Although we officially launched in early 2017, 2018 was our first year where things really started to come together. Most of our first year was spent testing rods, getting all the legalities squared away, and figuring out the basics of running a company. Once we got through all of that, we were able to focus on spending 2018 meeting new anglers and introducing ourselves to the world.
We kicked this past year off with the Virginia Fly Fishing and Wine Festival. We got to meet a ton of people that weekend and we put our fly rods in the hands of a bunch of them. We made several connections and some new friends at the Virginia show, and we look forward to the next one.
Before January was over, we found ourselves spending 3 days at the New Jersey Fly Fishing Show. I knew it was going to be a good show, and we weren’t disappointed in the least. Rods were cast, rods were sold, friendships and connections were made, and we ate our weight in empanadas. Least favorite experience? New Jersey traffic. Who knew there were no left turns allowed in the Garden State? These Carolina boys were completely confused when we had to take 17 right-hand turns to get to a place directly to the left of us. In my research since, I have learned that it's called a jug-handle turn, that it is safer than a left-hand turn, and that I am a dumb out-of-towner for even questioning it. Favorite experience besides the show? All the food options. Korean BBQ, and Edo Fat Cups top the experience list.
In February, we took a fun little business trip to Orlando and swung through the Everglades via the Tamiami Trail. Caught several new species of fish on our rods, including some exotics. We ended up in Miami and caught some Peacock Bass.
Around that same time, we started bringing a few ambassadors onboard to help us spread the word. We hugely appreciate their time writing articles for the blog and representing us in their social media.
In July we made our IFTD debut in Orlando at the ICAST/IFTD show. What a massive show and incredible experience. Some of the most fun I’ve had all year. We met so many people and learned a ton of new information about the industry. After the week-long event, we made a run down to the Everglades again, and caught a variety of fish including Peacock Bass, Oscars, Gar and Snook.
Speaking of catching fish, at this point, we’ve caught just under 40 species of fish that I know of on our Waterman rods. What a humbling experience it is to have hand-built rods that have gone out around the world and caught fish like Permit, Arapaima, Tarpon, Arowana, Bonefish, Redfish, Barracuda and the wily Bluegill! Do you know the one I dream about though? Giant Trevally. I dream about the day someone sends me a picture of a GT caught on one of our rods.
On September 14th, Hurricane Florence made landfall just a few miles South of us. Although downgraded from a Category 4 to a Cat 1, she still brought winds of over 100mph and pushed 10-15ft of storm surge into our coastal areas. To make matters worse, she dropped over 30 inches of rain on us in 24 hours. The devastation was like nothing I had ever seen, and we’ve been through our fair share of Hurricanes. I have close friends that lost their homes and their businesses. The news crews may move on after a few weeks, but it takes months and sometimes years to recover from these events. We did our best to turn catastrophes into lemonade and put together a fundraiser, which with the help of our customers, let us donate a decent chunk of money into the recovery effort.
Although our Redfish Season (it’s always redfish season) and Albie Season here in North Carolina were great, we couldn’t wait for November, for our annual migration to Louisiana for Bull Reds. We fished for 4 days in weather ranging from 28 degrees F. and blowing 30mph, to dead calm and 70 degrees. Most of us ended the trip with our largest redfish on fly to date. I think I can speak for all of us when I say we are already itching to go back!
Overall the year was a great success for Mauser Fly Fishing. Starting a company like this is the hardest thing I’ve ever taken on. That being said, we’ll take our punches and keep pushing forward, providing as much value as we can to all of you until we are at the top. We love all of you, can’t thank you enough for your support, and are ready to kick some serious tail in 2019!