Show Notes: wetflyswing.com/422
Brent Bauer is here to take us back to Umpqua Flies and some of the top-selling flies and products they have in their line.
We hear about how a fly makes it through the Umpqua cut list, the process, some funny stories, and some of their most popular flies. A man who has been at Umpqua since back in the day, here we go with Brent Bauer.
Umpqua Flies Show Notes with Brent Bauer
3:07 – I mention episode 303 with Russ Miller about how Umpqua Feather Merchants came to be.
3:37 – Brent talks about how he got into fly fishing. He grew up in Oregon on the Coast Fork Willamette River.
5:23 – Their family moved to Southern California when he was in high school.
8:04 – He shared how he got connected with Umpqua. His first professional gig in fly fishing was in Westbank Anglers in Houston, Texas in ’97, then he got into Umpqua in the early 2000s as a dealer support manager.
12:29 – He takes us back to the downturn back then at the company.
16:25 – He shares his second favorite job at Umpqua and the challenges they deal with working in the company.
18:56 – They are the first company that introduced the taper leader. They are also the largest seller of fly fishing hooks in the US.
20:41 – He tells the categories of their products which are flies, hooks, leaders, tippet, streamside, fly tying, and bags. Currently, Brent is the Director of Product Management. He handles all new product designs and development in all categories.
25:05 – He walks us through the process of deciding on which fly designs go in their catalog. He and Jeff Fryhover, their President, have been members of their fly committee for over two decades now.
29:20 – He talks about their collaboration process with their fly tyers.
31:32 – We talk a bit about travel. He already has been to Alphonse in Seychelles.
33:00 – He shares their top-selling categories. One of the products he mentions is the hippie stomper.
34:52 – I ask him if they keep track of their top products every year. They do extremely well in dry flies in general. They’re the hardest flies to tie.
35:34 – He mentions the stimulator by one of their signature tyers, Randall Kauffman.
36:16 – He mentions other trending categories at Umpqua.
38:03 – He shares how they name their flies.
38:55 – He gives us a rundown of their bestselling flies. Among them are the chubby chernobyl, elk caddies, and hippie stomper.
39:20 – We dig into the hippie stomper. He recommends a red size 14 hippie stomper. He says it’s a deadly fly.
40:25 – I ask him to compare the hippie stomper with the missing link which he says is a fantastic fly.
41:28 – He talks about their collaboration with Andrew Grillos, the signature tyer of the hippie stomper and the mini hippie stomper which they launched a couple of years ago. We had Andrew in the podcast in episode 339.
45:04 – He gives us their top nymphs. One of them is the zebra midge tungsten which he says is a killer.
51:01 – He talks about what sets Umpqua apart from the other companies. He mentions their signature fly designer program and the late Dave Whitlock who was their first signature fly designer.
52:38 – He also says that the other aspect of their success is the relationships created in Thailand, Sri Lanka, and India by the late Dennis Black, Umpqua founder.
55:45 – I ask him why they placed their production in Sri Lanka. They have hundreds of tyers in each of their factories in the abovementioned countries.
57:44 – He shares the challenges they encountered having their production process in those countries.
59:10 – We dig into the categories they look at to consider certain flies in their top list.
1:03:22 – We do the two-minute drill.
1:04:31 – He gives advice to those who are new to getting into the game.
1:06:40 – He shares what’s next for them in product development. He also mentions some products that they just launched.
Show Notes: wetflyswing.com/422