So How much is the fly shop guy worth? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: So How much is the fly shop guy worth?

09-28-2002, 12:31 PM
OK recent threads about profits in fly shops and how things are overpriced and have too much mark up and all that. So I have a question. What is a fly shop employee worth to you?
Whats it worth to have 20 years of experience at your beck and call who will tell you absolutely everything he knows, who will do anything for you including giving away his own personal honey holes? Whats it worth to have a guy behind the counter who actually cares about how your day odf fishing is going. Who is as excited about the fish you caught as you are?
Whats it worth to have a guy go dig through the back of the warehouse for a screw to put the earpiece back on your sunglasses? Whats it worth to have a guy make 4 or 5 long distance phone calls for you to try and track down a whiting platnium cree neck. Whats it worth to have someone who will do anything for you even if it doesn't make him any money?

Now figure that guy is more than likely making 7-8 bucks an hour.

Noone should be complaining about fly shop mark up unless they are willing to take that job for that pay. Without that mark up there would be no reliable fly shops.

09-28-2002, 03:06 PM
In general I have tried to stay out of this fray having nothing particularly enlightning to say in support of capitalism. The reverse is also true. But shop employees, now I can go there. Here's in your face...

Originally posted by roballen
What is a fly shop employee worth to you??

With few exceptions, zip! Nada. Zero. I have personally found that the fewer such employees handling my purchases the better. Invariably, they know nothing, have nothing and can do nothing of importance towards meeting my needs. They will quickly try to sell me the wrong make, wrong color, wrong type, wrong size and rigged wrong. Maybe I just visit the wrong shops! And since no one gives a flying fling about customer service anymore...

Mail order works just fine, fewer **sholes to deal with.

Added: Actually this rant should be directed to the shop owner first (also an employee I guess), and his minions last.

...on a hopelessly honest day.


09-28-2002, 04:25 PM
What fly shop you're talking about. I rarely frequent them, unless I'm in dire need of something that will I don't have time to wait for it to be shipped. For the most part, I'm rarely catered to, to the degree you're talking about. I can only name you 3 shops though that I've been in. 2 of them I have more years of experience fishing then all their staff combined for the quarry I prey. In fact, normally they're the ones asking me how's fishing, and where I've been. I'm normally the one asking them why they don't carry a certain product, and then them lacklusterly saying "it'll take a couple weeks to get in, since we need to fill a certain quota to place order". For most part, and this is myself speaking ONLY, I've received NOTHING from a fly shop but the products I've purchased from them. Normally leaving the fly shop with more info in their knowledge bank then they had before I came in. Case in point. Walked into a local fly shop last year. Needed some materials for a rush job on some flies I needed for salmon season. I always bring fly rod with me on my job so I can fish on lunch break. Guy behind counter figured I was tying salt patterns and asked where I was going. Told him about my job related fishing. Just BS'd a bit, didn't mind telling him where I was going since it's filled with guys anyways and I fish private beaches right by there people can't access. He never heard of place, and I told him where it was at. Sure enough, later that week I saw him fishing where I had told him about catching some resident cutts and silvers. I'd say he gained more then I did.

I won't go into to big of spiel, but fly shops have their place. If one works there at that pay rate, then that's their option. Plain and simple. The level service you get from that person would be the same no matter what the payscale. That's a personal pride aspect, not a job aspect. Can name you tons of guys who no matter what they're paid, will do nothing more then the least they can do (say that 10 times fast lol). If you have a great fly shop (or sporting goods in general) with great service, then it's the employees that make it that way. Very rarely does a company keep talented employees at low pay unless the employees want to be there. Low pay, but with access to discounted gear/materials, and decent hours to fish make for a decent job, especially to those who are single. If I was single with no kids, I'd probably do the same myself. But since I make about 4 times the said "rate" above, I choose to stay where I'm at. That's my choice. And as I said above, I'd give same level of service either way though. I work as hard now at my payscale, as I did when I was a boxboy at a Mom and Pop store in the early 80's. It's a personal pride aspect. Pride/work ethic is everything.

old man
09-28-2002, 06:50 PM
Well I just thought that I would add a little to this fray. I just started going to a fly shop in my area and from some of the things that I heard about it must be true. I heard from one source that when you order something from them It is like ordering it from China,it takes that long to get here.

For example. I ordered a mutli-tip fly line last week(friday) owner said it would take about 3 to 4 days. I said that would be fine. It is now Saturday 8 days later and still no line. Called for the third time. Two other times that I called he did not get back to me. Now he tells me that it might get here Monday or Tuesday. He wasn't sure. This place is alright to go to and shoot the bull at but to get anything out of him is like pulling teeth. And yes I do buy things from him.

I used to go there before but I stopped for just about the same reason. I guess that I will stop again. For me it just didn't get any better. Beside they belittled the guy that sent me there.

I guess that close to home just doesn't cut it any more.

