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the buzz on the flyfishing biz


the 2011 Show Issue

Golf and Fly Fishing/IFTD Exhibitors and Floor Plan Pg.26/Making a Great Media Trip/Loss Leaders/Schools Revisited/Discover Ireland/ DVD Profits/And More August 2011







2012 . /





® S I M M S F I S H I N G P R O D U CTS / 2011 / TH E C H O I C E O F P R O F E S S I O NAL G U I D E S WO R LDW I D E



the buzz on the flyfishing biz


Features 36 Groove That Swing

He brought us “Fifty Places to Dive,” “Fifty Places to Golf,” and Fifty Places to Fly Fish Before You Die (and he’ll soon be showing us Fifty More Places to Fly Fish...). But here, Chris Santella cuts to the quick about fly fishing and golf demographics. Same sports, one played wet, the other dry? You decide... but the potential should not be ignored. By Chris Santella


Departments 6 Editor’s Column

“What I Learned on My Way to Louisiana.” AT’s editor gets frank about some of the issues and opportunities that are really shaping the fly fishing business environment. By Kirk Deeter

8 Currents The latest people, product and issues news from the North American fly fishing industry, including reports from ICAST, and a preview of IFTD... including exhibitor info, the show floor map, and insights on the issues people are already talking about (like Redington selling direct, Simms going into bass, and so on).

32 Travel

44 Film... Beyond the Surface

Fly fishing video—be it shown at live events, or tucked into sellable packages, might well be a media revenue opportunity that fly fishing retailers neglect at their own peril. By Geoff Mueller

Want to showcase your special fishery for the world? You must involve the media. Bring them to you, and let them tell the story to the world. But there’s a huge difference between wishing for some positive spin, and strategically planning the right exposure opportunity that will pay dividends, both short-term and down the road. By Will Rice

50 The Loss Leader... Good

or Bad? You lose a little here... you make much more there. In the world of Groupon, Living Social, etc., giving some to make more might make perfect sense. But understanding exactly how, when, and why the fly tackle dealer dabbles in this admittedly dangerous realm is the difference between getting skinned, and growing your sales. By Steven B. Schweitzer

56 School Daze

Kirk Deeter Managing Editor

Tim Romano Art Director

Tara Brouwer Copy Editors

Mabon Childs, Sarah Warner Contributing Editors

Tom Bie Geoff Mueller Ben Romans Andrew Steketee Greg Thomas Contributors

Lance Gray, William Rice, David Rose, Chris Santella, Steve Schweitzer, Bruce Smithhammer Photos unless noted by Tim Romano Angling Trade is published four times a year by Angling Trade, LLC. Author and photographic submissions should be sent electronically to 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.

48 Recommended Reading

Printed in the U.S.A.

Tom Reed shows us, in his poignant and eloquent collection of essays Blue Lines: A Fly Fishing Life, that the places are often as relevant (or more so) than the people, the gear, and even the fish.

Advertising Contact: Tim Romano Telephone: 303-495-3967 Fax: 303-495-2454

Reviewed by Bruce Smithhammer

62 Backcast

Tom Bie wonders aloud if high runoff may just force some shops to diversify their offering, and if that might ultimately be a blessing in disguise.

Mail Address: PO Box 17487 Boulder, CO 80308 Street Address: 3055 24th Street Boulder, CO 80304

3 / August 2011

We’ve talked about teaching as the gateway to customer recruitment and retention. Here, a working guide spills the beans on exactly what the school dynamic can do for your fly fishing business, and where the pitfalls lie. By Lance Gray


WHICH IS BETTER? THE TIGHT, ELEGANT LOOPS OF A SCANDI HEAD? OR THE HEAVY-TIP, BIG-FLY POWER OF A SKAGIT? For years, two-handed anglers—being who they are—have nearly come to blows over the superiority of one or the other. But with our new Scandi Short VersiTip, you get the best of both worlds in the easiest-casting Spey line ever made. Better yet, the short head and 10-foot tips load up and fire out of even the tightest quarters, opening up miles of previously unfishable water. Designed for today’s shorter, faster two-handed and switch rods (not to mention single-handers), the Scandi Short VersiTip excels on tree-lined coastal rivers and brushy Great Lakes streams.

Ready to stop arguing and start fishing better? Fish the new Scandi Short VersiTip.





Lance Gray

Lance Gray owns Lance Gray & Company, a Willow, California-based guide service. He also conducts schools on everything from bass to steelhead. We don’t know if he does cooking classes, but we do know this is his second written foray in Angling Trade.

Geoff Mueller

Geoff Mueller is a contributing editor for Angling Trade magazine, and managing editor at The Drake, meaning he was “Kansas” in the Spring 2011 issue. He’s actually from British Columbia, and rumor has it he is collaborating with AT’s own Tim Romano on an underwater-focused trout book.

William Rice

Will Rice has a day job with Qwest… but he’s also a frequent contributor to Angling Trade, and he writes regularly for a variety of fishing related blogs and magazines. We asked him to write about a road trip (media trip) we took together, and surprisingly, did not have to edit much out.

Because It’s NEVER Too Early To Think About Accessories!

15353 E. Hinsdale Cir. Unit F Centennial, CO 80112 ph 303-690-0477 fax 303-690-0472 David Rose

David A. Rose is a writer, author, photographer, and fishing guide who lives in the Traverse City, Michigan, area. He’s now been in the outdoor educating business well over a decade, and become one of the state’s most influential writers and promoters of fishing. He’s also a frequent contributor to

Chris Santella

WADING STAFF Safe and Stealth!

Chris Santella is the fly fishing correspondent for the New York Times, and the author of the popular books Fifty Places to Fly Fish Before You Die, and Fifty Places to Golf Before You Die (among others). Having golfed and fished with Santella, we can vouch for his unique abilities and insights on two sports that are effectively the same.

Steve Schweitzer

Steven B. Schweitzer is Angling Trade’s resident bird dog reporter, who sniffs out the latest on trends and issues that impact the retail side (like hair extensions, Groupon, and so forth). He’s also the author of A Fly Fishing Guide to Rocky Mountain National Park.

Wood design provides for quiet, stealth wading Sound travels 5 times faster in water than air Unique handle design promotes stability Retrieves flies from overhead branches Field tested on the rugged Pit River Beautiful white ash staff floats

Bruce Smithhammer

Bruce Smithhammer is one of the masterminds behind the popular weblog “Buster Wants to Fish,” and a frequent contributor to The Drake and other publications. This is his second appearance in Angling Trade, and unless he doesn’t like how this one turned out, it won’t be his last.

942 Quarry Street, Petaluma, CA 94954 707.763.7575 w w w. p i t r i ve r c o m p a n y.c o m Dealer/distributor inquiries welcome


What I Learned on My Way to Louisiana… Fly people are gear people. Gear makes the fly world go around. That’s because we’re all dweebs. We aren’t cool. Many of us can make seemingly cool things happen with graphite sticks… but in the American Idol (saddle hackle in Steven Tyler’s hair) world, fly fishers are literally the antithesis of cool.

So here we are, about to have our annual fly fishing “soirée” in New Orleans. The question on many minds is, “Will the ‘new show’ be a breakthrough event?” I wonder, will the fly fishing business find some stability and cohesion? Have we turned a page? Is the specialty retailer still the pivotal player in promoting the sport and selling the products people use to enjoy fly fishing? I don’t know. I have hunches, but that’s all they are. We’ll soon find out the real answers. At least I hope so. I will say that I spent a lot of time in the past few years connecting with the “base.” Talking with fishing clubs. Guiding on the rivers and asking recreational anglers what they think about certain things. Teaching my little boy how to fly fish. Doing some hard reporting and asking manufacturers tough questions, then listening to feedback from my readers at Angling Trade, Field & Stream, Midcurrent… and so on. / August 2011

Here’s some of what I learned: People who really love fly fishing connect with the way this game gets played and with the intrinsic beauty of the places where it’s played. It’s the same now as it ever was. You either get it, or you don’t. And it doesn’t take years to cultivate those ideals. 6

The “edgy” fly blogger, typing away in his underpants in the basement of his mother’s house, is not, in fact, the future of fly fishing media. And “initiation by insult” on the message boards is soooo 2008. Where credibility and talent meet electronic media is where the real future lives. The greatest threat to fly fishing retailers isn’t big boxes, or direct sellers, or cheap imports… it is apathy concerning the threatened natural resources needed to sustain this sport. The “conservation deficit” in America is every bit as alarming as the budget deficit. Your livelihood depends on conservation. And preserving habitat for fishing (and hunting) is not a political issue… it’s a cultural issue. It is amazing how criticizing the word “conclave” (which means closed meeting for bishops to elect a pope) will irk certain people in the Federation of Fly Fishers. FFF has a clear objective of expanding and promoting this sport… and has accomplished wonders, despite the archaic name for its main annual event. (I would recommend “soirée” but I had to use a dictionary to figure out how to spell that myself.) Some in fly fishing have decided not to call the bass angler “Bubba,” especially as he peels across the lake in his $55,000 bass boat, with $10,000 worth of rods, reels, baits, and other assorted gear neatly tucked away in its storage lockers.

The “holy grail” of marketing for any fly fishing manufacturer is to convince a room full of young beer-drinking dudes in baseball caps, who collectively say “oooooh” as they watch videos of fish eating flies—as well as the country club set with millions of dollars in disposable income—that their products are cool… even though, in truth, none of us are really cool, as I explained before. The more retailers talk to each other… the more they see themselves as kindred spirits, with common objectives (even if they are across town from each other), the smarter they get, and the more they make themselves relevant as this market continues to evolve. Guides are the gatekeepers. The industry must do more for guides, and guides must do more for the industry. No matter how IFTD in New Orleans shakes out, the final result will not be attributable to lack of effort. I’ve been on the record as one of AFFTA’s harshest critics in the past. That said, I know AFFTA did its best to make this event happen in a good way. I hope and believe it will. The bottom line is that we’re all in it together, for better or worse. We need each other. Sure, new ideas, challenging the norm, and good old-fashioned American capitalist competition are great. But the sniping, the pot-shots, and the “every man for himself ” stuff didn’t do us any good… and it won’t help any of us who truly respect this beautiful sport for what it really is, going forward. That might be the most important lesson of all. at Kirk Deeter, Editor


Currents MidCurrent and Angling Trade Partner on Gear Coverage “Fly Fishing Gear Guide” to Include Online and Print Resources, with Consumer and Trade Variations MidCurrent, which reaches the largest audience of any fly fishing media brand, and Angling Trade, the only publication (and website) specifically targeting the business of fly fishing, recently announced plans to partner on a “Fly Fishing Gear Guide” and other gear-specific content related to fly fishing products and services. / August 2011

The co-branded joint venture will include online gear reviews, product listings, and a manufacturer database in both consumer-focused and business-focused versions. MidCurrent/Angling Trade will also produce a printed “Fly Fishing Gear Guide” annually for angling consumers.


