the buzz on the flyfishing biz
THE GROWTH ISSUE
Growing Smarter/Website 101/Film Season Arrives/TU Support Pays Dividends/Tailwaters Book/Guiding Smarter than the Indicator... and more. December 2013 AnglingTrade.com
the buzz on the flyfishing biz
26 The Act of Growth
6 Editor’s Column
Growth is more than a buzzword. If you’re not growing, your business may be on the endangered list. But who wants crowded rivers? By Geoff Mueller
When is bigger better, and when is it not? By Kirk Deeter
Kirk Deeter firstname.lastname@example.org
Tim Romano email@example.com Art Director
Tara Brouwer firstname.lastname@example.org shovelcreative.com Editor-at-Large
Geoff Mueller Copy Editors
Mabon Childs, Sarah Deeter
32 Five Easy Steps to Grow Your Online Business
Is your website all it can be? What are the most common mistakes people make when wading into online marketing, and what are the simplest fixes? We ask an expert for some free advice. By Kirk Deeter
8 Currents The latest people and issues news from the North American fly fishing industry.
Tom Bie Ben Romans Steven B. Schweitzer
28 Opinion Editorial:
Photos unless noted by Tim Romano
Should Guides Teach Beyond the Strike Indicator? By Marc Barnwell
34 Conservation... Growth in
That Arena Should Be a Priority
Say what you will about adding more feet in waders in our national waters. But when those waders are filled with conservation advocates, we all win. By the Editors
30 Book Reviews Terry and Wendy Gunn on tailwaters; Keith McCafferty’s latest fiction.
Angling Trade is published four times a year by Angling Trade, LLC. Author and photographic submissions should be sent electronically to email@example.com. Angling Trade is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts and/ or photo submissions. We ask that contributors send formal queries in advance of submissions. For editorial guidelines and calendar, please contact the editor via E-mail. Printed in the U.S.A. Advertising Contact: Tim Romano Telephone: 303-495-3967 Fax: 303-495-2454 firstname.lastname@example.org
35 Film Season.
Mail Address: PO Box 17487 Boulder, CO 80308
The fly-fishing film boom keeps things going in the winter. A reveiw of “Waypoints” from Confluence.
38 Backcast There’s nothing quite like doing it yourself. By Geoff Mueller
AnglingTrade.com / December 2013
Street Address: 3055 24th Street Boulder, CO 80304
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Kudos to our many contributors who helped make this the best year ever for this magazine. We’re 26 issues strong, and growing, thanks to you...
Geoff Mueller is our regular “Backcast” columnist, and is Angling Trade’s editorat-large. He also is senior editor of The Drake.
Chris Santella is a fly-fishing contributor for the New York Times and the author
of the famous “Fifty Places” series.
Tom Reed is a lifelong outdoorsman and a long-time Trout Unlimited
employee. The author of four books, he writes and works from his home outside Pony, Montana.
Scott Hed is the director of the Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska, and he’s
played a critical role in the fight against the proposed Pebble Mine.
Will Rice, a contributing editor for The Drake, and a long-time AT team
member now works with Trout’s Fly Fishing in Denver.
Steve Schweitzer is an Angling Trade contributing editor and the author of A Fly
Fishing Guide to Rocky Mountain National Park.
Morgan Lyle is the assistant director of public relations at Long Island
University and the fly-fishing columnist for the Daily Gazette and New York Outdoor News.
Joe Cermele is the fishing editor for Field&Stream magazine.
Of all the issues we can talk about in fly fishing these days, “growth”
has been the one that’s hardest for me to get my head around.
And I blame myself for that. Not that I consider myself a great writer, or a “Pied Piper,” or that my stories and books have made any measurable impression whatsoever in terms of inspiring people to fish (and subsequently take up space on the water). But I hope they do, at least a little bit. Because inspiration and credibility are the only valuable “currencies” for a fishing writer—trust me, it isn’t ever about real money. By virtue of what I do here at Angling Trade, and for Field & Stream (and other magazines), and now for TU and TROUT magazine, I am no doubt part of the “promo machine.” I write things with the intention of getting people interested in fly fishing… and buying fly-fishing products... and hopefully getting them to appreciate and help protect the culture, traditions and resources that make fly fishing what it is. Like you, I make money by doing all of that. I try to help you make money too. I don’t, for the record, consider that a sin.
AnglingTrade.com / December 2013
I suppose that’s because I can remember things like knocking on a farmer’s door, and asking to fish the stream out back… and actually being allowed to do so, so long as I closed the gate on my way home. That was before payto-play, and rod fees and all that. I remember when I could drive to Deckers in Colorado, or along the banks of the San Miguel River near Telluride, and always find at least one of my favorite fishing runs vacant, all summer long. Heck, it’s even getting hard to find solitude in a decent carp spot on a dirty brown pond or river these days. 6
But therein lies the conundrum. In a perfect world, we’d all work in harmony to share this great pastime, recruit the next generation, and enlist the support of millions of more people to enjoy it as well. Our businesses would thrive. Our resources would too. And everyone would still have their own piece of heaven… that opportunity to experience the essence of what hooked them into this pursuit—this lifestyle—in the first place, without having to shell out thousands of dollars to do so in a foreign country. I worry sometimes that those of us in the “business” of fly fishing are eager to drill into the American economy, but we’re not quite as concerned about fostering and maintaining the American flyfishing landscape.
Don’t get me wrong. I think things are looking up in that regard. I think we’ve gotten beyond a time when fishing revolved around “I remember it when…” I think rivers and ocean flats are getting cleaner. I think opportunities are expanding. World records (if you’re into that kind of thing) are falling. And that’s all because a lot of what we have done has tangibly improved habitat and resources. You should be proud of that. But there aren’t as many freebies anymore. People have built fences around some of our great waters. It costs more money to play big league ball now than it did 20 years ago. And now, the early bird gets the worm, more than ever. Can you still find opportunity; can you still find an adventure with a fly rod in this country, almost anywhere, anytime? Sure. And that’s what makes this country, and this sport, so great. The minute we lose all that, our cake is baked. But we need to be smart about how we grow, and where we grow, and why we grow. Which is why I decided to finally wrestle with that issue as a theme in this edition of Angling Trade. Growth, for the sake of growth, or more pointedly, for profit, is not necessarily a good thing. Smart growth, with purpose, and reason, and tangible expectations and deliverables that can move fly fishing forward for generations… well, that is a good thing. Let’s be smart about it. And let’s work together. at
Kirk Deeter Editor
Issues AFFTA Selects Executive Committee
The Board of Directors for the American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA) recently elected four directors to serve as its Executive Committee for the next calendar year. The Executive Committee is responsible for overseeing the business affairs of AFFTA and to ensure its mission and goals are being fulfilled. The committe now includes: Chairman – Tucker Ladd, president and owner of Trout’s Fly Fishing, Denver, Colorado Vice-Chairman – David Heller vice president of sales and marketing, Winston Rod Co., Twin Bridges, Montana
to be the first retailer to ever hold this position,” said Ladd. “This is an affirmation of the commitment to the retail base of our industry by the current board of directors, as well as AFFTA as a whole. I have always believed that retailers are the lifeblood of our sport and industry, and I am excited to have the opportunity to represent this segment of our trade group. 2014 will undoubtedly be an exciting year for AFFTA, and I am looking forward to helping drive our trade group to new levels of success, relevancy and growth.” “The newly elected Executive Committee is comprised of highly respected individuals in the flyfishing industry. Tucker Ladd’s election to serve as chairman for the coming year by the AFFTA board of directors, is a testament to Tucker’s commitment, dedication and respect throughout the industry” said AFFTA president Ben Bulis. Fishing Industry Leaders Together to Discuss Our Collective Future
AnglingTrade.com / December 2013
• The state of the industry and how the association has changed and adapted over the past 80 years. • The challenges and opportunities in fisheries management from a state natural resource agency perspective.
• A new effort speared by the sportfishing industry and the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation to engage the Hispanic population in recreational fishing.
Treasurer – Larry Barrett, director of operations for Far Bank Enterprises, Bainbridge Island, Washington
“I am not only proud to become the AFFTA chairman, but I am honored
The 2013 Sportfishing Summit program agenda focused on:
• The latest trends and customer insights regarding recreational fishing.