Besides I just had a new rod built and wanted to try it out . An 8 wt 9' 6" build out of a St Croix Avid blank. Will be using a 8/9 Redington reel with it

09-28-2002, 07:15 PM
I've also tried to stay out of this topic as it seems to be a no win situation. But it keeps coming back.

My thoughts are expressed very well by watersprites words above. They aint worth diddly squat to me with rare exceptions.

I've never understood why so many feel duty bound to support someone who makes their living by selling the goods and supplies for the sport they choose for their recreation. A decision to do so? That's fine. Help out a friend? You bet. But a duty? PuLeeeeeez! Spare Me!

I don't have fly shops around and that's just fine with me. Generally, what I've seen when I visit them leaves a lot to be desired. For me, price talks and as far as information goes, I'm more than happy to figure things out on my own - I like it better that way.


09-28-2002, 07:26 PM
after several drafts of this post wherein I recounted ongoing difficulty with my local shop, I've removed the complaints almost entirely and will ask this instead: Rob, what is the address of the shop that you describe? My fly tackle dollar needs a new home. :(

09-28-2002, 08:27 PM
I have stayed out of this one too. I have been going to one fly shop for the last 10 years which has had two owners. There are only about 6 fly shops in the Chicago area.

They know I have been fly fishing a long time so the owner and his one full time worker do not try and sell me every new thing that comes out. They let me do my shopping and then we may talk about local fishing. I have not bought a big priced item from them yet since there prices are usually at least $ 50-100+ more than what I can get things over the net. I do buy all of my fly tying materials from them though.

They are very nice and have given me some good tips on new places to fish, which they did not have to. But I believe they are trying to help the anglers and this is a good customer support intangible which may bring anglers back for repeat purchases.

No one is going to get rich running a fly shop so most that do this must be dedicated to the sport.

If I win the lottery maybe a fly shop would be a good tax writeoff and provide a fun job.


09-28-2002, 09:51 PM
well the fly shops out here must suck. Most every fly shop i can recall going into was full of knowledgeable people willing to help in any wat they could.

Old man the reason the guy is having trouble getting you the line is because the manufacturer is out of stock and the guy is probably busting his hump to try to find you one.

If anyone needs a shop with awsome people to deal with try the TroutHunter in last chance Idaho. The Madison river fishing company in Ennis Montana, Blue Ribbon flies in west yellowstone,
the Blue heron fly shop in Idleyld Park oregon
Anglers workshop in Woodland Washington. the greased line fly shoppe in Vancouver Washington
Which shop is in ellensburg is it the blue dun or the evening hatch? well whichever one it is they are awsome too.

09-28-2002, 09:54 PM
Rob, I have been to every fly shop in the Portland area and have not found a single one that would go to the lengths for a customer that you described. I'm not saying they are all bad, in fact all are pretty good, but no way are they as service oriented as you describe.
It's an unfortunate thing that you really can't go to any service related business anymore and get good service.

09-28-2002, 10:14 PM
Here is my $.02 worth.

What is flyshop employee worth?
To me a lot more that too most other people.

For I was one of those money grubbing flyshop owners that you hear so much about?
Yes Martha for over 50 years I ran a small ma and pa fly shop.

It was a kinder gentler time and flyfishing was more about personalizes than egos.
We dealt very little with numbers just memories.
The summers were spent taking care of the visiting flyfishers and winters tying the inventory.
If you were real lucky you broke even.
I did not buy a new car and my children did not go to collage.
This was a choice, which I made: to live a surreal life in a world with very few restrains.
It was until I called it quits that I had enough time and money to travel.

Does quality pay you bet!
Letís take a look at the Potts mite fly, the fly sold for 3 for a Dollar or $.35 each in a time when you could buy a dozen of the best quality British flies dressed by Peter Duane for $.50a dozen.
Leonard rod which ran about $200.00 ( making a rod out of bamboo took about 100 hours of time if you were fast ) and Vom Hofe reel ran around $80.00
You could rent a two-bedroom house furnished with silverware, dishes and linen for around $25.00 a month.

I must admit I have never seen a rich fly shop owner but I have seen some that were very deep in debt

Over that I have seen many great strides in the industry.
Many of these brought about by present or past flyshop employees.
The best employees were usually died in the wool guides who wanted to do nothing but flyfish; tie flies or built bamboo rod.
I have seen several prolific tiers who could and would produce over more 2000 dozen (that is only 80 flies a day if you figure he tied five days a week for 8 hours a day (for I am sure no man could live by flies alone)) a year.
These people were proud of the fact that they made their entire living from fly-fishing.
Flyfishing was once not about the big business: it was about a few people on a quest.

True we did not have to worry about stocking programs where you had to buy a inventory of high end rods each year as most shops do today.
Only to have their employees dump the excess on e-bay so the shop owner can keep them employed.