The agreement took effect in July. Angling Trade is coordinating the “New Product Showcase” at IFTD, and will produce content on new products to be distributed via and Following IFTD, MidCurrent and Angling Trade will create and maintain a database of manufacturers and products, as well as a comprehensive lineup of product-specific reports, with an annual print version to follow. Here is more information on the IFTD New Product Showcase: Categories… Overall Best of Show Best Wading Gear Best Eyewear Best Luggage Best Chest Pack/Vest Best Outerwear

Kirk Deeter and Tim Romano, copublishers of Angling Trade, will assume roles as co-editors of gear content for MidCurrent. The companies will integrate editorial, sales, and marketing resources related to coverage of fly fishing products and services.

Best Youth-Specific Product

The partnership combines the resources of the largest consumer media brand in fly fishing with the media outlet that reaches every manufacturer and retailer of fly fishing products in North America.

Best Personal Watercraft

“The MidCurrent/Angling Trade partnership will give consumers access to richer, more current gear reviews and in-depth product coverage,” said MidCurrent publisher Marshall Cutchin. “Fly fishing product designers will now be able to connect directly—through a single channel— with both information-hungry anglers and retailers.”

Best New Fly Pattern - Freshwater & Saltwater

Best Women’s-Specific Product Best Eco-Friendly Product Best Rods - Freshwater & Saltwater

If you want your products to be included (meaning, if you want your product news to hit every fly tackle dealer in the country, IFTD attendees and otherwise, as well as the largest consumer fly fishing readership in America), please bring your provided “tent card” to IFTD with the following information filled out. 1. Product Name 2. Product Category 3. Exhibiting Company 4. Booth # 5. Product Description (100 words or less) 6. MSRP in US dollars Please also note that exhibitors at IFTD will have an opportunity to make a 45-60-second video presentation about their products at the time they drop them off at the New Product Showcase in New Orleans, on Wednesday, August 17, between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. These product videos will be shown on MidCurrent. com and For more guidelines on NPS, go to

Best Reels - Freshwater & Saltwater

Best Fly Lines - Freshwater & Saltwater Best Fly Boxes/Storage System

Product News Redington to Sell Direct Via the Internet

Best Fly Tying/ Materials/Equipment

Best Accessory (Dressings, Tools, etc.) Best General Apparel Best New Book Best New DVD Best Gift Item

Far Bank entity Redington will begin selling product directly to consumers via the company’s website on October 1, 2011. Sage will sell company accessories (logo hats, shirts, etc.) as well, but will not sell rods and reels via the Internet. Rio will not sell any products via the Internet. continued on next page...




Far Bank’s Marc Bale explained the decision as a natural evolution that keeps the Redington brand in sync with consumer buying habits. He also noted that the website’s “buy here” option will be the third choice consumers find, after a referral to local dealers, and “buy online” (from retailers) option. Though other companies have sold product through their own channels as well as through specialty retailers (Orvis, Patagonia, etc.), some retailers are less than pleased with the Far Bank decision. Ray Schmidt of Schmidt Outfitters, for example, said: “Schmidt Outfitters is making some changes. Products offered by us will either carry our brand (Schmidt Outfitters) or will have to stand up and deliver great value and performance.” The retailer LinkedIn forum facilitated by Angling Trade is seeing lively dialogue on this topic… if you haven’t checked it out, please do so by visiting, and clicking on the LinkedIn forum prompt. Simms Wades Into Bass By Marshall Cutchin

Rain Suite, (jacket $499.95, bibs $399.95 and pants at $299.95). The premium-priced products the company will sell to the general angling public mark its entry into the much larger conventional fishing market. “The ProDry suits are a result of our long relationship with Gore and were perfected and tweaked on the pro bass tour over the last three tournament seasons,” said Simms spokesman Matt Crawford. The new line will also include some products already in the Simms rotation, taking some of the products you’ve seen before and putting them under the “conventional” umbrella, with significant color and style changes. Simms also used the show to announce a relationship with several professional fishing organizations and their first professional angling team, which will include six B.A.S.S. anglers. The company will be at IFTD in August, where they will show an expanded sportswear line, new footwear items, and a new G1 Guide Gore-Tex bib wader ($399). Simms president K.C. Walsh had this to say about the company’s new line: “We’ve been making hardcore products for hardcore fly anglers since 1983, but we are a fishing company, not just a fly-fishing company, and this latest slate of products is made for people who are passionate and committed to fishing whether they are tournament anglers, guides, industry professionals, or avid anglers who hit the water hard every day.” / August 2011

Crossover Gear for The Fly Guy A long-time leader in fly fishing gear was at the all-tackle iCast trade show in Las Vegas in July to introduce new versions and new products for the conventional angling market. Simms, which started making fly fishing products in the early eighties, is debuting products like a Gore-Tex ProDry 10

(In June, AT contributor David Rose posted a short list of “conventional” items at that mesh nicely with fly fishing, and perhaps offer retailers new sales options. Here, the list goes on…) Several of my good friends are also some of the greatest fly-fishing an-

glers and guides in the United States. They’ve taught me things I never knew I should even know about catching fish. By far, they are rebels of the sport; their thinking outside the box has led to cutting-edge innovations the common fly angler will eventually consider trying out. But one unexpected lesson I learned was how much of the equipment they use in their quest to catch fish with feather and fur is not the normal gear marketed towards flingers of flies. The biggest problem for these counselors of the roll cast? They have difficulty locating these products in their local fly shops (sometimes even local retailers of general sporting goods), and they’ve had to resort to perusing the Internet to get what they need. That’s profit lost to storefront owners unwilling to overlook the stigma carrying of non-traditional equipment. It’s a shame, indeed. The following are items not normally found on the shelves of fly shops that, when marketed correctly, will not only boost profits, but also have your clients realizing your shop is as cutting edge as the gurus who first used them. The shop owners I know that have carried non-fly products have been pleasantly surprised by the results. Stock them in your store and you’ll be pleased, as well. Shimano Evair Marine/ Fishing Shoe Whether casting from a boat or relaxing around the campfire at day’s end, Shimano’s Evair shoes fit fly anglers’ feet well. These soft shoes have a non-marking rubber outsole that won’t leave their mark on the deck of a flats boat or dory, and the watercontinued on next page...


canal design within the sole keeps an angler stable during those crucial casting occasions. They are light in weight, approximately six ounces per shoe. And the one-piece molded EVA insole absorbs heel shock and reduces foot fatigue. Suggested retail price: $49.99 Carhartt Acadia Jacket and Pant / August 2011

Known for their rugged-work outerwear, Carhartt has introduced a lightweight, waterrepellent hooded nylon jacket and pant to take the damp out of rainyday casting. The external ripstop material is prickerproof and the inner breathable membrane is laminated to the jacket rather than a loose liner. The arms and pits have taped seams, which bode well with keeping dry during the backcast. The jacket is hip-length and the full front zipper is double storm cuffed, which keeps water away even when donning waisthigh waders. The pants can be slipped on quickly when a sudden downpour appears because of the elastic waistband and ankle-to-knee leg zippers with storm flaps. The cost depends on size, with the pants ranging from $85 for S to XL to $95 for big man sizes to XXXL, and $100 to $110 for the jacket in the same size configurations. Frabill FXE Stormsuit Early spring and late fall are, by far, the best seasons to catch fish. But the weather can be less than comfortable, in fact, downright foul. The list of weather-shielding modifications 12

to the FXE (Frabill Extreme Elements) Stormsuit is too long for this column, but highly noted is that both the bib and jacket have been designed to be the most ergonomicallycorrect fitting outerwear on the market. And this writer and his guide buddies have confirmed this to be true. For example, the bib sports articulated neoprene padding in the knees. Translated: They’re form-fitted and bend when you do, and they cushion kneecaps well when you are leaning on the gunwale to net a catch. Suggested retail: bib $219.99; jacket $209.99

like to jig up a walleye for a shore lunch inbetween their casts for giant northern pike. Don’t send them down the road for a kiddie pole; instead, offer them one of the finest 3-piece spinning rods and a perfectly-balanced reel. The Escape series offers seven spinning models from ultra-light to heavy action, and all can be matched up to a Sustain spinning reel. Like a good multipiece fly rod, the Escape fits nicely in a carry-on bag for long hauls. The retail price on the rods range from $310 to $375, and the reels sell at $249 to $269.

Wright & McGill Magnetic Net Release with Carabiner

Bill Dance Hook Remover

Always needed but often in the way, nets are a plus for every wading angler. No matter the configuration, the carabiners on this magnetic release clip easily to vest, and the magnet is strong enough to hold tight while walking through the scrub, yet allows the net to be pulled free and get under a fish fast. It has an elastic safety cord, just in case the pressure is too much and the magnet pulls apart unexpectedly. Retails for $19.99. G. Loomis Escape pack rod/Shimano Sustain FE spinning reel It’s conceivable that wicked weather—with winds so strong one can’t even make a cast—can create cranky customers. Or, perhaps, they’d

A deeply hooked fly does not mix well with a fish you’re going to release. Add to that, the angle you have to tweak a pair of forceps to remove a fly from a small fish can damage its jaw beyond repair. When using a Bill Dance Hook Remover, however, a hook can be taken out without stress to either the angler or fish. The handle sports a “soft touch” pad so wet hands won’t slip, and the guts are made from stainless steel for years of service. In addition, a line cutter is built-in for a quick snip of a tippet when needed. It’s an easy sell at $9.99. Written by David A. Rose continued on next page...


