Spring 2013 Issue
Getting Smart About Point of Sale/The Adventures of Oliver White/Innovative Fundraising/The Things We Should Agree Upon/Great New Books/The Royal Treatment... and more. April 2013 AnglingTrade.com
April Vokey for Patagonia速 | Photo Jeremy Koreski
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22 Man on a Mission: Oliver
6 Editor’s Column
White Is Oliver White the next face of fly
fishing? He’s gone from guide to hedgefund guru, to owning a lodge in the Bahamas. He’s also a world traveler, and one of the team that figured out how to catch arapaimas with flies in Guyana. In other words, he’s done it all, and he has sharp opinions on the future of the industry. By Geoff Mueller
Let’s Agree How in the world can anyone make a living off of rivers and lakes (or oceans) if they aren’t actively engaged in protecting the resources that make fly-fishing possible? By Kirk Deeter, Editor
8 Currents The latest people, product and issues news from the North American fly fishing industry, including the run-up to the trade show season, water forecasts for key regions, a piece by Walt Gasson.
21 Book Reviews
26 Against the Tide Joel La
The latest from AT’s own Romano, Mueller, and Santella, from the best “be the fish” observations ever, to the hot hatch happenings that cannot be missed.
Follette and Royal Treatment Fly Fishing prove you can start a new operation in a busy market—even when economic times aren’t so hot, but competition (especially online) is. How? By following several core strategies to a “T.” By Pinky Gonzales
Tim Romano email@example.com Art Director
Tara Brouwer firstname.lastname@example.org shovelcreative.com Editor-at-Large
Geoff Mueller Copy Editors
Mabon Childs, Sarah Deeter Contributing Editors
Tom Bie Ben Romans Steven B. Schweitzer Contributors
Pinky Gonzales , Geoff Mueller, Chris Santella, Steve Schweitzer Photos unless noted by Tim Romano
30 Beyond the Rubber Chicken Banquet Tired of auctions and stuffy sit-downs, but in need of some fresh fundraising ideas (that may also happen to protect natural resources in the process)? From golf to carp, the options have never been more interesting. Here are two success stories. By Chris Santella
Kirk Deeter email@example.com
38 Backcast Access. The issue isn’t going away. Yet what’s happening right now will set precedents we’ll all live with for years. By Geoff Mueller
Angling Trade is published four times a year by Angling Trade, LLC. Author and photographic submissions should be sent electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org. Angling Trade is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts and/ or photo submissions. We ask that contributors send formal queries in advance of submissions. For editorial guidelines and calendar, please contact the editor via E-mail. Printed in the U.S.A. Advertising Contact: Tim Romano Telephone: 303-495-3967
34 Knowing Your Customers One Transaction at a Time.
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AnglingTrade.com / April 2013
Going beyoned POS and CRM to create a deatailed understanding of who is buying what and why, then leveraging the information you generate yourself for more sales. By Steve Schweitzer
Fax: 303-495-2454 email@example.com
New for 2013 Geoff Mueller is Angling Trade’s editor-at-large and senior editor of The Drake. His latest book, What a Trout Sees, takes readers below the surfaces of rivers to teach priceless lessons. AT managing editor Tim Romano contributed photos for the project, so we (understandably) gave it a glowing review in this issue. The Outfitter
Steven B. Schweitzer is an Angling Trade contributing editor and our resident bird dog reporter, who sniffs out the latest on trends and issues that impact the retail side (he broke the hair-hackle story, remember?). He’s also the author of A Fly Fishing Guide to Rocky Mountain National Park.
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This is your TargeT and we’ll have his full aTTenTion Chris Santella is a regular contributor to Angling Trade, as well as many fly-fishing magazines and the New York Times. His “Fifty Places” books are legendary, however he has two new titles out this spring—The Hatch is On! and Why I Fly Fish… which we also wrote glowingly about in this issue of the magazine.
Pinky Gonzales is the latest addition to Angling Trade’s stable of writers. He is the founder of Upriver Solutions, a Portland, Oregonbased marketing firm that specializes in helping startups and small businesses navigate the waters of growth, management and marketing. When he’s not working, you’ll usually find him on the Deschutes, Sandy or Clackamas Rivers.
a gold mine of fly fishing Tips, desTinaTions, gear reviews, eTc. by The people who bring you salmon & steelhead journal and traveling angler. don’T be lefT ouT. to advertise, contact pat hoglund
Three Things We Might All Agree Upon
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with debate and different opinions. Heck, without people in this industry wrestling with things like direct sales by manufacturers, online retailing, foreign manufacturing versus “made in the U.S.A,” trade shows, which products are gems and which are busts, and battling (or partnering with) the big boxes… well, Angling Trade wouldn’t have as much to write about. For the record, I’m not worried that we’re going to run out of fodder any time soon.
AnglingTrade.com / April 2013
But it occurs to me that we’d all be better off if we officially got on the same page with regard to a few things. For starters, let’s decide, once and for all, on a grammatical standard for our sport. Is it fly fishing, or flyfishing, or fly-fishing? That might sound trivial, but as a wordsmith (and someone who edits magazines where writers inevitably use all three styles), I think a little across-the-board consistency is long overdue. How can we promote our sport if we can’t all say what it is the same way? 6
Fly fishing seems most common, so that’s my fallback. But separating the two words identifies this pursuit as some sort of subspecies of fishing— which might be fine. After all AFFTA put fly fishing with “all fishing” in the context of the upcoming ICAST trade show, and many think that was long overdue.
context. If we retreat from the policies and laws that allow public access in places where that is indeed precedent, this sport will shrink, and many businesses will die. It’s just that simple. Which is why AT keeps hitting the access issue in every edition, including this one, with an eloquent “Backcast” commentary by Geoff Mueller.
Flyfishing as one word (the standard that Field & Stream has used for years) implies a separate, distinct craft. I have no problem with identifying this pastime as its own unique endeavor either. But then the baitwhackers (one word) will consider us snobs.
Lastly, we should build more consensus around (and involvement in) conservation issues, beyond the Pebble Mine. I’m now editor of TROUT magazine for Trout Unlimited, so I’m on this soapbox with reason. I know people have had beefs with TU over the years, but I flat-out don’t know how one can ignore being involved with the group (or another conservation organization) that protects the natural resource “bank” from which many businesses make their withdrawals.
The hyphenated version is a copout, in my mind, unless, of course, it’s used as an adjective, which is the rule when two words are separated in a noun context in the first place. Okay, enough of the Strunk & White lesson. I don’t care what we do. But let’s be consistent. We can have a real “conclave,” take a vote, count the ballots, burn them, and when the white smoke wafts out of some riverside cabin, the world will know that we’ve finally decided to take ourselves seriously. The issue of stream access is deadly serious, however, and one that we definitely must build more consensus around. I know… there are plenty of guides, outfitters and landowners who make a pretty penny by taking clients to “pay-to-play” rivers and lakes. And I’m not suggesting that we’re going to ever create a “wade anywhere, any time” paradigm that stretches from coast to coast. I don’t know that we even want to do that if we could. But I do think we need to do a better job of protecting the public right to fish on places that are available right now. Loss of access means loss of opportunity. And loss of opportunity will lead to loss of business in a broad
I get letters all the time… “I’m not actually a TU member, but I want to complain about...” Or, “I don’t pay dues to Stripers Forever, but I have an issue with…” You can play on the field, or you can sit on the sidelines and boo the team. Up to you. But your credibility— and our collective credibility as an industry—is ultimately measured by how much skin is actually in the game. Right now, the “80-20 rule” applies. A few are doing most of the heavy lifting for many. If we lighten the burden by building more broad-based consensus around no-brainer issues like having clean rivers, and allowing the public the opportunity to actually fish them, this sport is going to grow, whether we call it flyfishing, fly fishing, or fly-fishing. at
Kirk Deeter Editor
Issues and Happenings OIA: Outdoor Recreation is Key to Economy Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) recently released figures quantifying the economic impact of outdoor recreation in all 50 states, with a separate report for each state that tallies direct spending, jobs, salaries and tax revenue. This data demonstrates that outdoor recreation is an important driver of state economies, supporting jobs, businesses and communities. The state-by-state figures expand upon a national report OIA published in June 2012, which found that nationally Americans spend $646 billion each year on outdoor recreation, directly supporting 6.1 million jobs and generating nearly $80 billion in tax revenue.
