In a world driven by mass production and fleeting trends, there's something undeniably refreshing about a brand that puts tradition, nature, and craftsmanship at its core. Maine Fly Co., a local gem nestled in the heart of Maine, does just that, and their commitment to passionate anglers and the pristine waterways they hold dear is nothing short of remarkable.
Jeff Davis: A Leap from Corporate Life to Craftsmanship and Family Time
In our recent podcast episode, Logan had the privilege of sitting down with Jeff Davis, the man behind Maine Fly Co.
His journey is a testament to the power of following one's passion. Jeff left the corporate world behind to pursue crafting one-of-a-kind fly rods. Not only did he want to productize his passion, but he also sought to prioritize precious moments with his family.
Jeff's decision to leap into the world of craftsmanship is an inspiring reminder that sometimes, the pursuit of one's dreams can lead to something truly extraordinary.
Meticulous Craftsmanship: Preserving Maine's Natural Beauty
Maine Fly Co. isn't just a brand; it's a homage to the picturesque landscapes of Maine that inspire their craft. The company's commitment to creating slow, small-batch fly rods is a testament to their dedication to preserving the natural beauty of the places they hold dear. Each fly rod is a masterpiece, handcrafted locally by experts of their craft.
In a world that often races towards automation and mass production, Maine Fly Co. takes a step back, emphasizing the artistry of handcrafting and the importance of tradition.
If you're intrigued by the story of Jeff Davis and the philosophy behind Maine Fly Co., we invite you to listen to the episode. Logan and Davis dive deep into the rich heritage and core values that drive the brand, and you'll gain a deeper understanding of what makes Maine Fly Co. so unique.
Don't miss this inspiring conversation with Jeff Davis, a true visionary who has successfully blended his passion for craft with the preservation of heritage and the importance of family.
Check out Maine Fly Co.
Machine-generated Audio Transcript
Logan Rackliff (00:00):
Anyway. Okay, so welcome to the Slow Goods podcast. I'm your host, Logan Rackliff, and we are here today with Jeff Davis. Thank you so much for coming, Jeff. Really appreciate it having me, founder of Maine Fly Company, and Jeff, I first saw you, I think on you had a little thing came out on WCSH six right here locally in Maine about your story, and I was like, no way. Somebody is making fly rods in Maine. I love fly fishing. And so I was like an instant fan. But anyway, what else can you tell us for those who don't know you, what you do, and maybe just some cool publications you've been in or something, what stands out most to you?
Jeff Davis (00:47):
It's becoming a more and more loaded question as we go right in the beginning. What do I do? Anything I can do to stay out of corporate America and feel good and calm at home? And since then, the company's morphed into so many things. At our very core, we're a small batch fly rod company. We build fly rods that are as unique as the anglers that buy 'em. They're inspired by our trips and waterways and places we visit. And with more than 5,000 waterways here in Maine, we're no soon at a loss of inspiration, but it's the very core of what we do. It was a buck to mass production. It was looking at anglers male female of all ages nationally. And as a new angler myself that we all have these unique recipes and flies and ways of presenting and waters and fish we're after, but yet we're swinging these mass produced rods. And the math just didn't add up to me. And so in an effort to balance myself in a new craft or industry, maybe I started building rods. It was a hobby and I didn't really care at the time if it was going to be a newfound hobby or a business.
Logan Rackliff (02:04):
Jeff Davis (02:04):
Said, we'll just see how it goes. And fortunately, the latter of the two happened and I've now able to do this for a living, which is kind of the best of both worlds.
Logan Rackliff (02:15):
Jeff Davis (02:15):
Play with fly rods by day and fish 'em and explore the rivers by weekend in free time. So it's been a pretty awesome combo.
Logan Rackliff (02:22):
I love it. So you make the small batch fly rods here in Maine. Is there, I know you've had quite a bit of press. Is there any favorite ones that stand out to you or anything or a specific,
Jeff Davis (02:34):
It's funny, I don't put a ton of real estate on it. I mean, I'm on it
Logan Rackliff (02:39):
Jeff Davis (02:40):
All stretch. I mean, I remember one time sitting on Fox Business News at six o'clock in the morning watching the stock market report under my face. I said, man, this isn't right. I wasn't expecting something like this. But it's more the local down East magazines and main magazine, the stuff you grow up on that's sitting on the tables of the doctor office and just you've been exposed to your whole life. You never really envisioned that this passion or this business that morphed out of loss and grieving and would become this thing that people wanted to write about.
Logan Rackliff (03:26):
Jeff Davis (03:27):
Kind of a trip to watch. But I appreciate telling the story less in a way to say, oh, look at how far we've come. But hopefully more in a way to inspire folks that you're not trapped in anything. If the corporate world and the hustle and bustle's not working for you, here's the guy three months before having twins and sons, and it couldn't have been a worse time, but at some point you got to just follow your gut and do what feels right. And sure you sacrifice the money and the benefits and the vacations, but my quality of life has skyrocketed and there's no way to quantify that.
Logan Rackliff (04:08):
Great. Yeah. I want to get more into the origins of the store, and I know your father was a huge part of it and I want to get into that. I would love to just, which you'll fall right into that I'm sure. But I'd just love to hear your story, wherever you want to start as a kid or whatever it is, just kind of Jeff's story and how you got to where you are. I guess as the founder of a main fly company, I'd love to hear just kind of that
Jeff Davis (04:39):
Logan Rackliff (04:39):
As much as you want.
Jeff Davis (04:40):
I think the earlier version of me is not all that interesting or unusual. I'm a French Canadian kid, grew up with a hockey stick in Lewiston, Maine.
You didn't have to want to or not want to, you just played hockey. It's what you did. And I grew up in a house with three women, my mom and my two sisters, and the younger brother, the kind of rowdy one of the crew. And so played some sports, did the mischief that Lewiston invokes and took a non-traditional path. I think I was maybe a day out of high school going a little stir crazy at the house and skipped project graduation and dumped my hockey bag on the floor and filled it up with clothes and what I thought was important, threw it in the back of an old Toyota small body pickup truck that was at any point, one of the panels could have fell off and took off and lived on the beach in Florida for years and got into sales and business. And I just had a natural hustle at the time. And
Logan Rackliff (05:45):
Jeff Davis (05:45):
One thing morphed to another, and you're in sales and sales management and business development and leading small companies and then leading bigger companies. And there was always a rush in that early, but it was all about money. And let me combat my upbringing and show everybody that this mischief from Lewiston can succeed and follow the path of paper success or what I could show on the outside. And it wasn't until much later, and I'm sure we'll touch on it, that I had some major awakening and realized there's just no value in that. But all in all, a decent upbringing. My mom and I were tight, tight. I had an uncle who was a tremendous craftsman and sailor and my aunt who was a missionary and would come home from the jungles and these random places around the world. And she was my World Cup buddy for soccer, and she was a huge inspiration to me in a million ways. And
Logan Rackliff (06:50):
Jeff Davis (06:51):
Oh geez. I mean, she's an angel. You look at these missionaries and people don't these days, and I'm not making any stance on any religion whatsoever.