Secretary – Andrew Bennett, former owner of Deneki Outdoors, Seattle, Washington
The election of Tucker Ladd as chairman of the AFFTA board is historic; Tucker is the first retailer to be elected to that position.
sportfishing industry’s networking and business management event, celebrated 80 years of serving the industry and the sport during its annual meeting held October 16-18, at the Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort located just outside Fort Myers, Fla. This annual fall business meeting brought together more than 100 industry leaders with other sportfishing community members to provide a venue to discuss the issues impacting recreational fishing during committee meetings, networking events, general sessions and the association’s board of directors and committee meetings. Mayor Kevin Ruane of the City of Sanibel was a guest along with several members of the SanibelCaptiva Chamber of Commerce.
The American Sportfishing Association’s (ASA) 2013 Sportfishing Summit, the
“As the number one fishing state in the country, Florida was a natural choice for our annual business meeting,” said ASA president and CEO Mike Nussman. “And fishing is big business not only in Florida, but in the United continued on next page...
States as well. According to the latest U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service national study, America’s anglers spend $48 billion per year on fishing equipment, transportation, lodging and other expenses associated with fishing.” “And it’s not just the economy,” said Nussman. “America’s anglers are the nation’s most powerful force for conserving our nation’s fisheries and waters investing more than $1 billion each year in fisheries management and conservation through taxes on fishing equipment and state fishing license sales.” “Speaking of conservation, water quality and its impact on fisheries as
well as access to recreational fishing are topics of great concern to our members and guests this week,” noted Nussman. “For example, the recent release of water from Lake Okeechobee by the Army Corps of Engineers to protect the dam system has had a devastating impact on local waters killing fishing grounds and fueling toxic algae growth.” Nussman concluded, “Despite continuing economic uncertainties and access and water quality issues, anglers continue to fish and spend time outdoors. A growing interest in the outdoors is helping to fuel angler participation which bodes well for our industry.”
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Update: RBFF to Launch Hispanic Outreach Plan in Florida and Texas
The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) recently announced that Florida and Texas will serve as test markets for the launch of its five-year Hispanic Outreach Plan. In partnership with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission and Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, outreach will begin in spring 2014. Capitalizing on the growing Hispanic population as a key market segment for first-time anglers, RBFF announced earlier this year the development of the five-year plan that will focus on a multi-channel outreach approach encompassing digital, social and traditional media, along with retail point-of-sale strategy and engagement with state agencies. With a high propensity of Hispanic consumers, Florida and Texas were selected to pilot the effort. Nick Wiley, executive director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) said: “The FWC is excited to work with RBFF to better engage continued on next page...
population represents active anglers. Florida has a current Hispanic population of 24 percent with only five percent active anglers. “With a combined Hispanic population of 9.7 million, Florida and Texas represent key geographies to initiate our outreach efforts,” said RBFF president and CEO Frank Peterson. “Building on the test market results, we will expand the campaign nationwide to engage this audience that is critical to the long-term sustainability of fishing and boating, and the conservation efforts that benefit from increased participation in the sport.”
AnglingTrade.com / December 2013
our Hispanic citizens. We must be more effective in conveying our conservation messages and learn how to increase Hispanic participation in boating and fishing. These nature-based activities are great ways for families to enjoy the outdoors, help support our economy, and create jobs.” “Texas Parks and Wildlife welcomes this partnership with RBFF to improve outreach to Hispanic audiences,” said Carter Smith, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department executive director. “The effort reflects the priority we place on
better serving all Texans. This is a business imperative for us, in light of the rapidly changing demographics in our state. It is not only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do if we wish to maintain support for natural resource conservation and outdoor recreation into the future.” Both states have a strong potential in closing the gap of underrepresentation of Hispanics in fishing and boating. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, at 36 percent, Texas has the highest 16+ Hispanic population in the country. However, only 17 percent of that
Based on preliminary research indicating lack of familiarity of the sport and knowledge of licensing requirements, the outreach plan will focus heavily on awareness and education in the upfront years, and then will shift to drive participation in years three through five. In preparation, RBFF is focusing on content development in 2013, leveraging existing RBFF assets to create a campaign microsite. The campaign, launching in spring 2014, will include digital and radio ads, along with a series of experiential events to get Hispanics out on the water. Print public service announcements are also being considered. Building on the 2014 test market results, a market expansion will begin in 2015. National outreach efforts will continue to build and optimize throughout 2016 and 2017. Additional information about RBFF’s Hispanic Outreach Plan will be released this spring. For more continued on next page...
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information about RBFF and Take Me Fishing, visit TakeMeFishing.org. Outdoor Product Sales Flat Again in October Anniversary Effect of Superstorm Sandy Holds Hardgoods Growth in Check
AnglingTrade.com / December 2013
Fiscal October again brought flat growth for outdoor products, as sales rose just 0.3 percent to $825.2 million according to the latest monthly sales report from OIA VantagePoint. Outdoor Apparel posted solid gains while Outdoor Footwear continued to struggle. In a shift from prior months, however, Outdoor Hardgoods sales were flat. This was thanks in part to Superstorm Sandy, which in October 2012 drove significant increases in Outdoor Hardgoods sales. The full impact of the federal government shutdown on the outdoor industry remains to be seen.
Sportswear, particularly Long-Sleeve Woven Tops, and Casual/Fitted Pants and Bottoms. By contrast, Outdoor Raingear sales declined, falling 30 percent this year in the New England and Mid-Atlantic regions versus last year’s Sandydriven sales growth. Outdoor Footwear sales fell once again in fiscal October, down 17.6 percent to $177.7 million. Most Outdoor Footwear categories declined for the month, with the exception of Outdoor Multi-Sport, the only primary segment to post positive growth.
“While October sales numbers overall did not appear to take a hit, major retailers reported troubling declines in store traffic,” said Christie Hickman, vice president of market insights for Outdoor Industry Association. “Additionally, businesses located in national park gateway communities reported unusual losses in revenue during the two week shutdown. We expect to see ripple effects in the long-term resulting from the government shutdown.”
Sales of Outdoor Hardgoods increased just 0.5 percent to $287.7 million, a noticeable slowdown from prior months and the year-todate gain of 6.6 percent. Sales of Camping Gear slowed from the fiscal quarter trend as weather turned colder, and paled in comparison to the onslaught of Sandy-related purchasing of Lanterns/Lighting Products, Stoves, Coolers, Water Containers, Tents/Shelters, and Sleeping Bags. Declines were also evident in Outdoor Electronics, Paddlesports, Trailers/Racks, and Snow Sports equipment, but were offset by gains in Lifestyle/ Travel and Technical Packs and Bags, Bicycles/Cycling Products, Sunglasses, and Fly Fishing equipment.
Outdoor Apparel sales rose 12.2 percent to $359.8 million—almost double the September growth rate—driven primarily by cold weather categories, including Outdoor Outerwear, Baselayers, and
The Specialty Internet, National Accounts Internet, and Sporting Goods channels gained share of outdoor product sales. Specialty Internet accounted for 7.6 percent of the outdoor product sales
tracked by SportScanInfo for OIA VantagePoint (up from 6.8 percent in October 2012), National Accounts Internet accounted for 15.5 percent of sales (up from 14.4 percent last October), and Sporting Goods Retailers accounted for 32.6 percent of sales (versus 30.8 percent in October 2012). Final results for the month are published monthly in the OIA VantagePoint monthly trend report, available free of charge to Outdoor Industry Association members. For more information about becoming an OIA member, visit outdoorindustry.org/join or contact the OIA membership team at 303.444.3353. Southwick Reports that Women in the Outdoors Numbers Are on the Rise
The traditional image of men escaping for the weekend to experience the thrill and challenge of outdoor activities such as hunting, fishing and shooting may be as antiquated as the gender make-up in the boardroom in scenes from television’s Mad Men. Annie it seems has definitely got her gun, and hunting license and fishing rod and reel. In fact, according to Women in the Outdoors in 2012, an in-depth report on women’s participation in outdoor recreation compiled by Southwick Associates, women now make up more than a quarter of all anglers and represent the continued on next page...
THANKS TO THE FLY COMMUNITY FOR A JOB WELL DONE!
THE SHOW IS OVER, BUT NOT THE BUZZ. WE’D LIKE TO THANK THE FLY FISHING COMMUNITY FOR SUPPORTING OUR NEWLY FOCUSED FLY ACTIVATIONS DURING OUTDOOR RETAILER SUMMER MARKET. WE COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT YOU.
