All photos courtesy Postfly
Back in the day (not my ‘back in the day,’ but my father’s) you could order flies from a paper catalog that came in the mail. In fact, a paper catalog launched tier Jack Dennis’s career, and I still use his Picket Pin and Mormon Girl patterns on a regular basis.
Fast forward to the past few years when mail-order products have exploded in popularity, and it was only a matter of time until a company came along offering mail-order flies, tippet, leader, and floatant, among other products.
Postfly is that company. For $19/month, they’ll send you a box of flies (trout, bass, warmwater, steelhead, saltwater, and tying material boxes) that also includes a few extras each month. Those extras range from stickers to informative posters and koozies.
The folks at Postfly were kind enough to send me their July Trout Box, and after a few weeks on the road with their flies, leader, and tippet, I feel ready to talk about their products.
The Flies – They catch fish, and that’s what matters
I tie my own flies. It’s a ritual passed down in my family from my grandfather to my father to me. I still use a vise my grandfather used when he started out tying – and this is a guy who tied professionally for 27 years.
Between his expertise and my slowly-growing skill at the vise, I’m a bit judgmental where flies are concerned. 95% of flies for sale in shops today are tied with, as Lance Egan said to me once, “bin appeal.” To make money as a fly tier, you have to tie flies that catch the fishermen as much as they do the fish.
Postfly’s flies didn’t fall into the “bin appeal” category any worse than the average fly shop flies. The hoppers in the box were a bit ostentatious for my taste (a Chernobyl hopper is my go-to pattern) but the other dries and nymphs looked fishy.
Where I ran into a slight problem, though, was quality.
As Ben Duchesney, Marketing Manager for Postfly, told me, “It’s like an Armani suit compared to a bespoke suit for half the price. No matter how good the Armani is, it can never match the one custom fitted to your tastes, with every material hand-picked by you.”
Postfly sends their flies to thousands of anglers every month. It’s unrealistic to expect custom quality in mail-order flies – especially if you tie your own. The balancing act between quality and quantity isn’t one I’d want to solve if I were in Postfly’s shoes.
While I would have preferred to see real peacock herl on the Prince Nymph (as opposed to the chenille wrapped in wire) or better foam used on the hoppers, the flies caught fish, and that’s what matters.
The Leader – It’s great
I know a lot of guys who tie their own leaders, have hopped on the furled leader bandwagon, or only use the crazy expensive RIO ones. I’ve managed to get by so far with RIO Powerflex leaders, and that doesn’t look to be changing at any point in the future.
However, I was very impressed with the quality of the Postfly leaders. Sent to me in my favorite size of 6x, they floated high, didn’t have too much memory, felt strong, and landed plenty of feisty fish. In fact, the only times I broke these leaders was when I got impatient getting a fly out of a tree.
If Postfly offered a box of nothing but leaders and tippet, I’d be a monthly subscriber.
The Tippet – Comparable to my usual stuff
Stroft is a brand of tippet not made in China, but in Germany. It’s my favorite brand of tippet, and aside from RIO’s Powerflex or SuppleFlex Trout tippet, it’s my go-to.
Postfly’s tippet, in the 7x size, worked well. I didn’t have more breaks than usual with 7x tippet, and it got the job done. I’d compare it favorably to the brands I usually use, and I could see Postfly tippet working its way into my rotation if they did a tippet and leader box.
While I think there’s room for improvement in the flies, in both quality and patterns tied, they work. That’s all you can ask of a fly. The leader and tippet are great adds to the box, and if you’re a weekend warrior angler who can’t justify the up-front expense of tying flies and want one less trip to the fly shop per month, then Postfly is likely a good choice for you.
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Spencer Durrant is a bestselling novelist and fly fishing writer from Utah. His novel, Learning to Fly, is available now on Amazon. You can connect with Spencer on Twitter and Instagram @Spencer_Durrant or on Facebook @spencerdurrantauthor.