Logan Rackliff (07:04):
Well, I'm a big man of faith is why I asked.
Jeff Davis (07:06):
Yeah. Well, I grew up with a house full of St. Joe's nuns across the street, and whenever my mom would go on vacation and leave me to the house, they'd come over and they'd all sit on the front porch and pray for me and Jeff, be careful while she's gone and we're watching.
Logan Rackliff (07:22):
Jeff Davis (07:22):
So I grew up in that kind of community. My aunt was a nun of St. Joseph's, but she'd come home and she really valued if you were really doing well in thriving, it was a quick hello. If you were struggling and needed the help, she could read it and she'd give you the time and the energy and the conversations and things like nobody really could,
Logan Rackliff (07:47):
Man. I need to be better at that. It's cool. I mean
Jeff Davis (07:49):
And I remember one year as a young kid and I was having this kind of odd summer, and she talked me into somehow entering my name in this checker tournament as a kid. It was the funniest thing. And we're in the small elementary and she sat with me through this whole thing, and it was just one of these things we did. And I'll tell you, I dominated in that thing and it was just this really special experience from this lady who is a life teacher and an educator and the calm and all the things she provided. And I have a million small anecdotes like that. She spent a lot of time in the jungles in Brazil and would bring me home. This lady who made no money,
Logan Rackliff (08:30):
Jeff Davis (08:30):
Had the same four outfits. She rotated, slept on cots, and she'd always pony up this Brazilian soccer jersey when she'd come home. And it was this moment I've kept with 'em to this day, but anyway, a very inspirational person on living well and living for others. So I had a really good balance of adults growing up.
Logan Rackliff (08:52):
And your uncle you said, was a craftsman that just perked my interest. I had heard another podcast where we'll talk more about it, but you're really into, obviously you make fly rods and you learn how to do that, but I wonder if there's probably some influence maybe. I mean,
Jeff Davis (09:12):
There's no doubt.
Logan Rackliff (09:13):
Yeah, right. I'm not trying to convince you, but I'd love to hear about 'em. What did he like to make?
Jeff Davis (09:18):
So it turns out my grandfather and his father, I mean a lot of my Canadian roots, they were all carpenters. And soon you get into the religious part of it, Joseph St. Joseph, my uncle was an interesting cat no matter where you found him, within a town or two of where we lived. He was living in this old chicken coop that was being ripped down and give it to him eight months later. And it's these massive old mill as you see everywhere today, but it wasn't present back in that day,
Logan Rackliff (09:47):
Jeff Davis (09:47):
He's got these condos in it and it's just amazing architecture. And meanwhile, you'll see him at a table making this 10 foot by 10 foot stained glass mural that he's going to hang, and then he's overdoing refrigeration and building this hot tub in the base. He always had his hands in something.
Logan Rackliff (10:05):
Man, those guys are cool.
Jeff Davis (10:07):
He was a sailor built sail sailboats. He just always had something that was jaw droppingly incredible to watch. So I think that's where some of those roots come from for me, for sure.
Logan Rackliff (10:19):
Yeah. So you grew up in the home with, you had the uncle and your mom and two sisters, and you went into, you said you got into sales and some professional and leading small companies. So what are some of your, during that time, corporate and all chasing money, what are your favorite moments, or least from it, what stands out was there? What parts did you like or what was your favorite place that you worked with? There must've been some good things and learned a few things in there.
Jeff Davis (10:56):
I think so. And that whole part of my life was all for my dad. My dad was this played safe, the corporate man. I remember young saying, I'm going to be an artist. You can't be an artist, Jeff. You're not going to make any money. So there was that safe path, and that was the sales and business side. So through it in the thick of it, I didn't realize how polar opposite I was from the life I was living, but at the same time, I had a rush going into some of these big places and in short time outselling and I was very competitive. And so with that becomes a lot of travels and new opportunities and your first business trips and your awards as salespeople are, they're spoiled rotten. I mean, you're making people money so they make sure you're making money. And as a young guy from a small French Canadian town in Lewis and Maine in Maine, and I'm being flown all over the country and treated in first class, I mean, there was some pretty cool moments and some great opportunities through all that. But I reflect on it now and I don't regret a ton of it, but I'm sure glad I landed where I have.
Logan Rackliff (12:08):
Yeah. What do you think your biggest skills out of all that you have now to start a business as an entrepreneur? Do you,
Jeff Davis (12:17):
I think that for a lot of people who craft or build or do things from the heart or passion or they're inspired by something, what you learn and what you see in the companies you've seen crash and starting. People are chasing money. It's just, let me just make as much as I can. And look, the world is abundant. I mean, people are making money everywhere. The fulfillment's not necessarily there.
Logan Rackliff (12:48):
Jeff Davis (12:49):
Got direct family members that support that. I think what I learned in a lot of that is the people that really lived the passions. And as I dipped in and out of the hospitality world and restaurants and leading and running restaurants and seeing the chef own passionate, the place reflected of them, it felt them. You tasted them in the food. It was just all about the food and passion similar to what the breweries later morphed into and these furniture makers and things you see. And so what you learn is how to make money and then how to really fulfill a passion and what's more important. And then you later begin to quantify what's more important to me and which do I choose? You hope for both.
Logan Rackliff (13:36):
Jeff Davis (13:36):
As any startup and any small business owner knows you don't get both for a little while.
Logan Rackliff (13:42):
Yeah, it's hard for sure. I was just riffing on kind of single podcast before this, and yeah, the start is just trying to make money. That's what it was for me. And actually as I've been interviewing people, it's like you have this romantic, I mean, they're all good stories, but initially I was like, well, I got to make money somehow. And then it's like getting to the passion. I mean, the passion's there too, but yeah, I hear what you're saying.
Jeff Davis (14:13):
Logan Rackliff (14:15):
So yeah, that goes into main fly. So how did Main Fly become to be?
Jeff Davis (14:24):
I was, what are we now? 70 years, maybe six years or so, starting to feel my age. I was a soccer guy and played all through adulting and the body got a little more creaky and the running started hurting a little bit. So I was going through a transformational phase, or at least what's next for me as far as where I belonged in the world of sporting and outdoor recreation in a lot of this. Around that same time, I was working in an organization that I envisioned walking in and butterflies and rainbows were going to be everywhere. And it was just this beautiful environment.
Logan Rackliff (15:08):
Jeff Davis (15:08):
Was one of the nastiest, most cutthroat corporate environments I've ever worked
Logan Rackliff (15:11):
Jeff Davis (15:12):
And it was essentially the start of the nail in the coffin. I was in a challenging marriage at the time. I was anticipating young boys twins, which we had recently learned. My mom had just begun early signs of dementia. And so needless to say, I find myself early forties, nothing's really stable right now. Out of the blue, I get a call that my dad went in for something very routine in the hospital and passed away.
Logan Rackliff (15:47):
Jeff Davis (15:48):
This was two or three months before my kids were born,
Logan Rackliff (15:51):
Jeff Davis (15:53):
So as the only son and the only one capable at the time, I find myself immediately stopping what I'm doing and jumping on a plane and getting out to Chicago and certain my affairs, what are we going to do with him? Where's he going?