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fastest growing segment within the hunting and shooting communities constituting as much as nearly 11 percent of all hunters.
People News Steve Bendzak to Join Simms as Sales VP
“Many people may be surprised to learn the traditional view of the outdoors person is changing, but to anybody who hunts, fishes and shoots, the presence of women on the water, in the woods and at the range is anything but new, and certainly not surprising,” said Rob Southwick, president of Southwick Associates. The Women in the Outdoors in 2012 report is the most comprehensive snapshot of women’s participation in outdoor sports ever published. It examines the level and rate of participation of females in freshwater and saltwater fishing, hunting and shooting and compares women and men’s purchasing habits for hunting, shooting and fishing equipment. It also offers a unique glimpse at their outdoor media consumption, providing invaluable insight to advertisers, manufacturers and retailers into where today’s outdoorswoman gets most of the information that affects her purchasing decisions.
AnglingTrade.com / December 2013
Southwick Associates utilized proprietary market data from their own research combined with the most recent and reliable data from key government sources to compile the report. While the decision-guiding data found in most Southwick Associates market reports are available for sale, the company is making the Women in the Outdoors in 2012 report available at http://www.southwickassociates. com/portfolio-view/women-in-theoutdoors-in-2012/. 16
Simms Fishing Products CEO K.C. Walsh recently announced the hiring of Steve Bendzak as the company’s new vice president of worldwide sales. Bendzak joins Simms from ExOfficio, where he has been in various senior sales and management roles over the last 22 years. Bendzak is largely responsible for ExOfficio’s significant growth and market dominance in technical apparel, Walsh noted. Bendzak is an avid angler, having grown up fishing at his family’s fishing camp in British Columbia. “It is with great pride and enthusiasm that I join in the efforts to pursue the dreams and desires of the Simms team,” said Bendzak. “I look forward to sharing my passion and aligning my values with those of the Simms culture.” His official start with Simms will be in January. Outdoor Retailer Welcomes Kate Blom-Lowery as Director of Public Relations Outdoor Retailer recently announced that Kate Blom-Lowery has been hired as director of public relations. After a recent move to bring public relations in-house,
Lowery will work with the Outdoor Retailer marketing team to develop and execute communications strategies that will include public relations for Outdoor Retailer’s Summer and Winter Market shows with a focus on bringing more exposure to the industry’s established and growing brands. Lowery will also work to develop website communications and a social media presence, providing a platform for the outdoor community to convene year-round. In addition, she will help with parent company Emerald Expositions’ Sports Licensing and Tailgate Show, a yearly trade event dedicated to sports league and team sports merchandise. Lowery, comes to Emerald Expositions with 25 years of PR, advertising, and marketing communications experience. As the former associate director of marketing communications for the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM), she brings several years of trade show experience to this role. Her background includes marketing communications positions with several notable consumer brands such as Intuit, Sony, Union Bank and Qualcomm. Early in her career, Lowery managed district PR and community relations for Congressman Ronald Packard.
continued on next page...
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Company News The Flybook.com is Hiring The Flybook is looking for friendly, tech savvy, and high-energy individuals to join its in-house sales team. Do you have a sales or outdoor background? Are you motivated to be part of a team that can take on the task of growing Flybook.com? Do you love the outdoor industry? Over the past six years The Flybook team has crafted software and marketing solutions for outdoor service providers. Before creating The Flybook, the comany’s founders were fishing guides and ski guides. As a Flybook
sales representative, you will be responsible for developing and cultivating relationships, prospecting new accounts, and closing sales in this market. An understanding of this unique environment is desired but not essential. In addition to sales, you will be part of the team that works on product development, marketing, and customer service. Travel to key accounts and trade shows may be required. Please send a resume and cover letter to sales@ theflybook.com. Simms Finds Success with “Fish Flex Friday”
Kudos to Simms for putting people, and its waders in the water, literally. If you’re thinking about implementing a similar program, here are the guidelines: • Fishing Flex Fridays are to be used to enjoy the sport of fishing. Employees must participate in the sport of fishing (at a minimum, riding in or rowing a boat). • Requests to participate in the ½ day off should be made early enough in the week, so that department managers can adjust work schedules, if necessary. • Employee performance must be satisfactory and all job expectations are being met. • Department managers are asked to ensure proper department coverage and employee adherence to the guidelines stated above.
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Deneki Sold to Rapids Camp Lodge
AnglingTrade.com / December 2013
Simms Fishing Products recently implemented a program encouraging its employees to get out and fish. By setting a flex schedule, employees were allowed to take off at noon on Fridays, with the specific purpose of fishing. The company’s corporate Q3 goal to encourage 720 fishing days was exceeded by almost 500 days!
Said the company: “Because fishing is critical to the success of Simms and we feel it is imperative that our employees participate in the sport, our management has implemented a new summertime benefit for our team that is intended to encourage Simms employees to get out and fish more often.”
Deneki Outdoors owner Andrew Bennet subtly blogged the announcement that he had sold his company to Rapids Camp Lodges (www.deneki.com). Congrats, Andrew, you’ve earned this.
opposition to the Pebble Mine to send a clear message to the Obama Administration that Pebble is the wrong mine in the wrong place. BBU starts airing television ads in Alaska this Thursday featuring Alaska Natives, sportsmen, fishermen and retired Alaskan elected officials.
From Deneki: What Does it Mean? We’re a bigger, stronger, happier family now. Alaska West, Andros South and BC West will continue to operate just as they have all along. We’ve got a top-tier Alaskan fly-out lodge in the family, and fantastic new owners in Dan and Amy Herrig and Jerry Shults, the owner/ operators of Rapids Camp. They also run an eco/fishing lodge in Chile, and a small operation in Baja. Quite the family indeed! Mike Sanders continues to run the operations of the three Deneki lodges, and Andrew Bennett is sticking around to take the lead on the marketing front. If you have a trip booked with us, not to worry. We have your reservation and all your payment history. There’s no change in the plan to deliver you exactly the phenomenal trip that you signed up to take.
The Pebble Mine would put at risk the $1.5 billion fishing industry, the 14,000 jobs it supports, and thousands of years of Alaska Native culture and subsistence. Bristol Bay United will harness the unprecedented grassroots
To view the television ad “Risk” that will begin running in Alaska on Thursday, please visit: www. BristolBayUnited.com. Bristol Bay United will be led by three Alaskans who have deep ties to Bristol Bay, including: • Tim Bristol, Alaska state director for Trout Unlimited continued on next page...
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New Coalition Forms to Protect Alaskan Jobs and Stop the Pebble Mine
A diverse coalition of Alaskans recently announced the formation of Bristol Bay United (BBU). BBU will demand action from the Obama Administration and elected officials to stop the Pebble Mine and protect Alaska’s jobs and way of life. Scientific studies show that an open-pit mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska could destroy up to 90 miles of streams and 4,800 acres of wetlands, and require the excavation of up to 10 billion tons of waste rock that will be stored in Bristol Bay forever.
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• Jason Metrokin, CEO of the Bristol Bay Native Corporation • Bob Waldrop, executive director of the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association Shoren Brown will serve as executive director of Bristol Bay United. TU Supports Jewell’s Conservation Vision Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Department of the Interior, gave an address on conservation Thursday at the National Press Club in
Washington, DC. The following is the official statement from Chris Wood, president and CEO of Trout Unlimited, in response to Jewell’s speech: “Secretary Jewell highlighted some of our most pressing conservation challenges: engaging youth in outdoor activities, sustaining important federal investments in conservation, and balancing energy production with the outstanding fishing and hunting values on our public lands. “Trout Unlimited welcomes the Secretary’s leadership on engaging the next generation of environmental stewards in the outdoors—something we agree
is essential to sustaining our conservation legacy. We support the Secretary’s vision for avoiding harmful impacts to fish and wildlife habitat by steering development to low-conflict areas, and using a landscape-scale approach to mitigating the impacts that cannot be avoided. And we are pleased to hear the Secretary speak of the importance of balancing energy production with habitat conservation using tools like master leasing plans that will provide certainty for industry and irreplaceable habitat that leads to quality fishing and hunting. We look to Secretary Jewell to play a leading role in ensuring that the Interior Department’s oil and gas leasing reforms are carried
out in a way that helps us achieve that balance.”
Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.