So when you cast that new graphite rod you can thank people like Jim Green, Phil Kennedy, Joe Fisher, Gary Loomis and Mike Maxwell.
Or when you casting that new line thank Joan Wulff or Leone Chambers.
Or when you tying flies think Noel Shockley, George Grant, Franz Potts, Dan Bailey just to name a few
Flyshop employees who put their best foot forward so you have the sport you have today.

To answer you question to me they are worth their weight in gold.

That is all I have to say about that.


09-28-2002, 10:39 PM
Rob, you answered your own question. Between 7 and 8 dollars an hour. The reward for doing a job well is priceless.
I feel sorry for the folks that have had so many bad experiences. It's a good thing that shopping is not fishing.

Bunny Leech
09-29-2002, 01:20 AM
The people on this board are junkies. Fly fishing junkies, one and all. I'm one of them. When you are a junkie at something you are typically consumed by it, informed to the n'th degree and all too often overly critical. So the real question is what are you looking for in a fly shop guy? If you know more than him (likely) what do you realistically expect? A golden nugget for free you haven't found? I'd argue the best finds are ones you make yourself. Yes, it's nice to get sent to a hot spot, a secret spot, or get turned on to a killer new product. But even the best products aren't great if they don't meet your idiocratic and personal tastes.

If I could afford to work at the fly shop I'm sure I'd let a junky or two down along the way. I'd probably help a bunch of people and make them happy. And I'd tick more than my share off. Probably because you can't please everyone.

The flyshop guy is worth whatever you are willing to pay when you are standing in front of him. You can choose where to go and spend your money. Sorry, but trying to generalize something as variable as this is ridiculous in the finicky world of junky fly fishers.

Final note: when I'm not tying my own flies I'm buying them where they are cheap and of decent quality, or where they are convenient. Might be a gas station, might be my favorite fly shop, might be GI Joes. When I want info on lines, rods, what river is fishing well and where, etc., I'm talking to junkies. When it comes to deciding, I rely on me, not what some paid to sell something person says. That goes for cars, food, clothes, you name it. Again, the fly shop guy is worth whatever I pull out of my wallet at the time. Don't judge the guy (or gal), let them do their job. Or better yet, maybe you can help THEM.

09-29-2002, 12:02 PM
read over the names. I'm sitting here at the bottom end of Oregon and was floored by the number of shops you listed that I either do, or have done, business with over the years. (PS: Add Mark B's shop to your list; he's also an advertiser on the board. Many experiences of ordering before 10am and having the UPS box dropped on my desk the next day.)

It would appear that some establishments have a very long ongong work ethic. Very cool to see that it just wasn't my 'impression' of a shop; it's just the way they handle their customer base.


09-29-2002, 12:57 PM
excellent point Fred!!!

09-29-2002, 03:34 PM
"With few exceptions..."

A testimonial-

The exception to my earlier rant is indeed The Fly Fishing Shop run by MarkB and Patty. Fine people running a fine shop. They are my "go to" shop.

I have no particular problem with the pricing schemes so prevalent in the industry and I believe the shop keeper should make a comfortable living equal to his hard work and customer service. Since most shops charge the same, I look for added benefits/value in making my selection of whom to do business with. Mark and Patty's shop has measured up quite well. In my estimation, they are great on customer service. Further, they support this forum and sponsor the Sandy River Spey Clave - THE SPEY EVENT!

Sure wish they were local.


Ol Rich
09-29-2002, 03:48 PM
I have done business with four shops in Washington. They have all been very helpful and have not tried to sell me anything. All the employees have shared thier knowledge and preferences with me and were a great help to me in making my purchasing decisions. They have encouraged me to try different rods and lines. Haven't been able to do that over the internet.

The two shops I have purchased from over the internet have also been very helpful and timely in shipping.

I have also had great experiences with Mark Bachmann's shop.

I will continue to support my local shops and Mark. They are worth the extra initial cost by assisting me in making better decisions and support if product warrenty comes into play.


09-29-2002, 07:54 PM

I find myself agreeing with you nearly 100%. I have been flyfishing for 44 years (started when age 5, my father taught me), and tying flies for 40 years (started at age 9). I have also tied flies commercially serveral times in my life, and tying flies commercially the last 20 years is not anywhere near what it was like brfoer then financially.

I find myself going into virtually any fly fishing retailer (including the Madison River Fishing Company, one of those listed by Roballen, when I spent 12 years living in Montana) and not getting my needs met. I have employees tryig to sell me stuff I don't want or need; shop owners who tell me they will have the product ordered and in the shop within 3 or 4 days and it doesn't show up even 3 or 4 weeks later (sound familiar Old Man); owners and emplyees telling me that X material is a perfectly good substitute for what I want, when it is not even close; and telling me the rod, reel, waders, etc. I want are not really up to the task or just too difficult to get our here on the west coast.