Logan Rackliff (16:08):
Jeff Davis (16:08):
He have a will? Does he have anything? There was nothing but a hoard, a house full of stuff is his partner, who's a wonderful lady, lives out there, very lost in mourning. And I was in pain, I was confused. I remember just talking to my dad and recently taking him back to Rocky Mountain, North Carolina. He couldn't travel. He couldn't do much. He wasn't well, but he was nowhere near passing. And anyway, I managed to break him out of his comfort zone, put him on a plane. So I'm bringing you back to your homestead. We're going to go see your mom's grave site, your grandma, the house you grew up in. I want to learn these things before you get too old. And ironically, that was just a few months prior.
Logan Rackliff (16:51):
Wow. Good thing you did it.
Jeff Davis (16:53):
So whatever happens in whatever you believe in or don't, to that point, I certainly had a moment. And in being at his home, it was something telling me, take the tools, take this, take this. And all of a sudden I trip on all this fly gear in the basement and I'm like, whoa, what is all this stuff? And I started putting, I had never fly fished in my life. We're talking eight, nine years ago,
Logan Rackliff (17:19):
Jeff Davis (17:19):
Years ago, eight years ago. And I find the waiters and all these things. And so I'm like, all right, I'm curious, but I don't have a lot of time for this. Let me throw it in. And I arrived back in Maine. I said, look, I'm too lost. I am not going to work right now. I'm going to take some time off. Decided to build this mini barn shed thing in the backyard, and it was important to me that I use only his tools, nails, screws. This was dedicated to dad.
Logan Rackliff (17:41):
Jeff Davis (17:41):
I was going to sit out there and I was going to heal one of the coolest two weeks of my life. I mean boxer walking in the yard. One day I look on my road and this van goes by and it says Davis on the side of it. I've never even heard of this. What is this business Eagles are, I mean, things I've never seen
Logan Rackliff (18:00):
Jeff Davis (18:01):
And a few things became very, very apparent. I wasn't going back to a corporate life, I was staying outside, and that's where I wanted to be.
And this idea of working with my hands, which I've done part-time as my way to calm and feel good through my whole existence was feeling really natural and really good. And around that same time, ironically, I decided to put that first fly rod together, and my brother-in-Law at the time, I fly fish, let's go. And I said, I have no idea what the hell I'm doing. Well, I'll show you. And we started going one day I'm sitting on the river, I'm like, this rod's ugly. How are they made? And start popping a guide off. And I said, that's what it is. That's it. These don't look that great. And so me and Toby bought some Rod building kits and just started playing. It was just couldn't be something in tribute to Dad. Well, I built a couple rods and five hours has passed. I have no blood. I'm as calm as can be. I feel pretty amazing. I'm going to build another one and another one and another one. And these things started happening. And then I started making 'em available to friends. And with my business background, I said, ah, let's brand this thing. It's a hobby. Let's have some fun. This is all about family. This is all about this lost art. A little market research. One thing leads to another, the website launches.
Logan Rackliff (19:26):
Jeff Davis (19:26):
We said it was just a hobby. It was something small. It was a dedication to fly fishing and dad, and before you knew it, people are calling. Can we hear your story, why you've heard this people? Yeah, I heard you on this small podcast, and one thing just kind of led to the other. And here we are five years later. I mean, we haven't made it. And I tell the crew every day, we haven't
Logan Rackliff (19:53):
Jeff Davis (19:54):
We're working harder today than we did five years ago to make sure this goes, but so play me off anytime.
Logan Rackliff (20:04):
No, this is what it's all about. We're here for a while.
Jeff Davis (20:08):
But the idea behind this to me was that I found this great way to say, look, these new children I'm bringing in the world. I don't want them to see me pass and just remember all the things I wished I had done, the places I wished I had gone.
Dad was notorious. I wish I was in Maine and I wish I was salmon fishing and I wish I was. And that's all I heard for a decade or longer. And then to get out and sort the affairs and have them not be where they needed to be. And we never really had that chance to connect and be outside. And frankly, dad and I missed each other a million times in growing up because he is in Chicago or he is in New York or he is in Boston. And I said, look, if you can't learn that lesson this way, when will you
Logan Rackliff (21:02):
Jeff Davis (21:02):
My kids are not going to go through that.
Logan Rackliff (21:04):
Jeff Davis (21:04):
Kids are going to be first, and I'm not going to have a Zoom meeting that I can't get out of on my kids'. First day of coming home on the bus after school to tell me how school was family there just became nothing more important to me. So one of the boys got another family name, the other one got another family name. And now I have three sons. And for three years, main fly company was a basement company. So their first walk, their first everything, it was the next floor down. And as soon as I heard something that was different, I was right there for them. And that hasn't changed. Even in running a company today, there's two days a week that I am home. I want to be sure I'm there when they get off the bus. And I spent those times with them. And our philosophy at work is family fishing, work,
Logan Rackliff (22:07):
Family fishing work, and
Jeff Davis (22:08):
That's what we live by.
Logan Rackliff (22:09):
I love it. That's fantastic. So your dad passes, you have, you take some time, you come into the realization and hey, we'll put a brand on this thing. This is a tribute to dad, and this is just generally something that we're passionate about. So the brand kind of launches, that's a website. So what does that look like? Is that a website and is it just you making rods?
Jeff Davis (22:38):
It's it March, 2019, six months after we're branding, we're building some logos and we're just having some fun with it. It's very small. It's just me. It's me in the basement. But through all this, I'm becoming an angler. I'm becoming an independent angler, and I couldn't catch anything for the life of me. I love when people come in the shops, I can't catch anything. Good welcome.
Logan Rackliff (23:04):
You were a professional rod maker before you were a good fisherman. Oh my
Jeff Davis (23:07):
God. And I told people, look, it took years before I could go hunt and catch fish on my own. That's not why I chose fly fishing. I come from an anxious world that I would come home so jacked up after a day in corporate that I couldn't connect with anybody. As an introvert, I needed 12 hours of recouping before I could even make it through another day. Next thing you know, I'm sitting in the middle of a river, all I can hear is the water running past my legs. I can't hear my phone,
Logan Rackliff (23:36):
Jeff Davis (23:37):
I'm coming off the water five hours later. And whether it's church for you, whether it's whatever it is that makes you feel as clean and calm as possible is how I felt.
And then building rods made me feel that way. And the whole thing, it was a movement. It was something, it was a spiritual awakening that I can only hope people will experience. And so yeah, this was all going on and it just felt really good. I was still employed around the time I launched the site, but the site was a product of my years of being in business development and a consultant. And I just wanted to put a brand around this thing because it's a hobby and it was enjoyable. And so I launched the website. Yeah, March, 2019. I remember the second the site went live and we had a Shopify platform. And so in Shopify, you get the little dollar ching every time you get a sale. And
My phone starts Ching ching, ching ching, and I'm on the phone with Shopify support. Literally the moment it launches it, are those all sales? I said, I have no idea what's going on. Is that what that noise is? She's like, that's absolutely what that noise is. I had done some teasers and some things leading up to it, but out of the gate, we just got some really great support. And as a guy who didn't want to fall victim to anything seasonal, I didn't really focus on a local presence. It was more about representing a state that I love in a newly found craft that I was obsessed with on a sport that I was obsessed with. That all was geared around family and dad and kids and the branding and everything that came around. It was just so natural. What does it look like? It's heritage, it's vintage, it's family, it's history, it, it's disconnecting, it's rustic. So yeah,
Logan Rackliff (25:45):
It's everything. Yeah. That you naturally want to be, which is so cool. I mean, I'm passionate about finding, learning how people tick and helping them find their passions, kind of. That's an indicator you talked about. I made a fly rod and five hours went by and I didn't even know it. Like, boom, that's your sweet spot. Anytime they say, whenever time just flew by, you're doing what you should, what you're made to do. Let's say.