Another Product We Like: Buff ’s New Sport-Series Water Glove Sun protection is one of the most important considerations for an angler, and while many of us are smart enough to reach for the sunscreen to slather our faces, arms and legs, we often forget about our hands. We’ve been wearing these 50+ SPF gloves all summer, and found them to be light, comfortable, and actually enhance grip on oars, rods, etc. Check out for pricing details. Check out and for all the latest fly specific product information, including new product releases from the IFTD trade show…

Industry News / August 2011

Startup Company Brings Online Management and Booking Technology to the Outdoor Industry

“My Outdoor Calendar” provides outdoor businesses with ways to manage their business by using the correct management tools. These tools allow fishing businesses to book customers online, accept many forms of payment, utilize a point14

of-sale tool, and track all reports through an online-based system. Shops and managers are now organizing their businesses by streamlining the booking process. The “live” calendar feature keeps everyone up-to-date. My Outdoor Calendar also sets each business up with free features that are critical to their business’ success such as QuickBooks integration, a Facebook booking app, Google Calendar integration, mobile features, and much more. The company is currently serving guides, outfitters, and fly fishing shops all over the United States, Canada & South America. If you need more organization in your life, then a cost effective solution like My Outdoor Calendar might be right for you and your business. My Outdoor Calendar starts at just $50 for the first three months and then a monthly rate after your trial has expired. If you would like to see a demo of the product, please contact Sam Dryden at Learn more at http:/www. or get in touch at (970) 439-5495. Fly Fusion, IF4, and Northwest/ Southwest Fly Fishing are Collaborating Fly Fusion has agreed to remove the exclusive nature of its relationship with the International Fly Fishing Film Festival (IF4) and will be sharing the magazine media sponsor position with Northwest, Eastern and Southwest Fly Fishing magazines. In return, the group of magazines has agreed to provide IF4 with full-page insertions in ALL of their publications during IF4’s 2012 tour.

Angler Trends Available Online The May 2011 Angler Trends Media Report from AnglerSurvey is ready. The report is prepared for those who have offered links and promotion to our We thank you for supporting the survey and helping us to increase participation. From Southwick Associates AFFTA Announces Three Board Members The final results of the AFFTA Board elections have been tallied, and the most recently elected board members are: Gary Jennings (Bonnier Corporation), Andrew Bennett (Deneki Outdoors), and Jim Murphy (Hardy & Greys). ASA Names Board Six members of the American Sportfishing Association’s (ASA) board of directors were elected or re-elected to fill three regional and three at-large seats. Their terms begin October 1, 2011, and they will serve for two years. ASA board members may serve three, consecutive two-year terms. Regional seats went to Martin MacDonald, conservation director, Bass Pro Shops, Springfield, Mo. (reelected—South Central Region); Dick Pool, president, Pro-Troll Fishing Products, Concord, Calif. (re-electedWest Region); and Aledia Tush, president, CB’s Saltwater Outfitters, Sarasota, Fla., (Southeast Region). At-large seats went to Dave Bulthuis, vice president of sales, Costa, Daytona Beach, Fla. (re-elected); Paul Schluter, president, St. Croix Rods, Park Falls, Wis. (re-elected); and Gary Zurn, senior vice president, marketing and dealer services, Big Rock Sports, LLC, Newport, N.C. continued on next page...


Fly Fishing Show to Mark 20 Years in Somerset The Fly Fishing Show will celebrate its 20th Anniversary at the Somerset, New Jersey, location January 27-29, 2012. “Although our show will travel to six other U.S. cities, Somerset remains our largest event,” said Chuck Furimsky, show director. “From the first year, when crowds were so large the fire marshall closed the doors until some people left, the Somerset show continues to live up to the title of ‘the world’s largest show for fly fishers,” said Chuck. Many fly fishing manufacturers exhibit in Somerset where customers can hold and cast hundreds of the latest fly rods, reels, lines, clothing, waders, tying materials, books and videos, art and accessories.

During the three-day show, the list of fly fishing celebrities and programs includes: Lefty Kreh, Gary Borger, Barry and Cathy Beck, Dave Whitlock, Bob Clouser, Enrico Puglisi, Bob Jacklin, Steve Rajeff, Mark Petitjean, A.K. Best, Ed Engle, Jake Jordan, Michael Mauri and Bob Popovic among others. There are 60+ seminars each day of the show and everything is open to those attending at the single admission price. “Exhibitor booths have sold out the show every year, but we always try to accommodate new people, as long as space remains. Somerset is usually the first location to sell out,” concluded Furimsky. The Fly Fishing Show can be reached by phone at 814-4433638, email is info@flyfishingshow. com, and all important information will be posted on the website at www.

Conservation News Our New Favorite Beer (Drink Beer, Save Trout) / August 2011

Upslope Brewing Company has released its Craft Lager beer and has kicked off a “1% for Rivers” campaign. One percent of revenues from the sales of Upslope Craft Lager will be donated to Colorado Trout Unlimited in order to protect watersheds statewide. Protecting snowmelt at its source is not only good for trout; it’s also good for Colorado beer. “Colorado Trout Unlimited is thrilled to engage in the 1% for Rivers partnership with Upslope Brewing Company,” said Sinjin Eberle, CTU president. “This type of collaboration is a great model for how businesses 16

that depend on our natural resources can help to protect the places we love and ensure the quality of their products at the same time.” Why cans? Cans are better for the beer and the environment; they’re also perfect for the on-the-go lifestyle of Colorado and points beyond. The benefits of canning— protection from light and oxidation, and retention of brewery-direct freshness—have been well received among Upslope consumers. American Fly Fishing Trade Association Joins TU in Opposing Bill that would Trash America’s Backcountry AFFTA cites loss of habitat and opportunity that would impact the bottom line of the fly fishing industry. The American Fly Fishing Trade Association today joined Trout Unlimited and a host of other sporting and conservation organizations in opposing the so-called Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act, which would remove all protections from the last, best fishing and hunting destinations in the United States. “This bill takes direct aim at America’s sporting heritage,” said Jim Klug, co-owner of Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures and the chairman of the AFFTA board of directors. “Under the guise of improving access to the backcountry for all Americans— something that we all support—Congress is instead allowing the best remaining wild and native fish habitat to be developed by industry and penetrated by new roads and motorized trails. We already have enough roads and trails, and the government can’t afford to maintain even a small percentage of them today. We don’t need more roads. We need to protect what’s left of our backcountry, protect habitat, and protect our existing access.”

The bill, dubbed the Attack on our Sporting Heritage Act (ASH) by Trout Unlimited, would impact about 43 million acres of roadless backcountry from coast to coast, all on public lands within the U.S Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management systems. Inventoried roadless lands provide the best remaining fish and game habitat in the United States, and they’re vital for the persistence of wild and native trout. In the Rocky Mountain West, roadless lands shelter the bulk of the country’s remaining cutthroat trout and bull trout populations. Additionally, the best remaining spawning and rearing habitat for ocean-going steelhead and salmon is in streams flowing through or from the roadless backcountry. “We’re grateful that AFFTA understands the intrinsic connection between habitat and opportunity,” said Steve Moyer, TU’s vice president for government affairs. “The fly fishing industry understands the opportunity public lands provide to all anglers, and keeping the backcountry just like it is today ensures the recreational fishing industry a promising future. We hope Congress will get the message and do away with this terrible idea that would tarnish the public lands that belong to every single American by birthright.” Roadless areas throughout the United States are accessible to all Americans—many are bounded by paved highways, and others, despite the misleading status, are accessible by dirt roads and trails. Hunting and fishing are allowed on roadless lands—in fact, the country’s best hunting harvest rates for trophy deer and elk occur in hunting units that are predominantly roadless. “Congress needs to understand that the roadless backcountry that exists today is

very limited,” Moyer said. “Keeping it like it is gives sportsmen and women the opportunity to share with their children the places that look today much like they did generations ago. “Rather than try to pass a ‘one-sizefits-all’ bill to determine the future of

5 lb.

our roadless backcountry, Congress should instead do what we do all the time, and work with people on the ground who have a vested interest in the future of public lands near the places they call home. Doing otherwise continued on next page...



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puts our sporting culture at risk, because once the backcountry is gone, it’s gone.” Update on the Pebble Mine / Bristol Bay Campaign By Scott Hed, director, Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska I’ll spare you the background details. We all know the basics. Bristol Bay = Great. Pebble Mine = BAD. I first attended IFTD (FFR back in the day) in 2006 and since then I’ve had the good fortune to work with many fine people in the fly fishing industry. Support has been across the board from manufacturers, media, fly shops, guides, outfitters, travel companies, lodges—it’s amazing to see the industry so united in the campaign to protect one of the world’s finest sport fishing destinations. I consider the fly fishing industry to be the vanguard of our efforts in the Lower 48 which have expanded quite a bit in the past year. We’ll need support from all corners if we are to prevail. The foreign-owned mine companies plan to apply for permits in late 2012 or 2013. We don’t need to wait for them. In February 2011, U.S. Envi-

ronmental Protection Agency announced plans to review the suitability of large-scale development projects—like Pebble—in the Bristol Bay watershed. Let’s keep the foot on the gas pedal, crank up the grassroots networks in the coming year, and make sure EPA follows this process through to its logical conclusion: Pebble is simply the wrong idea in the wrong place. We’ve got a fighting chance, and support from the fly fishing world will continue to be critical. Here’s what we need from you: • Put this link on your web page and in your newsletters and catalogs so your customers can contact the EPA and Congress: www.SaveBristolBay. org/TakeAction. • Send a letter to your members of Congress (we’ll help with the draft, just ask). • Make a donation to the campaign; it’ll take resources to win this fight. Thanks for the past and continued support. Contact Scott Hed (Scott@ or 605351-1646) to play your part. Fly Fishing Publisher Donates Book Proceeds for Stripers Departure Publishing recently released The Blitz, Fly Fishing the Atlantic Migration

The Trapped-Air / August 2011

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by Pete McDonald and Tosh Brown. From Maine to The Outer Banks they have created an engaging and comprehensive view of the unique and vibrant fly-fishing culture of striped bass, bluefish, tuna, bonito, false albacore, redfish, and other nearshore pelagics. Recognizing that Atlantic striped bass stocks are once again in significant decline, Departure Publishing is donating $5 per copy from all direct sales of The Blitz to select conservation groups that are currently fighting on the front lines to sustain and improve the striped bass fishery in the Northeast… The Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Stripers Forever, and Coastal Conservation Association. The Blitz was released in July (we have read it… the work is stunning) and retails for $49.95 with 216 pages, fifteen essays, and over 300 color images. This book is the perfect complement to your fly fishing collection.

Commentary The Ripple Effect By John Land Le Coq, co-founder, Fishpond, Inc. In the same way that a fish takes your fly and creates ripples across the water’s surface, protecting our natural heritage creates ripples for generations. We should take a moment and applaud Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s efforts to protect this country’s phenomenal public lands and waters and reconnect Americans with the outdoor places we love. Salazar and the America’s Great Outdoors initiative – an outreach and policy plan based on a national dialogue with hundreds of thousands of engaged Americans – are creating important ripples.

