This is kicking off a new series that will be ongoing called “New Product Showcase” and I will try and bring you more information about some fantastic new products in the fly fishing or fly tying industries as they are released. As a consumer, there are so many new products flooding on the market and it’s hard to determine whether they are worth using, and I hope through these interviews, written and video product reviews, and tutorials that you can make a better judgement whether it is worth your hard earned money or not. Some of the products or brands that I’ll be showcasing will be brands that I use and work with, and possibly even sell through the website, and others won’t be. I don’t want to just limit the scope to what I sell, as my shop is still a pretty small endeavor and I don’t have wholesale access to a lot of the brands out there. What you should know is that I”m not paid by any company to endorse it’s products at the time of this writing so my opinions are those of my own brain lol. Okay that said, onto the show!
Hazard Fly Fishing is a relatively new company on the ever evolving fly tying marketplace and was founded and is operated by Jeff Harrison. I sat down with Jeff to introduce you to his line of hooks, beads, and some other products we’ll talk about later.
IPT: Jeff, for those people who aren’t familiar with your brand Hazard Fly Fishing, how did you get started in this business and what do you feel separates your products from all the others out there?
Jeff: Hey Daniel! Thanks for asking me to do this interview. I really do consider this to be an honor and would love to share the story of Hazard Fly Fishing with you.
Being a competitive fly fisherman, I went through a ton of hooks and beads. I had a pro deal with Syndicate Fly fishing and through my career I became pretty good friends with one of its owners Eric. He contacted me to let me know they were getting out of the hooks and bead aspect of the business. Several weeks later I started thinking about doing my own line. So, I started sending a ton of emails received a ton of samples and narrowed it down to my current selection. My original idea was to order enough hooks to meet my needs, but that idea quickly went out the window. There are a lot of great hooks on the market today. It’s crazy how much the barbless hook market has changed in the past 3 years.
What separates me from other companies is I’m just a 1 man show. Yeah, I have the wife and kids help me from time to time but 90% of it’s just me. So, I’m able to focus on quality and customer service. I have no problem with people calling morning noon and night to talk to me personally or ask me questions. Good luck trying to get a hold of some of the other guys.
Having tied on fished with your hooks for several months now I am extremely impressed with how sharp the hook points are, and how consistent the quality is. How important is it to you to produce a product that competitive fly fisherman across the country are turning to using when it matters most for them?
Quality competitive product is everything. The hooks have a constant weight. Which is unheard of. I’m able to weigh them out to package them instead of counting them individually. When I tie flies for myself I put them in my Fly box according to the weight. And to have it stay the same per hook means I’m able to quickly grab a fly and not worry about the weight.
We can’t go too far into this discussion without talking about price. Fly tying hooks, especially for the European nymphing/competitive fly fishing market have reached all time highs with foreign imports. How have you managed to introduce a premium hook at an economical price?
I’m not doing this as my only source of income (The wife would kill me) if I quit my job to run Hazard full time. For me I’ve always been a great sales man and love to meet new people. When it came to sales I have a philosophy of this. I would rather make a dollar profit off 100 customers then $100 dollar profit off of 1 customer. As long as the sales can cover the cost of ordering new product and cover taxes. What’s the point of charging more or raising the prices?
For those higher volume fly tyers out there, do you offer any bulk packages of hooks? If so, what quantity and discount can they expect?
I do offer a “pro deal” for those who fish in competitions as well as guides. I have given it to a very select few of “commercial” tyers as well . But it is very few and will continue to be. They would have to be able to prove they’ve been a commercial tier for a while, so it wouldn’t take business away from fly shops as anyone would be able to say they are a commercial tier.
Customer service can make or break fly fishing companies. If for some unfortunate reason, a customer is less than satisfied, who can they talk with to resolve the issue? Do you offer any warranties on your products?
Warranty? What’s that? Since launching Hazard in January I’ve ordered over 250,000 hooks. I know there will be some bad hooks, but I try my hardest to stop that. If for some small reason you don’t like the hooks get in touch with me and I’ll make it right. I’ve yet to have someone contact me and say they hate the hooks but there’s always that small chance.
You also sell other materials besides hooks. What other products do you sell?
Right now we offer countersunk, slotted and faceted (disco) beads. These beads are the heaviest beads I’ve ever seen. I’ve weighed beads from other companies and mine far out weigh the competition. Plus, my painted beads aren’t painted. I’ve had them powder coated to be more resistant to chipping. The cost is a little bit more, but the quality out weighs the cost. I also have Syndicate rods on the site and will be adding Master Nymph new line of rods called Bellator. These rods are a game changer. Jason has designed a true masterpiece!!! I also carry Ikon landing nets. If I list it on the site, you better believe I’ve used it or continue to use. I can’t sell junk.
Are you going to be introducing any new hooks or other products in 2018?
Funny you ask. I’m in talks with my manufacturer about being the first company to offer a new to the market product……… (You need to stay turned for that reveal lol)
My Overall Review:
Let me say that I’ve been tying with these hooks for about 5 or 6 months right now, and I think they are fantastic. Anyone who has ordered jig flies from me has gotten a fly using either the Hazard HH10 (standard jig) or the HH11 (wide gap jig) hooks, and I’ve yet to hear a complaint. I think they have done a great job very quickly earning the trust of people tying a LOT of flies and people who spend many days out of the week fishing.
If I had to compare them to another brand, I would say they are on par with the competition standby Hanak brand hooks, that is the quality level. The best part is you save about 12.5% off each pack you buy when you choose Hazard. I don’t know about you, but hooks cost a LOT of money and if I can instantly save that much, I will choose to do so. For guys wanting to start tying orders, 12.5% savings on your hooks can determine whether you are profitable or not.
They currently have 12 models of hooks, which is on the smaller end when you compare them to more established lines of hooks but each one is a good hook. Too many times brands rush to expand their sku’s and end up with unnecessary hooks that just confuse the consumer. Some brands have 50+ different hook models. The jig hooks are particularly nice in the Hazard line. If you tie big stoneflies don’t underestimate the value of the HH12 streamer hook. The model says streamer, but big stones need big hooks and this barbless model is a winner.
Wants? I think a big gap in the line up right now is the lack of a true short shank, micro euro nymph hook. I kind of use the HH7 Caddis hook for the purpose, but for that application finding something truer to a TMC 2499spbl or a Hanak 500bl would be a great addition. I also think a truer Czech Nymph Pupa type hook would be cool to see, again something like the Hanak 360bl.
The one thing I know for sure is, if you have a need, Jeff will do what he can to fill it and I’m sure his newest releases are sure to please.
I’m still figuring out how I want to judge the products I bring to you, so it will probably change but for now lets use categories and stars out 1-5, 5 being the best.
Value: 5 Stars. 12.5% cheaper and comparable in quality to the most widely used European Nymphing hooks on the market.
Quality: 5 Stars. I’ve used the hooks for about 6 months and haven’t had 1 bad hook, in the vise or on the water. Can’t get much better.
Customer Service: 5 Stars. Jeff has made himself available should anything arise, and that is more than I can say for many other brands in the fly tying industry.
Should you give Hazard Hooks a try? Absolutely.
Click SHOP NOW to shop for your Hazard FF Barbless Hooks and Tungsten Beads right here at In Pursuit of Trout and follow Hazard FF via their website and social media pages for upcoming news and product releases.
Comment below with any questions you have and what new products (rods, reels, gear, fly tying materials, etc) that you would like to see, and whether you want to see video reviews starting in 2018?