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Sage Fly Rods and Making It in the USA

Patriotic Lure

Sage is not moving. Based on Bainbridge Island, Washington, Sage manufactures all of its fly rods right there and plans to continue doing so. Seems like some recent scuttlebutt over the company possibly moving is now quashed. “I don’t ever see us leaving Bainbridge,” said Sage’s president, Travis Campbell. “At the end of the day, I think we can make a better product here.” Another reason he cites: “[T]o protect our intellectual property. If we took (Sage) to China, everybody would very quickly know our magic. Here, we can keep our secrets.”

As I wrote a few weeks ago, the fly fishing industry manufactures its stuff mostly right here in the USA, especially the high and mid level gear, but even a lot of the lower priced quality stuff is done domestically. See Scott and St. Croix, for example. It will be interesting to see if this serves as a model for other industries of if we’ll instead sadly remember this as the shadow of the once thriving U.S. manufacturing base.

Fly Fishing Gear Made in the USA

Lamson Reel
Lamson made in the USA and living the good life, N. Fork Thornton River, Shenandoah National Park

Many people describe the slide in prosperity in the United States as a result of our eroding manufacturing base and “exporting” our industrial production overseas. Maybe. Now that our holiday shopping for everyone else is finished, maybe we can learn something from the domestic fly fishing industry and help our economy as we shop for new gear…

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