A Quick Question: On crossing over to the all-tackle/conventional fishing audience…


Which best describes your feelings on conventional fishing tackle, specifically as it relates to your business?

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  1. Fly fishermen need to get over themselves. For generations they have looked down their noses and sneered at their bait chuckin’ harware throwin’ brethern. Now look what it has got them. Fewer flyu shops that’s what. In my part-time job I visit my fair share of tackle shops in the mid-Atlantic region. The shops that are doing well – thriving in fact – are the all around tackle shops and the sporting goods stores that carry all manner of outdoor equipment are doing best. The shops that are dropping like flies or struggling to make ends meet are the individual fly shops that are “fly shops only.” Talk about elitist. Fly fishers thump their chests with self rightousness and talk about practicing C&R, doing stream habitat work etc. ad nauseum but when it comes time to purchase they retreat to their computers and scour the internet for that extra nickle in savings. Than if the local fly shop won’t meet that price they bad mouth the local shop as “too damn expensive” and “never has what I need (need here means want).” The “other guys” though will stop at the local tackle shop to buy their bait (have you ever tried to ship minnows ordered over the internet?), pick up a pack of hooks or a few new spinners. It gets them in the door and possibly makes them a future fly fishing customer. But does it really matter if they ever become fly fishers? After all, doesn’t that picture of Abraham Lincoln they plunked down to buy a dozen minnies spend the same as the guy’s who bought three Adams dry flies?

  2. I started my guide service with the anticipation of solely fly fishing. I would be a starving guide if I didn’t diversify my services. In the begining I had not picked up a spinning rod in 15 years. There was a small learning curve but tactics are tactics wether throwing woolly bugger or chucking a tube. I love fishing and I want to make sure my customers get everything they can out of their trip be it fly or spin. We are all in this together!

  3. A few points…
    William Shakespeare (the one from Michigan) came up with the first level wind reel in 1896.
    Around the same time, Malloch of Scotland came up with a “turntable” designed reel that was the precursor of the modern spinning reel.
    So I will give Mike 100 years, give or take, on his notion that we in the Fly Fishing camp have had the chance to “look down our noses” at the lowly bait chucker “for generations”.
    Fly Fishing is, first and foremost, a Sport. What it is not is a business. Those who think differently have always treaded on a thin film.
    I have never supported any “one” shop. Yes, usually to expensive, and yes, I don’t fit the profile of a guy who is about to drop k’s on Boron rods and the latest Aircraft Aluminium reels. That said, I’m lucky to get more than a glance from behind the counter. Like one owner told me when I questioned the $700+ waders…”you would be surprised what these old guys will buy” or the other who told me “the only reason I do this is for those 4 weeks in NorCal”
    I don’t buy equipment on line…never have, and I don’t thump my chest either.
    I do practice C+R and do habitat restoration, species monotoring, etc. because the fisheries are in bad enough shape without yet another guy bonking, and not taking care of, the resource that allows us to do what we love to do… AND I want some fish to be around just in case some of the next “generation” decides to put down their Ipad’s and pick up a rod and reel…fly or spin.
    Look, you want to throw worms or Mepps or rubber frogs that’s your business. My destinations are to remote for our paths to ever cross anyhow.
    Just one suggestion… you should drop that broad brush you paint with…there’s a corner behind you.

  4. Although I can see some potential for conventional tackle, I live in a very small, remote town that already has a very good general tackle store. I don’t want to upset the proverbial “apple cart” by getting into some sort of a selling war with my neighbors. Plus I’m not sure the initial cost for merchandise would justify the leap into the general tackle market. Adding new inventory does not necessarily convert to income!

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