AnglingTrade.com / April 2013
“Outdoor recreation is a growing American industry that produces significant economic benefits,” said Will Manzer, chair of the OIA board of directors and former CEO of Eastern Mountain Sports. “For example, Americans spend almost twice as much on outdoor recreation as they spend on pharmaceuticals each year. And outdoor recreation supports more than twice as many jobs as the oil and gas industry.” Outdoor recreation creates diverse jobs in product development, manufacturing, marketing, logistics, sales, retail, public land management, guiding services and more — and also supports service sector and other jobs when people spend money on trips and travel-related expenses associated with outdoor pursuits. With nearly 140 million Americans participating in outdoor activities each year, outdoor recreation is 8
a larger and more critical sector of the American economy than most people realize. The outdoor industry can continue to generate jobs and be an economic driver in the United States if parks, waters and trails are managed as a system designed to sustain these economic dividends for America.
• Casting demonstrations throughout the day with Lefty Kreh.
Virginia Fly Fishing Festival Set
Company and Product News
• Children’s catch-and-release trout pool with native brook trout. For a complete list of activities, please visit www.vaflyfishingfestival.org.
REC Handling Global Sales for Wheatley
Fly-fishing and outdoor enthusiasts will converge on Waynesboro, Virginia, to celebrate the 13th Annual Virginia Fly Fishing Festival, April 20-21. The event will take place from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. each day, rain or shine.
REC Components and Richard Wheatley Limited recently announced the successful transfer of all RWL manufacturing assets to REC’s facility in the United States. Prior to this, the manufacturing of all RWL products had been done in England since 1860. Since April 2012, the entire range of
The Virginia Fly-Fishing Festival is the largest outdoor fly fishing event in the country that offers on-stream instruction. Daily admission tickets are $20 for adults, kids 16-andunder are free. Weekend passes are available for $35. The film Where the Yellowstone Goes, will be featured at Court Square Theatre in Harrisonburg, at 7 p.m. Friday, and is sponsored by Trout Headwaters, Inc. Saturday and Sunday highlights include: • Over 40 exhibitors, including Orvis and Temple Fork Outfitters, will demo the latest in fly-fishing equipment, merchandise, guide services, and destinations. • Casting and fly-tying classes with Ed Jawarowski and Bob Clouser.
RWL aluminum fly boxes has been made in REC’s Connecticut factory. REC acquired all manufacturing assets located at RWL’s Malvern, UK, facility and moved them during the first quarter of 2012 to REC’s Stafford Springs, Conn. facility. Prior to this, several key REC staff spent weeks at Malvern in training to ensure that the hand made, heirloom quality of the RWL product range would be maintained. continued on next page...
In addition to being responsible for manufacturing and North American sales, REC will handle global sales for the entire RWL product range. All RWL products are currently in stock and available for immediate shipment.
breast cancer at no cost to them, we are grateful for this partnership with Sage. These donations allow us to expand our program to more women in need of support.”
Orders and customer inquiries should be directed to REC’s sales manager Paul Howarth (sales@rec. com). All RWL products may be viewed on the company’s website (www.rec.com). The company’s full contact details are indicated below where all dealer, trade, and distributor inquiries may be directed. Said REC president Alan Gnann: “REC is honored to assume responsibility for the manufacture and global sales of the entire Richard Wheatley, Ltd. product line under this time-honored, heritage brand. We look forward to serving the needs of our dealers, distributors, and private-label customers worldwide and meeting with them in Vienna (EFTTEX) and Las Vegas (ICAST / IFTD) where REC will be exhibiting.” Sage Launches GRACE
AnglingTrade.com / April 2013
Sage Manufacturing recently released the GRACE fly rod. Building on a history of selling a pink rod with proceeds benefitting breast cancer recovery and research, Sage will donate a portion of each rod sale to Casting for Recovery (CFR). “Casting for Recovery is a non-profit organization dedicated to giving women powerful tools to overcome the challenges of breast cancer,” noted CFR executive director Lori Simon. “Because the CFR quality of life program is provided to women of all ages and stages of
(1/16”), #12 (3/64”), and #14 (1/32”). These new shades add to the versatility of the existing lineup: Holographic Black, Holographic Orange, Holographic Red, Holographic Silver, Gold/Silver, Red/Green, Copper/ Blue, Peacock/Orange, and Pearl. Tiers now have fifteen colors at their disposal for creating attractive bodies and ribs, adding flash to wings and tails, producing tough and attractive wing cases, or serving as a base for spun bodies. See www.uniproducts.com for more information. RIO Intros New Tarpon Lines
The GRACE rod is made using a slender profile rod blank in an iridescent pink color, with pink and black wraps and a pink aluminum reel seat. It is available in one size—an 8’6”, 5-weight in a 4-piece configuration. The rod is fast-action but with a soft feel. Retailing at $495, Sage is donating $50 of each rod sold to Casting for Recovery. New Mylar Colors from UNI UNI-Products, a leader in the supply of spooled fly-tying materials, announced the addition of two colors to its very popular
UNI-Mylar line. The new colors— Holographic Light Blue and Holographic Chartreuse—are available in three widths: #10
RIO Products has launched Tarpon Technical and Tarpon Short floating lines. The Tarpon Technical is a floating line with an extended head of 60 feet that is designed for more advanced casters and ideal in calm conditions. The long head length makes this a fantastic line for pickups at distance and for repositioning second shot casts to traveling fish. The Tarpon Technical line is available in WF10F through WF12F line and is built on a medium stiff core featuring a hard, tropical, AgentX coating that ensures the line does not wilt in the heat. Welded loops on both ends of the line allow anglers to rig easily. The Tarpon Short Floater has an ultra-short front-loaded head making this line simple to load and cast. Perfect for beginners or for fishing on cloudy days, the powerful front taper casts large, heavy flies and punches into the wind with ease. Available in WF10F through WF12F, this line also has the AgentX hard continued on next page...
tropical coating and welded loops making it a fully featured line for tarpon anglers. Both lines retail for $79.95 and can be purchased through RIO Products dealers. Peak Reports Banner Year PEAK Fishing has announced that its sales have reached a record level for the fourth consecutive year. According to brand manager Al Ritt, PEAK Fishing’s sales were up more than 28% in 2012 over 2011. Ritt also said: “2012 was also our fifth consecutive year of increased sales. Sales in 2012 were more than three and one half times what our sales were as recently as 2007. Given the economic challenges faced by the U.S. during that same period we are very excited by this trend. Additionally sales in 2013 continue to trend upward from 2012.” Beaverkill Rod Company Launches Website
AnglingTrade.com / April 2013
Anthony Magardino, president of the Beaverkill Rod Company announced the launch of the brand’s new website at www.bkrod. com. The new website offers vivid photography and a streamlined
user experience. It features enhanced resources and functionality designed exclusively for the fly fishing community and a new simplistic e-commerce option for its customers worldwide. 12
“Our online angling audiences will now experience a more vibrant and seamless view of the Beaverkill Rod Company’s rod, apparel and gear offerings,” said Magardino.
Environment Renewables Bill Gets a Second Chance in New Congress Bill would direct funds toward fish, wildlife, counties and states Congress continues to recognize the value of hunting and angling with the reintroduction of a bill recently by Reps. Paul Gosar (RAZ), Mike Thompson (D-CA), Joe Heck (R-NV), and Jared Polis (D-CO). The bipartisan bill would put royalty money from public land wind and solar energy development toward conserving the pristine fisheries and healthy herds of pronghorn, elk and deer the West are known for. Also important to note is the money this bill would funnel to counties and states, many of which voiced support for the bill in its previous introductions. This legislation underscores the fact that sportsmen and women don’t have to choose between the need for domestic energy and the need for healthy habitat. “We want our public lands to be great places to fish and hunt,” said Keith Curley, director of government affairs for Trout Unlimited. “This bill would help ensure that when wind and solar energy development occurs on public lands, there are resources available to protect and restore habitat and secure public access in the affected areas.”
