In the latest Behind the Brand, the Flylords team caught up with Greg Madrigal. Who is the owner, founder, and the sole net builder for Sierra Nets. Greg is an U.S. Army Veteran who takes a passion in handcrafting these nets for his customers. We wanted to learn more about these unique nets and what goes into the production of them. Check out the interview below to learn more about Sierra Nets.
Flylords: Tell us a little about yourself and where your passion for fishing comes from?
Greg: I’ve been married for 23 years to a wonderful woman and no kids-Just my beautiful black rescue labradoodle who is my studio mate. I’m a U.S. Army veteran who grew up in Idaho in a fairly rural and humble household of eight. Fishing was something we could do that didn’t cost much money. Since those early days, I’ve always been captivated by nature. It really doesn’t matter if it’s the beach, the open ocean, the mountains, or just a city park, I’m always seeking out and fascinated by the natural world. Fly fishing just happens to encompass so many of these aspects all rolled into one beautiful sport.
Flylords: What inspired you to start the business?
Greg: Throughout my 30s, I had an overwhelming feeling that I was wasting away my life working for others. My wife and I traveled quite a bit and I got a taste of just how much is out there to explore. Along came the great recession and I was laid off. This sparked a three-year search for a new path in this life. I was already an accomplished woodworker with many pieces of furniture and three fly fishing nets under my belt. I knew that if I put my mind to it I could build the best nets the world.
Flylords: People consider your nets works of art, where do you get the inspiration for your net designs?
Greg: The designs are typically born from a particular piece of handle wood I am dealing with. My nets have evolved over the last nine years with a noticeable difference in design, detail, & aesthetics. First and foremost, the goal of my designs is to meet the customer’s specifications and then to exceed their expectations! So, some of the ideas come from my clients. I really like this scenario because it pushes me to move outside my box and try new things. Other inspirations come from famous workers like the Greene & Greene brothers and Sam Maloof.
Flylords: Tell us about the collaboration between you and your clients?
Greg: This is an interesting part of my business. I have clients from all over the world and from every walk of life. On one end of the spectrum, some want me to create a masterpiece completely of my choice while others specify practically every detail of the net. The latter is more common and I work one-on-one with clients, usually over social media, phone calls, or email, to banter back-and-forth until we come up with a suitable design. Some clients have even sent me their own custom hoop shape or artwork to inlay into the net. I consider this a privilege and an honored to work directly with the client. Their heirloom net becomes more important to them since they help design it and makes the overall process of a custom net commission more enjoyable for both of us.
Flylords: Why do you think the majority of your clients are fly fisherman/women?
Greg: I can count one hand the number of my clients over the years who only fish conventional gear. I believe the reasons behind this pertain to the storied history of fly fishing. Fly fishing has many traditions and lore which will likely never go away. One of those traditions, alongside catch and release and fly fishers’ conservation efforts, is carrying a wooden net. Also, many of my fly fishing clients tend to be over 30 and are looking for something to pass down to their next generation of fly fishers they’ve been mentoring. Fly fishing is one of those things that tends to run in families.
Flylords: Tell us about some of the other fly fishing accessories you make
Greg: Sierra Nets makes a line of beautiful accessories made from the same gorgeous woods found on our nets. On just about every net, a client asks for one of our handmade latigo leather, wood, and carbon fiber magnetic net releases as well as one of our net safety lanyards. We also offer beautiful handcrafted bison leather or canvas cases to protect the net & to keep it from getting caught on things during transit. I also designed and build my proprietary dual vehicle rod holder that comes in pretty handy when getting on or off the water. I don’t think I know any fly fisherman who hasn’t broken a rod in the car door at least once. I also offer custom turned premium figured stabilized reel seats and stabilized reel seat blanks.
Flylords: Your materials are beautiful, where do you source them?
Greg: This is a common question I get. The answer is: From many different places! Some of my woods are locally sourced urban hardwoods that I or friends obtain. Occasionally, I’ll receive calls to pick up trees that are being felled the same day. I also buy wood from specialty wood suppliers both local and online or even on eBay or social media. Some of the woods are even gifted to me by people I meet who don’t know what to do with it or want it to be used for its best and highest purpose. Regardless of where I obtain it, sourcing wood is a passion of mine, and I take both the environmental and aesthetic considerations of it very seriously.
Sierra Net Testimonial:
“Fly fishing has taken us to the most beautiful places the states have to offer. When we go fishing we always take our Sierra net, it belongs in these places, netting gorgeous, giant cutthroat. Greg’s Nets are truly pieces of art in their own right. They’re one-of-a-kind beautiful, reliable, and stand the test of time. Our net will last generations. One day we’ll pass it on to our son Sage, along with the countless memories of every fish its held.”-Gabi Suggs (Pictured Left)
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