Like you Watersprite and Steelheader 69 I have been fishing longer than most people in the shops, know more about fly tying than all but the most dedicated and life-long fly tying shop owner or guide, and I have fished for more different species of fresh water fishes than most guides, shop owners, or shop employees. As a result, I absolutely hate to be told that I should be fishing with some rod make and model that I do not like, or told that a reel I like and have had excellent service out of is junk. Who died and made the shop owners, shop employee, or guide god?

All I really want or need out of a shop is the product that I wish to purchase, and courteous folks behind the counter. And if the shop cannot get it for me, I want them to tell me this up front so that I can go elswhere to buy it instead of them trying to sell me something else that is ,"just as good or better".

I have also had my share of shops that wanted me to tie spey flies with Blue Eared Pheasant hackle and G.P.'s for $12.00/doz, sometimes for only $9.00/doz. Then have the nerve to tell me that there customers won't pay more than $2.00/fly while they have $700.00 rods on the rack, $500.00 reels on the shelf, and $300.00 waders for sale, and also tell me that my expected prices to shops are too high and unrealistic!

The very few shops that I have been into or dealt with that have excellent customer service and who do not BS about product they do not carry, I can count on less than one hand. And that includes shops in Montana, Pennsylvania, Washington, and Northern Idaho. I have posted before on a different thread that there are exactly 2 shops that I can name out of all the shops from Tacoma north and on the North Olympic Peninsula that make this list. They get my business, and they are the ones I tell others to go buy things from.

You want my business, simply provide excellent customer service and don't insult my level of knowledge of fly fishing, fly tying, fly casting, etc. And never, ever try to sell me something as just as good as what I want without having you facts together as to why it is so.

09-29-2002, 09:04 PM
"Then (they) have the nerve to tell me that there customers won't pay more than $2.00/fly...and also tell me that my expected prices to shops are too high and unrealistic! "
FT I hear you loud and clear. It sucks when someone doesn't appreciate what you do for a living. You work hard, doing what you love, and this guy thinks you want too much money. I know how you feel.
Now, if this guy was any kind of salesman, he would be able to educate his customers, and they would appreciate the value and quality of your flys.

old man
09-30-2002, 12:16 AM
Rob, I don't think that was his problem as I called a few others and they had what I was looking for. The reason that I went there is that it was close to home. But I've heard a few other thing's about it. So I guess that I will end up down in Lynnwood again. I seem to end back there all the time any way.

09-30-2002, 09:07 AM
I would guess that finding the right fly shop is like finding a good local barber shop. You feel confortable when you walk in the door and have trust in the product you get. Also like a barber shop you hope that the conversation stays inside the shop.

I'm glad steelheaders are the way we are. We realize that our ability for a quality experience becomes more and more threatend from many different places. And we are talking about those problems more and more not only on the rivers but even here on flytalk3. I hope that other fishing sections will do the same, striper, trout and tarpon and bonefishing all are having growth problems and Flytalk3 is a perfect place to get people thinking and talking about what the future in fly fishing will be like. It is us the fly fisherman and woman who has the power to shape the future. Thanks Juro for your web site.

09-30-2002, 11:28 PM

Exactly, the shops that I've tied for were ones that didn't blink an eye when I told them the price/dozen for speys and G.P.'s. They also were able to sell every one of the flies I could tie for them. And they got $3.00 to $4.50 each for them. One shops called me and took a few dozen to try and see if anyone would be interested in paying $3.00 or more for a fly after a friend of mine who knew him told him he should get some in his store.

This shop was surprised to have the 4 dozen he took sell out in less than a week. The owner was on the phone asking for 4 and 5 dozen each of 6 different spey flies and as many G.P.'s in 3 colors. Then said he would take as many as I could tie for him because he had so many people asking for them. Folks were even buying them by the dozen at the normal retail price because they couldn't find them elsewhere. Alas, I no longer have the time to tie the quantities he can sell. He gets some speys, bombers, G.P.'s, Ally's Shrimps, and low water feather wing wets, just no where near the 300 to 400 dozen he used to get from me when I had more time to tie.

I suspect, I would like your shop if you were located here in Washington state because of your postings on customer service.

10-01-2002, 05:56 PM
That, is what a good shop guy is worth. Thanks.

10-01-2002, 06:48 PM
Originally posted by migerod
Here is my $.02 worth.


It was a kinder gentler time and flyfishing was more about personalizes than egos.
We dealt very little with numbers just memories.
The summers were spent taking care of the visiting flyfishers and winters tying the inventory.
If you were real lucky you broke even.
I did not buy a new car and my children did not go to collage.
This was a choice, which I made: to live a surreal life in a world with very few restrains.
It was until I called it quits that I had enough time and money to travel.


So when you cast that new graphite rod you can thank people like Jim Green, Phil Kennedy, Joe Fisher, Gary Loomis and Mike Maxwell.
Or when you casting that new line thank Joan Wulff or Leone Chambers.
Or when you tying flies think Noel Shockley, George Grant, Franz Potts, Dan Bailey just to name a few
Flyshop employees who put their best foot forward so you have the sport you have today.

