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Reel Service IV: Helping Project Healing Waters

At The Fly Fishing Show’s stop in Edison, New Jersey, I had the privilege of helping out at the Vedavoo booth.  I’ve shared how much I appreciate the gear, and the ethos behind the gear, that Vedavoo creates. Their motto is “better American gear,” and every sling, case, or accessory that comes out of their Massachusetts factory lives up to that ideal.

Consequently, it was easy to talk to show-goers about the various products that were for sale. The updated slings were prominently displayed. Small, yet tremendously functional, pieces like the rod holster and net holster flew off the shelves. Being so close to the New Jersey salt, the packs produced in partnership with Water Master were a big hit. Yet the most eye-catching and traffic-stopping part of the booth was the ten custom painted messenger bags.

The large front panel of the Mainstream Messenger is a perfect canvas for design. Vedavoo rolled out the Mainstream late last year, and I can attest to the fact that it is incredibly functional. While the function is still present in these ten bags, their purpose is to display some of the finest artists in fly fishing today.

Jorge Martinez, Derek DeYoung, Josh Udesen, Andrea Larko, Ryan Keene, Matthew Stockton, Alex Poland, Jake Keeler, Paul Puckett, Borbay, Sarah Landstrom, Ty Hallock, Jeff Kennedy, and Kendra Leeks are essentially the “who’s who” of angling art. They each worked directly on the Vedavoo nylon panels, creating unique originals specifically for this project. Subject matter ranges from abstract trout patterns to a tarpon to a salmon fly. Each work is stunning, and complimented by coordinating fabric colors on the messenger bag.

All of that said, the real purpose of these painted bags is even more profound than showing off great art on great gear. Neither Vedavoo nor the artists themselves will be selling the bags. Instead, the bags will be given away as part of the Reel Service Project. This year, the initiative is meant to raise awareness and funds for Project Healing Waters. This nationwide organization serves wounded military personnel through fly fishing. Anyone can attest to the therapeutic nature of being outdoors, and PHWFF uses that to help those who have given up so much to help us.

Entering to win one of these one-of-a-kind Mainstream Messenger Bags is free. All you have to do is head to the Vedavoo website. But you’ll see links to learn more about PHWFF and also to donate on that same site.

There is good stuff going on in and around fly fishing. The Reel Service Project is a prime example good people in various parts of the industry and culture coming together for a common and worthy cause.

From Vedavoo.com:


We are proud to announce the return of the REEL SERVICE PROJECT IV – a pairing of original artwork from the industry’s best and brightest with our hand-built craftsmanship to deliver a series of truly one-of-a-kind messenger bags. As before – all builds, materials and artwork are donated so that 100% of the proceeds can directly benefit our vets through Project Healing Waters.

Having had the opportunity to receive each artist’s commitment – we are truly humbled and inspired by how quickly and passionately each has stepped up for the cause. As before, VEDAVOO will lead the effort by providing the materials and labor to build the bags and each artist will provide their time and vision painting their signature aesthetic to each finished piece.

This year’s event promises to be the BEST to date. Enter to win one of these very special bags. No Purchase Necessary.


The REEL SERVICE PROJECT was initiated in 2013 to help raise funds for veteran-focused causes in the Fly Fishing community. That initial effort, which included a series of VEDAVOO packs made out of fabric provided by Patrick over at Recycled Waders featuring original artwork by Jeff Currier set the stage for events to follow.

Proceeds from the 2015 event were enough to pay for nearly 28 years worth of fly tying courses and materials for wounded veterans through the efficient use of funds by Project Healing Waters.

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