Jeff Davis (26:13):
Logan Rackliff (26:13):
And that's so neat. Hang on a second. Can you hear him good enough? Is his mic close enough? I just want to make sure I turned it up a little bit. Okay. Could you maybe just sit,
Jeff Davis (26:25):
I just bring it for the camera? Yeah,
Logan Rackliff (26:27):
Yeah. How's the camera? Am I good on that? Should I remember last time? The first time I got a little bit far away? Yeah, I lifted it up. Okay, good. Anyway, you're killing it. I just wanted to make sure. I'd hate to do all that and then it wouldn't sound loud enough. Okay. So yeah, you launched the company, the company is launched, got the brand, and so small batches. What was a small batch then? What's a small batch now? Kind of take me through the progression of Main Fly a little bit. Yeah,
Jeff Davis (27:00):
Yeah. I mean, small batch to me. I mean, there was so many correlations to me in the very beginning, and I've always been a local brewery fan and watching the likes of the Alleg Ashes and some really inspirational success stories coming out of Maine. And I always got a kick out of the tasting rooms and the idea of you come in and you'll go in for the same one a week later, and I'm sorry, there was just a little batch of 'em. They're gone and it just made you want.
Logan Rackliff (27:27):
Jeff Davis (27:28):
You're like, well, how can you do that? Well, they were just curious one day, and they made this batch and it was delicious. So small batch, I like it. I don't want to be married and stuck to a production of 10,000 of anything. At any time. If we get sick of making the rod, we're going to stop making it. If we hit a new trip and something new inspires us, we're going to focus on that. But it keeps the quantities of the rods at a reasonable rate. I mean, they, they've scaled over time, but also to the idea that you're not going to look down the Connecticut River if you're traveling or the Kennebec in Maine and see 15 of the same fly rods like you do today on mass production. Anglers are unique, and they should have a rod that reflects them in that way. And so the idea of small batch was again, everything anti mass production and anti large business in corporation where it's about 10,000, a hundred thousand, the right margins. And it's not what we do.
Logan Rackliff (28:27):
It's not why
Jeff Davis (28:28):
We build it. It's not what inspires us.
Logan Rackliff (28:31):
So what is a batch today day generally kind of run? What are they, 50 rods or
Jeff Davis (28:39):
It can range. I mean, recently the industry all went fast with fly rods. They wanted stiffer faster, so we went opposite and we brought back the art of Bamboo.
Logan Rackliff (28:49):
Jeff Davis (28:50):
And we only put out 12 of 'em. I think we did a little launch. Let's see what happens. We teased 'em a little bit. I'll be damned if they didn't sell out in a month. But then we have stuff like the Little Rivers, the 7, 9 3 weights that we do that have been our national bestseller, and they're always in production. We've pumping out some of those almost every week. And it's tough to quantify them in forms of a batch because every builder's doing five of 'em a week
Logan Rackliff (29:20):
In addition to their stuff. Well, it's unique to you. Yeah,
Jeff Davis (29:22):
Logan Rackliff (29:22):
Jeff Davis (29:23):
And so now we'll go astray and we'll take a common batch rod and change the colors on it or configuration or make a wood grip for it or do something different and launch 'em in a limited form for a short time.
Logan Rackliff (29:36):
Jeff Davis (29:37):
This fall, we're taking our roach river rod and we're doing a cast blast version and a hunter orange
Logan Rackliff (29:43):
Jeff Davis (29:43):
Honor the old tradition in Maine of Castin Blast weekend at the end of September. And so things like the dead, the Kennebec, the little rivers we're hundreds if not pushing thousands of those.
Logan Rackliff (29:58):
Those are all fly rods
Jeff Davis (30:00):
Styles for anybody that doesn't know for the non fly. Yeah, totally. Those are all batches waterways here in Maine, but as a result, inspired fly rods. And so they're changing. And sometimes it's by market demand. Sometimes. I've got one of my lead builders who she's got three or four rods she just loves making and she'll pump 'em out all day long, smiling. And then the custom things become a very unique part of our business too. But the idea for me is we have a finite number of skews, sort of like those old restaurants usually go into, they had five pages, now you go in and look, you've got five entrees, you've got five apps and a couple of shareables. Those are your choices.
Logan Rackliff (30:44):
And then you've got your specials,
Jeff Davis (30:45):
And then you've got your specials.
Logan Rackliff (30:46):
Jeff Davis (30:47):
That's what our menu looks like at any given time.
Logan Rackliff (30:49):
Yeah, no, that's great. I love it. I would like to get to somewhat of a model like that. I was always just like, okay, I need a new product design, and this is massive because we've got to make it stock it. Guess how many we're going to sell and we've got to stock it for the year. That's like impossible.
And then I'm buying this much rope, buying this much stuff. And then when you're trying to do something cool, new and funky, well that's great, and a few people like it and it gets people's attention, but that doesn't mean they want to buy what they're comfortable with. They like it. So the small batches are something really neat, I think. And I love uniqueness, so I love the idea. So talking about those fly rods, so before I called you, I think I told you this, but my dad's and I have been fly fishermen. I love fly fishing. It's just with a small family and it's business still growing it and just everything else going on, it's only so much time. So I got to pick the first kind of passion first from my time to use over the air kind of thing. So I'm super passionate about deer hunting, tracking, going on a massive adventure type of thing in November.
But fly fishing would probably have to be pretty close to number two. I don't know what else would be number two. But yeah, I mean, being out in that river, my dad and I, when we, he's like, Hey, he really wanted to go fly fishing. His great grandfather, he found some old bamboo rods and I think was my great grandfather. His grandfather, he bought it just enough and played around. He never got into it, but he wanted to. So my dad got to the point, he kind of could and took me and remember we hired this guy that it, outdoor sportsman, I think in Northport. And this old guy, his name was Chuck, and we just went out through the fly there on the pond. He took us up to unk, I think, just out in a canoe. And my dad just laughs at it now because we didn't have a clue what we were doing. And he said, well, we never caught anything because we didn't catch him there. We were there two weeks early. And anyway, we had a great time. We'd go to Grand Lake Stream and whatever else. But one time we went out, he's done a lot of trips out west in Canada and stuff. We went to Henry's Forks, I think.