The bi-partisan Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act, H.R. 596, would bring wind and solar energy in line with other forms of energy development on public lands by establishing a royalty payment system and sharing half of the revenues from development with state and local government. Another portion of the revenues would be placed in a conservation fund to protect and improve habitat and create access for hunters and anglers. Finding a balance between energy development and habitat conservation is important to communities that rely on jobs from both the energy and outdoor recreation sectors. A report released by the Department of the Interior showed recreational visits to public lands alone generated nearly $48.7 billion in economic activity and supported 403,000 jobs nationwide in 2011. So it goes without saying that maintaining those lands is important. “We are already seeing wind and solar play a role in our public lands. But right now we lack the resources to balance energy development with fish and wildlife conservation,” Curley said. “This bill gives us some security that as we move forward, the lands that we as hunters and anglers value will be protected.” Bristol Bay: Where Do We Stand Now? From Scott Hed, executive director of the Sportsmen’s Alliance for Alaska: “The battle to stop the proposed Pebble Mine project continues to gain momentum, with now over 870 continued on next page...
is incompatible with the existing resources and economy of Bristol Bay.
AnglingTrade.com / April 2013
hunting and angling groups and businesses signed onto our efforts in support.
The EPA recently announced it plans to have the peer review panel re-examine the Draft Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment which has been updated based on input from the peer review panel and the public. They also will open another round of public comment on the updated Assessment. They plan to do this in the next few months. We believe that this is redundant, and only delays the protection of this fishery.
As the calendar has turned to 2013, I wanted to provide a quick snapshot Our focus is turning to President of where things stand today, and Obama and the White House. It is what needs to happen to push our efforts across the finish line this year. the President that we must convince on this issue. He must see that As you may know, the EPA issued protecting Bristol Bay is good for its Draft Bristol Bay Watershed fishing and hunting, it’s good for Assessment last spring. Over American jobs, it’s what the science 230,000 public comments were suggests be done, and it’s within submitted (with 90%+ in favor EPA’s power and responsibility to do of EPA taking action to protect so. It must be done sooner, rather Bristol Bay and its incredible fish than later. and wildlife resources, as well as the thousands of jobs that are dependent We are sending this message to the upon them) and a panel of 12 expert White House directly, but we are also calling on Senators from states scientists reviewed the Draft. The Draft concluded that even under the where we’ve got a lot of support – best-case-scenario (if something the asking the Senators to contact the size and scale of Pebble Mine could White House and urge them to move now to protect Bristol Bay. be built and operated in a place like Bristol Bay, and do so safely If you happen to be in contact with over its lifespan), there would still your Senators in the coming months, be significant impacts to the region please let them know directly how and its fishery resources. In fact, important this issue is to America’s even under those rosy assumptions, sportsmen and women. With up to 87 miles of salmon streams your help, and with your Senators’ and 4,300 acres of salmon wetland support, we can win what will likely habitat would be destroyed. It only be viewed as the signature fishery gets worse if there are problems, conservation battle of our lifetime. ranging from small to large, during the construction and/or operation Shannon’s Fly and Tackle of the mine. receives TU’s first Gold Level Nomination We believe that this document shows what we’ve known all along. That a large-scale mining operation 14
Unless you’re from central New Jersey, you may not know Jim Holland,
George Cassa, Eric Hildebrant Jr. and the crew at Shannon’s Fly and Tackle. And that’s too bad, because you’d like these guys. They’re people who live for fishing, and what’s more, these guys care a lot about their home water. They’ve proven that where it counts - out there in the stream, or in their case, in the South Branch of the Raritan, the
Musconetcong and the Pequest Rivers near Califon, NJ. That’s what prompted the Trout Unlimited’ s Ken Lockwood Chapter to nominate them as TU’s first “Gold Level” TU Endorsed Business for their ongoing commitment to conservation in New Jersey and their long-time partnership with the chapter in creating and protecting cold, clean, fishable water for future generations. The TU Endorsed Business program is the offspring of TU’s old “Outfitters Guides and Businesses” program, a cooperative marketing deal for outfitters, fly shops, lodges and others in the angling business. In exchange for advertising in print and online, plus a drift boatload of other benefits, the business becomes a partner with TU in promoting conservation. Gold Level members go one step farther through involvement with local chapters, councils or TU National. Walt Gasson, director of TU Endorsed Businesses says, “When it comes to going the extra
Orvis Extends Matching Grants The Orvis Company, Inc. of Manchester, Vt., announced the four recipients of its annual Orvis Customer Matching Grants, two of whom are continuations from 2012. The cornerstone of Orvis’ perennial commitment of 5% of its pre-tax profits to protecting nature, this year’s grants are targeted to raise $430,000 or more for these projects, and are part of a more than $1 million commitment to conservation and other philanthropic causes this year. Orvis has awarded cash grants— coupled with a challenge to raise customer contributions up to equal amounts—to the following organizations: • Trout Unlimited, to continue its multi-year collaboration with Orvis to establish the Orvis/Trout Unlimited 1,000 Miles Campaign, which will reconnect 1,000 miles of stream passage for fish in watersheds throughout the United States over the next several years. Previously known as the Orvis/Trout Unlimited Culvert Fund, this project will open up waterways through the repair, modification and/or removal of culverts and other obstructions which prevent fish from accessing vital upstream spawning habitat. • The Petfinder Foundation, for its programs benefitting animal shelters and providing homes for rescued dogs across America. Another repeat, this program, whose goal is to ensure that no adoptable pet is euthanized for lack of a loving continued on next page...
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home, was so popular with Orvis customers that it exceeded its goal twice over in 2012. • The Stop Pebble Mine campaign will be Orvis’ top conservation priority for 2013. “The Pebble Mine (in Bristol Bay, Alaska), if developed, would certainly become one of the worst environmental risks on the planet and would permanently scar, if not destroy one of America’s most majestic natural resources,” said Orvis CEO Perk Perkins. Orvis will partner with Trout Unlimited in their campaign to convince Washington and the EPA to block the Pebble Mine. • The Battersea Working Dogs Programme is Orvis’ first ever matching grant in the UK, where the company has more than 25 stores, mails approximately 5 million catalogs a year, and operates a UK version of its website. This initiative continues a proud legacy of placing once unwanted dogs into valuable service, training animals for police, security and rescue service as well as for medical and military assistance. “I am always gratified, but never surprised by the willingness of our customers to contribute
meaningfully to our conservation efforts,” said David Perkins, vice chairman of Orvis. “Together over the years we have achieved some remarkable results, and that’s why our commitment of 5% of pre-tax profits is not only a commitment to protect nature, but is a commitment to our customers. Each year, we carefully select partners whose programs meet our common goals, and we highly commend these four outstanding programs to our customers and to the general public, through these matching grants and the year-long, multi-channel promotional campaigns we have committed to them.” Throughout 2013, Orvis will feature each of the four grant programs in its catalogs, website, and retail stores, as well as in other print and online promotions, social media and its conservation blog. Each partner organization will also feature the grant program in their marketing channels. These promotional efforts, coupled with the matching funds from Orvis, provide a remarkable opportunity for customers, organization members and the general public to amplify their contribution to the protection of nature through these programs.
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In addition to the company’s matching grants, Orvis will donate over $500,000 this year in smaller grants to conservation organizations including The Nature Conservancy, American Rivers, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, The Conservation Fund, Atlantic Salmon Federation, Bonefish-Tarpon Trust, Ducks Unlimited, Ruffed Grouse Society, Rare Conservation, Project Healing Waters, Casting for Recovery, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and others. Over the past 25 years, Orvis has raised and contributed in excess of $14 million for a wide variety of conservation programs, from Kodiak Island, Alaska, to the Florida Everglades; from the Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda to the great Coral Triangle of the South Pacific; and in dozens of vital fisheries through America and the world. Details of this and past years’ Orvis Customer Matching Grant projects can be seen at www.orvis. com/commitment. About Trout Unlimited – The Orvis/TU 1,000 Miles Campaign For the second year in a row, Orvis will make a cash grant of $90,000 to match its customers’ contributions up to the same amount, to raise a total of $180,000 or more. The Orvis/TU 1,000 Miles Campaign is dedicated to repairing or modifying culverts throughout the United States. Outdated, damaged or impassable culverts—the passages that connect streams underneath roadways everywhere—are a major threat to all species of trout and other cold-water fish, often blocking passage to vital upstream spawning habitat. Thousands of culverts around the country need to be
3/14/13 2:44 PM
Stop Pebble Mine
that will most benefit from a concerted effort to replace culverts. In 2012, the campaign’s inaugural year, five culvert projects were completed in Vermont, New Hampshire, Oregon and Idaho, and five more have been funded and will start construction this spring in Massachusetts, Maine, Virginia, Wisconsin and Idaho. An estimated ten additional projects will be funded with the 2013 grant and fundraising campaign. Both organizations share a vision for a sustained, multi-year investment in the Orvis/TU 1,000 Miles Campaign with the goal of opening up 1,000 new miles of fishable streams across the country in the next several years.
