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The man behind the gear

October 5, 2009

Leif Stävmo is Guidelines chief of product development. Read more about his fishing career and what he likes.

1. You were one of the early champions of the sport casting, How did you get into flyfishing and what attracted you to do it?

At the age of 14 I joined a class in ”Fishing and Casting” 2 hours a week at my local school. I was doing a lot of fishing for Pike and Perch with the spinning rod at the time and had been doing so since the age of 6. I had no idea what the casting part was. But our teacher was involved in tournament casting and taught us about it. As it also involves fly casting he was the man to introduce it to me. I can still remember the
very first time I picked up the rod and started throwing loops. It was instant obsession and it has been ever since that day back in 1972. After 10 years in the Swedish National Casting Team achieving all my goals, including several World Champion titles, I quit and started spending much more time flyfishing.

2. What exactly does your job involve?

I am responsible for the Guideline product range, working with the development of products such as fly rods, lines, reels and clothing. I have a great team of very skilled people around me, without whom, I would never be able to do this, as we have a very extensive range of products in various price points and markets.

 3. What is the key to your award winning rod series?

I burn for the fly cast and for the great challenge that lies in the synergy between the physics of the Cast and the use of the energy that can be received from a properly designed flyrod. When these two work in harmony, the flyfishing experience becomes so much more enjoyable and brings better results. I have a philosophy that there are no limitations to what we can create. There is always something to be improved on, both in a flyrod and the casting stroke.

4. How do you go about thinking up new products?

I am influenced by everything in the outdoor world, being a dedicated alpine skier and back country hiker as well as fly fisherman. I have a thing about details that make a difference. Smart solutions, new fabrics and materials, cuts in clothing that bring freedom of movement and so much more.. I also listen a lot to the good advice and comments from fellow flyfishers all over the world. Many excellent ideas and final products have evolved from short notes, both positive and negative, that eventually turn into a finished product.

 5. Is there anyone who truly inspires you?

Yes, indeed. There are so many skilled people behind the products. Designers, technicians, pattern makers etc. They inspire me and make my work rewarding and exciting as well as very educating. It’s a privilege having the chance to work like this and the limits to what is achievable are pushed a step further every year. I also collect great inspiration from nature and the universe. I am a strong believer in the powers that surround us all the time. When I am out there in the elements I can relax and at the same time feel very responsive to the little things that make my experience a better one, be it a 2% more powerful 2nd part of a Le Cie 14’8 #10/11 rod or a hood on a MicroStretch Jacket that needs a better adjustment solution.

6. What do you prefer Saltwater or River?

Kind of both, thank you :o). I tend to go through different phases in my flyfishing life. Right now I am addicted to back country fishing for trout and char. I love the solitude and the physical work involved with it. But I can’t deny the fact that the take of a big Tarpon or Salmon are still giving me an incredible thrill.

7. What is the one thing you would change about your life?

If I must say one thing… My residence. I live outside Gothenburg, which is a great city, but I miss the mountains and the proper seasons. Being an addicted skier and flyfisher, I feel like I would be even happier living in the mountains again..

8. What is your favorite cast?

The one that catches that most challenging and hard to get fish..

9. For you, Is flyfishing a job or is it still a passion?

Looking at the hours I spend “working”, you got to be having it as your passion to be able to do it year in year out. I consider myself incredibly privileged to have this as my “job”.


10. There are lots of kids out there who start fly fishing what advice would you give them to improve there’s skills?

Get somebody to show you how to cast. Guideline offers introductory clinics together with the purchase of our fly kits in some countries. This is a great way to get started. If possible keep on bugging your parents about allowing you to join a Fishing Club, which has organized activities and happenings such as casting, fly tying, fishing trips etc. If you are
lucky enough to have a dad who is flyfishing, make sure he takes you along on his trips and don’t catch more fish than he. At least not when he is watching…

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