Everybody loves SWAG, Stuff We All Get, and fly fisherman are no exception. Go to any consumer or trade show and folks stuff as much as possible into their pockets with the free promo goods from the manufacturers. Hell, I've even seen a few folks sporting packs at shows just to load up on all the booty they can get their grubby little mitts on. I love swag as much as the next guy, but I typically only collect a few things and only from the manufacturers I dig or represent. The hoarders, on the other hand, just take whatever's free.
A box showed up on my doorstep last week, I had a heads up it was coming, but I had no idea what the entire contents were. I knew there were gonna be a few hats and stickers, but I didn't expect the quantity. Or the quality. Survey a bunch of random people at a fly show and you'll find that there is a split consensus as to who calls all this free stuff swag or schwag. I guess both terms are mutually accepted in social circles, but I still think of schwag as an imposter term. Anyone in the know, knows what schwag really means, low-grade marijuana. How the two terms got intertwined I have no idea but I do know that schwag, to put it lightly, is not good. Perhaps that is why schwag got lumped in with swag, because I've seen some of the low grade shit manufacturers (in general, not necessarily in the fly industry) pass off as freebies. Frankly, I'd rather they just skimp out and pass on the free stuff instead of doling out third-rate soft goods that would make me blush in embarrassment if they were mine. So I guess I can see why some folks at these fly shows might opt for the term schwag instead of swag.
My goodie box from Scientific Anglers and Ross Reels is definitely in the swag category. I'll be proud to pop any of those lids on my melon, or stickers on my rig to represent the SA/Ross Nation. Of course, my package was privy to a few exclusive extras only issued to Pro Staffers, and they are sick! Oh, and Jefe? I chuckled at your note... Maybe next go round you'll order up some coolies big enough to cover up a few 40 ouncers for us fly gangstas. But just so you know, those coolies cover up the bottom of my Hurricane High Gravities just fine! And that's how I roll.