Intended for location at the headwaters of Alaska’s pristine Bristol Bay, what would be the world’s largest open pit gold and copper mine represents one of the greatest environmental threats to nature on the planet. Bristol Bay is home to the world’s largest sockeye salmon run, which sustains an entire ecosystem, including many iconic species such as grizzly and black bears, bald eagles and river otter. In a region that averages one 5.0 earthquake per year, containment of 10 billion tons of toxic mine waste behind proposed earthen dams is far too great a risk to take. A long-awaited study by the EPA is due this year, which is expected to recommend that action be taken by the White House under the Clean Water Act of 1972 to condemn the proposed Pebble Mine. In addition to its own financial support, and in cooperation with a campaign led by Trout Unlimited, Orvis intends to elicit the support of its customers, matching their donations up to $50,000 for total goal of $100,000, to champion the cause and take action in Washington, DC.
People News Jennings Steps Down from AFFTA Board Long-time board member Gary Jennings announced his retirement from the seat, after five years of service. After a career in resort
and hotel development in Florida, Jennings shifted his attention to conservation and communication. He acted as the regional director for the Coastal Conservation Association and eventually became the publisher of Fly Fishing in Salt Waters, a role he currently holds. With AFFTA, he served in the positions of vice chairman, as well as communications and membership chairs. Jennings noted the evolution he witnessed within the industry during continued on next page... 17
AnglingTrade.com / April 2013
replaced or modified. Compared with dam removal, these relatively low-cost, high impact projects, according to Trout Unlimited president and CEO Chris Wood, “make fixing a culvert so that fish can pass one of the best investments we can make in trout recovery.” Funds raised through the Orvis/ TU 1,000 Miles Campaign will go toward the engineering and repair or replacement of culverts and will provide the necessary private matching funds needed to secure additional public funding. Each year TU will determine a list of watersheds
his noteworthy stint on the board: “The most marked change since I became involved with AFFTA is the way consumers and stores do business . . . The internet and the way consumers and dealers do business has completely changed business models. Both have more options to buy elsewhere than ever before.” David Heller will fill Jennings’ seat. He has served on the board in the past, bringing a seasoned perspective to the position. Heller holds more than 25 years of experience in the fly fishing industry. He acted as president and co-owner of Ross Reels USA/ Ross Worldwide Outdoors and after selling the company to 3M, he joined Newdea, Inc. as director of global development. Heller was recently named vice president of sales & marketing at R.L. Winston Rod Company. Watt to Rep Winston Jeff Watt has been appointed as Winston Rod Company’s representative for Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska.
AnglingTrade.com / April 2013
RIO Adds Three to Advisory Team: Pete Humphreys is a popular Michigan river guide and casting instructor, specializing in swinging flies for Great Lakes steelhead on the world famous Muskegon River. Pete fishes all over the world including Norway, Scotland and most of the steelhead rivers in British Columbia such as the Dean and the Skeena tributaries. He is an expert Spey caster and a respected teacher, demonstrating casting at Spey gatherings, fishing shows and teaching Spey schools in the Midwest. He is one of the few instructors internationally to 18
hold Federation of Fly Fishers (FFF) Single, Two-Handed and Masters Certification and is also an innovative and avid fly tier. Topher Browne is a fly casting instructor and has guided professionally for trout in the Rockies and Atlantic salmon in Quebec. In 2011, Topher published two books: 100 Best Flies for Atlantic Salmon and Atlantic Salmon Magic – which won a Silver Medal for the Best Sports/Recreation Book of 2012. Topher fishes extensively for Atlantic salmon in Canada, Iceland, Norway and Russia and for steelhead in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and British Columbia. Topher is also a professional fly tier whose flies have appeared in a variety of magazines and books. He currently serves as an ambassador for both Sage and Patagonia. Taught by his grandfather, Aaron Jasper picked up a fly rod at the age of six and has not put it down since. Aaron presently fishes in excess of 200 days a year and says that his greatest accomplishment is making all of his knowledge accessible to the average angler. In 2006, he created the website and forum, www.troutpredator.com, with the goal of bringing exceptional fishing information to the average angler. Aaron has been published dozens of times in national publications such as American Angler and Fly Tyer. And in addition to writing articles he has released three DVDs on various facets of nymph fly fishing.
In Memoriam Frederick W. “Will” Brundick, V, passed away in a tragic accident at his home in Crystal River on
the 15th of February, ten days short of his 33rd birthday. An avid outdoorsman, and as a licensed captain, he was a professional fishing guide on the Nature Coast of Florida chasing the giant tarpon and redfish with his fly rod “Grits.” Will is survived by his best friend, soul mate and wife, Ditte’, whom he met while going to school in Tallahassee. A private memorial service will be in Crystal River. The family’s request that donations be made in the memory of Capt. Will Brundick to the Tarpon DNA Study, 1600 Ken Thompson Pkwy., Sarasota, FL 34336, the Coastal Heritage Museum in Crystal River, or Angels for Allison in Jacksonville. We’ve Lost One of the Greatest Writers This Sport Has Ever Known John Henry Merwin, one of America’s preeminent fishing writers, died at age 66 on Wednesday morning, February 20. He lived near the famous Battenkill River in Dorset, Vt., and died peacefully, surrounded by his family, at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H. Veteran fishing editor for Field & Stream magazine, Merwin caught everything from piranhas in the Amazon to Atlantic salmon in Ireland, where his guide conceded, “You are an elegant fly caster… for an American.” He wrote or edited 15 books on fishing, including Stillwater Trout, the unparalleled The New American Trout Fishing, and bestselling Trailside Guide to Fly Fishing. Born in Norwalk, Conn., on November 9, 1946, to Eleanor Treadwell Merwin and Augustus White Merwin, John grew up with his two younger brothers,
and said, “This is awful.” He was soon working to improve it as managing editor. In 1979, out of his basement, he launched Rod & Reel magazine (now Fly Rod & Reel) to provide content with “a higher level of intelligence.” He followed that up with Fly Tackle Dealer, the industry’s first trade magazine. John divorced and later married Martha Poole, the love of his life, and began a 30-year adventure of camping, fishing, gardening, and raising children together. Martha gave birth to their son, Sam, in 1985.
Thomas and Augustus Jr., in an old millhouse on a Wilton, Conn., family farm, which is now Merwin Meadows Park. John started fishing with his father at age 3 and never stopped. “From the time Dad put a fishing rod in his hand, he was obsessed,” say brothers Tom and Gus. “We all shook our heads; all he cared about was fishing.” After attending the University of Michigan, and becoming a newspaper reporter, he married Angela Pizza in 1970 headed to Vermont to try his hand at living simply. Angela gave birth to a daughter, Emily, in 1974 and a son, Jason, in 1978. John tended cows, pigs, and chickens, and backpacked his young kids to the river to fish. He was a newspaperman, photographer, carpenter, organic farmer, and new father of two. It proved complicated. Merwin cut his own path into the fishing industry (and everywhere else). In the mid-1970s, he picked up an issue of Fly Fisherman magazine
As executive director of the American Museum of Fly Fishing in the mid-1980s, John fished and worked with the legends of American angling, editing The
Compleat McClane, The Compleat Lee Wulff, and The Compleat Schwiebert. In 1994, he wrote The New American Trout Fishing—the rare literary how-to book, linking the refined traditions of flyfishing writing with the modern how-to information age. “He spun tales reminiscent of Robert Traver, Roderick Haig-Brown, and Thomas McGuane, while explaining the sport’s finer points with supreme clarity,” says Kirk Deeter, Field & Stream editor-at-large and editor of Trout magazine. “It is the best modern book on trout fishing, period.” That same year, Merwin began an almost 20-year relationship with Field & Stream magazine, landing the coveted title of fishing editor in continued on next page...
2003, reporting on every facet of the sport with fierce honesty. Gruff, erudite, opinionated, tireless, and constitutionally candid, he was a force on the angling scene, pulling the levers of the industry from a lawn chair in rural Vermont.
well as what you didn’t understand about work and life. “He could be blunt in his assessments, but that was just his New England way of saving time,” says former F&S editor Slaton White. “In truth, he only played the curmudgeon; he was a patient, gentle teacher.”
