I’ve been developing designs for Sage, Redington, and RIO for about 4 years now. It’s been a true pleasure to work in an industry that is so clearly passionate about the sport of fly fishing.
When I came onboard, I had a very limited understanding of the sport from what I’d heard from my Bohemian college friends from Montana and my uncle in New Hampshire who built bamboo fly rods in his garage.
I believed two things about fly fishing: my uncle’s fly rods were not to be touched and fly fishing was something that was done in the rivers of Montana.
I had little knowledge of the passionate anglers and fly fishing opportunities right in my backyard. Since that time, I have discovered a world at my doorstep that I’ve only just begun to explore.
When I was younger, I had a serious passion for collecting outdoor treasures.
These treasures usually came in the form of small unpolished rocks, sea glass, and driftwood that I’d use to craft wind chimes to hang around the perimeter of the house. When they weren’t at the daily grind, my folks were traveling backpackers. I’d tag along on the trails, beaches and rivers collecting what I could, filling my backpack to the brim and carrying my treasures around for days. This hobby stayed with me and as I got older I developed a group of ‘rockhound’ friends. We’d travel and camp at different locations in central Washington and Oregon in search of gemstones like agates, jade stone and petrified wood. I loved finding these treasured rocks after a long hike into the woods, but more so I loved the adventure of traveling and the harmony I felt exploring the outdoors.
I’ve always thought of myself as a craftsperson with a love of outdoors. I knew if I had the opportunity to carry that into my career, that would be exceptionally rewarding.
When I started as a softgoods designer, it was instantly obvious that this was a group of people who were dedicated. Not simply dedicated to work and efficiency, but to their craft … the craft of fly fishing. Our halls are full of anglers with years of experience, eager to provide a casting lesson or word of advice on technique for me at a moment’s notice.
The waders in the Redington line are developed ‘by women for women’ and I believe this makes them distinctive and compelling in the fly fishing marketplace.
In the process of designing women’s waders, I have developed a deep love for fly fishing. On a trip to the Deschutes River in central Oregon with a co-worker, I caught my first trout on a dry fly. We had been hiking for the majority of the morning in 90 degrees on the winding trails by the river and stopped to fish a seam by the bank. I was casting a rod that I had crafted by hand in our on-site production facility. After working the spot for about 20 minutes, as smooth as ever, a Rainbow beak broke the surface and ate my fly! It happened in a split second, but I’ll never forget the moment and the feeling of exhilaration in holding that beautiful fish. Its magnificent colors and natural brilliance were so much more remarkable than I’d anticipated.
I had found that same joy that I remembered from traveling with my friends in search for rocks in the woods. I felt so natural and connected to the outdoors again in a way that I hadn’t in years. I’ve rediscovered my appreciation for traveling to local destinations; and although the prize has changed, the journey has not.
Since that trip to the Deschutes, I’ve been on many fishing adventures. Last May, I traveled to San Pedro, Belize to fish for bonefish on the flats. More recently, another female co-worker and I travelled to Craig, Montana where we landed some beautiful trout on the Missouri River and I caught my biggest brown yet. I’m looking forward to trips with my female co-workers and colleagues in the coming year.
The fly fishing industry, as we know it, certainly has a dominant male presence. I’ve discovered that female anglers are just as passionate and dedicated to the sport as their male counterparts. As Redington’s wader designer, I’ve made it my priority to find out what’s important to women and what they’re expecting to get out of the gear that they use on the water.
The waders in the Redington line are developed ‘by women for women’ and I believe this makes them distinctive and compelling in the fly fishing marketplace. When we set out to develop new women’s waders, the idea was to offer waders that were designed specifically for female anglers and that deliver a feminine cut and fit that would be comfortable, functional and flattering for many women with a range of different physiques. By talking with avid female anglers who test our gear and by testing waders myself on the river, I’ve been able to generate an understanding of the performance standards that our waders must meet. We also performed a series of internal and external product reviews with our own in-line waders to evaluate what has worked for us with past products and what may have needed to be updated, reworked, or redesigned. As a result, we’ve added some unique features to our waders that clearly differentiate them from other women’s waders in the market.
With the Siren Wader style, we now offer two different fit options, the ‘Kate Fit’ for a slender cut and a ‘Marilyn Fit’ for a fuller-figure cut. By doing this, we were able to offer options that work well with a lot wider range of different body shapes to deliver superior fit and function. Other innovations include; a mesh panel at the back, between the suspenders, which allows for additional mobility, a more secure fit and improved comfort while crouching, neoprene inserts in the top circumference of the wader which facilitate pulling the waders on over the hips and provides a more comfortable, secure fit around the chest. The Siren waders, as well as the new Women’s Willow River Waders, also both incorporate a women’s specific bib-cut for comfort at the chest and contribute to a uniquely flattering style.
It’s essential to note that while these waders offer important gender-specific features, they are built to perform just as well as other waders in the Redington line. The 3-layer waterproof/breathable DWR coated fabric, high density neoprene booties, water resistant storage pockets and strategically placed seams all ensure that the waders hold up and perform well in rugged conditions.
It has been an exhilarating year. Redington introduced the re-designed Willow River Wader, winning best of show for new women’s waders at the IFTD (International Fly Tackle Dealer Show). We also introduced two great new women’s wading boots which were well received. The designs for these new products are the result of many hours of research, development and extensive field testing, by a wide range of female anglers. When searching for that perfect pair of waders, women will appreciate the time, effort and specific care that the Redington team brings to addressing their specific needs.
Many women find the same joy that I do in this sport and I feel that female anglers are becoming ever more recognized within the industry. Rest assured that female anglers are well accounted for in our product line and I continue to see more women-specific products in the industry. I look forward to and truly believe that we will continue to see this category grow in the years to come.