Science Must Guide EPA Report on Waters and Wetlands, Say Sportsmen
“America’s wetlands and headwater streams support a wide range of fish and wildlife species and play a crucial role in sportsmen’s ability to access high-quality hunting and fishing opportunities,” said Jimmy Hague, director of the TRCP Center for Water Resources. “This report and the related rulemaking have enormous consequences for the conservation of these important resources. It’s imperative that the EPA gets this right, and sportsmen are invested in assuring an outcome from which everyone – sportsmen, fish and wildlife and the public at large – stands to gain.”
Prominent sportsmen’s groups recently offered specific recommendations for strengthening an Environmental Protection Agency report that could play a major role in restoring Clean Water Act protections to waters and wetlands important to fish and wildlife.
The sportsmen’s groups praised the report’s recognition that “the watershed scale is the appropriate context” for assessing connectivity and that “to understand the health, behavior, and sustainability of downstream waters, the effects of small water bodies in a watershed need to be considered in aggregate.” They stressed that additional clarity was needed in assessing, for example, the connectivity of unidirectional wetlands in the Prairie Pothole Region of the Dakotas, a region that is home to as much as 70 percent of North American ducks. “Using a watershed-based approach to aggregate the impacts of continued on next page...
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The EPA report, “Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters: A Review and Synthesis of the Scientific Evidence,” analyzed more than 1,000 peer-reviewed publications of the best available science on wetlands and headwater streams. It will be used to guide the development of a soon-to-bereleased rule clarifying the Clean Water Act’s role in safeguarding the so-called “waters of the United States.” While the report fairly documents the connectivity of wetlands and streams to downstream waters overall, room for improvement exists, said the 3 - 12 WEIGHT • 3 FLEX OPTIONS • BKROD.COM • 914-490-3052
individual water bodies will lead to better resource management and improved water quality downstream,” continued Hague. “At the same time, we can and must do more to conserve key areas of habitat such as the Prairie Potholes. Wetlands in this region are being lost at an alarming rate and, with them, the sporting opportunities and economic boost that they provide.”
AnglingTrade.com / December 2013
Hunting and fishing are major economic drivers in America, generating $200 billion each year, supporting more than 1.5 million jobs and sustaining rural communities across the nation. “At the end of the day, sportsmen – along with the economic impact they have on businesses as diverse as motels, guides and outfitters, sporting goods stores, restaurants and gas stations – depend on clean water,” said Jim Martin, chair of the TRCP Policy Council and conservation director of the Berkley Conservation Institute. “Due to two ambiguous Supreme Court decisions, management of both wetlands and headwater streams has been in limbo for more than a decade. We look forward to the Clean Water Act rulemaking, which has the potential to restore protections to many of our most vulnerable and important waters, and we urge the EPA to rely on science to guide development of this rule, as well as other decisions about how we as a nation can best manage our waters.” In addition to the TRCP and BCI, signatories of the sportsmen’s letter include the American Fisheries 22
Society, the American Sportfishing Association, B.A.S.S., Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance, Delta Waterfowl, Ducks Unlimited, the Izaak Walton League of America, the National Wildlife Federation, Pheasants Forever, Quail Forever, the Snook & Gamefish Foundation, Trout Unlimited, the Wildlife Management Institute and The Wildlife Society.
Product News Winston Introduces New TwoHanded Series: The Boron III TH
THE BORON III TH series was designed with input from some of the finest spey casters in the world and successfully builds on Winston’s two-handed tradition of handcrafting perfectly balanced, responsive, high-performance rods. Built with advanced Boron III technology, this series is more powerful, more responsive, smoother casting and has faster recovery than the incredibly popular Boron IIx two-handed
series it replaces. This rod is also lightweight and allows an angler to present a fly with incredible accuracy and cast long distances with ease. The Boron III TH is the ideal selection for any style of two-handed angling and can easily transition between touch-and-go, underhand and sustained anchor techniques. No matter if you’re fishing traditional spey, Skagit, Scandi or switch lines, this series will meet the challenge. Offering extraordinary power, responsiveness and accuracy, the Boron III TH is perfectly balanced to enhance line delivery and minimize fatigue.
T&T Intros New Rod Series USA fly rod maker, Thomas & Thomas recently launched its “ATS” (Advanced Trout Situations) series of extended technical trout rods. Key Features: - Medium fast action, high modulus, clear graphite blank optimized for European nymph applications - Black anodized, milled aluminum, up locking reel seat with Thomas & Thomas roll stamp
- Black silk wraps with silver trim wraps - Premium full wells cork grip with aluminum winding check. Fighting butts on #6 weight rods and above. - Black aluminum rod tube and tan rod bag with stiffener - Made one at a time in USA by craftsmen up-locking reel seat with Thomas & Thomas roll stamp on all rods 966-4 and above
- Smoke single foot RECoil guides - Beautiful burled walnut wood spacer walnut
- Titanium Silicon Carbide and Smoke Universal Snake Brand guides
- Black silk wraps with black trim wraps - Premium elongated ‘Nymph’ grip with black winding check - Black aluminum rod tube with tan rod bag and stiffener - Made one at a time in USA by craftsmen The series is comprised of six, four-piece models, 1003-4, 1004-4, 1005-4, 1103-4, 1104-4, 1105-4 with prices starting at $800 and will be available at fly shops and online at www.thomasandthomas.com. C
T&T also launched its NS II series of fast action rods for the 2014 season.
Key Features: - Fast action, high modulus, clear graphite blank
- Clear anodized, milled aluminum, up-locking reel seat with Thomas & Thomas roll stamp and burled walnut spacer on 905-4 and 906-4 - Clear anodized, milled aluminum,
mtc at tp ad 4th quarter 13.pdf
NS II is an evolution of the original NS series, T&T’s best selling rod series for the last few years. The series is comprised of seven, fourpiece models, 905-4, 906-4, 966-4, 967-4, 968-4-4, 1007-4 and 1008-4 with prices starting at $800. 8/21/13
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SmithFly Invents Way of Attaching Fishing Gear to Coolers
Cooler Kilts are made in the U.S.A. and will be available in five sizes accommodating cooler sizes from
“Cooler Kilts” Help Small Watercraft Fishermen Carry and Store Gear
25 to 65 quarts. They’re constructed of 1000D Cordura, and feature multiple rows of Mil-Spec nylon webbing with one-inch tactical bar tacks. The back of each kilt has snaps that attach to coolers. The snaps are available as stainless steel self-tapping screws similar to those of boat covers, or as pressuresensitive adhesive pads with snap heads.
AnglingTrade.com / December 2013
SmithFly Designs just launched its newest product, the Cooler Kilt. By snapping directly to a cooler, the Cooler Kilt keeps gear consolidated, out of the way, and easily accessible. It was designed for people fishing on small watercraft, including stand up paddleboards, kayaks, and micro skiffs, as well as spin-and-bait casting fisherman and hunters. “There wasn’t a good solution for carrying fly boxes and tackle on the water while fishing from smaller, more nimble boats,” said SmithFly founder Ethan Smith. “Now you can haul your gear and your beer in one trip from the truck to the boat. The Cooler Kilt lets you put your stuff right where you can access it, without any hassle.” 24
Preorder for the Cooler Kilt starts at $45 (including shipping). To place a preorder, visit smithfly. net/2013/09/21/cooler-kilt. Rio Adds New Shooting Lines
RIO Products introduced two new Technical Shooting Lines for the
spey fly fisher. The ConnectCore Shooting Line takes advantage of an ultra-low stretch core that allows anglers to stay perfectly in contact with their fly throughout the swing and feel every slight touch. A thick, highly visible hot orange handling section makes it easy to grip the line and easily shows anglers when to stop stripping to make the next cast and helps anglers track the swing of the line. In addition, XS Technology lets the line shoot far and float high for the ultimate in performance. A large eight-inch loop at the front end makes it very easy for anglers to quickly set up. Available in 0.026”, 0.032”, 0.037” and 0.042” diameters, these lines come in light gray/hot orange, pale green/hot orange, pale blue/ hot orange and straw/hot orange, respectively. Each ConnectCore Shooting Line is available at retail for $59.95. The GripShooter Shooting Line is based off the popular SlickShooter but with an added coated-handling section that makes it very easy to grip in cold conditions. The thin nylon shooting line gives casters the maximum distance and is light enough to allow great control of the head and fly far out in the swing. A neat eight-inch welded loop at the front end allows for fast and efficient head changes. Available in 25-pound, 35-pound, 44-pound and 50-pound options, these lines are blue, orange, red and yellow, respectively. GripShooter Shooting Lines are sold through at RIO dealers for $29.95.