“John was, quite simply, one of the most knowledgeable and experienced all-around anglers in the world—a genuine expert, but more: He was the standard-bearer of integrity in fishing journalism,” says Anthony Licata, editor of Field & Stream.
“John had the ability to be friend, mentor, and father all in one afternoon of fishing,” says Garden & Gun editor David DiBenedetto. “His influence on a generation of writers and editors, including myself, will be felt for many years.”
On the river, he was an artist and teacher, one who could explain succinctly why your casting stunk, as
John is survived by his wife, Martha; son Jason, daughter-in-law Milena and granddaughter Cassandra (Barnard, Vt.); daughter Emily
(Quincy, Mass.); and son Sam (Brooklyn, N.Y.); as well as his brothers Thomas (New York, NY), and Augustus Jr. (Marlow, N.H.). He was cremated, and his ashes sprinkled along the Battenkill. By John’s request, there was no service. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in his name to your favorite fishing or outdoor cause. The family extends heartfelt thanks to Doctors Sterling and Gentler and staff in the ER and ICU at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington, Vt., and to Doctors Franklin and Merrens and staff at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. at (written by Dave Hurteau)
What a Trout Sees, The View From by (AT editor-at-large) Geoff Mueller (with photos by AT managing editor Coal Creek: Tim Romano, Lyons Press, $24.95, globepequot.com) Reflections on Fly Rods, Canyons, and Bamboo, by Erin
Why I Fly Fish
, by Chris Santella (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, $19.95, abramsbooks.com)
Block (Whitefish Press, $17.50, whitefishpress.com)
Here’s the fundamental question that floats through every trout angler’s mind: “What is really going on under the river surface?” And while many (myself included) have donned the scuba mask and taken a look, then tried to impart some practical fishing advice, I contend that nobody has pulled off the complete lesson with more aplomb and effect than Geoff Mueller does.
I wear my affection for Erin Block’s writing talents on my sleeve. I first took notice of her work when reading her “Mysteries Internal” weblog, and have decided that Erin doesn’t just talk the talk… she walks the walk (as a writer first, then angler). She lives (and fishes) the high country to the fullest, and shares the raw emotions therein with exceptional eloquence.
Chris Santella has done more to tease angler’s fancy on the exotic and exciting “wheres” of this sport than anyone (by way of his Fifty Places to Fly Fish Before You Die, and the Fifty More sequel), but now he’s landed squarely on the “why.” As a regular contributor of flyfishing stories to the New York Times, he’s better positioned to do that than most. The premise of this book, as with all of Santella’s work, is straightforward. He asks a number of people, ranging from familiar angling personalities (like Lefty Kreh) to (other) writers, actors, sports heroes, politicos and business icons, exactly what makes fly fishing special for them. The answers from some may surprise your customers. This book reinforces a common bond that has many of us standing in wild places, waving long sticks at fish. And it’s a natural-born seller for fly shops. at *Excerpted with permission from TROUT magazine. 21
AnglingTrade.com / April 2013
The world is filled with “how-to” books. And some stand the test of time, while others prove to be what they really are—topic-du-jour treatises meant to move paper at a price. But there really is no better angling lesson to be learned than the “Be the Fish” lesson. It will vault anglers up the learning curve faster than any other. Mueller’s writing is crisp and honest, and Tim Romano’s images make the whole thing pop. What a Trout Sees is a flat-out must.
Small streams in the high country and bamboo angling culture are topics best reserved for grizzled old men who brag about wearing the same rubber hip boots they bought in the mid 1970s, right? Well… maybe not. Some of the best writing on the angling “soul” is being produced by a woman who’s younger than those hippers, and willing to bear her feelings with clean, insightful prose in a way that most graybeards haven’t quite figured out.
Next Stop: Unknown An evolving fly-fishing world, according to Oliver White AnglingTrade.com / April 2013
Written by Geoff Mueller
The bus is a packed cherry-red double-decker en route from Buenos Aires to the Ibera Wetlands in northeastern Argentina. Oliver White, all gangly 6-foot-3 of him, is sprawled out to my left. I throw him an elbow on the off chance he might turn over and regale me with stories, ranging from Siberian chopper missions to prehistoric arapaima in the jungles of Guyana. But itâ€™s a no-go. The dude is passed out. I holster my
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voice recorder for the time being and follow suit. We awaken the next morning in the town of Mercedes. Families cruise dusty streets on motorcycles. Small children ride their parents’ laps in shotgun position. The world looks different here. But it’s the anomalies that keep White pining for the next adventure.
AnglingTrade.com / April 2013
By now you’ve likely heard the name. The rakish 33-year-old was profiled in Forbes last year, an article detailing his moves from Jackson fishing guide to Bahamas lodge owner via a chance hookup with hedgefund wizard Bill Ackman. White has become the fly-fishing face of Costa Sunglasses, his lanky silhouette casting tight loops across azure oceanscapes as part of recent ad campaigns. Or you may have caught him on the big screen, wrestling 200+ pound river monsters as a member of the trailblazing crew that brought Guyana conservation efforts to the forefront in the acclaimed film Jungle Fish.
fish. He began guiding to support the habit and upon graduating from UNC he continued the gig, foreshadowing a career he never anticipated. “Guiding was my way to be outside and explore and as soon as I got into the destination travel part of it, I just kept getting sucked back in,” White says. In addition to the emprise, White enjoyed the personal interactions, where he sourced intellectual stimulation from chance meetings with a string of dynamic characters. Being a fishing guide put him on a level playing field with high-caliber clients, allowing him to shoot-the-shit with a CEO of a Fortune 50 company, for instance, just like he’s a normal guy. “Your goal isn’t to get a job or make yourself look better,” White explains. “You want clients to have a good time. You want them to catch fish. And you want to impart some knowledge. It’s one of the few times they are not the expert… and a kid from college is.”
In a short time, White has catapulted onto the scene—a curiosity in a graying world of fly-fishing celebrity. Low-key, downto-earth, and all business, the philosophy-majorcome-globetrotting-lodge-operator fishes more than most. This particular three-week mission started in Patagonia for sea-runs and will end in dorado-laden waters. Upon return, there is scheduled downtime at his home in Boone, North Carolina, followed by a stint in the Bahamas to plan for upcoming seasons in Abaco and South Andros. Venezuela is next on the itinerary. Then surf camp in Costa Rica. The list goes on. At the core of it all is the drive to make an impact and it’s been a journey in the making.
White found himself in a similar scenario in 2003, a college kid with an advanced degree in the sea-run trout of the Rio Grande. The star pupil, of course, was hedgefund manager Bill Ackman, and they hit it off. Ackman had never seen a fish outside an aquarium. White delivered a 20-pound brown into his neophyte hands. Exactly one year later, they were working under the same Manhattan roof—a role reversal that propelled White into the shark-tank. Ackman saw something in the kid. White—with no economic training—hung up waders, shelled out for a suit, and pounced on an Ivy League opportunity.
White started fly-fishing life as shop rat in Boone. He waded his first Bahamas flat at as a teenager and was captivated by clear blue waters and powerful
Today, White has fond memories of fast times in the Big City. As a multi-million-dollar business analyst he picked up a few tricks along during his two-year
immersion. He is adept at crunching numbers and evaluating profit potential, and he’s parlayed those skills into successful operations abroad. Five years later, his outlook on the fly-fishing industry is positive, but also hardened to a degree due to unforeseen elements—from hurricanes to lawsuits to downturns— that can upend margins in a blink. Riding the economic instability of recent times, with many destination entities claiming booking declines of upwards of 30 percent, White is seeing a return to normalcy and a solid annual uptick. The reasons are two-fold: those with the means to book a $5,000 week of bonefishing at Abaco Lodge have been generally less effected when it comes to spending power. The other stems from the fact those who fish— no matter what their bank statements say—continue to feed the impulse. The game, too, is in flux. In a saturated market, weaker businesses have folded and consolidated. And the model for success, according to White, has changed. “The days of being a passionate, great angler making you a lucrative commodity are long gone. The difference is the guys with the passion and aptitude also need to have business savvy. I think you’ll find the players just keep getting stronger and stronger.” This culling of ineptitudes can be seen as a positive across the board, especially in service-based areas of this industry. But if the end goal is to see more sticks in the river and on the poling platform, it’s time for tuneups elsewhere. As someone who still dabbles in the guiding arena, White sees the role as critical in making the sport more attainable.