The America’s Great Outdoors report identifies two particular ripplemakers, which are some of the most effective, time-tested conservation tools America has: the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and the Antiquities Act. LWCF was created by Congress in 1965 using federal revenues from offshore oil and gas leasing – not taxpayer dollars – to fund the conservation of natural resources onshore. Over the years, LWCF monies have preserved national treasures such as Rocky Mountain National Park, the Florida Everglades, and historic Civil War battlefields, and provided access for hunters and anglers to prized wildlife habitat. What many of us might not know is that a large number of our most beloved local parks, ball fields, and playgrounds have also been funded with LWCF matching grants. The Antiquities Act is a 100-yearold tool that American presidents from Theodore Roosevelt to George W. Bush have used to act decisively to protect irreplaceable treasures like the Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, Muir Woods, and Dinosaur National Monument from development and other threats. Secretary Salazar advocates a collaborative process, enlisting public input to identify and recommend potential national monument sites for protection. The emerging national focus on outdoor recreation and the tools needed to sustain it is good news for sportsmen and women, hikers, mountain bikers, off-road enthusiasts, horsemen and women, and the hundreds of millions of families that explore our national parks, forests, and other public lands every year. continued on next page...

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record 13-pound, 5-ounce sea trout (caught by angler Sean Smith with ghillie Neil O’Shea).

But it is also good news for rural and urban economies across America. Outdoor recreation contributes $730 billion to the U.S. economy annually— and employs one in every 20 Americans! That is serious business, and just like other major U.S. industries, requires attention to keep it thriving. As a private company that depends on public access to our public lands, rivers, and favorite fishing spots, it is vital to us that critical public lands are preserved. We value the shared connection we have to our land, water, and wildlife and believe in the ever widening “ripple effect” that occurs when we act in concert with others to conserve our natural world. We have an obligation to our children and grandchildren to ensure they can experience America’s Great Outdoors. Secretary Salazar’s continued efforts to champion critical funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and talk with Americans about the protection of new national monuments, will surely create more ripples and new opportunities to sustain our heritage, and our economy. Go Fish in Ireland (and Send Clients) By Kirk Deeter One of the hottest “new” adventure fly fishing destinations for American

anglers may very well be a place with some of the oldest angling traditions… Ireland. Mark my words, you will be hearing and reading a lot about fly fishing in Ireland in the coming months. And smart travel businesses—as well as retailers who refer traveling clients—are going to want to experience and refer customers to places like the River Moy in County Mayo, and/or Lough Currane in County Kerry. Here are eight reasons to fly fish Ireland and send trips there: 1. The fishing is good and getting better. The Irish government banned the use of offshore drift nets, which is having a tangible positive impact on the numbers and sizes of both Atlantic salmon and sea trout (sea-run browns) in the freshwater system. The River Moy is producing prolific runs of salmon… and Lough Currane just produced an Irish / August 2011

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2. Traditions run deep. There’s something to be said for working the water with the wise assistance of a seasoned ghillie, or making casts in places like the legendary “Ridge Pool” on the River Moy… it is the angling equivalent of playing golf through “Amen Corner” at Augusta National. 3. Speaking of golf… the crossover potential for “fish a little, golf a little” vacation packages are limitless in Ireland. (See Chris Santella’s story on golf-fishing demographics in this issue for more rationale). You may have heard that pro golfers like Mark O’Meara, Tiger Woods, etc., like to fish in Ireland en route to and from the Open Championship… they stay in places like Mount Falcon ( in Ballina, County Mayo, and Waterville House in County Kerry.

4. Affordability. Sure, a lot of Irish fishing is on leased and private water, and you pay to play… but that can be as little as 20 Euros for access to fish a world-class beat on great water. Golfwise, a round at one of the greatest links courses in the world like Enniscrone or Carne, can be arranged for less than $100… far less expense (for far better golf) than you’ll get at an American resort. continued on next page...



Catch Some Great Stories (and Some Great Secrets!)

5. Accessibility. From the East Coast of the United States, you can be in the west of Ireland within a 6-hour flight… that’s closer than Alaska, Hawaii, South America, or many other popular travel destinations.

6. The spouse factor. Ireland is an undoubtedly safe bet for the angler who wants to bring a non-fishing companion on a trip that doesn’t involve desolate places, bugs, snakes, and other nasty things.

Florida’s Fishing Legends and Pioneers Doug Kelly “An irresistible page-turner for everyone interested in the development of our sport.” —Florida Sportsman “This is a beautifully written, interesting and captivating work, most worthy of the attention of dabblers and aficionados alike.”—Angling Trade “An entertaining as well as informative read.” —Society of American Travel Writers Hardcover $26.95

Randy Wayne White’s Ultimate Tarpon Book The Birth of Big Game Fishing Edited by Randy Wayne White and Carlene Fredericka Brennen “Full of rich historical stories of great fish and even greater fishermen. Masterfully edited, a joy to read, Randy Wayne White’s Ultimate Tarpon Book is a must-have for every angler’s library!”—Hilary Hemingway, author of Hemingway in Cuba Hardcover $34.95

Secrets from Florida’s Master Anglers Ron Presley “Unique in that it includes a variety of approaches to inshore saltwater fishing, provided by a broad selection of some of Florida’s finest fishing guides. There is something for almost everyone who fishes the Florida coast.”—Richard A. Davidson “All of our readers have something to learn from this book.”— Paperback $24.95

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7. Opportunity. Though tourism is a staple of the Irish economy, angling tourism targeting Americans is a fairly wide-open affair. There are plenty of opportunities to be explored, and eager partners waiting in Ireland to help. 8. Hospitality. You’ll find that people in Ireland will shake your hand and say, “You’re welcome.” That’s not a response to an unsaid thank-you… it’s a heartfelt way to say they are glad you visiting. And by action, the Irish show visiting anglers and golfers just how much they mean it. The hospitality in Ireland is legendary, with very, very good reason. The greatest memories I brought back from Ireland weren’t those of big fish, or birdie putts, or even the photographs of the stunningly beautiful landscapes… they were the friendships I forged with Irish people. Angling Trade will feature more information on Ireland at anglingtrade. com, and in future editions of the magazine. In the interim, if you want to explore possibilities, we’d suggest contacting: Alan Maloney, proprietor of Mount Falcon in County Mayo, E-mail (Do check out the mountfalcon. com website… it is an extraordinary place, with outstanding fishing opportunities right on the property). Confluence Films Offers Conservation Benefit Screening Opportunties with New Film “Connect” Following on the heels of the successful movie projects Drift and continued on next page...

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Rise, Confluence Films, LLC will release their third feature-length movie, Connect, in the fall of 2011. This new movie project is once again a multi-segment collection of individual stories shot around the world and includes locations in Japan, Maine, Cuba, Alaska, Yellowstone National Park, and Africa. As with Drift and Rise, Connect is the result of a partnership by director Chris Patterson of Warren Miller Entertainment and executive producer and writer Jim Klug of Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures. The world premiere of Connect will be in Bozeman, Montana on Friday, October 7, 2011, where Confluence will offer an exclu-

sive VIP screening of the film for members of the fly fishing industry. Complimentary tickets and event passes will be provided to guides, outfitters, retailers, media, and other industry entities interested in attending. A follow-on screening on Saturday, October 8, will be open to the general public, and DVD’s of Connect will be available for sale beginning November 4, 2011 (retail price of $34.95), available through the Confluence Films website ( and through fly fishing retailers and specialty shops. While more details and specifics about the new film will be released in the coming months, Confluence

is announcing that they will once again offer early screenings of the new film to qualified conservation entities and organizations. With the new movie available to the public on DVD in early November, for the month of October, Confluence will offer retailers, groups, clubs, and other select entities the chance to exclusively premiere the new film in their area as a fundraiser for fisheries-based conservation projects. Groups and entities interested in setting up or scheduling a pre-release screening and fundraiser during the month of October should contact Jim Klug of Confluence Films at (406) 585-8667 or by email at IFTD Exhibitor floor map on next page...

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IFTD Exhibitor Floor Map as of July 15, 2011

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CURRENTS / August 2011

IFTD Exhibitors & Booth #’s as of July 15, 2011


Abel Automatics Inc.


Dragonfly Boatworks LLC


Alert Stamping & Mfg. Co., Inc.


El Pescador Lodge & Villas


American Tackle Company International


Federation of Fly Fishers


Andes Drifters


Fish Pimp


Angler Sport Group




Angler’s Book Supply



Aquaz USA/Aquaz Sports Co. LTD


Fishing Education Foundation/ National Fishing in Schools Program Fishpond Inc.


Art of Paul Puckett


Flex Spex LLC


Batson Enterprises


Fly Fishing Film Tour


Bauer Premium Fly Reels, Inc.


Fly Fishing in Salt Waters


Black’s Fly Fishing- Grand View Media


Fly Fusion Magazine


Bonefish & Tarpon Trust


Fly Tyer’s Carry All


Breath Like a Fish Apparel


Fly Wheel

SB7 & SB8

Buff Inc.


Flying Fisherman


Cablz Inc.


Flymen Fishing Company


Cascade Crest


Frank Amato Publications


Casting for Recovery


Freedom Hawk Kayaks, LLC


Catch Magazine


Galvan Fly Reels


Cheeky Fly Fishing


Gamakatsu USA Inc.


Chota Outdoor Gear


Glacier Outdoor, Inc.


Clear Creek


Global Rescue LLC


Cliff Outdoors


Grosse Savanne Water Fowl & Wildlife Lodge




Hammerhead Industries/Gear Keeper


Confluence Films


Hardy North America


Cortland Line Company


Hatch Outdoors


Costa Sunglasses


Hell’s Bay Boatworks


Damonte Outfitters


Hendrix Outdoors


Dan Bailey


Hobie Fishing


Diablo Paddle Sports


Howler Brothers


Dr. Fish Hook


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IFTD Exhibitors & Booth #’s as of July 15, 2011


International Fly Fishing Film Festival


Pockit Sports Co.


Jim Teeny, Inc.


Pro Line MFG CO


Kast Gear


Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing Inc.


Korkers Products, LLC


Rail Riders


Larva Lace


Rajeff Sports


Loksak Inc.


REC Components


Loon Outdoors




Maui Jim, Inc.


Renzetti Inc.


Milo Creek Carvings Fine Art


RG France


Montana Fly Company


Rio Products Intl. Inc.


Morning Star Lanyards


RL Winston Rod Co


Morris Sporting Group


Ross Reels


My Outdoor Calendar


Royal Wulff Products


Mystic Rods


Sage Manufacturing


Nautilus Reels


Saracione MFG


No Nonsense Fly Fishing Guidebooks


Scientific Anglers


Northern Sport Fishing Products


Scott Fly Rod Company


Northwest Fly Fishing


Sea Level Flyfishing




Seattle Sports Company


O’Mustad & Son (USA) Inc.