Jeff Davis (33:25):
Logan Rackliff (33:27):
Hit the Madison and some other thing. We had to get four different licenses. But it was so cool. Just the trip I didn't catch much because you had to be a pretty solid fisherman. And we were literal. The season was late and we were a little early. It was tough fishing. I did take a guide and go down the box canyon once. That was great nim thing. And the only place you could catch anything was a little river called Fire River and Yellowstone. Anybody could catch a fish there. They're all this big. I'm more of a, I want to go hunt down a big fish guy. But we had a blast no matter what. But anyway, so I called my dad up and I was like, Hey, does this my guy make good stuff or what we're doing quality. I can't be having somebody on here's not making quality. So he said, yeah, you're making great stuff. And he said his prices are really affordable. And so he is like, it's a breath of fresh air. So he really likes your stuff.
Jeff Davis (34:22):
Logan Rackliff (34:23):
So he is used to having Orvis and whatever else. And so I think he's got three or four years now. So how are you able to do that, make these really cool unique rods and here in Maine and just make 'em so people can get 'em? And was that, I assume that was intentional from the beginning?
Jeff Davis (34:45):
Yeah, I mean, a lot of people, especially in the northeast, I mean anywhere frankly, but certainly around the northeast. I mean, there's a lot of gear junkies up here, and I was always one of 'em.
Logan Rackliff (34:57):
Jeff Davis (34:58):
I mean, my wife said, geez, how many more coats do you need? And boots and shoes, and look what I sacrifice and everything else. I like to have some fresh gear, but I'm never the guy who was buying the $2,000 set of skis. And I am a working guy. I want the coolest stuff I can find in a range that I can afford. If main fly company is a reflection of me, then that's what the price is and the product should look like. I mean, the best bang for your buck for a rod, I'd put 'em up against anybody. And I say it all the time, nationally, internationally, we don't boast of technology. We're not sitting around in a lab of scientists generating the newest, strongest form of carbon fiber. But what we are doing is we're following those trends. We know what those are.
Logan Rackliff (35:57):
Jeff Davis (35:57):
Designing those tapers. We're designing those guide configurations on the rods. We're coloring 'em in ways that are interesting and kind of bucking mass production. But because I formed this sort of hybrid model, we're not all in. We don't have the big factory where we're dealing with raw carbon
Logan Rackliff (36:19):
Jeff Davis (36:20):
These things out into a millimeter tapers in the top to a quarter of an inch in the bottom, and long steel mandrels sourcing those. And we're building them and crafting them and designing a lot of the small and the accessory pieces right in the shop that helps us to keep the prices at a reasonable price. And also, frankly, for a guy who had no fly IQ entering this multimillion dollar industry, I was in no place to walk in to this market and say, Hey, just trust me because you need to trust me. Here's a thousand dollars rod. So we had some great entry prices. I mean, look, we're going to make 'em really nearly non-profitable for you. Try 'em, test them, kick the tires, see if you like us. And we've slowly been able to grow and increase from there. But I'm always going to keep that range from that mid low level fly rod price to that mid high. Let's stay in that.
Logan Rackliff (37:21):
Jeff Davis (37:22):
Uppers and lowers are dominated, and I don't want be in any of those.
Logan Rackliff (37:26):
Sure. Yeah, no, yeah. While you're explaining that, I was thinking I did listen to another podcast. So tell me how you learned, I mean, because you started making them yourself, and then of course training, I assume those who are there. So you're expert fly rod maker. That's probably a better term than that. So how did you learn how to do that? And I heard you also talk, people kind of normally do it this day. Well, we do it this way. So I mean, that's unique
Jeff Davis (37:59):
Logan Rackliff (37:59):
You guys are doing, which is what's really neat.
Jeff Davis (38:01):
Yeah. I mean, look, let's go back 2018. What rods was I designing? Nothing. I was calling blank manufacturers all around the world, and they all had minimum orders of a thousand. I only need five. And so at that point, I'm kind of taking anything people are willing to give us. And so the quality of those components and blanks and the learning curve on carbon compositions and tapers is long. I mean, every angler wants to claim they've got that, but that's a lot of trial and error and a lot of wasted money. But beyond all that, I mean, my first five or six rods is a book from Amazon. I don't remember the book, but it's still in the shop and I share it with people all the time. And then there was a bunch of YouTube videos. And so I'd post up my small surface on my small building table that was probably half of the depth of this table and maybe a foot shorter. And that table was responsible for probably the first 40 or 50 rods that came out of main fly company trial and error.
Logan Rackliff (39:12):
Jeff Davis (39:12):
Mean sort of fly tires with their whipped finish or a woodworker and his first routing.
It's messy and every time it's a little better. You're pretty damn proud of yourself until you just get to the point that you look at it and I can't see any flaws. The single coat of high build that a lot of the mass production will do, it makes sense, right? They're on production lines and people have 20 seconds to hit each guide with this thick, thick, dense epoxy, so it gets one big coat so we can get 'em boxing out. I've chosen to do the exact opposite of that. I think from a quality perspective, we want these really thin viscosities and multiple coats, and it's more time spinning, but it's more hands on the rod. There's some longer lasting things and frankly, some stronger visual effects that come out of the rods. It wasn't long ago. I was wood turning and got into wood turning as a result of all this, which I also love to do.
Logan Rackliff (40:07):
Yeah, I'd love to hear more about that.
Jeff Davis (40:10):
But I turned this wooden handle and I said, I'm going to put it on a ply rod. And somebody's like, you can't do that. Nobody wants a wooden handle on a fly rod. I said, well, you just made me want to do it.
Logan Rackliff (40:20):
Jeff Davis (40:21):
So we found this great burle wood and made these grips and matched the spacers on the real seat, which is the part that the reel goes into in the fly rod, and it's turned out to be one of our national bestsellers. It's this tribute to the rangely region of Western Maine, the MCG, Galloway River, which we currently had a rod out. And then I retracted that Rod brought it back in this limited edition form with these wooden grips where the cork belongs and sort of all these fictions, and it became this ultimate eye candy to
Logan Rackliff (40:52):
Jeff Davis (40:52):
Anglers or craftsmen anywhere, frankly. And that was inspiring to say, look, Jeff, follow your gut. These weird ideas come up and they may not be that strange. And they're old traditions that existed. I mean, think about it, late 18 hundreds, was there a lot of cork trees in Maine? I mean, no, you were whittling it out of wood
Logan Rackliff (41:11):
Jeff Davis (41:11):
On the end of a stick, getting some line of some kind, and you were fishing
Logan Rackliff (41:14):
Hoping for the best. Yeah.
Jeff Davis (41:15):
So we're bringing back some of those old pieces and parts to the heritage of fly fishing, but in a little bit of more of a modern way that we can accomplish in our small shop in Yarmouth, Maine.
