to contribute to a case of criminal insanity if you don't have a plan.
Fortunately, I have a plan. I quickly walk the show floor looking for new products
that catch my eye and tell anyone who wants to capture my time that I will get back
to them after my preview of the show. That first walk usually burns up most of the
first day, but by the time I finish my walk, I have a list of things I want to check
My first criteria for products I want to sell to my customers is value. All shows are
loaded with expensive stuff, cheap stuff, inexpensive stuff and a few valuable items.
If the product is inexpensive and poorly built, it's "cheap" and won't get another look.
If it's expensive and poorly built, it won't get another look either. In my book, value is
measured by how much the product offers for the money required to obtain it. Using
that guideline, it's rather easy to make a short list of new products that need
My Pick of the Show for this show (and all shows) is based on value. I feel this new
item offers the most performance for the consumer's dollar. It wasn't an easy choice.
I had to choose between a reasonably nice fly rod/reel combo that will sell for $40
(lots nicer than those bubble-packed offerings found at the big "marts") and a
backpacker's pontoon boat. The pontoon boat won; here's why.
This year Trout Trap Products introduced a pontoon boat that has a metal frame, 8ft pontoons,
offers three adjustable heights the user can select, weighs 17 pounds (including the carry bag),
and breaks down to a small package that would fit in most gym bags. It comes with its own
bag that has backpack straps or a shoulder strap, depending on how far you break the frame
down. It has straps that allow you to carry the pontoon boat on your back when fully inflated
too. The only thing it doesn't have is the kayak paddle needed to propel it (that is an additional
If you travel a lot, especially if you fly, this is the answer to your pontoon boat needs. It will fit
in the overhead compartment of any airline with ease. If you ride a motorcycle, it will fit in most
saddlebags. If you ride a mountain bike, it will travel on your back as easily as any day pack
The pontoon boat is called the "Backpacker" for obvious reasons. What isn't obvious is
the price. Most pontoon boat manufacturers would offer this item for the meager sum of
maybe $800 retail. Some might call it a "tremendous value" if they offered it for $600. The
Trout Traps Backpacker will sell for about $300 retail. That's half the price of
most rigid-framed models being offered by other manufacturers, 1/4th the price of some
of the similar sized models on the market. After considering the amount of product being
offered for the dollars spent, I believe the Trout Traps Backpacker pontoon boat
offers the most value of any new product I saw at the show. I also think it's innovative
enough to start a surge of similar offerings by other manufacturers (at a higher price of course).
Trout Traps, for offering the best value at the show, your Backpacker pontoon boat
is my Pick-of-the-Show.
The next challenge is for someone to invent a kayak paddle that breaks down small enough
to fit into that bag. ~Al Campbell
Trout Traps Products
P.O. Box 506
Arvada, CO 80001
Toll Free: 800-831-6398
Tel: 303-940-0310 Fax: 303-940-0310
Email Trout Traps