Seongil TNC Co. Ltd


Onos Polarized Performance Sunglasses


Simms Fishing Products




Smith Optics/Suncloud Optics


Outcast Sporting Gear


Smithfly Designs


Outdoor Art Apparel

SB5 & SB6

Snake Brand Inc.


Pacific Fly Group


Solitude Fly Co.


Panhandle Outfitters


Spirit River


Partridge of Redditch


Sportsmen’s Alliance for Alaska




Spotted Tail Outdoors


Peak Engineering


Stackpole Books


Penn State University Press




Struble MFG Co.


Water Skeeter Sports


Temple Fork Outfitters


West Water Products


The Waterworks-Lamson


Wet-A-Hook Technologies


Thomas & Thomas


William Joseph


Tibor Reel Corporation


Willow Classic Reels


Tite Line Fishing Products


Yellow Dog Fly Fishing Adventures


True Flies


Yeti Coolers


Turneffe Atoll Trust


The Drake Magazine


Twintail Clothing Company


Angler’s Resource


Umpqua Feather Merchants




US Fish & Wildlife Service


Beulah Fly Rods


Utah Stream Access Coalition


Creative Castings


Wapsi Fly Inc.



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Travel Show and Tell

Show the media your fishery and let them tell the world about it. Written by Will Rice / August 2011

To put the excursion into perspective, everyone on the trip was doing something they had never done before: sight fishing for big carp in the shallow fresh waters of a remote island in Lake Michigan.

Angling Trade editors and writers have been on many trips around the world, fishing new venues and trying out new gear on other people’s dimes. Tough job, we know. We’ve fished legendary spring creeks in Montana for brown trout, connected with permit on the flats of Ascension Bay, and flown into tiny dirt airstrips in the hills of Bolivia to stalk freshwater dorado in clear water.


Some trips were epic... like FIBfest, coordinated by Deneki Outdoors’ Andros South operation in the Bahamas. Others... well, will remain nameless, because they weren’t so productive for either party.

As the host of the trip, put your best foot forward and plan the outing when it’s “game on.” It doesn’t make sense to invest in this type of event when the fishing is marginal. If you want the right type of exposure and the right type of message being delivered to the masses (or the niches), show off your goods and services when it is prime time.

From the media side, the goal of these trips is to experience the products and services business owners would like potential consumers to... well... consume. But there’s also a goal of making entertaining and informative stories. No doubt about it, media events are a great part of this job. But media folks have jobs to do. Featuring your destination the right way and helping them find a win-win angle is the key to generating exposure. Businesses thinking about throwing a media event and wanting to score a home run need to concentrate on three things: preparation, communication, and focus. Kirk Deeter, Tim Romano and myself (along with a number of other media content creators) were recently 32

invited to Beaver Island, Michigan, by Indigo Guide Service and a number of partners it had coordinated into a team (the Beaver Island Chamber of Commerce, Beaver Island Lodge, Fresh Air Charters, Beaver Island Boat Company, etc.). The trip was simple, yet well-executed— and most importantly—effective.

Keep the trip simple and keep it organized. Spending significant effort ensuring the logistics of the trip are accurate will save countless hours down the road, avoid agitation, and keep guests focused on your products or services, and not worried about making a flight or a connection.

“I had high confidence that the fishing would be good and it was. Even with poor weather there were still fish to catch,” said Kevin Morlock, owner of Indigo Guide Service. “With the ‘bloggers’ we also wanted to create interest for the 2011 season, hoping that it may help fill dates this season. As guides we were also at the peak of our excitement because it was the start of the season.” In some cases, as the host, you are going to have to shoulder all the costs, but not always. In preparing for continued on next page...


your event, think about the potential benefits of partnerships. When thinking about partnering possibilities, think about other businesses with similar interests as you. In the case of our trip, our hosts partnered with Fresh Air Aviation. Fresh Air is one of the air services that take anglers and other tourists to the

Island from mainland Michigan (about a 25-minute flight). They also partnered with the Chamber of Commerce, the Beaver Island Lodge, the Shamrock (bar and grill), and the Harbor Market. The key here is that partnering means not only sharing the costs, but also the mutual benefits.

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Communication Over-communicate with the media professionals you are inviting and the other businesses you partner with. Think about creating a “hook” or key message that you want to deliver to each writer and be sure that everyone on the trip can use that “hook” for his/ her specific audience. Try to cover your “hook” with each individual to ensure they understand what you are trying to convey. Understanding who your writer’s audience is and what is important to them is going to be key to your success. Consider the mix of your group… don’t have six competing vertical magazines on the same trip, and don’t push the same angle on everyone. (A smart writer/editor will know how to find his own hook… or two, or three.) “JP Lipton was invited because he is the social media king of carp. He has well over 6000 Facebook connections (friends and ‘likes’) between his personal and blog profiles,” said Indigo’s Matt Dunn. “His blog is popular and well connected. He has done a great job of creating a ‘carp brand’online.” Also think about communicating with your existing customer base to let them understand you are doing something new and innovative. Let your customers and partners know what you are up to and who will be visiting to test your wares. Use all of the different communication devices at your disposal: phone, email, and hard copy print letters.


Fly Fishing is NOT part of the show


“I think it was important to the Chamber to communicate to the island that several top outdoor media personalities were going to be visiting the island and why,” said Morlock. “The Chamber used this event to emphasize the point that the island needs to think bigger than local recreation when it comes to its outdoor resources.” Once it is game time, be adaptive and also honest. Nothing goes as planned, so communicate transparently. If a

guide is sick and failed to show up, say it. If a cook is having marital issues and is not going to make it, tell them. Writers will understand these things. This is another reason to think about B-plans and business continuity options. If an engine goes out on one of the boats, what are you going to do? Focus The things that matter on a trip like this are really the nuts and bolts… the basics. Think about the core product or service. Ask the question: Why am I committed to this product or service? What makes me excited and gets me moving every morning to deliver these services to the general public? Make sure you can answer these questions and then focus on these things. Simple. Basic. You don’t have to worry about fivestar dinners or over-the-top accommodations. Full disclosure: our trip to Beaver Island scored super high ratings on both counts. One note here we all agreed on (and a good call by the Beaver Island team): Most writers I know appreciate some privacy if it can be accommodated. A single room where one can rest, relax and get some work done on the down time is a super plus. We bring this up to make a point: something as simple as a single room is very basic, but it can go a long way. Not only do writers not like to be doubled up with a (snoring) roommate they don’t know, they sometimes work at night (believe it or not). A photographer might work until 3 a.m. editing the day’s shoot… the writer doesn’t care about that, and doesn’t want to be kept awake as that happens. Give them each their space, and they will give you more productive work, and be grateful. In my case, the trip to Beaver Island had a “hook” and focus that was all about sight casting to big fish with giant bugs in crystal clear water (weather permitting) and watching

carp move to a fly. We had plenty of time in the lodge, on the boat and at the bar to discuss the dynamics of the fishery, the behavior of the fish, other species we would encounter on the water (smallies), and even some history of the island itself. Then we got down to real business. We pounded the water for four days and our guides delivered the goods (in clear weather and foul). They communicated what we’d be up against, the challenges and the right strategies to think about as we approached each flat or cove. They got us on the water on time every day and focused hard on delivering the experience. “Beaver Island probably has the best flats experience in the Great Lakes; it is at least as good as anywhere I’ve been,” concluded Kevin Morlock. “Then add in that Beaver Island has great accommodations and food and

is one of the coolest places around. It has a laid-back island atmosphere, is very family friendly but knows how to kick-up its Irish heels after the sun goes down.” And that brings us to our last piece of advice, which is also a simple one. Have fun. If it’s all business, hype, and spin, then the trip is going to be a buzz-kill. Think about your message, deliver it effectively, and have some fun doing it. Executing a successful media event is the best way to inspire these types of writers to join your cause and deliver the right message to the right target audience (the folks who want to buy your stuff)… and to other media (we all talk to each other… a good story spreads from blogs to magazines to television like a virus, in a good way). Do a trip right, and the exposure benefits will not only kick-start an operation, but they’ll also last for years. at

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Golfers – The Future of Fly Fishing?

Written by Chris Santella

The United States Golf Association estimates there are 28.6 million golfers in the United States. The median income for subscribers to the game’s leading monthly, Golf Digest, is $131,000. / August 2011

An attractive demographic, wouldn’t you say? And one that could help resuscitate the fly fishing industry. If the notion of legions of Rodney Dangerfield-type characters in fluorescent orange checked pants 36

pounding down the doors of the local fly shop is laughable, take pause... both golf and fly fishing are sporting cultures perfectly suited for the type-A personality. Think about it: In an average four-hour round of golf, the time one spends actually swinging a

club and putting amounts to about three minutes. The rest of the time you’re gauging distances, checking the wind, selecting clubs, reading greens, and enjoying the scenery. When fly fishing a river, the best day involves minutes, not hours, continued on next page...

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of actually fighting fish. The rest of the time is spent gauging currents, checking for rises, selecting flies, reading the water… and enjoying the scenery. In both cases, it’s what happens “between the ears” (in the words of the immortal Bobby Jones) that separates success and failure. “For me, the shared appeal of golf and fly fishing is the chance to be outside in a beautiful place,” said Russ Miller, director of golf at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colorado. “The river or lake is your golf course. Or vice versa.” “There are so many similarities between golf and fly fishing,” said Spencer Schaub, general manager of Pronghorn Club & Resort, a high-end golf community in Bend,

Oregon. “Both a golf swing and a fly cast can evolve into an art form. Practitioners want to make that swing or cast into a thing of beauty. The feeling you get when a trout takes a dry fly is the same feeling you get when a long putt falls in. You feel like you’ve made a good execution, you anticipate the result, and then you get to enjoy the rush of success.” Given these parallels, it should come as no surprise that many big-name PGA pros, including Jack Nicklaus, Mark O’Meara, Padraig Harrington, Nick Faldo, Nick Price, Davis Love III, Justin Leonard, David Duval and David Feherty, spend many of their off-fairway hours with a fly rod in hand.

It’s not too far-fetched to think that some of their devotees might follow suit. The Golf Industry is Starting to See It Several golf destinations have recognized the appeal that fly fishing holds for their core golf constituents, and have launched angling programs accordingly. “In the golf business, we’re competing for people’s recreational time,” Schaub continued. “When I ask people why they purchased a home at Pronghorn, the overwhelming response is ‘I love to golf, but I also like to fly fish, mountain bike, ski etc.’ The number one BUT is fly fishing, so we’ve tried to build some programs around the two activities. It plays to continued on next page...



