How’s That “Pro Deal” Stuff Working Out?

We recently received this letter, and though it’s hard to believe it’s real (is anyone really that stupid to write a letter to the editor like this?) we thought we’d run it to prompt some conversation on where the whole “pro deal” thing stands. We took out the abundant vulgarities, and left the grammatical errors, but you’ll get the picture…
I’ve been fly fishing for 36 years and I am 44 years old. I am every bit a guide level fisherman. I don’t guide because I don’t want to turn fun into work, and I don’t really feel sorry for the guys that do. No one wants to hear these guys sing the blues either. You could fill all of the rivers in Colorado with the tears from the guys in the industry. 
I’ve got many a rod off of pro deal held by friends, And it’s the only way to go. Why would anyone want to be exploited more than they have to be? It’s fine when our pockets hurt, but the sky is falling when it affects you because of your choices? Like they say it’s a recession when your neighbor loses his job, but it’s a depression when you lose yours. The hypocrisy is laughable.  Funny how you want well for you and yours but don’t extend the same sentiment to to your brothers in the sport. Money is funny like that isn’t it?Guides and outfitters think they are the heroes of the sport but it’s the complete opposite. There is nothing heroic about monetizing nature or the sport. In fact nothing f—s something up more than the introduction of money and profit. All you have to do is look around at, I don’t know, anything? Lol. Quit kidding yourself about virtue of the industry and just say you want guys like us to pay for your new truck. At least be that honest.“Pro’s” are the guys that:
– get confrontational on public water while with clients
-are literally exploiting natural resources for their personal gain
-defend private land situations because it benefits them. You know land owners, the guys that don’t want most of us to be able to play 
-are literally profiting off of their own kind, which is fine as long as you don’t cry about it too 
-the guys who want us to pay hard dough but want different and better for themselves. You suggest pros get even better deals yet you care nothing for the welfare of the other guys. You have no love for guys who seek a lower form of elitism (feeling hooked up, being in the cool club, etc) yet you argue and push for an even greater divide between them and you, privilege wise. How much does your brother have to lose before you feel gain?The fishing industry is all (XXXXXX). But abusing pro deal from the companies that are more than happy to bend us all over (remember they got you too at one point) is the only time most of us actually get off good. Forget the politics. Forget the money.  Just fish. Enthusiastic pro deal abuser,


A few things are clear: The average fly consumer knows what the wholesale prices and margins are. A lot of people are pissed about the commercial pressure on public resources (and the privatization of trout fishing).  MAKING TROUT EASIER TO CATCH AND HARDER TO AFFORD IS A GOOD WAY TO KILL THE SPORT.  And some companies couldn’t really care less about “pro status.”  When it’s not truly wholesale pricing, is it really a “pro deal” or a 30% off sale for cool people?
Lots to consider for sure.


  1. And some companies could really care less about “pro status.”

    I assume this was supposed to be *couldn’t* care less.

    I agree that the letter does read like rage bait – most likely from the retail side.

    The only reason these pro programs are given token scrutiny is for dealer relations.

    It’s been my experience that the shops most vocally complaining about this also carry (mostly) every brand offered to them. It’s hard to take their complaints seriously. If they don’t force the manufacturers to do anything, they’ll continue to lose sales to pro deals.

    Put some teeth in your complaints and stop selling products from manufacturers that are doing this to you.

  2. Todd Frank on

    As a retailer, yes one who can be cranky about loose pro programs, ill say this.
    Lets just call it what it is. These programs all fall loosely into the “discount direct to consumer” category.
    Every single vendor I do busiess with has a direct program that is generally run at discounted prices. Some are tight some are loose but they all have it. We are, after all, all just customers in for all the vendors.
    So telling me to just not do busiess with them is naive.
    Some companies listen, some don’t. The calculus they use is “will this affect my overall business negatively” and they all try to find that line. Its what we all do in business.
    I find some product categories in my stores slowly going away. If a category only sells on sale and your store becomes a wader fit center for guides, wanna be guides, guide buddies, and the ups delivery guy who delivers to guides, its time to send that category to the vendors to deal with the hassle. When that system is not working it will change.
    I do know the best way to make changes is to put your order writing pen away, but unless the bad behaving vendor has good competition its just not that easy. It does however create a lot of white space for other competition to enter the fray. For a progrsm designed to build busieness and value in a brand, most of these poorly run programs do just the opposite.

  3. Hater Hater on

    Pressure is too high on public resources with guides and privateers whether it’s rivers, flats, ski slopes, hiking trails, hunting areas, etc. look at the manufacturers who have spent three decades trying to get as many people on the water as possible just to sell more equipment. It’s a snake eating its tail. Now, those same manufacturers who could care less about politics or fairness are taking insincere stances to find the next underrepresented group and get them out on the water in addition to the swarms of knuckleheads like us that are already out there loving these resources to death. More people fishing = more gear sales. We’re listening to corporations who are trying to make a buck. Let’s think for ourselves a little.

    The vast majority of anglers crowding deckers every day are non guides. Haters gonna hate. Especially when they don’t really have an understanding of what they’re talking about. Armchair quarterbacking with no actual knowledge hiding behind internet anonymity.

    I can’t really understand what he’s trying to convey here. That regular folks that work as accountants or lawyers or roofers or writers or doctors or aestheticians or whatevers should get the same small industry perks that outfitters and guides get? Every industry has this perkage. Do pro athletes and other celebrities pay the same for dinners and travel that regular folks do¿.

    Standard socialist gripe that’s becoming prevalent across the board. Just one small example of a hater. In a growing crowd of haters.

    How about focusing your energy on making a difference rather than pissing and groaning…. Oh, that takes more than 3 minutes and is harder than whining.

  4. As stated above, this really looks like bait to get people to complain to manufacturers on behalf of retail shops. Successful retail is maturing and the players that are not serious won’t survive.

  5. "Anonymous" on

    How is this “industry news” or even remotely journalism at all? Posting a rant from an anonymous user riddled with grammatical errors and unfounded claims? You are better than this, Angling Trade. Lazy.

  6. I own an outdoor brand owner and get access to all or most of the pro deals. Generally, I am always asked for my qualifications and only granted “Pro” status when my credentials (CEO and Owner) meet the standards of the brand’s “Pro Program.” Generally, I am not a planner and while I appreciate the Pro Discounts, often find myself buying at retail and supporting both the brand and the retailer. It’s more convenient for me to go to the local shop, try something on, and then buy it than it is to do anything else. In addition, I like the people at the local shops and they have become not only business partners but friends. Anyways, just thought I would share my shopping experience and preferences as a qualified “industry pro.”

  7. So first off Johny Anonymous, the first 10 years you fished don’t count because you were just faking it. What the hell is guide level? Either you’re a guide or you’re not. There’s a difference between going out and catching fish and putting someone else in that spot and making it happen. Ya your buddy abuses his pro deal so you can have good tackle and brag about it. Get real. I have been a working guide for the last 25 years. I also help manage a fly shop. Pro deals are a double edged sword. On one hand by getting a discount on rods I can have multiple higher end setups for clients to use. More times than not they will drop the cash for a better rod after using one. On the other side you get the fly bros that try on waders or boots then buy them direct at a discount. The industry has long been pushing for more participation in the sport . The thing I find is far too many new to the sport gripe most about what everything costs. You get what you get.

  8. “Lol. Quit kidding yourself about virtue of the industry and just say you want guys like us to pay for your new truck. At least be that honest.”

    I would like you to pay for my new truck….honestly.

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