If guides and shops are critical to demystifying fly fishing, there’s still something to be said for the
“In addition to fly shops and guides the film industry has been a real catalyst,” White says. “The film tours are selling out in all locations and really have reach. It’s fly fishers bringing their friends and it’s new people getting exposed to something they otherwise wouldn’t have seen because it’s cool.” Film is a great vehicle for exposure and White knows the results first-hand. With his face on the billboard, so to speak, he says segueing into a media persona has been daunting, but it’s an important facet in redefining his role as a rod-toting ambassador. “It makes you more conscious of how you want to portray yourself and the message you want to convey,” White says. “I want people to see that fly fishing is fun and that you can do it forever. I’ve guided guys in their 90s and it goes to show that this is a life-long sport. The conservation message is also critical. The answer is to protect these places so they exist beyond us, in perpetuity. “Whether you vote with your dollars or with your feet, whatever you’re capable of committing is important. If all of us carry a little of the load, we can get a lot done.” So far, White is comfortable with hefty freight. He’s currently busy exploring potential business opportunities, including lodges in Mexico and Montana to add to the arsenal. He’s traveling and shooting with Confluence Films this spring. And fishing remains the top priority, adding more miles to a bursting passport mostly because it’s fun, it can be done, and in that lies the ultimate message. at 25
AnglingTrade.com / April 2013
“It’s hard to be a newbie in the sport,” White says, “showing up in Bozeman, walking into a fly shop, and expecting to get the best guide. Those individuals are booked-up well in advance. And often the guy you get stuck with often has no business taking you out. That’s the disservice in the industry—the people that need the most help are getting the wrong help. Try to go fishing in the Keys with Steve Huff. For most, those opportunities just don’t exist.”
mystery or elusive nature of the sport. The adventure travel movement, perhaps, embodies those elements best. We consume exotic on the big screen and are compelled to venture out and experience it. Being part of Jungle Fish allowed White to breathe that potential from two distinct angles—behind the screen as a player in motivating indigenous communities toward fisheries conservation and sustainable economic development. And on the other side of the ticket, selling the adventure lifestyle to a new breed. Film, White says, is a key component in propelling a younger base to back up an ever-aging clientele.
Inside Royal Treatment Fly Fishing photo: Dale La Follette
Making Your Own Tide Rise Royal Treatment Fly Fishing Bucks the Trend
AnglingTrade.com / April 2013
Written by Pinky Gonzales
In the late fall of 2010, Joel La Follette took on a challenge few would deem sensible. He opened a fly shop in the depth of the Great Recession, during a time of tremendous change in the industry and in the face of increasing competition for customers, both online and across town. And yet, â€œafter three Christmases,â€? as he puts it, Royal Treatment Fly Fishing is not only surviving in West Linn, Oregon, it is thriving and helping to raise awareness and appreciation for fly fishing throughout the entire region. continued on next page...
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Because he is famous for his weekly newsletters that cover everything from fishing reports to customer photos, tips on tying and lists of upcoming events, I expected La Follette to gush about his outreach efforts as the source of Royal Treatment’s continuing success when I interviewed him. “It’s quite the opposite,” said Joel. “The fly shop has become a social destination for a lot of people, and the newsletter is just informing them what’s going on this week. We’ve always tried to be a welcoming place. It says ‘Welcome Home’ on the door, and we mean that. So, when people come in and they’re asked, ‘Do you want a cup of coffee?’ (Saturdays we have homemade cookies in here), what’s not to love about that?”
that the future of our sport is based upon new anglers joining and it’s not so much the ‘saving all the secret spots for myself.’” For the “fly-curious,” as we all once were, it can be overwhelming to learn the many new terms, grasp the role and function of each piece of equipment and eventually get to a point where you’re making your own decisions on what to use and where. The shop that gets excited when a newbie walks in the door will be the shop that builds a great reputation with a loyal customer over the long run. To my surprise, La Follette’s philosophy even extends to his direct competition. After personally having had a
“I think we’re all in this business together,” he said. “There are no secrets. Somebody’s figured it out before you. Or maybe you have rediscovered something, but someone else is going to come along and do the same thing. “What we need to do is to work—obviously to promote our businesses as best as possible, but we need to also make sure that the health of other businesses like ours is strong because they’re also creating fly anglers.” They say a rising tide floats all boats. It’s the phenomenon that occurs when a group of people band together to build a whole scene out of a common interest, a community. La Follette reinforces the point by telling the story
La Follette’s approach embodies the true purpose of marketing. It should be an expression of who you already are and what you already do. It’s relatively easy to amplify the good things a business has going on, but those who struggle to keep customers coming back or who sacrifice in-person service for online opportunities are missing the point. I asked Joel to dig a little deeper into the role of communication in building a business from scratch.
AnglingTrade.com / April 2013
“I think that the fly-fishing industry as a whole has gotten an elitist label. It’s important that shops that are really serious about being successful overcome that and try to make their shop and their offerings as userfriendly as possible. “All of us in the industry need to remember that we are making a living doing something we absolutely love, and there are a few people that understand that and pay it back by volunteering their time or sharing in a class session… they also understand 28
disappointing experience at another local establishment recently, I ribbed him for some “off the record” commentary on the “folks across the way.” His response?
of a friend who owns a shop down in Salem, Oregon. “He called me recently and needed something for a customer that was
not available,” he said. “I happened to have it, so we did a trade. He’s happy, I’m happy and his customer is happy. In the end, that’s what’s important—not necessarily making a sale personally, but making sure that the fly-fishing customer is happy no matter where they’re shopping. Maybe it’s a dated philosophy, but I think it’s a philosophy that found a home in simpler times and I think there are people today that gravitate to that.” And how can a modern-day fly shop owner compete with the instantly accessible aftermarket available online or through similar shops selling the same things in a virtual world? “You know, the thing is, if you build a customer base that is loyal to your business, they’re going to come to you. I find that there are going to be people that think price is all there is. Well, that’s fine. One day they will understand, when their little neighborhood fly shop goes away because they didn’t support it, that maybe you were getting some value. I don’t feel ‘in competition’ with the online retailers.” That’s not to say that La Follette is oblivious to the value of a professional web presence. “We’re working on our own online presence, but what we’re trying to do with that is to make it the same experience as when you’re in the shop.”
street address. For someone who finds the site while doing some research or planning a trip to the area, this is a warm and welcoming first impression. Some folks still prefer the phone, and during business hours at least, someone is always on hand to pick up within a ring or two. For those stalkers who prefer to glean their insights from the shadows, the site delivers there, as well. From the always-up-to-date Special Events page to the auto-delivered Current Conditions section. But here’s a pro tip: If you want in on that worldfamous newsletter, be sure to join the list. Archived versions are eventually posted on the site, but for all the latebreaking action, it’s your inbox you’ll want to keep an eye on. Rounding things out are a collection of photographs taken on various rivers in the area organized by place, species and special events. These are features you would expect to find on any quality fly shop website, and yet, it’s amazing how often the simple things get overlooked in the course of everyday business. Royal Treatment isn’t slouching when it comes to social media, either. Boasting nearly 700 local
anglers and an above-average engagement from customers, Royal Treatment’s Facebook page serves as a place to extend the lines of communications between the company and its customers. Like everything else that drives La Follette, when it comes to promoting his business, it simply comes down to sharing the experience. “What I have found throughout my career fishing is that if you have a particular spot that holds fish consistently and you remember the features of those spots or what makes that spot special, you can apply that same intelligence to another river and another time,” he said. What better way to summarize the Royal Treatment approach to customer communication, education and outreach? The shop owner who caters to an ever-learning customer base, uses technology to reinforce who the company is and what it does, and understands that serving the collective whole will result in more customers for everyone will be the one who succeeds—even in a down economy and in the face of stiff competition. For more about Royal Treatment Fly Fishing, visit royaltreatmentflyfishing.com. at 29
AnglingTrade.com / April 2013
That sounds like a pretty sensible approach, but let’s take a look at how that unfolds on their official website, RoyalTreatmentFlyFishing. com. For starters, right smack in the middle of the home page is an invitation to visit the shop in person, complete with a phone number and
Going Beyond the Auction Innovative Fund-Raising Events Can Help Conserve Resources and Bring You Closer to Customers Written by Chris Santella
AnglingTrade.com / April 2013
The Bug Launcher—A Casting Golf Course
I’m frequently asked by my angling friends to attend auctions that help to support the various conservation organizations in my region—WaterWatch, Native Fish Society, Western Rivers Conservancy, the Freshwater Trust, among others. I used to try to attend at least a few each year, spreading around what little largesse I had to spare. More recently, I’ve taken to donating a few books if invited— or making a note to remember said organizations during their end-of-year donation outreach.
