Ted Upton, a 27-year-old Maine entrepreneur, wants the sport to be cool again. Not that he thinks it ever wasn’t cool, but he and his fly-fishing buddies realized it wasn’t that popular among a younger audience. “We all grew up fly fishing and it’s been a passion of ours for a really long time,” he says. “We were all in different careers but we had a passion to be entrepreneurs and start a business that we knew a lot about and loved. That turned out to be fly fishing.”
When Ted and his partners, Peter Crommett, Scott Caras and Max Key, (all who either grew up or went to college in Maine) launched Boston-based Cheeky Fly Fishing in 2009, the response was positive almost immediately. “Our reels are designed in crazy colors to appeal to the more progressive fly fisher,” he says. “But it also became clear that the performance of our reels was unbeatable.”
The cool design and unique colors aren’t the only details that make these reels stand out. After spending several years on development, the team created a new drag system (which keeps line from spinning out). “We have a fully sealed drag – it doesn’t allow things like salt, sand or water to get into the compartment. Lots of reels aren’t sealed so it gets in and contaminates the system,” explains Ted.
They also worked on making the reel extremely lightweight for a fisherman who is used to making a thousand casts a day. A larger arbor (the distance between the two places where the line sits) was designed so that more line could be retrieved when it’s being reeled in.
“It’s important when you’re fishing for some bigger game fish in saltwater. Most reels out there right now are heavier. We focused hard in our development stages for one that was lightweight and could hold a lot of line,” says Ted.
So what’s next for the Cheeky team?
“We’re looking forward to our second annual Cheeky Schoolie Tournament in Cape Cod, MA, and we’ll continue to dedicate ourselves to making some of the best fly reels on the market,” says Ted. “We want people to know that our focus is making sure our design is one of the best out there.”
What do you think of fly fishing? Could it be the next cool sport for all ages?
For more information about Cheeky Fly Fishing you can visit their Web site. Our L.L.Bean Hunt & Fish Store also carries several reels from the line. To purchase from our store, you can call 1-877-755-2326.