Christmas is just around the corner. This year we asked our team to share some of their favorite purchases of 2023 to act as a starting point for shopper's (and help with customer wishlists) this Christmas season.
There are some overlapping choices like Oro's Indicators, Smith's Guide Choice Sunglasses, SIMMS pro nippers, and assorted fly lines. Check out each of our team's recommendations with product ranging from flies to fly rods - something for every budget. If you don't see your favorite team member's recommendations it's because they're being grinch-like (LOL) and haven't provided their list yet! We will continue to add to this blog when new submissions are received.
DAVE'S FAVES: Dave's been "in the biz" for pretty much 30 years. Initially as a northern pike fly fishing guide while finishing up his degree in Wildlife Biology and as shop owner since Fish Tales' opened in 1997. As such he's seen products come and go. His list focuses on some of his must haves (things he's purchased throughout the course of the last 30 years and again in 2023.) No rods or reels on his list but he's sharing some practical and proven product that he loves.
NANCY'S NOTABLES: As co-owner of Fish Tales, Nancy wears many hats. Occasionally she even gets to access her journalism training to write content for the website. She enjoys fishing the Bow and anywhere else she visits with a fly rod. 2023 was a year of targeting new species that allowed her to fine tune her warm water kit. Check out her favorite buys of the year.
WILLS WORDS: Our resident-Aussie is an avid Bow river angler. He works full-time hours in the shop, spearheads a bunch of our classes, ties a boatload of Chai T's, and still finds time to fish. He's thoughtful with his spending and has curated a list of product that he regularly uses.
TOUTED by TERRY: Currently in Christmas Island and ALWAYS a man of few written words.... We'll hope to add Terry's suggestions in the coming weeks.
COURTNEY'S CATCHES: This year Courtney’s time on the water has been focused on the Bow where she's tested a variety of lines and fine tuned her wading layers. Courtney has provided some comprehensive product recommendations in her top picks for 2023.
MATT'S MENTIONS: Matt spends well over a hundred days guiding and fishing on the Bow. When he's not guiding on local waters he's working in the shop, curating video content for our social media feeds, or off chasing tarpon and redfish. He shares his favorite purchases of 2023.
KUDOS from KELLY: Coming soon...
DUNCAN'S DYNAMITES: Duncan invested in a drift boat in 2023 and has been updating his kit for more time in the boat. He is one of our full-time year-around staff members and will be tying some flies for the shop bins in 2024.
DANIEL'S DAZZLERS - Daniel started his university career this fall and continues working part-time at the shop. He's an accomplished tier who ties hundreds of flies annually for Fish Tales and in 2023 joined our guide team. He has highlighted a few of his favorite purchases he's made this year,
GIDEON'S GO-TO'S: Gideon is continuing to work part-time while finishing grade 12. In 2023 he's expanded his toolkit with some quality gear. He's also expanding his role at the shop by taking on some commercial tying responsibilities. Check out his recommendations.
BEN(T)'S BETS: Ben (Timmins) is one of our most recent hires. He splits his time between Calgary and Vancouver Island and spends time on the water in both locations. He's knowledgeable about all things salmon related, spends time with single hand and spey rods, and is eager to help. Check out some of the product he's into for 2023.
CRAIG'S COUNSEL: Craig's been an active member of Calgary's fly fishing community for decades. He and Nancy spent time on the board of the Bow River chapter of Trout Unlimited in the late nineties and he spearheaded that chapter's annual tackle swap for many years. Craig is in the shop a couple times a week and has taken over our lake fishing and tying class. He already owns most of what he needs but invested in some new technical clothing and other product in 2023.
LIAM'S LIST: Currently in his last year of high school, Liam continues to work a couple shifts a week at the shop. He's spent quite a bit of time on Vancouver Island over the last year and has explored waters closer to home.
RECOMMENDED by ROB: Rob has been in and out of the Calgary fly fishing retail scene a couple times. He joined the Fish Tales team earlier this year and is now one of our full-time in-store guys. He spends his days off fishing the Bow and has taken over our river reports. Plus he's just a fun guy to be around. Check out his recommendations that surprisingly aren't all super fishy.
ALLARD'S ANSWERS: Allard is a newer addition to the team. He's a Federation of Fly Fisher's Certified Casting Instructor and a keen angler. He and his family have been regular visitors to the shop for several years but his recent retirement allowed us to invite him to help out a bit at the shop. He's enjoys tying and features a couple of tying/material suggestions in this list of top 5.
GRACE'S GOLD: coming soon