Maybe it’s one too many rubbery chicken breasts and half thawed out cheesecakes.
Maybe’s it one too many shadowboxes of elegantly tied steelhead patterns.
Such events even have the potential to be fun!
Maybe it’s too many similar affairs for my kids’ school and soccer teams. Let’s face it: I’m suffering from auction fatigue. And I bet I’m not alone. Still, the conservation organizations that help protect the waters that we rely on for our livelihoods need every dollar they can scare up to keep moving forward. New grass-roots, money-making ideas can inject new interest into fund-raising efforts, and create an event where retailers and guides can rub elbows with clients in a relaxed social atmosphere, building closer ties.
Mike McCoy, a retired school teacher in Glide, Oregon, spends much of his time fishing for and guiding anglers to steelhead on the North Umpqua, which literally runs through his front yard. Looking for a way to give back to the fisheries organizations that are doing good work, he came upon the idea of the Bug Launcher—a fly casting event he’s hosted on his property the past four summers. “Beyond getting someone to write a check for an organization, I think that it’s more important to engage a number of people about our fisheries,” he said. “The only way to have a meaningful impact—to save what we hold dear—is in gathering more people around the fishery.”
BUsiness: www.TU.org/TUe Become a TU Become e n d o rasTU e dendorsed B Usin es s : w ww. T U . o r g /T U e
to fit the course to what they have. You can do it in a park, on a football field; you just have to be able to set up targets.” The first three years of the Bug Launcher, proceeds went to the Native Fish Society. The $800 raised from the 2012 event went to the Wild Steelhead Coalition. “We had about 30 participants this past year,” McCoy added. “I have a finite amount of space, so it can’t get too much bigger, though I could probably accommodate 50 guests. I promoted the Bug Launcher through personal invitations and flyers in local fly shops. My wife and I invested about $200 for the barbecue. I’m happy to make that donation, and the fly-fishing people that come by are fun to be around. I think it’s a positive experience for everyone.”
AnglingTrade.com / April 2013
The Carp Slam One Saturday in July, McCoy sets up a 13 “hole” fly-casting course (this past year with the help of his granddaughter). The hole is a hoop; participants get five casts (with a bit of yarn in lieu of a fly) from three different “tee boxes” at each casting station to hit the target. You are assessed a “stroke” for the number of casts it takes to land the yarn in hoop from each tee. (For example: if you land the yarn in the target on your second cast from the blue tee, on the third cast from the white tee and on the fourth cast from the red tee, your score is 9 for the given hole. If you fail to land any casts in the hoop from a tee, your score is 6.) Some of the holes require back casts through gaps in the brush or presentations that drop below overhanging branches. Some of the holes are anchored in the river; during one Bug Launcher event, a steelhead came up and grabbed a yarn ball that was outside the target! (It seems the participant should’ve been awarded some extra credit.) Guests donate whatever they wish to participate; Mike and his wife Jan keep the grill going with hot dogs and hamburgers and keep the cool32
ers stocked with beer and soda. Prizes— including a rod (donated by TFO) and some original artwork—are awarded to the players with the two lowest scores. “With the river right here, I have a pretty special piece of terrain to work with,” McCoy continued, “though you can do it anywhere. People in other locales have
If you’ve ever been to Denver, you’ve likely seen the South Platte. In its upper stretches, the river is regarded as one of the Front Range’s finest trout streams; in town, it’s historically been treated as a sewer. Despite the abuse it’s received, a handful of local anglers have long known that the South Platte fostered life…
and believed it could get better. “Most Denverites didn’t think of the river as a fishery,” Todd Fehr, treasurer and past president of Denver Trout Unlimited, recalled. “We thought that the right event could help change that perception. When two members, Tim Emory and Fred Miller, suggested a carp-fishing tourney on the South Platte, I thought it was crazy. This was in 2006, very long ago in carp years. Casting flies for carp was an underground sport then. But we didn’t have any other ideas.”
fishery through feature stories in the Denver Post, among other media outlets. Even Mayor (now Governor) Hickenlooper has attended the event, acting as kickoff speaker in 2010.
So the Carp Slam was born.
Put on a Show!
The Carp Slam is a one-day, pro-am tournament held each August along two miles of river in downtown Denver. Fifteen teams (one amateur angler, one guide) fish one of 15 beats; winners are determined by the total number of inches of carp brought to hand. Funds are raised through a combination of entrance fees (each team member must raise a minimum of $250) and sponsorships; lead sponsors, Wells Fargo and Trout’s Fly Fishing, have been involved since the early days. “Getting sponsors is a laudable goal, but it’s tough for a parttime organization like Denver TU,” Fehr continued. “We don’t want to always have our hand out. Will Rice, one of our local carp enthusiasts (and now director of marketing at Trout’s Fly Fishing) came up with the idea of social fund-raising around the event. [Participants get friends/colleagues to donate to support their efforts.] It was a major component of our Carp Slam revenue this year.”
Chances are you know someone in your local fishing community who has a little garage band. Maybe a few people. Why not get a few of these garage bands together and put on a show? (It always worked for Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland.)
By almost any assessment, the Carp Slam has been a huge success. Tourney slots sell out months before the event. In 2012, more than $25,000 was raised to address improvements to the urban sections of the South Platte. Trout’s is selling more carp-fishing gear yearround, thanks to the spotlight shed on the local fishery. And hundreds of thousands of greater Denver residents have been exposed to the river’s possibilities as a
“The Carp Slam helps get more people using the river,” Fehr added. “The more people who use it, the more people will care about it. People need urban places to experience fishing if they’re going to be encouraged to explore further away places. It starts at home.”
That’s exactly what I did last year with angling writer (and sometime drummer) Rick Hafele. We found a music venue in Portland that had a day with no bands booked—enlisted the support of our bandmates (Garry Meziere & Tomorrow for Rick, Catch & Release for me) and made the gig. Guests donated $8 at the door (which all went to Water Watch and Native Fish Society) and bought their own drinks (which made it worthwhile for the bar, which would otherwise have been closed). We promoted the event (“Rock ‘n Roll for Fish and Water”) through our networks of friends and on a few Portland-area, fly-fishing oriented bulletin boards. It was no 12-12-12. But we had about 50 guests and raised $200 for each of the conservation organizations… and got to see some of our fishing friends gather together off the stream. at
Knowing Your Customers One Transaction at a Time Beyond POS and CRM (Point of Sale and Customer Relationship Management) Written by Steve Schweitzer
Do you think you are “Next Gen” customer and sales savvy? Then take this simple five-point test to find out. 1. At my cash-wrap POS, I can: a. Ring up a sale, but sometimes the SKU isn’t in our database or the system says I have no inventory. POS means Piece of S*** to me. b. See my customer’s key dashboard facts at a glance including last purchase and purchase history. c. Walk around my store with my customer and ring up sales as I consult with him/her.
2. My website sales are:
AnglingTrade.com / April 2013
a. Insignificant to my overall sales. b. Growing and/or difficult to manage. c. Integrated into my POS and CRM customer accounts.
3. When new customers purchase from me, I: a. Say thanks and hope they come back. b. Ask them a few questions about their needs, and hopefully remembering to and hope I remember for next time. c. Send out an email or letter welcoming new customers, possibly including a coupon for their next purchase.
4. How social media savvy are you? a. I’m in kindergarten: I may have a Facebook or Twitter account but rarely use it. b. I’m in 6th grade: I have an account and I log in to LOL with friends. c. I’m a high school senior: I have an account and I use it to chat it up with my friends and recruit them into my activities.
5. Mobililty is: a. B eing able to get out of bed in the morning. b. “A” new high-grade gasoline. c. T he new way customers prefer to research and buy.
