Welcome to this installment of Flylords’ “Small Business Spotlight” series. When it comes to fly fishing and the outdoor industry as a whole, constant innovation and ingenuity are synonymous with the spirit of sport. New products are constantly being released, many of which don’t really meet any actual needs of anglers. However, every now and then, something comes out of the woodwork that really catches the eye and makes one think, “Wow! Now, this is a game-changer”. In an effort to support the foundation of the industry, Flylords is looking to bring a spotlight to small businesses we believe in. Here, we’ll highlight the up-and-comers in the industry we hope to see in every angler’s loadout one day.
In this installment, we’re using our heads (literally), and checking out the newest ways to carry your nippers. Whether you’ve got a line in the water, or you’re captaining the ship; Lid Rig is the simplest solution to finding an easy place to stash one of your most important tools.
I remember first seeing Lid Rig pop-up as a trade booth in last year’s first-ever online Fly-Fishing Showcase. I wasn’t exactly sure what the product was all about, but I had a few guesses based on the name. Initially, I was under the impression it was probably some sort-of fly patch that attached to the bill of one’s hat. Interestingly enough, I wasn’t totally wrong (we’ll talk more on that in a moment). After some light combing of the show’s catalog, I found the product pop-up again. It revealed itself to be an alternative nipper set-up that sat fashioned to one’s hat (or wherever else they chose to place it).
The idea seemed fresh. Interesting to say the least. Although I couldn’t necessarily decide as to whether or not I had any interest in embracing the concept myself, it certainly possessed an acre or two of real estate in whatever part of the brain we store fishing gadgets in (for many people including myself, this compartment occupies around 98-99% of the skull).
It wasn’t until a few months later that I finally revisited Lid Rig upon connecting with the founder, Scott Wilday, over a deep dive into industry discourse. I had mentioned that I remembered seeing the nipper system as a partner of the Fly-Fishing Showcase, but I was still unfamiliar with the full functionality behind the idea. Scott took this as a chance for some R&D, and within a few days, there was a clearly marked box labeled “LR” sitting on my kitchen counter.
While I was more of a ‘$5 set of Taiwanese nippers hanging from a 3 dollar zinger that I bought from an office supply store” kind of guy, I wasn’t very reluctant to try out something new. Upon removing the nippers from the box, I was immediately impressed. The weight of the product alone indicated a very well put together body.
The first thing I noticed was the lack of spring keeping the two blades from each other. Much like the SIMMS pro-nipper ($79.95), the two handles were pushed apart by the inclusion of rare-earth magnets.
The set also came with a base that could be attached to your waders, pack, or as the name would imply; a hat. This was constructed of diamond-coated steel, and doubled as a sharpener for the blades on the nippers. I’d be remiss to fail to mention the bottle opener which was built on to the edge of the base (it’s the little things that count). The rig also came with a lanyard, which could be attached to the nippers and the base to ensure maximum security. However, as I soon noticed, it was not necessary.
By using the force of the magnets, the nippers snapped firmly to the base. Refreshingly enough, while they seemed almost impossible to shake off, once you grabbed for them, the unclipped with ease. There was really no effort involved in attaching them either. You could be pretty arbitrary with your blind return of the nippers post use, and as long as your aim was somewhat close to the base, the snapped on and stayed on effortlessly.
The magnets also served the purpose of holding small flies after changing up your fishing rig. Funny enough, what I wrongfully assumed to be the original function of the product upon first hearing about it, actually became a quite welcomed function of the rig itself. There was no more ripping seems of my hats or trying to force microscopic flies onto a foam patch. It was as simple as: step 1– place fly on head. Step 2– fuggedaboudit.
A few fishing trips passed and I began to use the Lid Rid system more and more until the nippers eventually felt more than at home above my left brow. Finally understanding the appeal of never fumbling for your tool when trying to precisely slice 6x tippet in 35-degree weather, I began to understand why the Lid Rig was made. In keeping your gear tight to your frame, you’re just eliminating one more thing to worry about, especially on a drift boat, or when wandering from your pack that you hiked in with.
To conclude my personal experience, I don’t think anyone is looking to reinvent the wheel here. Whether you put your nippers on your pack, on your head, or you choose to file down your canines, it’s all up to user preference. What’s nice about the Lid Rig is that it offer anglers another choice as to how they want to customize their fishing experience. While they won’t catch you more fish, or help you snag fewer branches, the Lid Rig system always assures you that a quality set of nippers is top-of-mind.
Scott Wilday, founder of Lid Rig was kind enough to put aside some time to answer a few questions about the magnetic nipper system and how he brought his vision to life.
Flylords: What is Lid Rig?
Scott: Lid Rig Ltd. is a new Denver based company that is taking a drastically different approach to one of the most used products in fishing. We think, look, function & probably act differently than everyone else that makes fishing line nippers.
Flylords: Where did the concept idea for Lid Rig come from?
Scott: After exiting a healthcare tech start-up I Co-founded, I was looking to A.) create something tangible & definitely not in healthcare or technology & B.) integrate my passion for flyfishing & business. As luck would have it, one of my brothers had a bachelor weekend around the same time I was looking for my next endeavor. The first day we played mediocre golf & received personalized ball marker hat clips as gifts. The second day we went fishing and the only thing I was able to catch was a tree.
Nobody likes losing flies …. so I found myself halfway up a tree and a few beers deep. Instead of using nippers attached to my pack that I was unable to reach, I ended up using the golf ball marker hat clip to help cut me loose.
Voila! Lid Rig was born from a lame bachelor party gift, poor fishing skills, and some cold beers. Having an idea is one thing, but evaluating it as a viable business opportunity and the process of bringing it to life is really where the concept was refined.
Flylords: What are some of the multi-use attributes of the product?
Scott: We put countless hours into the design & engineering so that our customers have functional uses both inside & outside of fishing. The creativity we have seen from Lid Rig users is what gets us so excited about what we are doing. Here are a few for you…
- The diamond-coated clip was designed to sharpen the Lid Rig nipper blades & hooks but we have seen Lid Rigs on hunting trips and in gourmet kitchens because it can also sharpen knives.
- Many areas of the country have enacted barbless only rules. We have heard from Wildlife Rangers that love to use Lid Rig to file off barbs from anglers hooks while on patrol
- Despite having a bottle opener built in, we have seen Lid Rig’s used to assist in shotgunning beers.
- Lots of people just magnetically connect Lid Rig to their trucks or boats so it acts as a rod holder while getting rigged up.
- Flies just stick & magnetically connect right on the nippers which is great for quick changes but also fly tying desks if you are working on some micro midges.
Flylords: What is it like owning a small business in the fly fishing space? What are some of the struggles that come along with that?
Scott: In today’s crazy world, it has honestly restored my faith in humanity. The fly fishing space is chock-full of humble people that are willing to help and want to see Lid Rig succeed. I’ve had to tell a lot of people that their order is delayed because of covid-19 and not a single person has asked for their money back.
Flylords: What’s next for Lid Rig?
Scott: Welp, the initial response has been ridiculous and we are starting to ship out thousands of Lid Rigs to shops & people that have ordered online at our website starting next week. Once we get through this initial rush we have some new products and concepts in the works that we would like to bring to market sooner rather than later.
Thank you to Scott Wilday for taking the time to chat with us. If you want to learn more about Lid Rig, or get your hands on your very own pair, you can check them out HERE.