Welcome to: “The Rundown”. In our newest editorial series, we’ll provide an all-encompassing look at the latest and greatest products from your favorite brands in the fly fishing and outdoor space. Here, we’ll run over high-level info, tech specs, and our opinions – all paired with a behind-the-scenes interview with product designers who have poured their hearts into bringing these creations from blueprints to the showroom floor.
In this Rundown Feature, we will provide an all-encompassing look at the full product lineup from Riversmith. The River Quiver, the ShortCut, and the SwiftCast.
If you have been following Flylords, you would remember our “Behind the Brand” feature we ran about Riversmith just last year. Since then, we have been lucky to get to know the great people at Riversmith more and share some good days on the water with them.
Still young, with their first product launching in 2018, Riversmith is becoming a brand you can’t go anywhere without seeing. In Colorado, which we are lucky to call home, all I have to do is take a walk down the street, and I am guaranteed to see one of their River Quivers mounted on a vehicle. I recall when I interviewed CEO John Koza for their “Behind the Brand” last year and he said, “Our product development team has been working through a slew of different ideas as well. The River Quiver was our first big breakthrough product as a company, but it’s by far not our last. We want to continue to expand our travel line, then expand into new product lines to really become a staple within the fly fishing industry. Our plan going forward is to listen to what the market is saying, grow within those demands, and keep pumping out products of the same quality that we’ve got out there right now.”
John sure was right. Since then, the Riversmith product development team has added two more products to the Riversmith lineup we are excited to tell you our feedback on and hear more about them from Head of Product Jason Thomas.
The two newest products to the Riversmith lineup are the SwiftCast and the ShortCut. With every product Riversmith designs, they were brought into the lineup with a problem to solve in mind.
The Swiftcast was released in early March to solve a problem many raft anglers face on the water: how to fish as efficiently as possible while protecting a fly rod that is not being used. This versatile rod holder was designed for quick assembly out of the box and can be mounted and deployed to almost any rafting frame. You can use one or more Swiftcast Rod Holders on your boat depending on how many rods need to be stored, and they can be mounted universally and configured for your particular needs.
From our experience, the previous option was DIY PVC rod holders, which don’t hold up super well, metal tubes that can scratch and damage gear, or laying the rod in the boat.
Here is a high-level breakdown of the key features of the Swiftcast.
- Universal mounting to any raft frame and raft size
- Holds a single fly rod – up to 10ft in length up to 10 weight reel/line
- Elastic cord for 100% security in rapids
- Attach inside or outside of oar tower
- Can be paired together in-line or bi-directional
- Curved or straight tube options
The Shortcut, part of the River Quiver family, was brought to life for those who need to carry rods with them but need a smaller package. With its compact and sleek design, the Shortcut is a perfect option for small commuter vehicles. Also useful on Overland Vehicles due to the fact it can be mounted on any roof rack crossbar, inside truck cabs, on UTVS, Pop-Up Campers, Trailers, and more. Simply split your rod in half, and the ShortCut RQ safely stores your rods while maximizing real estate on your vehicle.
Here is a high-level breakdown of the key features of the Shortcut.
- T-Track on both sides of extrusion.
- Fits 10’4″ rods broken down in half.
- Versatile mounting options.
- 12 seconds to break down and store a rod.
- 15 seconds to reassemble and ready to fish!
Our team has been lucky to get our hands on all of the Riversmith products from the River Quiver to the new Swiftcast. We have been using and abusing all their stuff for some time now. Here is what we have gathered:
I already wrote a gear review on this – you can check it out here!
With the ShortCut River Quiver, we were initially skeptical about having th break your rods in half. However, after spending some time with it, we found this process only adds less than a minute to our process of getting on or off the river.
The ShortCut River Quiver has the same trusted construction and attention to detail as the standard River Quiver. Paired with the Quick Release Mounts from Riversmith, the package is extremely portable and easy to take on and off without extra help. The size of the Short Cut is also perfect for compact cars and truck beds. On a sedan or hatchback, the entire Short Cut does not extend further than the roof of the vehicle, which looks great on those smaller cars. Personally, I will be keeping my standard River Quiver because I am stubborn enough not to want to break my rods down. For those with a smaller car or are looking for something more compact – this is definitely the River Quiver for you.
The Swiftcast has to be the product our team was most excited to test out. Back in the fall of ’22, the Riversmith team let us test out the prototypes of this product, and to say we were impressed would be an understatement.
We have broken countless rods in our raft, most of which were subject to our office dog Sam jumping in and out of the boat and landing on a rod in the back of the raft. We were impressed with the product’s construction, which was light but solid throughout. It took us some time with the product to figure out which mounting configuration we liked the most, but with anything on a raft, we found our sweet spot after a few uses and are super happy with how it works.
The key feature we love is the reel box which not only has a bungee to hold your rod in place but also has a slot for your reel seat to lock into for extra security. I am confident enough in this to where I will drive home with the rods in my Swiftcast. The one thing I think could improve on the product is the end pieces that curve up on the bow. We have taken this feedback to the Riversmith team, and the great thing about the Boulder-based company is they immediately started to look into ways to help us find a good way to secure it and improve the product in the future.
