MONDO refutes fly fishing’s cliche facades with bright colors, affordable gear, and no BS. As the brand likes to say, “less egos, more amigos.”
A blatant betrayal of the classic Brad Pitt style of fly fishing, MONDO represents a new breed of anglers. Its motto “less egos, more amigos” pokes fun at traditional fly fishing culture. Instead, the brand encourages anglers to “resist the status quo” and create an approachable environment on and off the water.
MONDO designs and sells fly rods, reels, and line in bold colors that put a Crayola box to shame. MONDO’s 9-foot 5-weight Flow Cannon Rod will run you $298, and the anodized aluminum Fly Reel costs $228.
Enough Already: Fly Fishing Today
As a novice fly angler, I was often discouraged by my interactions with anglers at fly shops and on the water. I lacked experience and expensive gear. It seemed as if I shouldn’t be fishing the same water or frequenting the same establishments as other well-seasoned anglers.
If it weren’t for my stubborn attitude and some external encouragement, I would’ve quit altogether. The experience was a personal catalyst for seeking out fly fishing companies who weren’t in on this culture of exclusion.
Who Is MONDO?
MONDO is owned by Taylor Barlow and Levi Gephart and proudly operates out of Victor, Idaho. The brand fuses art, bright colors, and high performance into rods and reels — all without the premium price. Most importantly, it aims to make fly fishing approachable and accessible to everyone.
“I wanted to craft a more inclusive narrative while bringing sick gear to the people on the periphery of the sport and those trying to figure out how to get in,” said Barlow.
“Learning to fly fish isn’t hard: casting, knots, equipment, insects, etc. The intuitive component to fly fishing is the hard part. But that’s what makes the sport so appealing — the bugs, figuring out the water, patterning the fish, etc. Sorting all that stuff out is the spark. It’s what keeps all of us coming back.”
My Experience With MONDO
I recently met up with the MONDO crew to float some of the waters they frequent in southeast Idaho, toss a few flies, and chat about their diversion from fly fishing’s norms. MONDO was created out of a “need for a spike in the system,” said Barlow. “It represents a new approach to fly fishing gear.”
We floated two of Idaho’s iconic rivers, Henry’s Fork and the Snake River, and managed to pull in over 40 trout in two days. We might have looked like a raft full of fly fishing misfits according to the traditional depiction. That didn’t stop us from fully experiencing what fly fishing is all about. The conversation, breathtaking scenery, and connecting to our natural world.
I fished a four-piece, 5-weight MONDO Flow Cannon Fly Rod ($298) accompanied it with a 5-/6-weight MONDO Fly Reel ($228) while wading and from a raft. The rod’s mid-action taper provides a balance of power and control, offering the oomph you need to cast at distance, yet the precision you require for tight water. The high-modulus graphite construction brought in the largest fish of the day, a 15-inch cutthroat, with ease.
Constructed of 6061-T6 aluminum, the Fly Reel offers strength and durability. I noticed a touch of stiffness each time I pulled out line to lengthen my cast. However, the reel has an excellent drag system and is an overall star in its price class.
MONDO: Take-Home Message
If you see a barrier, demolish it. Be an advocate, not a river troll. MONDO’s vibe and philosophy solidified the notion that you don’t need the highest-end gear or know every fly in the book to get out there and enjoy the great sport of fly fishing.
My appreciation for brands like MONDO that make fly fishing accessible for beginners is immeasurable. I know how it feels to want to do something so bad, but not know where to start or how you fit in. As outdoor enthusiasts, I think we should all work to implement MONDO’s motto. Less egos, more amigos.
Allie D’Andrea is a social media specialist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She travels the states in a 21-foot travel trailer with her fly rod and compound bow, creating fishing and hunting content for her YouTube channel. She spends her free time reading the works of Aldo Leopold and volunteering for Artemis Sportswomen.