Rest assured, we are hard at work putting together the 2018 edition of our shop magazine, The Current. In our quest to source content for The Current, I took a recent October weekend to make a pilgramage of sorts to the historic west slope town of Montrose, Colorado. For a town of roughly 19,000, Montrose has a lot going for it, especially if you love fly fishing. The unassuming town is home to three of the most iconic brands in fly fishing: Scott Fly Rods, Ross Reels, and most recently Abel Reels. During my time in Montrose, I visited with Scott Fly Rods president Jim Bartschi, Abel Reels Executive Vice President Jeff Patterson, and Ross Reels Sales Manager Bart Larmouth. All three sang the praises of this tiny high desert town. Montrose strikes the perfect balance between fishing and industry. With the Uncompaghre flowing through Montrose and the Gunnison and Cimarron only short drives away, it's hard to find a better setting to test out world class fly fishing gear. Montrose boasts a skilled and dedicated workforce, as such, it's no wonder that Scott, Ross, and Abel are able to pump out quality hand-made and machined USA-made gear for us to use on the water.
The uniting theme that stuck out to me during my time at both facilities was "Attention to Detail." Whether it was machining to tolerance levels of a ten-thousandth of an inch in the Ross and Abel factory or using transparent finish to demonstrate the how true their wraps were at Scott. The level of craftsmanship that is required at both Scott and Ross & Abel is impressive to say the least. Before I visited these facilities, I imagined that there was very little human involvement with the manufacturing of both rods and reels. It was not the case, the number of people involved with the production of each rod and reel was astounding. We'll have a more complete take on our visit in The Current, which will be released in January.
Jim Bartschi shows off scrim fibers. The building blocks of what's soon going to become a Meridian.
Rolling the scrim onto the mandrels. The blank is starting to take shape...and taper.
Aligning the mandrels to prep for the next step.
Ready for cooking.
An overview of the Scott factory. Hard at work.
Scott uses the finest top-grade Portuguese cork for their handles.
Alignment dots applied as a finishing touch.
Every Scott Fly Rod is hand signed before they leave the factory.
The original Ross Reel.
All of the Ross Reel repairs are done in a small office off the side of the manufacturing facility by one person.
A little QA/QC in the morning to ensure that the tolerances are up to standard.
The old school Ross Reel logo is a sight to behold.
Barstock to spool.
After machining, each reel is hand tested to ensure that every edge is smooth.
Efficiency is the name of the game at Abel and Ross. No wasted energy.
This batch of Evolution R Salts are all assembled and hand-tested before being sent off to their final destinations.
After being handpainted and anodized in California, the Abel Nippers are returned for assembly in Montrose.
These reels weren't up to snuff.
Bart and Jeff overlooking what will soon become the new Ross and Abel headquarters located on the banks of the Uncompaghre.