It seems like decades ago (at least to us), but it was only a few short years back that we were thrust into a pandemic, and a lot of people were wondering if the fly-fishing industry would get ruined as a result. We didn’t think it would. We knew right away that if people didn’t have much else to do, at least they’d go fishing.
And so they did. And some in this industry profited handsomely by doing little more than helping people go fish.
But the pandemic also revealed some warts in the marketplace, and it frayed longstanding relationships. Supply chains got gummed up. Shops made big orders, and some manufacturers couldn’t fill them. Some products arrived months late, but with the original invoice still attached.
Moreover, there were times and places where we wondered if this bloom in popularity might crush the sport under its own weight… hours-long waits to haul out at boat ramps… Circus-like crowds swarming certain rivers. I don’t think more guides have ever been in more demand than in the last couple years, and I don’t think as many DIY anglers have resented certain guides and outfitters as much as they have these past few years.
There’s no doubt that this industry has changed significantly in the past few years. For better or worse? Well, that depends. You tell us.