To answer you question to me they are worth their weight in gold.

That is all I have to say about that.


Migerod -

I'm with you. Your words reflect my feelings about those who are dedicated to the sport first and happen to work in a shop second, and this tends to happen quite often for obvious reasons.

It's about those who value the essence of being an angler ahead of $$, those who would, in another life or circumstance be fishing "bums".

Lord knows I would if I didn't have a family to honor. :)

10-01-2002, 11:32 PM
Good things come to those who invest there time. I know I have/had delivered to a few of the above mentioned above and/or work with their inlaws. And a few of the above named in Migerod's post are multi-millionaires because of their dedication. Can't be all that bad. Especially after I've seen the houses they live in (not all, but some).

10-02-2002, 01:02 AM
A woman wanted a patagonia bag for pops in blue. We didn't have it, patagonia didn't have it. She bought the green and flew off for someplace in Maine for the party. Next day we get a shipment from patagonia. 3 blue bags... I track her down through her office mate, get the address, ship the bag at our expense (paying through the nose because I had to use a different company because ours didn't overnight to that town). Happy lady, happy daddy.

A guy tried to take advantage of our pricing mistake on our website (we make 'em) and ordered a St. Croix 4 piece ultra we had priced at the 2 piece price. Guess what, so did 5 other people and we had 5 of them. St. Croix was backordered, so I call the guy up. He's going on a bonefish trip and can't wait. I ship him a Scott STS (3 piece) and an RPLXi (3 piece) the two premier salt water rods we carried. Tell him to pick the one he likes best, and send back the other, at our expense. Jack*Ass calls me up says he going to send them both back because his buddy told him they must be defective rods, or we wouldn't have sent them to him. I said No sir, I'll be glad to give you the number of Sage and Scott, and you can verify the serial numbers with them. He cusses me out, so I tell him we'll send him the St. Croix when we can get one. He says to shove it up my you-know-what, just give him the money back and he's going to tell all his friends what a lousy company we are to work with... :eyecrazy: Sounds like some of you all!

I've been fishing for 30 years, and in every shop job I've held, I've worked with folks with similar backgrounds. We pool our knowledge. We have conversations like "hey you know what works when..." and we have those conversations ALL DAY LONG. Bottom line, we know alot. Sometimes I have tried to help someone out by recommending a different product, or color, but only when the characteristics the customer was worried about where irrelevant. Which is almost always. I've only really seen color matter with midges. I also bring in stuff from my own stash for free, and lend my own gear out when I can't get stuff on time for my customers, or when they are doing a "one time trip". Hey, I've got a 14 weight tuna rod, If you're going to midway, you shouldn't have to buy one if you are a good customer of mine, and you'll probably use it once every 5 years. I happen to believe that one reason the companies put products in our hands at lower prices is so we can do things like get the product into other's hands.

I'll admit that most of the shops I've gone into since I've moved up here... Okay all of them... Have different degrees and varieties of Lame-osity. Sparkey himself has p*ssed me off on 3 seperate occasions in two different shops. But I've also never seen a whinny-er (so), angryer, "shoot em' all and let god sort 'em out" bunch of folks. Relax... If you know a shop won't deliver on a promise, never accept a promise. I go to one market for my produce, another for meats, and still another for bread, I REALLY like good bread :D I don't want to do it, I have to do it unless I want to pay through the nose for inferior product. Treat the shop the same way. Tell them when they don't have the product you need, and if they say "I can get that for you" respond "No thanks, I've tried that with you guys and it hasn't worked, I just wanted you to know if it was on the wall, I would have bought it". Just say it nice, like you would to a buddy who promises you he'll get you home on time, but who you both know won't.

Relax, live long, fish slow, love your kids if you have 'em, and remember, the fish don't care...

10-02-2002, 01:16 AM
Originally posted by Philster
Sparkey himself has p*ssed me off on 3 seperate occasions in two different shops.

:confused: I am very curious as to what I have done to piss you off...I take a serious amount of pride in my job and would love to hear about the mistakes I have made so that they never happen again.

10-02-2002, 08:53 AM
Maybe we should not be bitching about fly shops today but the people who go to fly shops. Most shops have been very good to all of us. But when Philster told the story about the pretty blue Patagonia bag and and the guy with the St Croix rod We begin to see how many A_holes there are in the sport today. Where did they all come from, why did they get into fly fishing in the first place. Why as fly fishermen must we be insulted with knick nacks
and yellow cashmere sweaters with some phony logo on them at half the shops that are out there. Now I know most of us don't go into shops like that and never will. But just those shops being out there and in the numbers they are in shows you where this sport is at at this moment in time. Now I know some will say that shops can't make it without all these pretty things for wives to buy their husbands for Christmas. God don't you love the bronzed American Eagle with the fly rod between his talons that you must put on your office desk as what a conversation piece.
Well if fly shops got to make it with trinket sales and pink flannel G_strings for your wifes cold you know what we are in big trouble. How do we politely eliminate the people from fly fishing who are into all this crap or do we need to? Do any of you get tired of the guy in the cowboy hat and the red bandana, flailing the water at just about every run these days.