Photo: Colin Wiseman

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the strengths of Central Oregon, and makes for an easier sell. It used to be that the decision to join a golf club community was the husband’s decision. Now, he needs to sell the family on the idea. Having activities like fly fishing available facilitates the sales process.” To accommodate guests’ piscatorial passions, Pronghorn has engaged a local outfitter (Deep Canyon Outfitters) as a preferred provider for guided trips on local rivers, and casting lessons at an on-property stocked pond. Down the road at Crosswater, a private golf community in Sunriver, Oregon, the synergies between golf and fly fishing have also been recognized. “I like to fish and a number of our members also do. We even named or member/guest tournament the “Cleek and Creel,” said Josh Willis, Crosswater’s head golf professional and club manager. “We used to have the fishing component of the tournament in the Little Deschutes River, which flows through the course but since we had gorgeous lakes on the Crosswater property it occurred to me that they could make great trout lakes. We had them stocked and the next year, we had the fishing segment of the Cleek & Creel at the lake on hole 2. People loved it – a golf event with

a little fishing became a fishing event with a little golf. The lakes have now become a sales tool for events and potential homeowners. For events, we bring in local Orvis guide Fred Foisset from The Hook Fly Shop to help with casting lessons and to assist with catch and release fly fishing. If you were debating between a vacation property with no onsite fishing and one where you could catch a six pound rainbows outside your door, which would you choose?” Willis has also incorporated fly fishing into the merchandising scheme at Crosswater’s award-winning golf shop. “We have hats that incorporate fly rods into the Crosswater logo and ‘Crosswater Fly Shop’ hats,” Willis added. “We even have some bamboo rods that a guy in town builds that we keep around the shop on consignment.”

To facilitate fly fishing outings, The Broadmoor partnered with Colorado Fishing Adventures to establish an onsite angling presence.

At The Broadmoor in Colorado, fly fishing is a natural extension of the resort’s recreational offering. “For someone visiting from New York or D.C., fishing is synonymous with Colorado,” Russ Miller said. “It’s part of the experience people are looking for, especially if they don’t have trout fishing where they live. It’s part of our (the Broadmoor’s) responsibility to deliver on many levels – great golf, great room, great food and great outdoor experiences.”

Connecting with Your Golf Market

“We have what might be the smallest fly shop in the world—7’ by 14’,” said Tony Gibson, the operation’s owner. “But we provide a turnkey operation. I’d say that only one in five Broadmoor clients have had any fly fishing experience, so we supply everything from wading shoes to licenses. Our guides are excellent instructors.” I asked Tony how many of his sports had a conversion experience. “It’s my guess that seven to ten percent of our clients who are new to fly fishing will go out again on a guided trip at home or at another resort,” he said. “From there, they’ll decide if it’s a pastime they’ll want to commit to.”

The numbers are there. The interest seems to be there. But as this is new territory, there are no blueprints for reeling in the 19th hole crowd. First and foremost, it would seem to be a marketing and communications challenge. Having spent a bit of time around the golf world (I can hit a fiveiron nearly as far as I can spey cast), I will venture a few thoughts on how the fly fishing community might reach out to their Titleist-driving brethren: / August 2011

Reach out to local golf pros The golf professionals or directors of golf at your local course(s) are your best conduit to their clientele. Make friends with the local golf pros. If they like to fish, offer to take them out. If they’re not familiar with the sport, talk about the similarities between the two sports, and offer to give them a casting lesson on a pond continued on next page... 40

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around the course, either before or after hours. If you get the pro on your side, things will be a lot easier. (You’ll find a draft introduction letter to help get you started at Do an “intro to fly fishing” program for members You’ve likely done more than a few fly fishing club presentations to promote either your local guide service or some exotic destinations you serve. Take some of your favorite slides that capture the excitement of fly angling and combine those with some images that will make the sport accessible to beginners. Then contact the club pro and offer to come in and do an introduction to fly fishing program. Most private clubs – and many that

are part of residential communities – have member-oriented gatherings, and they’re often looking for something new and interesting for the dessert course. At the conclusion of the program, offer to return and conduct a complimentary casting clinic onsite. You can use one of the ponds, or even cast on the fairway. Offer to provide a “Golf/Fly Fishing – Separated at Birth” story for the club newsletter. Just as there’s often space to fill on the evening program for member’s events, golf club newsletters are often looking for fresh content pertinent to their members. If you can show these folks the many similarities between the sports – and how many of their idols embrace fly fishing –

don’t you think you might spark some interest? (Not a writer? Don’t worry —visit and download a sample article that you can tailor for your region.) Offer to help set up a “Cleek & Creel” event at a local course As mentioned above, a golf/fly fishing tourney can be a catalyst for generating interest in fly fishing among the golfing populous. Competitions are generally based on some combination of total inches of fish caught (and released) and best ball golf scores. Josh Willis from Crosswater was kind enough to provide an outline of the rules for his event at Take him fishing if he shows up in your town. at


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Adventure in a Box

Translating film into retail gold Written by Geoff Mueller

gression of film in the marketplace is difficult to document, but rests largely on quality product. “We’ve sold more Eastern Rises in the first year than we have our previous film Red Gold in more than two years,” Rummel says. “And we’ve sold more of Red Gold than The Hatch and Running Down the Man, combined. So it’s definitely been a nice curve for us. But I think it shows that with each film, we’ve gotten progressively better at producing a more compelling product.” As Felt Soul’s product has improved, so too have the distribution channels for adventure films, as well as brickand-mortar and online flyshop support. That wasn’t always the case. / August 2011

Ben Knight, one half of Felt Soul - Filming a small creek at the foot of a tea farm in Kenya for the Rainforest Alliance in 2010. Photo by Travis Rummel

In the March “20 Greatest Things” issue of this magazine I wrote about the rise of adventure filmmaking, extolling the Fly Fishing Film Tour as a means to lure untapped audiences into the fold. As the experiential film genre continues to gain traction it also has implications for the retail side of the game. Fly fishing film is not entirely new, per se. It’s been around since VHS had its clunky heyday, predominantly 44

in the form of instructional how-to videos. When we needed to cast under a bush, whip-finish a Hornberg, or tie nail knots like grand champions there were plenty of scintillating options to pick and choose. These films are still being pumped out today and continue to sell. But as consumer tastes evolve, we’re witnessing a new push for the contemporary, in addition to the classic. On today’s store shelves, Felt Soul Media leads the charge with its Russian trouting manifesto: Eastern Rises. Travis Rummel, who alongside filmmaking partner Ben Knight makes award-winning documentaries under the Felt Soul banner, says the pro-

“It wasn’t until after we did Running Down the Man, our second film, that we started working with distributors and selling wholesale,” Rummel says. “I felt like up until that point, it was only really how-to and instructional films on shop shelves, so people didn’t really know how to market it. Or shops would buy one or two copies just to see how they would do. It was a pretty slow start to get them into the shops.” Running Down the Man was released in 2006. It became an official selection at Telluride Mountainfilm Festival the following year. Felt Soul has since made several marketable fly fishing features, as well as gone on to produce shorts for The New York Times, Hawaiian Airlines, and

Scott Fly Rods (June, 2011), to name a few. But Felt Soul isn’t the only contender moving product. A daily search of blogs, forums, and hosting sites such as Vimeo and YouTube, as well as social networking giant Facebook, shows a proliferation of new filmmakers and films making the rounds. Amidst the weeds, some of these shorts will go feature-length and eventually to market, where the pruning is fine-tuned by major distributors, such as Oregon-based Angler’s Book Supply (ABS). According to ABS owner Mark Koenig, top-selling adventure films are currently winning the battle against best-selling books and instructional DVDs. While sales for books by bigname (by industry standards) authors such as John Gierach remain strong, the adventure film has risen from dust to top dog in terms of total oneyear sales for an individual title. “In the past five years the latest greatest films that you could call adventure—the equivalent of a male romance novel—definitely have had the biggest numbers,” Koenig says. “If you look at sales, the best-selling adventure DVDs at any given time outshine traditional titles such as books and how-to films. On the other hand, those guys don’t have the staying power of say a Joan Wulff or Lefty Kreh casting video,” he says. “Maybe you’d sell 1,000 copies of Eastern Rises and 300 or 400 of a casting DVD, but you’ve been selling 300 or 400 of that casting DVD every year for the past 10 or 15 years.” Although the best new DVDs are outselling the best new books in most cases, the overall sales split is closer to even. In 2010 ABS’s flyfishing-specific sales were 55 percent books, 45 percent DVDs. Those numbers show a 10 to 15 percent increase for DVD

sales from what they were in previous years, with much of that weighted toward adventure film sales. “Most importantly,” Koenig says, “shops and retailers that ID and stock the best new titles will continue

to do well selling DVDs and books. It’s really a game of getting interesting and new stuff in front of the consumer at the right time.” continued on next page...

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At the Caddis Fly in Eugene, Oregon, Chris Daughters says that since purchasing the shop in 1996, he’s offered an inventory of books and films, and even rented VHS tapes at one time. And although film and book sales generate a small portion of overall shop revenue, 3 to 5 percent in Daughters’ case, it’s a category worth entertaining, he says. “At the shop, we don’t sell them like we do a new line or a handful of flies. It’s often an afterthought for customers. But of course there are exceptions. Skagit Master 2 is a super regional and important DVD for the Pacific Northwest. I bought 125 copies and sold them all inside of 60 days. That’s pretty rare. On the other hand, the new Gierach book is probably selling really well elsewhere. Not for me, though.” Daughters attributes the growth in DVD sales to several variables: the youngifying of the flyfishing demographic, more compelling subject matter making it to market, and Internet marketing. / August 2011