SPOT LLC Announces SPOT Trace, the Ultimate Theft-Alert Tracking Device
SPOT Trace also features customizable tracking, which allows users to track an asset’s GPS coordinates at 2 ½, 5, 10, 30 or 60 minute intervals. The units will sell starting at $99.95, with service plans from $99.99/year. Data from the latest Angler’s Survey (July/August)...
Most purchased product: flies (63%) Top brand of fly rods: Hardy (17%)
SPOT LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Globalstar, Inc. (OTCQB: GSAT) and leader in satellite messaging and emergency notification technologies, announced the launch of the new SPOT Trace, an anti-theft asset tracking device. SPOT Trace ensures cars, motorcycles, boats, ATVs, snowmobiles and other valuable assets are where they need to be, notifying owners via email or text when movement is detected anytime, anywhere. SPOT’s growing family of products uses 100% satellite technology to provide locationbased messaging and emergency notification for on or off the grid communications.
Top brand of fly reels: Orvis (34%) Most fly reels purchased from: outdoor specialty stores (43%) Top brand of fly fishing line: Orvis (34%) Most fly fishing lines purchased from: outdoor specialty stores (51%) Top type of flies purchased: dry flies and poppers (28%) Top brand of flies: Handmade/ Custom (19%) Most flies purchased from: local shops (53%) Top brand of fly-fishing leaders: Rio (34%) Most fly-fishing leaders purchased from: local shops (50%) This just in... Fishpond launches new website
Fly-fishing enthusiasts and anyone with a passion for the outdoors will enjoy the incredible imagery throughout the site by fishpond founder and designer, John Le Coq, who is also an accomplished photographer. In addition to stunning photos from Colorado and other great fishing locales, the new site features easy navigation. Users will find all products including new products for 2014 under the heading Products. The Pond section allows users to dive deeper into news, events, product reviews, environmental news, and more about our ambassadors. The site is designed to allow customers to feel a closer connection to fishpond and what it stands for beyond building the best products on the water and in the outdoors. “Every aspect of the new site is geared for users to learn more about fishpond, its products and its commitment to spreading the spirit of the brand,” comments fishpond co-owner, Ben Kurtz. “We are especially excited about The Pond section as it will allow our consumers to learn more about the issues, news and people that make fishpond what it is.” About fishpond: Fishpond is a worldwide brand of products designed and manufactured for fishing and outdoor enthusiasts. Fishpond was created with the philosophy that innovation, design and a responsibility towards the environment from which they draw their inspiration is critical to their success. For more information, visit www. fishpondusa.com. Connect with us via Facebook. at 25
AnglingTrade.com / December 2013
“SPOT Trace is a cost-effective tracking product that will give loyal SPOT users and new users across the globe assurance that their personal assets are safe,” said Jay Monroe, CEO and chairman of Globalstar. “SPOT Trace is the latest advancement in our commitment to build products that reach an audience beyond the traditional mobile satellite service user that are relevant to millions of people globally.”
Most fly rods purchased from: local shops (24%)
(Denver, Colo.) – Fishpond revealed a new website to foster a stronger connection to its customers.
The Act of Growth Searching for sustainable, without sacrificing soul
Written by Geoff Mueller
Of all the terms in the fly-fishing lexicon “growth” has, and always will be, a heavyweight. Latch onto its potential and whoosh—startup turns powerhouse. Harness its jumper-cable spark and revitalize your staid business prospects. And pounce on its springs and catapult into the next stratosphere. Forget the tug. Growth is the drug. But for those clinging to promises contained within this six-letter sensation, it’s become evident that there isn’t a simple, straight path—or next movie—to get you there. Like anything hard-earned it takes time to build; it takes vision, intuition, and it takes investment in an industry that ain’t all that big to begin with.
AnglingTrade.com / December 2013
If there’s anything significantly sizable about fly fishing, it’s the associated environments. This product of the great-wide-outside can’t be contained within four walls. And thus it’s no surprise that, in order to find Western Rivers Flyfisher owner Steve Schmidt, one best look toward the river. Those arteries of enrichment stretch across B.C., Argentina, and beyond. But more often than not you’ll find Schmidt in his home state of Utah—on the Provo, Weber, or Green. Sometimes fishing; more often than not just taking it all in. That kick back and contemplate mentality is something increasingly 26
less common in our fast-paced lives, as well as our business approaches. “Since I’ve become involved in fly fishing, I’ve seen focuses shift from the experience of fishing to simply catching fish,” Schmidt says. “Nowhere is this more evident than with guiding in our industry, especially here in the West. This has been good for generating quick growth, but it isn’t a long-term solution for sustainable growth.” The fly-fishing learning curve, for instance, has shortened since Schmidt began business. Adept anglers had to master the cast, study presentation, navigate hatches, and understand the intricacies of reading water. Since the advent of strike indicators, Schmidt contends,
“we’ve taken the need to learn to cast out of the equation. Today as an industry we’ve simplified the sport, or as I like to say ‘dumbed it down’ in an effort to convert more participants more easily, but in doing so we don’t give our customers the tools they’ll need to address the wide variety of fly-fishing situations we’re presented with on the water.” What takes place on western waters today, instead resembles little of what attracted shop customers to the sport 20 years ago—something along the lines of the simple beauty of casting a fly rod with some level of proficiency. Craig Mathews, who opened Blue Ribbon Flies in West Yellowstone more than 30 years ago, has also witnessed major shifts in how we fish, as well as why.
“Lately it’s become a case of always more, more, and more,” Mathews says. “Around here, with the current traffic levels, it’s pretty easy to get a three-ring-circus going. What people fail to recognize is that there are so many options in the greater Yellowstone area—other than just hammering the river—and we always encourage clients to hike, explore, and experience those amazing attributes the park offers.” Recognizing that fisheries are limited resource and, moreover, should be respected and protected, Mathews says he’s less concerned with rampant growth than he is with maintaining a sustainable business model that works year in and year out. To that end, he limited his staff to 13 guides about 21 years ago—during a time when anglers stormed the park following the release of A River Runs Through It. Despite seemingly infinite opportunities to run hundreds of guide trips daily through peak season, Mathews hasn’t budged. “Don’t get me wrong, you’re refusing guide trips because you’re booked,” he says. “But it got to a point where I had to put my foot down and say ‘more isn’t necessarily better.’ Our clients were happier that we capped it and everything seems to have worked itself out for us.”
Considering that most fly shops don’t have Old Faithful and free-
“In order to have success selling quality products, you need to sell the experience and for me that’s casting a fly rod among some of the world’s most beautiful backdrops,” Schmidt adds. “And do I want to catch a fish? Hell yes, but it isn’t the only factor determining my enjoyment. In this industry, in general, that’s not an acceptable attitude. And if we’re going to grow responsibly, it has to change.” Mathews agrees. Much of his shop’s success and longevity can be directly linked to its conservation imperatives. In addition to being a Protector of Yellowstone Park award-recipient, Mathews helped spearhead the 1% for the Planet initiative with Yvon Chouinard in 2001. By earmarking a small percentage of business earnings for environment preservation, the goal is a healthier planet down the road. Why? Because it’s the right thing to do, Mathews says.
that Jay Johnson, of Costa’s GeoFish film series fame, wants to make loud and clear. Johnson is one of several Fort Collins, Colorado-based anglers representing Pig Farm Ink, an unlikely collaboration of fly-fishing, fly-tying, and tattoo-removal mayhem that’s gone from underground rumblings to nationwide momentum in recent times. Although growth is an important part of the Farm’s overall mission, it’s an ideal that’s being tackled contentiously. What’s more important than making dollars at this point, Johnson says, is promoting fun while instilling a certain degree of awareness. “We’re trying to build independent fly-fishing communities across the U.S. to make this sport what we feel it could be,” he says. “I hate the fact that when I tell someone I fly fish and make fly-fishing movies they look at me like I’m from a planet that only supports old rich people, or that dude who throws garbage on river banks and hollers ‘Fish on!’ a lot. Ideally, we’d be more stoked if when fly fishing is brought up people said, ‘That looks way more bitchin’ than video games and Twitter.’”