Logan Rackliff (41:29):
So you learn how to make them and found things that you liked better than how other people were doing them, and kind of got so good that you kind started doing your own thing. I mean, think that's the progression, right? With anything. Okay, now I know how to make a rod. And I was like, wow, I can start. And the purposes of all of it and the intentionality, and then you start going fishing, well, I could kind of do this with it and I could kind of do that with it. So that's cool that you went by that point. Now you're really making, not that they weren't special before, but that you're at that point. That's inspiring to me. I haven't really made anything like that. So
Jeff Davis (42:08):
We hope they just keep getting better and they seem to with each year and
Logan Rackliff (42:11):
Well, and the more you fished, I'm sure
Jeff Davis (42:13):
The more you fished,
Logan Rackliff (42:14):
You'll have that feel just like while you're out there. That's a lot of time. And for any of us, the best ideas are when you're at most peace, they just all will come up. For
Jeff Davis (42:23):
Logan Rackliff (42:24):
Jeff Davis (42:24):
Sure. And many trips we go on for inspiration come up short, but it's also why when I moved us from my basement to this new location we've got in Yarmouth, we're right on the river. So we're our own worst critics. We take our creations right outside the shop and we fish 'em right there in the river all year long, and we name all our prototypes. Sometimes they go through 3, 4, 5 prototypes before the finals done. Sometimes it's one and done. But there's a lot of things that go into it that the general consumer buying a fly fishing rod shouldn't have to factor in.
Logan Rackliff (42:56):
Jeff Davis (42:57):
Should just know it's in place and it's going to fish and cast the way it's supposed to.
Logan Rackliff (43:02):
So what does that process look like? Okay, you're out fishing and you just get an idea for a new fly rod, something new about it. So what's next?
Jeff Davis (43:14):
It looks all kinds of weird. I mean, it was a couple of years ago, we're up in the fall, which is living in a postcard here in New England. We're up on the river called the Roach River by Moosehead Lake here. And there was this one small stretch of river we were on, and we were having just the greatest day. And I was like, man, if this fly rod was just about six inches longer, I would really hit this pocket that these great big state fish, landlocked salmon are sitting all stacked up. And at the same time, there's this great bridge when you enter this small town of Maine called Kajo, where it says population not many on the side.
There's this little bridge there with a dam and it says, fly fishing only. And there was some rust coming off it. So I grabbed a piece of the rust and a handful of the leaves from the foliage and stuff from my waiters, sort of forgot about 'em until I got back to the shop and laid 'em all out. And I said, you know what? This trip means so much to me every year, and the quality of fishing is so significant. I'm making a rod. And I said, we talked about this rod being a little longer, so it's a nine foot, six inch rod, which is rare. Most of 'em are nine feet or 10 feet, the color of the blank. The rod itself was the rust color from the bridge. And then all the threads that we used to wrap on the guides were all leaves from the fall foliage.
Logan Rackliff (44:34):
Jeff Davis (44:34):
So this rod is a reflection of fall fishing, chasing salmon, and because of its really superior quality, it's the only rod we ever made where the hardware down in the real seat is all nickel silver instead of aluminum. And so to a non fly fisherman, trivial data, but when you can theme these small fictions that really can make a rod from these incredibly beautiful spots that are within hours of us, the inspirations are just endless and natural and they just come or they don't.
Logan Rackliff (45:14):
Jeff Davis (45:14):
Road River's a great example. It just was such a natural easy design and it's probably one of my favorite rods we've ever made.
Logan Rackliff (45:21):
That's so cool. I mean, I can relate to it so much. I love fishing and being outdoors, but as we create products, my favorite thing is just walking around nature and yellow lichen on a rock. That's really cool. Now it's really hard, pretty much impossible. We can never recreate creation. That's the ultimate for us, especially with the materials we use. It's really hard to totally replicate those things, but we do the best we can. And I would love to get into telling more of the story behind it. We might get like Jay Peterman on Seinfeld, right? J Peterman. Yeah.
Jeff Davis (45:57):
Which is amazing.
Logan Rackliff (45:58):
But no, it's so true. It means a lot. I mean, especially mean one of our taglines was bring home a piece of place. So that's the story. People love Maine, they want to bring that home with them or some memory, but having that in your hand while you're right there doing that fishing, that would be really cool and specific.
Jeff Davis (46:22):
Logan Rackliff (46:23):
Yeah, it is. I love it. So yeah, what's new and exciting at Main Fly Company? What else can you tell me? What's going on?
Jeff Davis (46:34):
We're excited. I mean, I don't necessarily tackle each year new year as how do we make more, it's more how do we continue to balance out this really hedonic approach that I've taken to this from inception and what's missing? And I think one of the greatest components, I mean there's certainly fly rod specifics that are missing from our arsenal that we're building for next year, which is soon to come, but really focusing a lot on the environmental piece. For 2024, we've just launched a recycled waiter program. So what we're doing is we've kind of sought this really soft campaign and we're seeking some seed money now to help fund it a little bit greater, but basically to keep all these waiters that anglers wear for those listening don't know waiters, the neoprene waterproof pants outfit that keeps us in the rivers and dry, most of 'em are made out of Gore-Tex in various plastics. And it was about a year and a half or so ago I was at the shop and I was just throwing out our normal for the day, and I see two or three pairs of waiters sitting in the trash and in the dumpster got me thinking, what are these things made out of? What's going to happen once they hit the landfills?
These things don't decompose for 50, a hundred sometimes longer years. Goretex is bulletproof,
Logan Rackliff (47:57):
Right? That's the idea.
Jeff Davis (47:59):
That's exactly the idea, which you don't think about until it's just in a pair of pants. So we've started to recycle waiter program and we're collect them. We just got a huge box from the south of them and most of the soft goods that we're buying from other manufacturers. Now we're going to produce those soft goods here in Maine with the likes of the recycled waiters from anglers from all over the country.
Logan Rackliff (48:19):
Jeff Davis (48:20):
We're working on a new plant-based epoxy that we're going to start using the rods, which should be the only ones globally that are using it in their fly rods. And we just started sourcing a new form of cork that's coming out of these Ecuadorian forests where they're not harvesting all the corks in the trees. They're just literally taking the barks and allowing them to replenish themselves,
Logan Rackliff (48:39):
Jeff Davis (48:39):
Are really supporting CO two, reducing those emissions and the replenishments and the restoration. So there's a real green factor, and as a result of these corks growing back the way they are, the cork quality is superior to what we were using. And we're really excited to get those in all of our rods for the year ahead. And the team is slowly growing and the trips are slowly expanding and the retail offerings, and we just started a little fly bar in the shop so we can support local fly tires and people that we want to support who'd love to be able to make their passion a career or at least a side business, and we want to sell their stuff in our shop. And then recently I had the great pleasure of promoting to our first manager ever in the organization, aside from me.
Logan Rackliff (49:32):
Jeff Davis (49:32):
This young woman who is now our lead builder, we call them Rod Smiths in our shop, just turned 25 today actually to be second in command for Maine fly company and continue to inspire women, kids,
Logan Rackliff (49:46):
Jeff Davis (49:48):
It's so often you hear fly fishing and people of my generation and their time fly fishing with their dad and their grandfather, but it's seldom you're hearing the young woman talking about the trip she took with her mom or her aunt. And we want to really inspire that and continue to grow that because I'll tell you, she's dangerous with a fly rod. She's a very good angler. Attention
Logan Rackliff (50:10):
Jeff Davis (50:11):
She's so much fun to fish with. And women in the sport are certainly growing, but it's no mystery. It's been a male dominated sport except from inception, which the first registered main guide was a lady by the name of Cornelius Crosby Fly Rod Crosby. And so it started that way, then it became this male dominated show, which we've been bucking ever since we've started this. And so it's a lot of that hedonic continue to share the culture of this non elitist group of people who just love the outdoors, love creating. And that's a lot of what we're looking towards for 2024.