“Those younger folks who are more dialed into Catch Magazine and This is Fly, for example, often see a trailer and get the DVD when it comes out,” he says. “I also think it has something to do with our instant gratification society:

the DVDs are entertaining as hell, well done, and fun to watch. Not all books, but many, are regurgitations, so I see that product quality lessoning in some areas.” Adventure fly fishing film has yet to reach the realm of regurgitation, but it certainly draws on inspirations from elsewhere. Sports such as skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, and rock climbing all have longstanding filmmaking roots. Warren Miller, for instance, pioneered the quirky skiscene documentary back in the ’80s, when rocking neon and nut-hugging one-piece outfits was the flavor of a generation. Thanks to a handful of visionaries within our sport—Chris Keig, Doug Powell, Tom Bie, Jim Klug, Felt Soul, Guy de la Valdene, the group formerly known as AEG— we’ve caught on and caught up relatively fast. The best fly fishing films on the market are comparably well shot, directed, and edited as those we’re seeing across the outdoor spectrum. And as quality and entertainment value continues to move forward, average consumers stepping into a fly shop, or surfing a wave of new titles on the Internet, have taken notice. “I think that people want to be taken on adventures and have stories that resonate with their experiences on

the water. The majority of people won’t travel to Kamchatka, but to be able to sit down and watch a 40-minute feature on it and feel like you are there… I think it’s worth the $25 bucks,” Rummel says. “That’s how we’ve been successful. We’ve had interesting characters. We always try to incorporate humor and not take it too seriously. But then at the same time we want to capture peoples’ passion for the experience. And sharing that passion is what really resonates for the audience.” Living the dream is one thing, but selling it ultimately boils down to good merchandising. And Daughters’ shop, one that’s done well pushing DVDs, is no slouch in that department, devoting prime real estate to the subject matter. The shop has several racks: two small ones at the checkout counter each holding 18 DVDs, and two tall floor-to-ceiling wooden displays which face the DVDs out, so customers can peruse covers. “Having the newest one at the counter is critical,” Daughters says. “But I really think these movies are like new releases, you better have a bunch when they first come out and then sell, sell, sell. Then get your staple and regionally important films to stock at all times, then go out of the box because there’s always that customer who wants a DVD collection in his home… and is willing to buy it.” ABS sale manager Rob Russell perhaps puts it best: “Shops that are merchandising DVDs are selling the heck out of them, while shops that fall back on the old ‘I tried DVDs once, and they just didn’t sell’ are missing out.” at








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Blue Lines: A Fishing Life by Tom Reed (Riverbend Press, 2010)

Reviewed by Bruce Smithhammer

had been all of his life, serving in the Mexican War in the late ‘40s, then coming West. But something that year set him off. He may have gotten lost as the newspaper speculated. He may have had enough of fighting. Or he might have decided that Cochetopa was a pretty good place to die. But something stopped him, made him put the muzzle of his .45-70 to his head and send a chunk of lead through his brain… “… I reckon we all have our Cochetopa. I have several. They are born of meltwater and high snow fading. They etch our landscapes and seep through granite and limestone, laugh down canyons of lodgepole pine and alpine fir, wind and meander through sedge meadow and aspen grove, then drop to sage flats that in late summer swell with the chatter of grasshoppers. Mine are blue lines, thin as the cut of a razor, little more volume than a few firehoses. It seems sacrilege to describe their waters in cubic feet per second, for these are birth waters where our trout are as pure as the snowmelt itself…” For some reason, this story continues to stick with me, prodding me to wonder about all the undocumented history contained in the soil of the backcountry places that I too wander throughout my home range. And therein lies the subtle power of Reed’s writing – yes, it’s ostensibly a fishing book, but that’s kind of like saying Steve Rinella’s American Buffalo is just a “hunting” book, or that Sand County Almanac is merely about it’s namesake; oversimplification to the point of insult. / August 2011

I’ll confess that as soon as I hear the term, “fly fishing memoir” I’m apt to look elsewhere. Too often, this abused sub-genre is rife with more navel-gazing than I can stomach, too often degenerating into that tired trap of using fly fishing as a means for maudlin self-discovery, or as the vehicle to work through some mid-life crisis, which for some reason the author feels the need to share with the rest of the world.

There is a particular chapter in Tom Reed’s latest book that I’ve had to go back and re-read several times, a true story of a personal encounter with the ghosts of history on a high alpine plateau in Colorado: “In 1881, Jack made his way into the mountains between Saguache and Gunnison. They were wilder mountains then, on the edge of Ute Territory, near a mining district, bristling with trouble. Jack was part of the detachment of Infantry Company G, U.S. Army. A soldier. He 48

But if Reed’s latest collection can be seen as a “memoir” at all, it is a memoir not of self, but of place. A testament to how a life can be shaped by the remnants of what is still wild in the American West. Of places now gone for good, and places that still take effort to get to. Of celebrating small, off-the-radar waters and equally celebrating the tenacious trout, regardless of their size, one finds in such high, remote places. In a time when so many outdoor pursuits have been molded by the marketing machine into being about ego-driven personality, or fleetingly immpressive but ultimately vain accomplishments, Blue Lines is a a good reminder that no hyper-developed personality can rival the power of geography. at



Loss Leaders

[ [ Do They Work? a product sold at a low price (at cost or below cost) to stimulate other profitable sales. / August 2011

Written by Steven B. Schweitzer

Retail loss leaders—do you use them? If so, do you know how they perform? Most do not. “Loss what?” some ask. Loss leaders is a selling strategy where a business offers a product or service at a price that is not profitable for the sake of offering another product/service at a greater profit or to attract 50

new customers. Sites like Groupon or Living Social thrive on generating loss leaders on your behalf. You can employ the loss leader strategy yourself, without using a site like Groupon that takes a huge cut of your profits. The trick is knowing when and how to employ a loss leader strategy effectively.

Loss Leaders on the Front End

Why use Loss Leaders?

Classic examples of front-end loss leaders are all around us. Gillette practically gives away shavers to sell more expensive replacement blades. Microsoft has sold the popular Xbox gaming system at nearly a $100 loss in order to create demand for the higher margin video games. Cable companies offer six or 12 months of free or ridiculously reduced service pricing to attract customers from satellite services. All these are examples of offering the discount up-front.

There are plenty of reasons to consider using loss leaders. While the list below seems compelling, they aren’t always the panacea to slumping sales, but nonetheless, are

important considerations for employing a loss leader strategy. 1. Create new demand

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Loss Leaders on the Back End Loss leaders also work as a deal on the back-end of a purchase, where the buyer gets something of great value if another high-margin product is purchased at standard retail rates. Orvis recently offered a free Battenkill reel with any purchase of a Hydros or Helios rod. That’s an extremely attractive offer to the rod shopper. Orvis is now running a deal where a free Wonderline fly line is added to the purchase of any Mirage, Hydros or Access reel. Again, a very attractive offer. But you gotta buy the product first to get the deal on the back-end. Loss Leaders on the Clock

51 / August 2011

Oftentimes, retailers limit the time when items are on sale with the hope that a rush of shoppers will also buy full-price offers. Big Box department store “one-day sales” offer steeper discounts until 11:00 a.m., for example, and then lesser savings for the rest of the day. This tactic can be psychologically magnetic and insanely lucrative—the fear of missing out on a deal is addictive in the minds of consumers.


2. Create brand and product awareness— b. You moved to a new retail space you just took on a new brand line and you c. You have merged two separate want to get the word out brand identities d. You’ve opened an Internet store 3. Generate a new customer base 4. You are new to a market space a. You opened up a new store

5. Liquidate excess, discontinued or slow-moving inventory

6. Selling products that are at the tail-end of the product lifecycle (products that are becoming unfashionable or outdated) 7. Generate add-on sales: You already have a large customer base and you want to generate buying traffic that will lead to add-on sales (Walmart is a good example) Pitfalls of Using a Loss Leader Strategy: Training Customers to Buy the Wrong Way

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There’s a side effect of loss leader pricing known as “cherry picking.” This is a practice where customers move from store to store, making purchases only on those products that are priced near or below acquisition cost. Such purchasing patterns effectively foil the underlying loss leader pricing strategy—to lure customers who will also buy products with healthier profit margins. Customers are savvy-smart and will predict and follow loss leader offerings. When this happens, retailers have effectively trained the customer-base to shop only for the deals and not for the standard-priced items. Loss Leaders Without Promotion = Lost Profits Selling products at a loss doesn’t necessarily mean you will get A) new customers and B) additional add-on sales. Without good promotion upfront, don’t expect new customers to just happen upon your special deal. Use low-cost avenues to generate buzz—websites, email newsletters and social media.

continued on next page...


Loss Leaders May Build the Wrong Brand Image Traditional marketing literature suggests that loss leaders can bolster and build brand. In today’s global economy, I find this to be poppy-cock. Loss leaders build a brand of being a low-cost provider. Is this what a fly shop wants? – most likely NO! A brand of being a small-shop, low-cost provider has little differentiation to being a big box store. If you want to build a value-add brand, there are other more cost-effective ways to do this. There is no need to use loss leaders to build brand image. Customers Can Smell a Bad Deal


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Offering “junk” items won’t attract customers. If you’ve held a product on your shelves for years and it’s collecting dust, it’s probably not a good candidate for a loss leader product. If it hasn’t sold in years, it will not sell as a loss leader. Those items are just good fodder for a clearance bin and that’s it. New Products Do Not Need Loss Leader Strategies Using a loss leader strategy on new products sacrifices the best opportunity to make the highest margins. When a product is new, demand will be high. And thus, the early adopters of a new product are not going to be very price sensitive. It would be a waste to sacrifice this profit opportunity with a loss leader strategy. 10 Keys to Using the Loss Leader Strategy

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What’s a how-to article without offering tips? Here are our top ten keys to employing a loss leader strategy:

1. Know the legal side of things. • Find out if the distributor or manufacturer of the product line will contractually allow you to sell at a loss—losing the product line is at risk. • Some states limit or make unlawful the practice of selling products below cost—know your local laws. 2. Do the math—only venture into using loss leaders when you are sure the lost profit can be countered by the sales of other more profitable products/services. The fact is that most small businesses cannot afford to take a profit hit. 3. Re-think it one more time before you act—do you really need to offer a loss leader? Recent retail studies have shown that loss leaders have no greater effect than a wellplanned “Grand Re-Opening” or “Summer Clearance” event. 4. Use loss leaders sparingly. Don’t train your customers to only spend money with you when there’s a deal to be had. 5. Don’t run out­—make sure you have enough quantity or capacity on hand to meet the surge in demand. Running out of a great deal makes a customer think he has just been swindled. Plan your inventory needs ahead of time—which means you should do a demand forecast. Oftentimes, planning ahead and purchasing larger quantities of a loss leader product will yield a purchasing price break from the distributor or manufacturer­—effectively reducing the loss on each sale.