10-02-2002, 09:38 AM
I find this thread bizarre and a lttle bit sad. Over the years fly shops have been the equivalent of the Sears Christmas Catalogue to me. Various shops have been focal points of my obsession with all things fishing. Today while I own 4 or 5 backups to all the essentials and have a couple each of the extraneous items I still frequent my local flyshop!

Yes, some of the younger employees don't have the experience that I do - but their learning curve in a good fly shop will skyrocket. Man, I would have killed to have had the opportunity to work in a good shop when I was a punk kid! Whereas I may make a more 'suitable" employee, re experience etc - there isn't a flyshop around that could afford to pay me what I need to support my lifestyle! I try to enjoy the young guys in the shop and chuckle to myself when they get a little over enthusiastic.

By the same token I think it is incumbent on the owners and senior employees to set the standards of the shop so that customers find a good atmosphere when they come into the store. I think a good (and smart) shop should "try to make the customer - not the sale". Sure the sale of big-ticket rods and reels is good for profits - but over the long haul the loyal customer who already has all his gear will be the one who provides the long term stability by spending $10-30 every other time he drops in. Then sooner or later that customer will need a new rod or new Gortex waders etc.

The last 3 times I was into my flyshop I bought nothing, yet I sat in the back with the owner and had a coffee and yakked, when I entered the shop the employees all said "hi Tyler, how's it going" (I feel like Norm at Cheers). It is all about passion and a common love of fishing - sure the shop has to make a living - but fishermen need shops and shops need fishermen - so find one that suits you and get to know them!

Scott K
10-02-2002, 10:18 AM
Sometimes I wonder if Mr. Kushnir has the ability to go into peoples minds and steal their words. Your thread was to a tee something that I would have said. Mind you I don't have the expierience you do, so I can't claim I'm above and beyond some of the younger people in the shops, but your post gets the just of it!

Kush's post x 2

10-02-2002, 10:35 AM
Sorry Spark-man, but most recently I went into Kaufmann's and asked if you carried three packs of leaders, your response was "no, guys yell at us all the time about that" and you turned and walked away without another word. I wasn't a happy customer. Doesn't mean I won't go into Kaufmann's. It does mean that when YOU ask me where and when, and how I've done when I've gone fishing when I do come in, I will either say I haven't been, or lie my A** off to you. Turnabout is fair play :devil:

10-02-2002, 10:50 AM
I'll second Tyler's post. When I started the original thread some weeks ago, I simply wanted people to start thinking about what makes a good flyshop. I would argue that integrity and customer service are the two key ingredients. Some shops out there have both and some don't. Find one that does and support it.

I would also say that in this age of the internet, shops are going to have to go on-line in some capacity. This does not mean that they lose the customer service or the one-on-one time that made them good to begin with. Some months ago, I called up Tyler's favorite shop about a reel I had seen on their site. They were swamped at the time so they asked if they could call me right back. Ten minutes later they do and as we started chatting, Tyler's name came up. Twenty mintes later and we are still talking fishing, trading Tyler tales, discussing rods, etc. And on their dime. I was sold. Between that shop and one of my favorite local ones, I don't have to look elsewhere.

As for the guy in the cowboy hat and red bandana, be nice to him and send him to the cracker bar, I hear that the fishing there is outstanding right now ;) Oh and by the way, the steelhead are really keying in on size 18 elk hair caddis fished on a dead drift. After all, if we don't help these guys out, who will? :smokin:

10-02-2002, 11:42 AM
O C. THANKS ALOT for some new ideas. Things have been a little slow here lately. Maybe I can get some of those eagles and some pink flannel G strings to liven things up a bit. I will have to find someone to model the g strings though as they wouldn't look to good on me. :hehe: On a more serious note, I would like to hear from any fly shop owners or employees out there an answer to this question. If I came to your shop in my wet waders and studded wading boots with a little river mud or sand on them would I be welcomed or thrown out on my ear? Ryan, Eddie, anyone else?

10-02-2002, 12:41 PM
Well, since the shops I have worked in have been in Urban settings, like downtown San Francisco, we'd look at you kinda funny, and ask you very nicely to leave... But we would offer you some aluminum foil to block out the alien control waves :chuckle:

10-02-2002, 01:13 PM
This is about as funny a thread as we have had for some time. I find myself agreeing with a bit of what everyone has said about fly shops in general and a few in particular.
I have been frequenting "Tackle Shops" thats what they were called fifty years ago, for at most fifty years. I really liked the ones when I was in grade school they had lunch counters and sports betting, magazines, and of course tackle. The most revered spot in all the shops was where the Bamboo Fly Rods were displayed. You could get by with scanning the likes of Argosy and Police Gazzette (So called Girly magazines of there day) but you had better have permission from the man behind the counter before you started massaging any cane.
As to what are the guys behind the counter worth? Well from wage scale I'll leave that up to management, as to what the intrinsic value is I guess pretty high as I still seem to seek out shops in my travels and have actually had a number of good friends either owning or working in Fly Shops.
As to the G strings you might want to check with the Fur Company in Sitka Ak. he has Furry Jock Straps displayed in his window all the time!!!!!!!