An Interview with Riversmith’s Head of Product: Jason Thomas
Flylords: Who are you, and what is your position at Riversmith?
Jason: Hi, my is Jason Thomas. My official position at Riversmith is Head of Product. It’s a pleasure to chat with you guys!
Flylords: How do you think the design of the Riversmith products will affect the way anglers look at the fishing experience going forward?
Jason: Our products, at their core, are designed to encourage people to think to themselves, ‘my time really is valuable…. my experience on the water is important and could it be improved?’
Personally, I strongly connect with these sentiments and asking these types of questions. I believe that our time and experience are incredibly finite resources – every moment matters. At Riversmith we aim to address these problems for our customers and it’s where we feel we can make a real difference. From a product development perspective, we get a lot of inspiration directly from our customers and we love getting feedback.
Flylords: What has been your personal favorite product to work on?
Jason: Personally, the Swiftcast takes the cake as my favorite product we’ve developed and released. The goal of designing a universal rod holder for rafts was ambitious, which led to a lot of trial and error. We learned a lot through our development process, which set the stage for future innovation. With that said, the new products we’re working on currently have me just as excited and I’m really looking forward to hearing what the fishing community thinks!
Flylords: Who’s idea was it to mount a ShortCut River Quiver in a truck bed? What was your process to create a mount for that to be possible?
Jason: Honestly, the idea came from real life fly anglers. If you go back and watch our introduction video for the Shortcut, I mention the idea of mounting it in the bed of a pickup even though at that time there wasn’t a mounting option for that application. We had some folks approach us looking for a bed mount solution but hadn’t yet tackled it. What really moved the needle is when we shot a video for our social platforms asking the community if they wanted a mounting solution for the bed of their pickup and we got an overwhelming ‘YES!’
We decided to fast-track the development of this mounting system, and knew going in that we faced the looming challenge of all the different types of trucks – years, makes, models, materials, etc. What ultimately boosted our momentum and provided a ton of insight was when we decided to go to dealerships and install the mounts in the back of their trucks. Then, a few days later we went to a few “pick-your-part” junk yards where we screwed these mounts to directly to pickup bed panels and physically tested their structural properties. Real world testing in bulk! Those were great days and we learned a ton.
Flylords: What does your day look like as the lead product designer at Riversmith?
Jason: Well, I spend a lot of my time modeling in various CAD programs and building physical prototypes. My favorite days are when we get out into the field for research and product testing – that’s where we gain the most valuable insights. Without these days, innovation could not occur.
And as it goes with any small business our team members wear various hats. Right now, mine include designer, developer, engineer, testing specialist, supply chain manager, sourcing and logistics coordinator. Every day brings something new, which makes it exciting!
Flylords: What was the initial thought process behind the Swiftcast? What role was it made to fill?
Jason: For those who have fished from a raft, breaking a rod is an ever-present danger. Whether it happens getting in or out of the boat, foot strike, dogs being dogs, snagging rocks or limbs, rod protection is an everyday challenge and when it occurs your dream float can turn into a costly nightmare in the blink of an eye. We designed the Swiftcast to eliminate these moments so our customers can focus on the fishing.
While there have a been a few attempts at solving the rod storage problem, the vast majority of these solutions are DIY. This fact indicated an obvious need – a real problem to solve. We saw that biggest challenge for such a product was the multitude of different raft shapes, sizes, and frame configurations. We designed the Swiftcast to not only fully protect your fly rod when not in use but to be configurable to your unique raft/frame setup – to be “universal.” We started with designs that held multiple rods, but quickly found to ensure it fits most any raft setup (including its rocker) while fully protecting the rod, it would need to be a single rod carrier. This insight drove the design to what it is today. The Swiftcast has only been available for a short time, and we have received incredibly positive feedback and have seen folks adapt it to their drift boats and even float planes.
While it was designed primarily with rafts in mind, the Swifcast’s application potential plays a far broader role with different types of boats, kayaks, and potentially standup paddleboards. I’m excited to see how the product continues to evolve and the unique ways anglers adapt it for their program.
Flylords: Do you have a main set of goals in mind when designing a new product?
Jason: Yes. But I believe what we don’t do is just as important as what we choose to do. We don’t make products that aren’t serving a meaningful purpose. We explore a lot of product ideas that never materialize because we don’t feel they fully meet these important criteria. Our focus is building products that protect what matters most – our time and our experience. Fundamentally, a new product at Riversmith is only viable if it supports these objectives and it serves a meaningful purpose during our time on the water.
Thank you to the Riversmith team for allowing us to participate in this project over the last year. To learn more about the Riversmith Lineup, Click HERE.
This article was published as part of a paid campaign between Flylords LLC and Riversmith. All opinions presented in this article are genuine and solely reflect the opinions of Flylords LLC.