6. Promote, Promote, Promote — Don’t believe: “If I build it, they will come.” You have to promote your deal using every channel effectively possible: newspapers, radio, newsletters, websites, social media, posters and signs throughout your retail space, etc. 7. Dip your toe in first—offer small loss leaders, not large ones. Minimize the effect of the loss in the event the lost margin isn’t made up with more profitable sales. 8. Be religious about tracking results. By simply asking the customer a few questions at cash-wrap, you can track these three things, at a minimum (and be sure to log the results on a notepad nearby):

• How many new customers bought the loss leader product? • How many add-on sales were a direct result of the loss leader deal? • How many new customers are now repeat customers as a result of finding your shop and loss leader deal? 9. Make customers walk through your store to find the deal. You won’t get add-on sales unless you make the customer notice other products on the path to finding the killer loss leader deal. 10. Monitor the type of customers you bring in. You want quality customers that aren’t price driven or overly price sensitive. You want

customers who value the quality of your products, your atmosphere, your service and the in-store experience. The Bottom Line If done right, using loss leaders in your retail pricing strategy can act like a hydraulic lift to your bottom line. However, the margin for error is larger than the margin for success. Loss leader pricing is rampant amongst big box retailers, but for small retailers, using a loss leader strategy may just be a recipe for disaster. You are in business to make a profit. Loss leaders can definitely be part of a profit strategy, but generating profit then, should be non-negotiable. at / August 2011



Schools a Key to Sales Success / August 2011

Written by Lance Gray

Retail fly shops that do not offer a school program for customers are missing the boat. Schools are profitable, and they’re very easy to plan, advertise and sell. School programs sustain the clientele and introduce customers to additional products in the store... products like rods, reels, lines and everything in between. Goods get sold. Other schools and destination trips get booked. Customers become 56

confident fly fishers and, one hopes, thriving stewards of the water. Schools generate and sustain cash flow in lean months... In other words, having a school program is a necessity for every shop. As a guide and a school advisor involved with hundreds of schools, I have found common traits among the school programs that


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When I establish a school program for a shop, I create a profile of that shop. I examine the owner, staff and patrons. I interview the owner and staff on goals and on what they would like to get out of the school program. I also visit the local fly clubs and observe what their needs are. I check the demographics of the local population and the economic factors (what a reasonable price is and what is not). I explore potential on the water locations for school venues to gain an understanding of the permits and licenses for that area. Once


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Ultimately, a school is just like any other product you sell, except your schools have your name on them. Make the school the finest product you can. Start with the basics. “Introduction to Fly Fishing,” “Learning to Nymph Fish,” “Controlling Your Cast,” give the student the nuts and bolts of the subject. Make a course curriculum that is goal oriented, with a reasonable amount of subject matter (only as much as can be accomplished in the time allotted). A school should never be overwhelming for the student. Overpowering students creates bad experiences and causes more harm than good.



work best: They have solid curricula; they are taught by seasoned instructors; and they are reasonably priced so students sense real value. Value is everything to the student. They value learning skills that last a lifetime.


I have the insight I need, I sit down and pencil out a complete plan. Before we implement the plan, we conduct a walkthrough school. Invite friends, local guides and valued customers to the walk through. These people will provide more insight and suggestions. Write down the positives and the negatives. Work out the kinks and then market the school. When designing your school program keep it simple and keep it within perspective. Keep all goals attainable, including the shops, instructor(s) and student goals. If everything is done correctly, everyone wins. / August 2011

A school program needs three different platforms of instruction: clinics, workshops, and schools. Each learning environment is a different concept. All are still based on comparable fundamental techniques,


traditional tactics and etiquette. Essentially, the three venues give options to the student. The students can explore the entire school program based on needs and interest. Clinics should be in house (within the walls of the fly shop). They should be free or at very little cost. (I prefer free.) A clinic will key on basics: knot tying, fly tying, tying a certain pattern or introduction of a new product or material. Invite a sales representative, master fly tier or even a popular member of the fly club to help demonstrate or provide instruction to the individuals attending the clinic. A clinic should not exceed one hour. Have plenty of materials in stock and have multiple staff willing to help with questions. I have one shop that even sends out a personal invitation electronically to its patrons inviting them to the clinic. Make it personal, honest and above all genuine. continued on next page...


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Workshops need to be an all-day affair. Lunch, needed materials for the school and all the equipment (including waders and boots) should be furnished. A workshop must have goals that need to be accomplished during the day to reach the main goal of the entire workshop. For example “Introduction to Fly Fishing” workshop must have a goal of learning three basic knots. Let’s say a perfection loop knot, surgeon knot and an improved clinch knot. Instructors show the students how to tie each knot. After instruction students should be able to show the instructor how to tie each one correctly. Once they accomplish the lesson then they can move to the next lesson within the “Introduction to Fly Fishing” workshop. Once all the lessons’ goals are complete then the school has accomplished the entire goal. A workshop is held on a stream, pond or lake. The students must be able to fish and practice their new found tactics. Catching fish only cements the entire program. It gives students confidence that they will be able to fish on their own with little or no advice from you. Schools are either two or three days on one subject. A school is held for the students to master one subject. The schools should include everything... rods, reels, waders, pontoon boats and everything in between. Lunches, drinks and snacks are included. Some shops even do a barbeque on the middle night for the folks that are attending the school. Schools are focused on one subject. For example at a “Switch Rod School,” curriculum should be

based on instruction only for switch rods. Instruct the students on everything a switch rod is capable of performing. Make sure that all basic goals can be obtained within the given time allotted. Scheduling extra time in the school is wise. Not having enough time to complete a set lesson or the whole curriculum is detrimental. If students learn quicker than time allowed, praise them. They like that. The school could include overnight stays provided within the school itself, or give the students lodging easily accessible to the school at different economic levels. Not everyone wants to (or is able to) spend $185.00 for a bed for a night. 12799


Schools need to set curriculum with a review and testing period for each student. This is not the SAT’s, but

tests are a necessary to gauge what the students have learned and what they have retained. Clinics, workshops and schools add value to your store. Your patrons need and trust you to guide them through the world of fly fishing. You are the expert. Create an environment that is fun, relaxing and above all honest. Give the students obtainable goals and respectfully guide students that need extra help. A school program is the best product that you can have in your shop. The product is you teaching your patrons a subject on the art of fly fishing. It will better you, your business and your patrons. It’s a must! at

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Variety is the Spice of Life (and Sometimes Sales) What dealers across the country can learn from the 2011 high-water season Written by Tom Bie / August 2011

It’s been a tough summer for many outfitters in the Rockies. Unless they pre-booked a bunch of guide days on private lakes or spring creeks, many a flyshop owner has had to return some deposit money. As I write this during the second week of July, the rivers in my neighborhood have barely begun to recede. Colorado’s upper North Platte is still running above 4,000 CFS—six times the 100-year average. The Encampment River is at 3,000—10 times the average. The Snake in Wyoming, Yellowstone in Montana, almost any river in Idaho— you name it, many guides and outfitters are still waiting for the water to drop. The general sentiment was perhaps best summed up by Dale Pennecard, an employee at Boise’s Idaho Angler: “We’re ready for August.” Yet there have been some bright spots. Tim Tollett from Frontier Anglers in Dillon, Montana, told me that they’re having a great year. “We’ve been pretty lucky,” Tollett says. “Our guide trips are actually up. The Big Hole clears early and fast, and we’ve been on the Beaverhead since day one.” 62

The Beaverhead, of course, is a tailwater below Clark Fork Dam, which helps. But even some dealers not lucky enough to have clear, controlled releases in their back yard have found a way to survive an exceptionally long and unnerving runoff season. In talking with several Rocky Mountain-based shops, I heard three recurring themes that any dealer in the country would do well to remember. (Last year’s oil spill in the Gulf is this year’s high runoff in the Rockies. Next year, who knows?) 1. Don’t underestimate the importance of catering to locals. This is a seemingly obvious idea, yet it’s one that countless resort-town restaurants have failed to follow. Tourists might get you through Christmas and the Fourth of July, but if you want year-round revenue, you’d better know your neighbors come April and October. And if you’re an outfitter in the Rockies, your regular customers can save you during times like this. “We depend on regulars who have no problem changing dates and times depending on conditions,” says Steve Wilson, guide and fly shop employee for Sweetwater Fly Shop in Livingston. “Some tourists aren’t coming out at all this year because of what they’ve heard about runoff. And when you have to fish private water you’re adding a $200 rod fee onto a $400 guide fee, which is a lot of money. But PMDs have been fantastic on the spring creeks, so that’s helped.” 2. Be flexible and adaptable on short notice. Last-minute airfares, instant weather reports for anywhere in the country, video uploaded the second the first salmonfly cracks its shell, and—this year more than ever—everyone following USGS riverflow data. “People are booking closer and closer to the date they want to come fishing,” says Kris Kumlien, of Bozeman’s Montana Troutfitters. “You used to get those calls three or four months in advance. Now you’re lucky if you get two or three weeks. It’s tough from a forecasting standpoint when you’re

trying to make a budget, but it’s just part of our on-demand culture, so we cater to these people—many of them younger—and just stay prepared for last-minute customers.” 3. Have a deep knowledge of alternative fisheries, and be able to sell these trips, even if it’s something that doesn’t initially interest the client, and even if it means sending someone out of state. This is one of the best reasons for a fly shop owner to attend the upcoming IFTD show in New Orleans and take a couple days to fish there—especially if he or she has never done it before. Say you own a shop in the northern Rockies and you’ve got a great local customer who came in, depressed, every other day in June. How nice would it have been to say to that person, “Look, things are bad here and they’re only going to get worse. I know you’ve never been redfishing, so let me tell you about Port Sulphur, Louisiana.” (Or Hopedale. Or Grande Isle…) OK, so I’m a big redfish fan who loves New Orleans. But even if you just introduce some customers to a new place to fish in their own town, you’ve provided a terrific service. “Being an urban shop, and with all the high water in the mountains this year, we’ve turned a lot of people onto bass in our local warmwater fisheries,” says Rick Mikesell, assistant manager of Trout’s Flyfishing in Denver. “The South Platte has been great for the warmwater stuff, because a lot of people have this idea that they don’t want to fish lakes, so we take them to the Platte and they are pleasantly surprised.” Sweetwater’s Steve Wilson says their shop has also experienced the lack of enthusiasm for lake fishing as a substitute for blown-out rivers. But they’ve taken a more direct approach: YouTube. “We’ve been uploading videos of our fishing reports from the lakes and sending them to potential clients,” Wilson says. ”They tend to get a lot more interested when they see the size of the fish.” at

Right up to the point you crept along, that fish was just sitting there happily stuffing its face. Whether he continues to do so depends on what happens next. Introducing the ONE™ rod. With exceptional tip-to-hand sensitivity and precision tracking resulting from Sage’s breakthrough Konnetic™ technology, you’ll be making intuitive, pinpoint casts all day long. Now put the fly in his face. After all, that’s where his mouth is.

Angling Trade Issue #17  
Angling Trade Issue #17  

The Show Issue