Leland Miyawaki
10-02-2002, 03:50 PM
I have been peeking at this thread for a couple weeks now and here's my couple pennies worth. Maybe it will offer a different perspective.

I go into a lot of flyshops Ė mostly when I'm nearby and curious, in town to fish a local river, or simply looking for the company of people who share the same passion as me. I'm a people person and as such, I frequent those flyshops where there are people I enjoy seeing and talking to about fishing. I go to Countrysport in Portland, Oregon because I have known John Hergenhan, the owner, for about 12 years and still create his advertising (it was a friendship before a business relationship). I walk to Kaufmann's, in downtown Seattle because I fish with Blair (we were on the Snoqualmie together just this morning). I like sharing information with Dave at The Morning Hatch. I drop in to see Mike Duey at The Mad Flyfisher when I'm in the neighborhood. I like shooting the bull with Troy at the Northwest Angler because both he and I love fishing for salmon and searuns with poppers. I fish with Jimmy LeMert at Patricks and besides that, my good friend, Les Johnson works there. I enjoy talking to Nathan at Avid Angler when I'm nearby looking for a good book next door. I designed the logo for Creekside in Issaquah but it seems I'm always roaring down the freeway too early or too late to stop in to see Hugh or Peter.

On the surface, it sounds like a lot of heavy name-dropping, but I did it only to illustrate the reasons why I go into flyshops. Let's face it, everyone sells the same stuff and in the end, it's people who make the difference.

When it comes time to make a major equipment purchase or get advice, I have a lot of friends I can rely on for advice, including the ones I have at the shops and all their help and advice is invaluable.

Works for me,

10-02-2002, 04:31 PM
Hey MJC,
The boys from Montana are headed your way for a couple weeks but they are not fishing, they never fish, never. They are going to stop into your shop and say hello. They are ugly guys and some of them even have uglier dogs so watch out. Make em buy something will ya. I want to come up and do the same when I get out to the rattle river. Will be over some afternoon about lunch, want me to bring? Also I'll look in my closet and dig out all those trinkets people with nice intentions but absurd taste sent me for christmas gifts over the years. Most of them came from the Ovis shop or the Rivers Ege in Bozeman so they are tackless classy. If you put them in your shop window to sell will the locals run you out of Peck? I've seen those guys over there in full camo that march around your neighbors yard. Looking forward to stoping in and meeting you. I'll be the guy without the bandana and cowboy hat and who is getting uglier every day in body, mind and soul.
"Suport good shops, bannish the rest!"
World peace

10-02-2002, 05:25 PM
Philster, which shop in Frisco and when? Maybe you pissed me off.... maybe I pissed you off.

10-02-2002, 05:28 PM
O C, I've already met several of the guys from Montana and they have been very good about buying my products. I never paid much attention to how ugly they were as I'm not exactly sleeping beauty myself. I hope you do stop in for a visit. You don't even need to wear a tie. Your waders and corks are just fine. And you don't have to bring lunch as the Canyon Inn is about 20 seconds away if my wife's on strike that day. Please leave the trinkets at home though as my window is only 2ft square and that is taken up by an Airflo decal. I think I know what you look like as my grandson has your picture with that big steelhead hanging over the desk. I'll be on the lookout for you. Thanks for the warning.

10-03-2002, 03:11 AM
I am curious as to what the other instances where?? Not because I dwell on some like this because it is never my intent to piss off a customer or a blow a customer off and if there is something I am doing to cause these feelings, I would like to know so that I could change personality/behavior behind the counter.

Secondly, I apologize about the incident in regards to the leaders. I vaguely remember the conversation but to be honest, I never blow anyone off.

If I need to multi-mask at a certain time such as help multiple customers, answer the phone etc. etc., I will do whatever I can to keep my focus on the customer at hand but if I need to run for a quick period of time, I always excuse myself, let the customer know I will be right back or tell the customer to ask myself or a fellow employee if he has any other questions.

Coming from a fellow that used to work in a shop, you should understand at times, everything can be very hectic and as much as you would love to give every customer your undivided attention, especially those that need it or ask for it, it is not always possible (and at those times, I in someway let the customer know of the circumstance).

Or, if I am getting a vibe that I have answered a customers question and they want me to stop hovering, I will go away. I dont want to the customer to feel as though I am being pushy, they are being watched or shadowed.

Next time you stop in, introduce yourself and I will treat you to a few leaders or a hat or some hooks or something (and not because I want a fishing report out of you).

