2022 IFTD Awards: The fly fishing gear that stole the show

Simms proves, once again, to be one of the industry’s top innovators by winning a stack of awards at the International Fly Tackle Dealer Show in Salt Lake City, including Best of Show.

The IFTD show was significantly smaller this year, but that hasn’t stopped industry leaders from showing up and showing off some exciting new fly fishing gear for 2022. Simms was undoubtedly the week’s big winner, taking home the top accolade for his G3 Waders, plus eight other class wins.

Sage fly fishing also had a strong showing, seeing three of its fly rods make it to the top product of the year list. There were some serious innovations in fly fishing and rod building, and Sage was eager to show off what they were working on.

So, let’s start at the top and run through some of the best new fly fishing gear from IFTD 2022.

Best of Show: Simms Fishing Products – G3 Stocking Foot Waders Guide

Simms G3 Fly Fishing Waders

the Simms G3 Guide Stocking Foot ($599) have made quite an impression in the fishing world.

Winning Best of Show, Best Women’s Waders and Best Men’s Waders at the 2022 IFTD show, it’s safe to say they’ve established themselves as one of the best in the industry. Combining superior fit, breathability and durability, these waders are a workhorse.

Simms has brought more than waders to Salt Lake City and has also won awards for:

Best Freshwater Fly Rod: RL Winston Rod Co. – Air 2 9′ 5 Weight

Air 2 Fly Fishing Rod

Best Accessory Under $50: Oros Strike Indicator

Fly fishing indicators

Best Spey Rod: Sage – Trout Spey G5

fly fishing rod

Sage also won awards for two other fly rods this year:

  • Saltwater fly rod: R8 core (which we are very happy about)
  • Specialized fly rod: SENSES

Best Luggage/Backpacks: Sea Run Cases – Expedition Classic Travel Case

fly fishing case

Best Gifts: Cody’s Fish – Wall Art and Ornaments

Fly fishing

Cody’s Fish swept the gifts category. Of the society fish ornament won the best gift under $50, while the Brown Trout License Plate Art got the best gift over $50. At first glance, this might seem like your ordinary, everyday license plate art, but these are a cut above.

Cody travels to each destination to collect vintage plates, many of which adhere to a specific standard, such as being stamped only Jail done. Cody’s Fish offers a variety of fish and wild game species, as well as clothing and even rod holders. These things are cool and definitely got our vote for Best Gift in the Show.

Best Chest Bag/Vest: Simms Fishing Products – Dry Creek Z Sling Pack

the Dry Creek Z Shoulder Bag ($229) fits that awesome gap between wanting to pack everything and wanting to be minimalist. Not quite a full backpack and more than a chest pack, it carries everything you need, easily accessible, yet out of the way.

It’s lightweight, fully submersible, has an easy-to-remove mesh sleeve and plenty of attachment points for all your accessories. Although I personally tend to default to a lumbar bag or chest bag, the appeal of a lightweight wrap with room for snacks is definitely there.

Best Youth Product: Orvis – Encounter Outfit

the Dating outfit ($159) from Orvis won Best Youth Product for 2022, but honestly, it’s a great starter package for anyone who gets their feet wet, kids and adults alike.

With the complete setup under $200, it’s an economical way to dive into fly fishing without sacrificing function. Plus, when your 9-year-old will inevitably drop the tip, the learning lesson for him won’t be as devastating as letting him use one of your own.

2022 IFTD Awards Recap

With the lack of social gatherings and the return to in-person events, it was no surprise that this show was smaller.

There have been a few notable absences from companies that have consistently won awards in the past. Several of the companies in attendance simply haven’t released any new gear in a while. Supply chain issues could also have something to do with it.

That being said, the show had a uniquely intimate feel. It really gave those present time to delve deeper into the new product specs. We seemed to be able to have deeper conversations about where the industry is headed.

Overall this year’s show was good. He reinserted that thirst for water in us after what felt like a long winter.

Other winners

With 33 categories, we couldn’t include them all, but here are some of our favorites:

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