Re: C&F Fly Boxes: Are They Worth It?
MrTrout, We are getting into meatier (pun intended on food marketing comments) matters here with modern Hardy's changes in character, than fly boxes. I read not long ago that Richard Wheatly was in economic trouble too, no doubt due to the plethora of cheap imitations in concert with changing tastes in how to store flies...our core subject here. In my youth I had but one reel, an Ohio-built Pflueger Medalist, and on visits to Abercrombies and William Mills in NYC, I would gaze longingly at Perfects, St. Georges and Lightweights and, ultimately, did buy my first quality reel, an LRH.
I am fishing two Korean-built Zeniths and one Proaxis from modern Hardy and they are very fine casting and fishing rods and the performance of the Hardy U DD is far superior to my beloved and retired LRH (which is scratched up some). At the recent Somerset Fly Fishing Show, I had the opportunity to cast the Alnwick-built "Artisan" designed by the same wonderful Howard Croston that devised the tapers for Zenith. Its craftsmanship and components outshone the Korean-made rod by a mile though, in a side-by-side casting comparison to an equivalent Zenith...it was Zenith I preferred. Also that awful modern-day issue of cost reared its unattractive head; Artisan on these shores retails for over $1,200.00, even its Ari't Hart aesthetic-inspired reel seat can't justify that price. I do, however, empathize with your profound disappointment in the changes at Hardy and, along with you, anxiously await the announcement of new ownership of the fly and castle brand. I would feel much the same were venerable Abel, Scott or Sage, all of which, through ownership and even designer changes, have wisely preserved their employee base of skilled and dedicated craftsmen and persist in building everything with their name on it themselves.
Regarding the utility, quality and value of (back to the thread) fly boxes, the more I read your and everyone elses comments the more I am realizing that the one piece of tackle I make from scratch myself (OK, I build my leaders too) or am gifted by my fine friends and fishing partners are flies. They deserve to be displayed and protected in boxes worthy of their value to me. In the box illustrated in my opening comments, reside a few flies I tied decades ago, salvaged from the lidded compartments of well worn old Wheatlys. And, when I buy a new gasket sealed fly box, which is not too often, I stride into a riverside fly shop with my vest on to determine which model and size will fit ideally into the intended pocket. And I have just talked myself into it; next box I buy I will pay extra for the original C&F or SA version no matter how good and inexpensive the rip-off imitations of them may be. To paraphrase Bob Dylan; you say it costs $2, will you please take $3?