Fly Fishing Forum

Fly Fishing Forum (
-   Pacific Northwest Sea Run Forum (
-   -   So How much is the fly shop guy worth? (

roballen 09-28-2002 12:31 PM

So How much is the fly shop guy worth?
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.

watersprite 09-28-2002 03:06 PM

Re: So How much is the fly shop guy worth?
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.


Steelheader69 09-28-2002 04:25 PM

it really depends Rob
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

pescaphile 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.


loco_alto 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. :(

pmflyfisher 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.


roballen 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.

Stew 09-28-2002 09:54 PM

Where is this place at Rob?
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.

migerod 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.


Eddie 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

It's just a store
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.

fredaevans 09-29-2002 12:02 PM

Rob, your list above stopped me in my tracks as I
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.


roballen 09-29-2002 12:57 PM

excellent point Fred!!!

watersprite 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.


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:10 PM.

vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Copyright (All Rights Reserved)