Logan Rackliff (50:47):
I do think I've seen, because in the hunting world probably a little bit more, I'm part of a team that was making products and doing other things, but I feel like they are seeing that and seeing the younger gener, it's not especially fly fishing that like early 19 hundreds more of a gentleman sport. I know hunting, the guys would come up, hire the guide, and the guides would shoot all the animals for 'em, and then they'd go home and say, Hey, look what I did. That was the most elitist part of it. But yeah, there's more. Everybody seemed to be getting at younger guys or seeing just the fake chaos and seeing all the, what's not there, the impurities of just being on the computer all day and just playing video or just doing everything everybody tells 'em to do all the time and no, this feels good and this is pure. That's
Jeff Davis (51:46):
Logan Rackliff (51:46):
Jeff Davis (51:46):
That's right. And everybody we've acquired in the organization came from professional backgrounds or were heading to med school and just realized their true introversion, what they really connected with. And fortunately for some of these young folks working for me, their light bulb went off 20 years before mine did and good on 'em. I think that's incredible. It's not a hobby, it's a lifestyle. It's a calming that very few things can bring. And if we can inspire more people, which I think, and I've said it a million times, I think the pandemic had a million silver linings for folks, and when they sent everybody home to Zoom and companies realized people didn't need to be there, and then people started leaving those companies to continue to pursue these hobbies and things that they got involved in, there was a real connection and a reconnection and a resurgence of small business and taking a chance. And I just love that we get a chance to expire people in that way. And I know young Izzy's going to do just that for us.
Logan Rackliff (53:02):
Yeah, I agree that I can't believe how many makers do you have in making rods?
Jeff Davis (53:10):
We're currently at six that are making rods.
Logan Rackliff (53:13):
Jeff Davis (53:14):
Building rods. And then everything else we've got is a lot of people that have just been with us from the very beginning or these great photographers and videographers and guides and this local machine shop we turn to, and
Logan Rackliff (53:30):
It's all family and you need 'em all, but to find six people to make fly rods where you're doing it and have them, like you said, it's a lifestyle. I just feel like that's inspiring. I mean, that's really hard as we thinking about making products, just especially on the coast of Maine and the further south and west, you get the harder hard, and so you must be doing something. I feel like that it's got to be passion and your passion coming out and championing the thing. And then also them finding that's theirs too, right? I mean, is that the key or,
Jeff Davis (54:06):
Yeah, I don't know what the key is. I mean, we've had turnover like everybody and people come in because fly fishing is sexy, and they get these great building stations that are in front of a window overlooking a river, watching people fish.
Logan Rackliff (54:20):
Jeff Davis (54:20):
Open the window, all we can hear is the river pouring through the shop all day, but then a month later it's work.
Logan Rackliff (54:28):
Jeff Davis (54:28):
Are building stuff. And so the only secret sauce that we're slowly dialing in is that it's just not that traditional. Let's run an ad and let's have interviews. People naturally on occasion gravitate into the shop and they're inspired, or there's something that spoke to them in some unique way. And this young guy I just brought on, his name is Garland. He's on his third week with us, and he walked in off the street. We connected in a way that was very, very rare. I didn't necessarily have the right opportunity at the time, but I created one for him because when those people come around, you take 'em,
Logan Rackliff (55:09):
Jeff Davis (55:10):
They give you goosebumps. These are just the people that inspire you. You bring them and you share that experience with them. Those are the people you want to have in your organization.
Logan Rackliff (55:21):
Yeah, that's great. That's cool. Yeah, you couldn't say it better. I got to do that.
Well, I have a great team. I'm very thankful for our team. We have, I wouldn't say a rigorous interviewing, but finding the right people. You listen to all these. So I was like, start a business. I don't know what to do. So I listened to everything I can to learn how to run a business. And the first thing, the worst mistake a lot of people do is they just hire way too quickly and they don't find the right fit. We talk with people a lot and they're good with their core values, but yeah, finding somebody who's passionate almost
Jeff Davis (56:00):
Every time I've hired just to hire,
Logan Rackliff (56:02):
Jeff Davis (56:03):
No longer with the organization. And it's different. I mean, people, businesses, we all need people in some way, whether we want that or not. But when something comes from death and birth and resurgence and there's that level of inspiration, the only people that fit are the people that feel like us. And this young Garland just came in yesterday and he said, can I come in on my day off? I wake up and I just want to be here all the time.
Logan Rackliff (56:38):
Jeff Davis (56:38):
Those are the people you want.
Logan Rackliff (56:40):
That's exciting. Well, and good for him. I
Jeff Davis (56:44):
Feel like that every day,
Logan Rackliff (56:45):
Right? Not many people say that, especially, I hate to say it, but me. The younger generation is just seems to be, but also seem to be catching on a little bit about finding the true passions and not just going the way of the corporate world. Nice
Jeff Davis (57:00):
Logan Rackliff (57:01):
Yeah. So Jeff, what does quality mean to you?
Jeff Davis (57:13):
It's a saying. So if you ask anybody who works in the shop, they'll say, oh yeah, he always has quality over quantity. I'd rather see us get five rods really right than 20 done. It's what we are. I mean, as a small batch fly rod company, part of the main organization and part of main outdoor brands, which is such a humbling group to be part of, there's so many inspirational people there.
The bar is very high for what comes out of New England. The bar is very high for comes out of Maine. Maine was known all over the world as the most talented and greatest Maine guides that ever existed. The stuff that should be coming out of Maine that has not in this industry should reflect that craftsmanship, that old French Canadian craftsmanship of not quite as superior as the Amish who are still doing it today and are inspirational in themselves, but quality something that's going to last, something that aesthetically is going to make you giddy. If it's going to help you get you out on the water five more times a year because you love your fly rod, then we've done our job.
Logan Rackliff (58:31):
That's a great way to put it.
Jeff Davis (58:34):
Quality is not necessarily having the finest and the most expensive of components and parts, and it's how we're putting those together, what that end product looks like. And for me, it was maybe two or three months in operation I was browsing or like everyone does on social, found this branding company who did these small two inch by two inch branding irons thing. And I said, that's pretty cool. I think I'm going to do one of those with our logo. I said, A matter of fact, I'll torch it and I'll burn it into our cork as our QC method. I don't dunno if anybody's going to like that Anyway. It's stuck.
Logan Rackliff (59:14):
Jeff Davis (59:14):
So it's a thing at our shop, very similar to what you'd see. And I've used this analogy in the shop, whatever angry show Gordon's on now, but the food comes to the window and he's giving it that final look or he's kicking it back. And we have a very similar process just without the hostility and their ceremonial lined up on this table for me to look at every morning. It's all the creations that are finished and they've gone through a head builder, they've gone through a buddy system throughout the build
Logan Rackliff (59:43):
Jeff Davis (59:43):
Then they end up me last. It's that final look. Is everything aligned? Does this look the way we want this represented? Wherever in the world this thing lands. If so, we like the torch and we burn them like a branding iron on all the rods to show that they've been quality controlled before they've left the door.