10-03-2002, 05:54 AM
Leland -

Great points made. To support your point, of all the names you listed I know all but three myself, and I'm on a first name basis with them.

Since I live 3000 miles away from these shops, this is priceless when I pop into town. Sometimes I am whizzing by these shops with you at o'dark thirty when I am lucky enough to be in town fishin' :devil:

10-03-2002, 08:17 PM
Originally posted by NrthFrk16

Next time you stop in, introduce yourself and I will treat you to a few leaders or a hat or some hooks or something (and not because I want a fishing report out of you).

Negatory on the free Schwag Sparkmeister. About 2 years ago the wife asked "Can't you wear anything that wasn't free and fishing related!" As you get older you learn that most questions are really statements ;)

I just shrugged it off with a "Kids today" eye-rolley thing. I was kidding about the fish reports. I would never drop a serious report in a shop no matter how well they treated me! I'll give you the throwaways, west side lakes and such, but nothing really important :D

Other instances involved my squwalling 1.5 year old. It may bother you when he does it in the shop, but he's been doing it to me for the entire ride there, and will do it all the way home... :eyecrazy:

Take it easy, do your best, and get out of the business as soon as you can :hehe:

10-04-2002, 12:50 AM
Again I apologize...I really dont remember ever being bothered by screaming kids. I love kids, no matter how old, no matter how much they scream.

I would go as far to say I can not wait to have a couple of my own...but I won't. I must first find a young lady that flyfishes that isnt CRAZY!!!...I am not saying all women are crazy, I have just had some runs in with some female fishers that are less then all there.

btw-I dont want to leave the industry...I love helping customers (aside from those you know whats that bitch about shops ;) ). I love bieng around flyfishing everyday, all day...I love the soap operas, I love learning new stuff everday and I hate until finishing my degree in college does not include homework, I will remain a shopee!! :)

10-04-2002, 11:09 AM
God I never thought I'd come to the defense of Sparky, so I will just a little bit. Though I don't and won't shop at the shop he works at now and only in an emergency at his last. I must say that Sparky once took the time when his old shop was real busy to show me the equipment that gear fishermen use and how they put it together. It was fun looking at corkies, mootching rigs and flashers and dodgers and every other piece of exotic hardware. It was interesting listening to the Spark explain the philosophical differences between a corky fished with yarn and a corkie fished with eggs behind. Spark knew I wasn't going to buy any of that stuff but knew I wanted a better understanding of why and how other types of fishermen fish for salmon and steelhead so he spent the time explaining and I enjoyed it. Thanks Sparky and be careful what you say and ask for. There is always a possibility that a hard rain will fall. You dodged a hurricane on Wednesday nite you never know when your luck will run out.
Unless you want to be a fishing bum and I don't advise that living in expensive suburbia you should go back to school do your home work.

10-04-2002, 01:31 PM
These on going debates about the worth of fly shops and whether or not the are helpful are such a waste of time. Lets take about the sport itself, about times on the river, about friends, about the great sport we all love. Lets stop this pointless ranting about subjects that really have NO bearing on our sport.


10-04-2002, 02:51 PM
Well, let's not go into cardiac arrest flyboy!

These ongoing debates give voice to our concerns on where flyfishing is going from the commercial aspect (i.e., profiteering from shop owners, guides, publications, etc.). Most flyfishers are affected to some degree, either first hand as in price gouging, or second hand by the increasing demands on the resource by the increasing numbers of new entrants/practitioners.

As to the particular point of discussion - The simple acknowledgement that most shops price per MSRP on major purchases brings us to the "value added" point of customer service and the hope that shop keepers will understand this makes or breaks their business and, therefore, act accordingly. Sorry, in today's economy, few things can be separated from their "pocket book" connection, especially retail sales!

And one's rant is simply an opinion held dear - usually no more, no less.

There's plenty of room to talk fishin'. Start a thread.


(Namecalling is not welcome or needed on this site. --- moderator)

10-04-2002, 09:18 PM
Flyboy any discussion that people are makes people think is a good one. Even if it is futile and based completely off opinion. If we weren't talking about this what would we be talking about?? I am glad so many people have opinions about issues like this, the more opinions people have and share the more opportunity I have to learn something :)

10-04-2002, 11:36 PM

And the more newcomers will learn about what constitutes good customers service, good adviceon equipment, and help them decide whether thelocal shop is worthyof their hard-earned dollars.

10-05-2002, 10:16 AM
Stopped at my local fly shop again this week, I am getting to love these guys, no pressure, give my free tips on new flies and where to go in the great lakes area. They are honest and know their subject matter, and have some high ethics. I just may be making my next large $$ purchase item from them. Now I amjust buying fly tying supplies and miscellanous small stuff like leaders etc. No rods, reels, waders yet etc...

Since their shop is at least 1-2 hours away from the prime trout and salmon rivers they have no $$ incentive to stear me to one specific location plus they donot have a guiding business.

Hope they stay in business, I will do my part to support them.