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A Legend Remastered

Grand Catalina, an iconic frame favored in the late 80’s and 90’s, is back and remastered for modern anglers-Depending on how long you’ve been fishing, you might remember the look of the early versions of polarized fishing glasses. That retro aviator shape. The classic side panels. First launched in the late 1980s, this legacy favorite was worn by arguably the best anglers in saltwater fly fishing: Flip Pallot, Jose Wejebe, Lefty Kreh, Chico Fernandez, Stu Apte, and more. You might even remember seeing them on those golden-era fishing shows of the 1990s, like Flip Pallot’s “Walker’s Cay Chronicles.” Before going to market, every Costa frame goes through extensive testing. Our best lab? On the water. And our favorite subjects? Those who spend their days off the grid and in the middle of extreme elements. So it’s only fitting we treated Grand Catalina the same, this time enlisting a few fly-fishing legends to join along in our pursuits. First on the contact list was Costa’s longest tenured Pro, the oracle himself, Flip Pallot. Flip is an IGFA Hall of Famer, published author, celebrated guide, casting instructor, rod designer, fly expert, conservationist, protector of wild places, a sage source of life advice, and a pillar in the angling community.

Grand Catalina, an iconic frame favored in the late 80’s and 90’s, is back and remastered for modern anglers

Depending on how long you’ve been fishing, you might remember the look of the early versions of polarized fishing glasses. That retro aviator shape. The classic side panels. First launched in the late 1980s, this legacy favorite was worn by arguably the best anglers in saltwater fly fishing: Flip Pallot, Jose Wejebe, Lefty Kreh, Chico Fernandez, Stu Apte, and more. You might even remember seeing them on those golden-era fishing shows of the 1990s, like Flip Pallot’s “Walker’s Cay Chronicles.”  

Before going to market, every Costa frame goes through extensive testing. Our best lab? On the water. And our favorite subjects? Those who spend their days off the grid and in the middle of extreme elements. So it’s only fitting we treated Grand Catalina the same, this time enlisting a few fly-fishing legends to join along in our pursuits.

First on the contact list was Costa’s longest tenured Pro, the oracle himself, Flip Pallot. Flip is an IGFA Hall of Famer, published author, celebrated guide, casting instructor, rod designer, fly expert, conservationist, protector of wild places, a sage source of life advice, and a pillar in the angling community.  

Flip Pallot is an IGFA Hall of Famer, published author, celebrated guide, casting instructor, rod designer, fly expert, conservationist, protector of wild places, a sage source of life advice, and a pillar in the angling community.-Second, we sought another legendary fly-fisherman and Costa Pro, Oliver White. Oliver's constant exposure to the world's most remote fishing destinations alongside the most experienced anglers has quickly made him one of the best in our sport. Lately, much of Oliver’s time is spent on the South Fork of the Snake River in Idaho at the famed South Fork Lodge. Oliver purchased it with fishing pal Jimmy Kimmel two years ago in the most recent chapter of his adventurous life. Flip is Oliver’s mentor in many ways. These two share a special relationship not only as elite fly anglers, but as close friends.

Flip Pallot is an IGFA Hall of Famer, published author, celebrated guide, casting instructor, rod designer, fly expert, conservationist, protector of wild places, a sage source of life advice, and a pillar in the angling community.

Second, we sought another legendary fly-fisherman and Costa Pro, Oliver White. Oliver's  constant exposure to the world's most remote fishing destinations alongside the most experienced anglers has quickly made him one of the best in our sport.

Lately, much of Oliver’s time is spent on the South Fork of the Snake River in Idaho at the famed South Fork Lodge. Oliver purchased it with fishing pal Jimmy Kimmel two years ago in the most recent chapter of his adventurous life.

Flip is Oliver’s mentor in many ways. These two share a special relationship not only as elite fly anglers, but as close friends.  

We didn’t know what to expect from either, because when it comes to fishing gear, both anglers are discriminating and uncompromising, as to be expected. But those were the opinions we were hoping to hear. -Upon pulling the frames out of the box, carefully admiring the new side shields and with a slight smirk on his face, Flip looked up and reminisced, “Can you believe, before Costa, we used to mold our own custom side panels? We’d use paper mâché and a little epoxy to block out the light.” From Mosquito Lagoon to the wetlands of St. Johns River, we set out on an adventure and tested the new Grand Catalinas, and we didn’t hold back on the durability test either. Banged around in the boat, dropped on the deck, incidentally, flung overboard and covered in muck. On the first day, Mother Nature threw everything at us: moments of open water wind gusts reaching 20mph, saltwater spray, whipping rain, mid-day harsh sun, and plenty of bright glare off the water. But on the second day, the weather was a little more inviting.

We didn’t know what to expect from either, because when it comes to fishing gear, both anglers are discriminating and uncompromising, as to be expected. But those were the opinions we were hoping to hear. 

Upon pulling the frames out of the box, carefully admiring the new side shields and with a slight smirk on his face, Flip looked up and reminisced, “Can you believe, before Costa, we used to mold our own custom side panels? We’d use paper mâché and a little epoxy to block out the light.”

From Mosquito Lagoon to the wetlands of St. Johns River, we set out on an adventure and tested the new Grand Catalinas, and we didn’t hold back on the durability test either. Banged around in the boat, dropped on the deck, incidentally, flung overboard and covered in muck.  

On the first day, Mother Nature threw everything at us: moments of open water wind gusts reaching 20mph, saltwater spray, whipping rain, mid-day harsh sun, and plenty of bright glare off the water. But on the second day, the weather was a little more inviting.  

Guided by Flip, we jumped on the airboats and headed to some secret fishing spots deep in the St. Johns. It was a chance to catch more fish and see the beautiful wild areas of Florida that still exist.  

With the sharp clarity and enhanced polarization of the 580 lenses, it wasn’t hard to spot soaring ospreys, eagles, roseate spoonbills, playful otters, and a couple of watchful gators. Such wetland ecosystems, untouched and only accessible by airboats, it’s easy to understand Flip’s passion. Because when you’re this close to the beauty of nature, you can’t help but feel an overwhelming desire to protect it.  

After two full days of adventure, we couldn’t help but notice that both Flip and Oliver never took their Grand Catalinas off, except for an occasional cleaning. Sporting the heritage aviator shape and removable side shields that led to its initial fame, the updated construction, and 580 lens technology, the Grand Catalina seemed to agree with them as a new piece of equipment worthy of their gear bag.

For Oliver, wearing the “Grand Cats” would be a first. For Flip, wearing the frames would be a test, comparing his old faithful originals from many moons ago to the enhanced functionality and versatility of the new modern design. With the sun setting low, we headed for the docks and some cherished time to sit around the fire.

Flip’s outdoor cooking on the Traeger, some Frigate 21-year-old Reserve Rum, along with   a few stories of adventures past, made for the perfect ending to a weekend well spent with good friends.  

As Costa reintroduces this remastered classic, we are humbled to have had decades of support and patronage from those who are widely considered the legends of our sport.
This frame is a tribute to them. 

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