“A taxicab driver from New York City doesn’t make the same good living as me because of a national park. I do, and therefore I’m obliged to give more back to that park because of it.” Investing in quality experience and bankrolling healthy environments from which we derive those realities is important. But without a healthy push of participants—especially from a younger demographic—it all becomes moot. And that’s a point
Superior to video games and Twitter? You bet, as long as our resources live up to the tasks at hand. When they do, this lifestyle and the businesses that prosper from it will be better off. at 27
AnglingTrade.com / December 2013
Today Mathews’ guides, some of whom are pushing 70+ years young, are just as happy delivering spectacular sights as they are putting ample fish into clients’ hands. “I’m really proud of that, because they’re showing people other fishing opportunities in the park, as well of more of what Yellowstone in general has to offer—a lot more than just fishing.”
ranging buffalo in their backyards, the idea of selling that level of experience may seem like a long shot. But experience, no matter where you live and fish, remains a vital component of the sustainable growth equation. And it all comes back to sales, eventually.
Have We Dumbed it Down Too Much?
AnglingTrade.com / December 2013
Guide Marc Barnwell responds to Chuck Furimsky’s opinion editorial on pounding fish, in cycles, over and over... which ran in the last issue of Angling Trade. Chuck, after reading your article, “Daisy Chaining for Trout,” I felt the need to respond. While I fully agree with your analysis that guides are engaging in this type of guiding, what I felt missing was the reason WHY, guides do this. The answer I believe is because it’s EASY. It’s easier for the client and for the guide; (and using a nymph rig with a strike indicator) prevents having to completely re-rig a bird’s nest a few times (or hundred). I’m also seeing the trend of using switch rods to make it even EASIER. I’ve been guiding now for 17 seasons and a similar situation to what you described in Montana is happening here in Colorado. Just float down the Roaring Fork River on any summer day and watch the bobber fest happening. Guided fly-fishing trips have simply come down to getting the client into fish rather than teaching them the art of the sport, no matter what’s going on in nature: “Get ‘em in and get ‘em out.” The easiest way to do this is to “lob the bob.” Anyone reading this and familiar with throwing dries knows it’s very difficult to teach newbies the art of casting (ie. what 28
to do with your line hand, mending, false casting) before and as you float. By the time I have explained all of this, and they still can’t get it done (understandably), I could have had a quarter of the trip done by simply lobbing a bobber. But where’s the fun in that as a guide? Seriously... where’s the fun watching an indicator the whole time, day in and day out? Big boring deal. Let’s face it guides, dry-fly fishing is HARD for the newbie and landing a bunch of fish this way is simply not going to happen. I always tell my newbies getting one to the net is a good day. And don’t even get me started on streamer fishing a newbie from a boat… not going to happen! I see the following scenario involving someone wanting to learn the sport of fly fishing all the time: A newbie calls or walks into a fly shop and says, “I’ve always wanted to try/learn fly fishing.” And if you ask them to describe why they want to try the sport, they will describe the CAST. That is the draw. WE NEED TO TEACH THIS, as well as explain to them that a lot of the time fish simply won’t rise to a dry and the only way to catch them is to “dredge ‘em up” accordingly. I guarantee that newbie clients will remember catching their first fish on a dry more than on a nymph any day. Even the experienced or somewhat experienced prefer to at least try dries even if it means catching fewer fish. You have to give the client what they want. While it may seem that I’m anti-dredging, I’m really not. There is a time, place and client need for it, but in the long run, having your clients lob full nymph rigs day in and day out is not serving them and is CERTAINLY NOT doing the sport of fly fishing justice. It’s just like anything else, you have to work for your reward. Let’s let newbies EARN catching lots of fish by learning and practicing. How sweet is it to have someone in your boat who can fish according to what’s happening in nature that day by throwing dries, dry dropper, nymphs or streamers (cautiously), and not worry about getting your fish quota for your clients? My guess is that this style of guiding will not affect tips negatively. My tips this past summer certainly did not seem to be impacted by the amount of fish brought to the net. If anything they went up. Let’s let nature dictate what we throw on any given day, even if that means an extra half hour to hour devoted to teaching the cast, because that is the heart of the sport. at Marc Barnwell www.marcbarnwell.com
BUsiness: www.TU.org/TUe Become a TU Become e n d o rasTU e dendorsed B Usin es s : w ww. T U . o r g /T U e
RECOMMENDED RECOMMENDEDREADING READING
Recommended Reading (and Selling) Reviews by Kirk Deeter
50 Best Tailwaters to Fly Fish
By Terry and Wendy Gunn (Stonefly Press, $34.95, stoneflypress.com)
AnglingTrade.com / December 2013
People can say what they want about dams, but let’s be honest: fly fishing for trout in America wouldn’t be what it is were it not for tailwaters. All those trophy shots of goliath rainbows and browns that adorn our catalogs and magazines would be imaginary. Tailwaters like the Bighorn, the Green, and the Delaware produce big fish, but by virtue of their technical complexities, they also produce good anglers. Terry and Wendy Gunn own Lees Ferry Anglers (the Colorado River there is one of the top tailwaters in the world), and they travel extensively to write, photograph and fish. But they’re also savvy enough—and connected enough—to recruit the finest guides from throughout North America to present exact details on not only the where-to, but also the how-to intricacies of these classic rivers. The lineup includes Pat Dorsey, Craig Matthews, John and Amy Hazel, Tim Linehan, Mike Mercer, and Mike Lawson. And oh, by the way, the foreward was penned by none other than Lefty Kreh. In terms of sheer resource value, from gear, to regulations, to fly patterns, 30
seasonal hatches, and access, there has never been a book produced that’s quite like this. The book actually includes 56 rivers. Encourage your customers to use it to master the closest tailwater, then keep it as a guide to lead them to premier destinations nationwide.
dotes that reveal how people shape streams, and streams can shape people. Foreword by TU CEO Chris Wood.
Trout Unlimited’s Guide to America’s 100 Best Trout Streams (Third Edition)
If you’re looking for a departure from the howto genre, and just want to be entertained, but you like the fishing and outdoor themes flavoring your fiction, give a Keith McCafferty mystery a read. This book is McCafferty’s third novel, and it revolves around a fly fisherman/detective named Sean Stranahan, tasked to solve a case involving wolf lovers, wolf haters and an animal rights group with a Svengali master in rural Montana.
By John Ross (Lyons Press $24.95, lyonspress.com) It’s always difficult to compile a “best of ” list of anything, and in the context of rating fishing waters, that’s an especially subjective endeavor. But John Ross, formerly chairman of TU’s Virginia Council and an award-winning author and photographer whose work regularly appears in Sporting Classics and elsewhere, has a smart formula—he’s tapped into the vast network of TU professionals and volunteers for boots-in-the-water perspectives that are honest and illuminating.
Now in its third, updated edition (the 1999 debut won the National Outdoor Book Award), this guide is ultimately a celebration of the efforts by many people that have made American streams as great as they are… and getting better. Ross’ writing is illustrative and to the point. The book contains maps and details of where to access the rivers, and it also features quotes and anec-
Dead Man’s Fancy
By Keith McCafferty (Viking, $26.95, us.penguingroup.com)
McCafferty lives in Bozeman. He is an award-winning survival and outdoor skills editor for Field & Stream magazine, and an avid angler himself. He’s been teaching people how to fish, and safely enjoy the outdoors for more than 30 years. The substance he brings to story telling is beyond compare. What you’ll really like as you read the novel, however, is the way the narrative flows and wraps around authentic places and characters. It will make you think throughout, and in the end, it will catch you a bit off-guard. But throughout, you’ll find yourself immersed in wild places, which is what the essence of great outdoor fiction is really all about. *Review copy courtesy TROUT magazine. Check out the winter issue of TROUT by visiting www.tu.org. at
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Chris Keig photo rYan ThomPson YanTarni salmon CamP, aK
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Five Easy Steps Grow Your Business…
Follow the Branding Roadmap and Enhance Your Online Presence
AnglingTrade.com / December 2013
(Inter view by the editors)
Nick Hoover runs Niby Design Group in Denver, a consulting business that specializes in helping outdoor companies expand their business potential through website design, management, and creating brand strategies that increase overall visibility via the Internet. He has created a “Branding Roadmap” wherein you can take a look at your website, and grade its performance in certain key areas, such as overall content, search engine optimization, ease of navigation, functionality, and so forth. 32
What’s more, Hoover can also rate your nearest competitors’ websites using the same criteria. As such, you get an immediate scorecard that indicates how you and your business stack up in the business realm beyond your brick and mortar location.
recently described, “so 2008.” Do you Tweet? What good is Facebook? And to what extent does someone whose real business revolves around selling flies, rods, reels, lines, clothing, and perhaps guide trips require them to run a virtual media company to support all that?