Logan Rackliff (01:00:00):
Jeff Davis (01:00:01):
So we've made it part of our day to day, and it's something that means something to us.
Logan Rackliff (01:00:07):
Jeff Davis (01:00:07):
Doubt about it.
Logan Rackliff (01:00:08):
That is really neat. So I know probably one of your, I guess it's a two part question. Usually there's one I ask people, what is your favorite item? Could be a household or could be anything, a household or at work, something you might use on a regular basis. Is there one that kind of pops into your head if you think about it for a second? I guess the next one would be, what's your favorite fly rod? I would love to hear that, but if you have anything besides a fly rod. If it's a fly rod, that's fine, but I heard you do other woodworking or if it's a tool or maybe it's nothing, maybe it's a mug.
Jeff Davis (01:00:45):
I'd become pretty simple these days. If you go through the shop, there's some really cool stuff. I don't hang anything in the shop. I don't do anything unless it's made by somebody local or somebody we know. But the simple drawings that are hanging under the photos of my boys that are in my office when they come to the shop and they draw me a new picture, or there's this one that one of my boys did for me years ago, and it's just two stick figures. One's taller than the other, but their hands are connected. And dad, it's me and you walking holding hands. I would give you my truck before I'd give you that photo, that picture, the things that inspire my children that they want to share with me. Those are my items. I'd give up everything to have just that.
Logan Rackliff (01:01:39):
That's a good way to put it.
Jeff Davis (01:01:42):
Now, my favorite fly rod.
Logan Rackliff (01:01:44):
Jeff Davis (01:01:45):
I am one of those gluttonous guys who has 7, 8, 10, 12, whatever. I've got left of rods.
Logan Rackliff (01:01:51):
Well, you're a fly rod maker. So I
Jeff Davis (01:01:52):
Think that's, it fits the crime. Probably one of my newer obsessions is this lost art of bamboo rods. And I've got the original prototype to the St. John that we have now, and I'm heading up to the Kenne Baggo next week to go fish for a couple days. And I was just telling the guys before I left, that's the route I'm taking with me. So anything from a real unique bamboo to that roach river I talked about earlier. And then we have these series of rods we generate, we call 'em the Land Locks. The Land locks are a separate page on our site and it's just these one-off creations that we make when we're tired of baking batch stuff.
Logan Rackliff (01:02:32):
Jeff Davis (01:02:32):
So named after the landlocked salmon, the one of a kind salmon, which is our state fish. Anyway, it's a play on that. So there's these one-off rods and we name all of 'em and they all have. So last fall, I was listening to it, Tom Petty, I think at the end of it. And he's singing Away Free Fallen, and I said, that's the name of this rod free falling. So it's this Matt Charcoal fall themed. It's the Rod I get really excited about fishing with. Every September and October. I just strung it up. It's sitting outside my office as we speak, but I'd say free fall and probably the roach in that bamboo are my favorites right now.
Logan Rackliff (01:03:08):
Jeff Davis (01:03:09):
Logan Rackliff (01:03:10):
And the free fall is a one-off.
Jeff Davis (01:03:12):
Logan Rackliff (01:03:13):
One-off. That's a Jeff Rod.
Jeff Davis (01:03:14):
It's a one-off. Yep.
Logan Rackliff (01:03:15):
Well, I guess the other one's a prototype.
Jeff Davis (01:03:17):
That's it. That's
Logan Rackliff (01:03:18):
It. Yeah. That's really neat. What's going on? I guess I could talk fishing, but I wouldn't even know where to start or end. So I know you said your favorite time of year, how many fly Fisher? Well, if you share, this'll be a lot of fly fishing people talk. So is your favorite time of the year, I think you said maybe September.
Jeff Davis (01:03:39):
Logan Rackliff (01:03:40):
Jeff Davis (01:03:40):
Since I was a kid,
Logan Rackliff (01:03:42):
Jeff Davis (01:03:42):
I didn't even know fly fishing existed. We are an anxious culture. We get really stoked up here waiting for April 1st when the season starts. But the reality is that two thirds of Maine is still under ice at that point, and fishing doesn't really start until a little later in May into June. Then you've got that really great 45 60 day window until the rivers start getting above 70 and people still fishing, which we shouldn't for cold water species where if you have a conservation mind and you're protected of the fish,
Then you've got the hot summer that comes, or in our case, wet one this year. But a lot of it's setting the stage for the spawning that occurs late fall. And the idea of those cold, cold 40 degree mornings leading up to these late 60 degree afternoons where you feel like you're standing in a box of crayons in this river with no cell reception, fishing for some of the most beautiful fish in the world. I'm biased. There's few things that rival that. So my absolute favorite time of year to fish has always been September and October. I mean, the summer and saltwater fishing and these things are all incredible, but I'm very connected with the fall. I always have been.
Logan Rackliff (01:05:05):
Jeff Davis (01:05:05):
So the idea of fly fishing in the fall, it's just icing on the cake for me.
Logan Rackliff (01:05:09):
Cool. Well, I love it. Thanks for everything here. Do you have anything else, I guess? Any questions for me or any other thoughts that we should know about Main
Jeff Davis (01:05:20):
Logan Rackliff (01:05:21):
You've done a lot.
Jeff Davis (01:05:22):
Just a good conversation.
Logan Rackliff (01:05:23):
Jeff Davis (01:05:23):
Logan Rackliff (01:05:24):
Well, I really appreciate it. Thanks so much for coming, Jeff.
Jeff Davis (01:05:26):
Thanks for having me,
Logan Rackliff (01:05:26):
And this is great. I'm inspired and excited and I hope, I'm sure all your guys will like it. But anyway, thank you so much.
Jeff Davis (01:05:38):
Logan Rackliff (01:05:39):
All right. Oh, hang on. We can edit this in. So Jeff, thank you so much for coming. Really appreciate it. Where can everybody find you? Find your stuff.
Jeff Davis (01:05:51):
We are simply main fly co.com or you can also find us main fly company.com. Maine is in the state, M-A-I-N-E. You can call us, can find us on social, on Instagram, on Facebook, or watch some of our adventures on our YouTube channel, which is also at Maine Fly Company.
Logan Rackliff (01:06:09):
Cool. How's that YouTube channel going? I
Jeff Davis (01:06:12):
Don't put a lot into it. I mean, we've done some great trips. There's some good videos where we've got two or three in the mix now, and so we'll be adding to it in the fall. But there's some pretty awesome trips that are on there right now.
Logan Rackliff (01:06:22):
Nice. I got to check those out. I want to get more into YouTube things, but it is this long form podcast and YouTube videos. I just feel like it's weird.
Jeff Davis (01:06:32):
Oh, it's a lot.
Logan Rackliff (01:06:33):
Yeah, it's good.
Jeff Davis (01:06:33):
Logan Rackliff (01:06:34):
Okay. Thanks Jeff.
Jeff Davis (01:06:35):