The birth of the Flexaret camera line coincided in 1947 with the introduction of the conventional round fly rod. Although they represent completely different industries separated by an ocean, the stories of the Flexaret line and the round fly rod share similar blunders in fate concerning propaganda and stifled innovation.
The Flexaret camera developed a strong brand as the “national pride” of Czechoslovakia, but this proud identity was subordinated to Soviet control. We should not expect this story to correspond to that of American angling tools. And, especially in light of our high regard for ingenuity, we should wonder: Why has the design of the round fly rod hardly evolved since the middle of the last century? • The leaders of our industry dare not question convention. They universally proclaim the way to make a fly rod better is to make it lighter. Are they telling the truth? Don’t question it! Step back in line! “Следуйте истинным путем, товарищи!” This sort of universal directive echoes the communist subordination of national interests to the central planning process which suppressed unique identity and ingenuity such as the at once inspired and inspiring Flexaret camera. • Sometimes the truth becomes obvious with a mere perspective adjustment. Imagine if you could go back in time and show someone the picture above featuring a 3D model of a Flexaret camera and explain that the one on the left is not real. How would you help them understand that it is just a CGI rendering of pixels on a screen. Clearly, you could spend several hours catching your audience up to speed on the advancements in image making over the past several decades, and they still might not be able to get past the concept of auto-focus. • On the other hand, if you could time travel to show someone several decades ago a fly rod from today, they would not need a lot of help getting on the same page. What is more, they might rightly prefer their own familiar rod to your “modern” round rod. • This speaks volumes to us. And it is exactly why we do what we do. See the next generation fly rod at www.tateangling.com