One thing is certain when it comes to online marketing, websites and the like—the landscape is rapidly changing. Google’s criteria for search word performance is complex and evolving. And what tools should you be using? Is it even worth “blogging” anymore or, is that, as a media friend of ours
The answer is that everything online has about as much value as the amount of effort (and sometimes money) you are willing to pour into them. It helps to have a roadmap to guide your efforts. And if you remember one thing, understand that “content is king.”
We asked Hoover some pointed questions to help us all get a handle on all of this, and here’s what he had to say… What is your philosophy when it comes to branding and online marketing? I believe that every business has a story, and it is important these days to make sure you are relaying your story to your customers. You want to stand out and be a unique resource. Moreover, you want to be engaging your customers, and converting those personal relationships so that they become evangelists for you and your products or causes on social media. I think that’s the future of the Web. But you say “personal relationships,” and I can’t think of anything more impersonal than being online. It’s often anonymous. We send people emails because we don’t want to pick up the phone and talk to them… Yes and no. I could argue that people are sharing personal moments through photos, videos, and so on, more than ever now. That’s certainly true with fishing. We see more photos of the fish someone caught now than we did years ago. So where is that all going?
We hear a lot about “keywords.” What is that all about?
We hear a lot about video, and how important that is for websites. Is it really all about moving pictures on the small screen? Video is important, but it is not the end-all, be-all. The goal of any website/online branding effort should be to tell an engaging story to your audience that positions you as the expert in your field and develops long-lasting relationships with your customers. The best way to do that is to create awesome content—stories, videos and photos are all important. What’s the number one mistake you see fly shops in particular making when it comes to their websites? Not caring. Or just putting up whatever they want. Not having a purpose for their content. Not going the extra step to make compelling content in different forms. If you are not the expert, or the go-to resource in your neighborhood, you’re going to get crushed by somebody else who appears to be so. And many people aren’t going to walk into an actual fly shop or fly shops to make those determinations anymore. A lot of those opinions are being formed via the Internet. Let me play devil’s advocate… we’re in the fishing business. A motivated angler is going to find information in a variety of ways, for sure. But does a shop owner need to get into the entertainment business as well? And at what cost? It’s not a matter of what you want to do, it’s a matter of what you have
to do. How can I be better than my competition? Fishing is all about information. It’s a how-to world. So you can show somebody a product, but you’re better off by doing the extra legwork to actually show them how to use the product. You can certainly do that one-on-one behind the shop, but you can cover many more people, and create more of an audience that sees you as a resource if you have Web content that does that as well. In the end, it is not just about what you know, it’s also about how you present it. Can you give us an example of this in action? Sure. I followed Loon Outdoors the other day. They did a two-minute video on the behind-the-scenes of working at Loon Outdoors. I was willing to invest two minutes of my day to engage in that, and digest that. And others did too, and they shared that on Facebook, and I’m sure that was ultimately a good thing for Loon. Do you think this undercuts the value of the written word? No, not at all, that’s still there too. Again, it comes down to quality content. And quality content, especially in fishing, tends to revolve around quality ideas. Yes, it’s sometimes entertaining, but often it is informative as well. If you can make someone better at something they like to do, you win. at You can read Nick Hoover’s regular columns on topics related to online marketing, branding, social media, and so forth in Angling Trade’s monthly E-newsletter, and on anglingtrade.com. For more information on the Branding Roadmap, and Niby Design Group, see www.nibydesigngroup.com. 33
AnglingTrade.com / December 2013
Nobody can predict where it’s all going, but my guess is that it’s all about the social element, and how you are engaging an audience with content. You want to be hitting the audience with consistent chunks of content. And that does create a personal relationship. For example, I might see a pack that I like on a video produced by a fly shop, and my buddy may have never heard of that pack. But if I like it, my buddy will be inclined to like it also.
Search engines look at keywords and phrases on a website in order to index it, and that partly determines where it shows up when someone is searching for information. But I would say keywords are part of the equation, but not all of it. It really comes down to how much social engagement is taking place.
A Plea for Help
The more members, the more revenue, and TU puts over $30 million a year—or 89 percent of its expenses—into programs. Here’s the interesting part. Having a larger member base increases TU’s bandwidth. More boots in the water and hands on projects means more return for every dollar invested. In terms of volunteer hours added to the mix, right now, the return on investment is 698%. No kidding. So the need for more members should be something we all can and should appreciate. How we get there is something we must work on, together.
As many of you know, in addition to my work here at Angling Trade, I am also working with Trout Unlimited to help that organization grow its membership (and editing TROUT magazine). I need your help in meeting that goal. Let’s first get something out on the table. I know many of you have issues with some of what TU does or doesn’t do. Many of the people in TU understand that as well. Walt Gasson, who heads the organization’s efforts to reach out to shops, guides and outfitters is as much a part of the fishing family as anyone. He shares with me and others in TU the concerns he hears. And we want to talk to you about all those things. We will. On the other hand, understanding that the fly-fishing industry spins on an axis of trout fishing, and that TU is an organization that is solely committed to making and protecting the habitat that makes trout fishing possible, I think the industry as a whole can and should do a better job of growing the TU membership ranks.
AnglingTrade.com / December 2013
That starts with yourselves. If you’re a member or a TUEB already, thank you very much. If you make your living selling product or guiding clients in the trout realm, it’s only right. “I support what TU does but I’m not a member myself ” is, in my mind, like being in the ski industry and saying you support snow. That’s a no brainer. But in terms of trout fishing, we have the opportunity, and the responsibility even, to make our own snow. It isn’t necessarily about the money. Priority number one is growing membership. And there are a couple important reasons for that. First, naturally, the larger the base, the more political clout the organization has. The more clout it has, the more it can affect the things that protect and enhance lakes and rivers. 34
I’ve said for years that I think the sun rises and sets on the flyfishing industry where guides, outfitters, and specialty fly shops say it does. I’ve been a guide, and a fly shop guy, from the beginning. And I’m going to stay in your corner until the end. But I need your help in figuring out ways to meet this challenge. If TU made memberships something shops could sell off the shelf, and maybe made a little money as commissions in the process, would that get your attention? Guides are gatekeepers. Should TU offer gear incentives to them? Sign up 50 people and get a new cooler for your boat… sign up 1000 and get an actual boat? Just thinking out loud. For the record, even if your business revolves around saltwater fishing, I think you should have an interest in TU, because a lot of anglers who jet off to faraway places and chase bonefish on the flats, for example, learn to fish on trout streams. Conversely, I think trout people have a vested interest in what organizations like the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust are doing as well. TU is already working on habitat on your behalf. What else would you like to talk about? TU shares many of the same concerns as the fly industry. We want to encourage youth participation. We want to see the ranks of women anglers grow. TU has some infrastructure to make that happen. It needs more partnership from manufacturers to make programs happen. It needs retailers to add members to the ranks. With progress in these areas, we’ll all notice a positive difference. I don’t know all the answers. But I know who to talk to in order to find them. And I would deeply appreciate hearing your candid thoughts, so we can get the ball rolling. Whether you’re a retailer, a manufacturer, a guide, a lodge owner, etc., you can contact me directly at email@example.com; and you can contact Walt Gasson at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you. at
Fly Fishing Film Review:
‘Waypoints’ Hits The Mark Written by Kirk Deeter
The latest movie from Confluence Films, “Waypoints,” was shown for the first time at benefit events throughout the world on November 8. I was fortunate to attend a screening with the filmmakers, Jim Klug and Chris Patterson, in Bozeman, Montana. (Reprinted from Fly Talk at www.fieldandstream.com; visit Fly Talk for daily commentary on fly fishing from AT editors Deeter and Romano).
