I'm not an avid fisherman, but I do hold a romantic regard for adventurous manifestations of the sport. Fishing a remote stretch of float plane-accessed water in backcountry Alaska is the type of thing I could daydream about through an entire day of work, despite not being a fisherman. Pulling out fat, writhing salmon to be cooked moments later on the massive bonfire that doubles as a primitive line of defense against bears, moose and other large, ill-tempered behemoths has a certain appeal. Better yet, save fuel and money on the float plane and I'll hike to a pristine, granite-encircled lake and enjoy my casting with a side of endless blue sky and utter dearth of human interruption. Now that's fishing.
And that's the type of fishing that the Fikkes was designed to empower. Well, perhaps it was designed for something a little simpler - a family hike on a lazy (though scenic) stretch of trail with a side of fishing. But the product can certainly be used for more serious remote hike-and-fish excursions, too.
The Fikkes Fly Hiker is a combination of a hiking pole and a fishing pole, so you can see where its name came from. It serves as a hiking pole for trekking to whatever lake, river, stream, pond, etc. you want to fish and transforms into a fishing rod within about a minute. Fikkes offers both spinning and fly configurations.
In terms of its build, the fishing rod segments are stored inside the aluminum shaft of the hiking pole. The bottom section of the hiking pole serves as the fly rod base, secured by a Black Diamond Flick Lock. A single handle segment serves as both hiking pole handle and fly rod handle. The short video clip below shows exactly how the Fly Hiker transforms better than we could ever explain.
What we can explain is how the idea came about. On a family hiking trip to Washington's Packwood Lake, Jake Carse came up with the impromptu idea of attaching a piece of fishing line to his son's hiking pole to provide a new dynamic to the trip (children do get bored easily, after all). From there, Carse grew the seed into full blossom, with help from local composite fishing blank manufacturer North Fork Composites and other companies.
The Fikkes comes in several different models. The hiking pole/spinning rod combo costs US$200. For a fly fishing set-up, the base hiking pole costs US$150, and the 3- or 6-weight composite fly rod insert costs $250.