Which is exactly why “Waypoints” impressed me deeply. Jim Klug is the founder and director of operations for Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures. He’s guided and traveled throughout the world, and is an accomplished photographer. But he’s also a gifted writer, who can turn a phrase, and plant your feet firmly in the water. His opening narrative for “Waypoints” was a grabber: “We can all identify the important milestones and significant stopping places that collectively shape our journey through life. As we live our lives, we are shaped by the signifi-
cant events and occurrences that ultimately identify and construct who we are and who we become as people. This is also true for our identity as anglers, where we define ourselves through the fish we catch, the people we interact with, and the places that fishing takes us throughout the world. As young anglers, such milestones might include the first time that we pick up a fly rod. Our first fishing trip with a father, grandfather or friend. And certainly the first fish caught with a fly that we’ve tied and created ourselves. As we grow as anglers, these pivotal events and experiences evolve as well. A memorable catch. Trips to far-off waters. And for many, time spent fishing with our own children. 35
AnglingTrade.com / December 2013
I generally like fly-fishing films. I think they’re good for the sport. I think they get people thinking about fly fishing, and conservation, and wild places. But to be completely honest, I think a lot of the short form stuff pretty much amounts to rolling grip-n-grin photography. Which is fine, because I like looking at colorful fish as much as any angler. But as a writer, I can’t help but reserve a deeper level of appreciation for quality words that capture the essence of not only the action, but also the culture. I like them
wrapped in themes, and I like them to have substance. Most of all I like them to inspire.
For those of us lucky enough to have discovered fly fishing, there is little doubt that these are the events that improve, expand and ultimately enrich our individual journey through life. These are our WAYPOINTS.” Catchy metaphors and illustrative phrases—”The Yellow-lipped emperor...a strange and outlandish fish that seems more at home in the pages of a children’s coloring book than in the skinny waters of the Atoll”—thread throughout the narration. In some moments of the film, you can almost close your eyes and still appreciate it.
AnglingTrade.com / December 2013
But don’t, because you’d be missing out on what the rest of the production team brings. Patterson is best known as the lead director and cinematographer of Warren Miller Ski Films, and in “Waypoints,” as with past Confluence projects “Drift,” “Rise,” and “Connect,” the visual and audio work all melds nicely, with pace and precision. Denver Miller’s cinematography work is illuminating. You feel like you’re fishing. You can almost smell the atmosphere. Of course, I think the large appeal of this film is that it is aspirational, in that it transports viewers to virgin fisheries throughout the world that few of us will actually see in person. In this case, the locations are southern Chile, the Venezuelan jungle, St. Brandon’s Atoll in The Seychelles, the Tongass in Southeast Alaska, and northern India. I have been fortunate enough to personally connect (no pun intended) with three of the vignettes. I have fished with Oliver White in South America (not
OLIVER WHITE JEFF CURRIER GERHARD LAUBSCHER DAN “ROOSTER” LEAVENS GREG BRICKER BRET SENG WIL FLACK TRAVIS PETERSON TIM BABICH MISTY DHILLION music by TODD HANNIGAN LARRY KEEL & NATURAL BRIDGE ALEXI MURDOCH and THE BEAUTIFUL GIRLS cinematography directed and produced and by CHRIS PATTERSON and DENVER MILLER edited by CHRIS PATTERSON written by JIM KLUG WWW.CONFLUENCEFILMS.COM
in Venezuela, but in nearby Guyana for arapaimas), and I have been on the helicopters with Andres Ergas in Chile. I have spent time fishing in the Tongass. That is only relevant
in the context that, having been to some of these places, I can say that what’s captured for the screen is spot-on, raw, and very honest. The DVD is now available. at
Good luck to Fly Fishing Film Tour as it embarks on its 2014 schedule. Thanks for keeping people thinking about fishing during the winter. Hereâ€™s the initial lineup... be sure to take part in the stop near you. 2014 FLY FISHING FILM TOUR PRIMARY TOUR CALENDAR CITY STATE VENUE DATE(S) TIME(S) Denver
5:00 & 8:00
Bing Crosby Theater
Uptown Cinema - SIFF Theater
4:00 & 8:00
The Belcourt Theater
6:00 and 9:00
The Buckhead Theatre
Tampa Pitcher Show
Sun Valley Opera House
4:00 & 8:00
5:00 & 8:00
Orvis Store Baton Rouge
Salt Lake City
Wheeler Opera House
Durango Art Center
Will Rogers Theatre
*More shows added weekly. Check flyfilmtour.com for more information.
AnglingTrade.com / December 2013
The DIY Article
Doing British Columbia on a beef-jerky budget Written by Geoff Mueller
AnglingTrade.com / December 2013
Thanks to DIY the human race is finding renewed purpose in everything from making toilet-seat picture frames to crafting dryer lint animals and creating kitschy Christmas decorations a la Martha Stewart. There are DIY magazines. There’s a TV network. And just the other night I motored past a neon-blue sign advertising doit-yourself divorces: Quick. Simple. Pain-free. But it’s DIY of the fly-fishing variety I find most intriguing: tedious, complex and, more often than not, painful. What does a DIY fly-fishing trip look like? Perhaps it’s best explained by what it doesn’t: A spendy journey to Slabs Galore Lodge, during the peak week for—insert ultimate gamefish species, here. The bonuses of the above are obvious: 1) Your nightly five-course dinner doesn’t include prime jerky cuts from 38
7-Eleven. 2) Your bed is an actual bed, not the backseat of your mom’s Corolla. 3) The bar tab’s included. And 4), your snoring fishing buddy has a separate, soundproof room for the duration of your stay.
set to dirtbag do-it-yourselfers railed on fish. And they relayed those reports to those of us stupid enough to believe that the anomaly had just enough legs to span one… more… year.
Expensive? Relatively speaking. But awesome? Definitely, especially if you’re staring down epic runs of steelhead on the hallowed banks of B.C.’s Dean River or you’re holed up at someplace exotic, when the fishing’s hot.
The final tally for this particular trip included a handsome Bulkley buck, an unplanned swim in the same river, followed by another in the Kispiox, a couple of resident rainbows on the Thompson, and, thanks to B.C.’s classified waters licensing system and a Rob Ford on crack-like addiction to Tim Horton’s donuts: a total bill of about three grand. DIY in our case wasn’t necessarily cheap, but by B.C. standards it was more affordable than the alternatives.
DIY, on the other hand, is the antithesis of cushy. And as I discovered during a 10-day mission across northern British Columbia this fall, most road trips come equipped with a few bumps. My father-in-law, god bless his heart, was first to sign on for the program. He was also first to fall asleep every night, and his Richter Scale snoring was impressively impressed upon me early. Sleep, however, wasn’t what we were after. It was good fishing of the “supernatural” kind we desired. So fishing we went. And we accomplished the task—for better or worse—without too much handholding. Successful DIY requires a certain degree of due diligence. Studying maps, for instance, and surveying those already in the trenches is a good idea. What we learned prior to departure was that the season had been a fish-catching crawl and, winding into the tailout reaches of a low-water October, many regulars had already packed up and left. It was a classic case of you should have been here last year. And of course, we thoroughly ignored the clues. Last year, B.C. steelhead swarmed the Skeena and its tribs in awesome numbers—up to 150 percent of average. Everyone from the lodge
Another buddy, in contrast, was wise enough to fish the Sustut this season—a lodge trip that easily doubled our monetary totals. His experience included plentiful steelhead and shit-eating-grin images of a 40-inch+ buck that had me choking on my eggs during our recent breakfast recap. But that trip may have been lacking something, too: A sense of adventure. Of learning something new on a variety of river systems. And a yearning to revisit them in order to school or be schooled next year. That said, with big cheese in my pocket I’d be hard pressed to skip an opportunity to wade steely ShangriLa-on-the-Sustut, or wherever. But I also wouldn’t trade it for the DIY experience consumed this season. The rewards of sleepless nights and steelheading days were worth the pains of paying dues. And best of all, it beat sitting around contemplating a collection of dryer lint animals and the thrill and efficiency of DIY divorces. DIY fishing is that much better.
Four Reasons Why TROUT is the Best Buy in Fly… 1
It has the largest sustained print readership in the space.
Its readers are the most motivated anglers (they spend and act).
TROUT offers by far the best CPM value of any publication that covers fly fishing.
egacy of shable water. 4
Money spent in TROUT supports the organization that protects the resources that sustain fly fishing. If you haven’t checked out TROUT lately, make a point to do so. We don’t do how-to. But we’re also not strictly a conservation publication. TROUT is a lifestyle publication that covers the conscience of angling in America. And we’re growing... For advertising information: Tim Romano; email@example.com.
TROUT UNLIMITED • W W W. T U. O R G • S U M M E R 2013
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Published on Dec 13, 2013