It’s a simple and obvious test. If you answered A for most all of the questions, you have ample opportunity to develop new sales channels and bolster old ones. If you answered mostly “B”, you are somewhat aware, but maybe scared of the time or cost investment to go to the next level. If you answered mostly “C”, you are a thought leader and early adapter of the Next Gen CRM, which is knowing your customer one transaction at a time. Next Gen CRM & POS Integration Defined Next Gen CRM & POS integration is not about integrating the apps together on a PC at your cash wrap. That was done a decade ago. Next Gen CRM/POS is about going to the customer, where the
greater cash flow. One of the most critical attributes to know about a customer is how likely they will be to advertise for you via word of mouth? In other words, how can you track your customer’s happiness quotient when he’s (she’s) not shopping in your store? Before social media tracking this was difficult; today it is easier. Simply integrate a healthy social media campaign that continually solicits feedback from your customers.
customer wants to buy and when the customer wants to buy. It’s about using social media to capture customer habits. It’s about using your web sales channel as a virtual cash wrap. It’s about following around new customers (virtually speaking) like you are their shadow. In the 80’s and 90’s CRM was a buzzword that inflicted sores on shop owners like a cheap saddle on a trail mule. Today, CRM isn’t just an app that integrates with your POS, it’s a much larger animal that requires integration of many outside and often free sources that capture customer attributes and habits. Social media channels and mobile devices are at the forefront of the Next Gen CRM mindset.
Example: Let’s say you just ran a shop promotion that discounted last year’s inventory to make way for new inventory purchases this year. It was a smashing success. You had the store packed each day and most old inventory was cleared out making way for new. But we all know that customers are not loyal, and are fickle at best. Did the customers walk away telling their friends they got a steal of a deal or did they walk out saying that’s a great fly shop?
Let’s look at three different ways Next Gen CRM can help your fly shop compete in today’s fast-paced consumer-driven world. 1. Integration of POS, Web Sales, Loyalty Programs, Communications Plans is really a commoditized product within a good POS system today. If you don’t have a current POS/ CRM system, consider upgrading before moving onto the next steps. Leading-edge CRM systems consider the implications of social media such as Twitter and Facebook. 2. Social CRM—Social Media as a CRM tool Where POS is all about tracking sales and inventory, CRM is all about tracking customers’ habits and the cash flow they provide you. A happy customer equals more wordof-mouth advertising , which equals
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AnglingTrade.com / April 2013
The first step to becoming Next Gen CRM savvy is to lay a core foundation capable of supporting future, more advanced ways of capturing and keeping customers. This means ensuring all your sales channels feed your POS consistently and near real-time. Web sales should integrate into your POS. Administration of sales, discounts, coupons and loyalty programs should all be centralized in your POS. The acid test is if you can see all-things-sales about your customer base in one system, then you are on the right track. Now, this all assumes that your POS has CRM capabilities built within, as most do today—CRM
Measuring the customer happiness quotient is easier with social media, and less invasive than going directly to the customer with a mostly ineffective and time-eating follow-up phone call or email blast. Post something on your Twitter and Facebook accounts soliciting feedback about your recent big sales bash. Monitor the comments. If you have captured the Twitter and Facebook accounts of your customers, or have “friended” them, there are plenty of free or near-free web-based apps to monitor keywords across your friend base looking for comments about your shop, sale, event, etc. It’s like being their shadow, even at night. You’ll quickly be able to monitor if your customers are providing you word-of-mouth gold or grit.
• Blogs are important; but take work. An outdated blog is like an expired coupon – worthless. 3. Mobility – The Way Customers See It
Social CRM for Fly Shops • Don’t waste your money with Groupon or LivingSocial. Giving away margin at the expense of volume isn’t a sound principle.
• Receipts should have website, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter contacts printed on them.
How many times have you seen a customer on their smart phone checking prices on a product you carry? I admit I am one of them. Online stores have changed the face of customer relationships, even right in your shop as they peruse your inventory. Information is power. A customer can click on a smart phone, scan a barcode and know more about the products you are selling than you do. Exceptionally agile customer service is the willingness to learn what information is out there and committing it to memory, or at least knowing quickly how to retrieve it on your customer’s behalf.
• Use Facebook and Twitter as instant consumer feedback channels.
If you only take one thing away from this article, note this: the
Pictured: Key West Permit. Reel in hand: Nautilus NV G-9. Photo by Sam Root 2010.
MADE FOR THE SEAS. NOT OVERSEAS.
smart phone is the new face of engagement: Forrester Research published a study in 2012 that predicted there will be one billion smart phones worldwide by 2016— in the US alone, 257 million smart phones and 126 million tablets. Having a retail operation that supports mobility requires some planning upfront. Mobility requires: • A wireless backbone in your shop; necessary for the next two items. • Can your POS be ported over to a mobile device or tablet? Can you follow your customer around the store, ringing up sales and doing research for him/her? • Storage and transactions become cloud-based. You can retrieve your store results anytime, anywhere. Seven Parting Thoughts 1. Have a system… it doesn’t have to be fancy. Keep track of your customer’s buying habits— knowing what and when he/she buys, and how (what method he/ she prefers). 2. Develop analytics that mean something. Analytics capabilities don’t add value. It’s the actual analyses that deliver the value. Take the time to study and know your data. Define customer segments on value, not on the antiquated income level or age slicers. Bucketize customers based on these value buckets using your own value parameters: Premier, Preferred, Potential, Core, Basic, Infrequent. Build a strategy to migrate each bucket of customers to the next higher level up; don’t try to migrate all customers all the time. 3. Define customers based upon their progress to repetitive loyalty (traditional marketing funnel). What stage is each of your customers in: Awareness > Consider > Purchase >Usage >Loyalty?
4. Build a relationships plan for #3. Reach out to the customer when the customer typically won’t stop in or buy—give them reason to stop in. This means you must have the customer’s contact info: address, phone number, email address, twitter account, Facebook account, etc. 5. Develop a predictive engine from your collective POS and CRM data. With just a year’s worth of POS and basic CRM data (ensuring you cover a full seasonal cycle) you have all that you need to build predictions on how your customers will behave in the future. 6. Use Social CRM: Monitor and continuously deepen the relationship; customer loyalty is developed based upon how well you respond to your customer’s needs
and how well you can predict their needs in the future (goes beyond suggestive selling). 7. Build a baseline: So you think you deliver good customer service… have you asked your customers? Survey them. Know where you are and what you need to strengthen. Yes, this all takes work – and lots of it. Successful retailers invest the time and the effort employing many of the tactics above. The result is knowing your customer one transaction at a time and building a loyal following along the way. Besides being chief gumshoe for AT, author Steve Schweitzer is a process management consultant, where he learns of corporate challenges and translates them into lessons for the fly-fishing industry. at
to criminal trespass offense on public waters that flow through private property—with the exception of anchor-free floating.
Utah Will Set a Precedent Rallying for progressive public access across the nation Written by Geoff Mueller
AnglingTrade.com / April 2013
Stream access. It’s something we harp on a lot around here. And with good reason. When rights to public waters come under fire, the effects ripple through the whole sphere. Shrinking public access kills recreational opportunity, strips away community, stresses bottom lines and, more than anything, offers a great reason to fight. The public access battleground is far reaching, but as of late, it continues to come back to Utah. Earlier this year the Utah Stream Access Coalition (USAC) made us aware of HB68, a backdoor attempt by Rep. Kay L. McIff to entrench a preexisting bill aimed at barring public access to more than 400 rivers and waterways in the state. The USAC has been busy challenging HB141 via two separate court cases. Should HB68 have passed, those lawsuits would have died, making fly fishers, such as you and I, susceptible 38
Moreover, should Utah legislators adopt a worst-case scenario mindset, it opens the doors for other states to follow. (Similar public access-prohibitive legislation is already on the table in South Dakota, for instance.) On Friday Feb. 15, however, it was good news streaming from the Hill, with more than 200 fly fishers stepping up to rally for the access cause. HB68 was withdrawn and the USAC’s compromise bill is finding traction in the form of sponsorship by Rep. Dixon Pitcher, introducing legislation modeled after Idaho measures that allow anglers to access navigable public streams. While penning this article, USAC board member Chris Barkey called me from his home to lay it out. Having just returned from Capitol Hill, huddling with legislators behind closed doors, and after cracking a beer and taking a second to decompress, he relayed that HB68 was at the time stuck in rules committee.
fortunate to have a passionate group like USAC fighting the good fight. But on a national level there’s much more that could be done to secure waters for future generations of anglers. Next door in the climbing world, where good crags remain hot commodities across the country, the Access Fund was formed in 1991. Building on strength in numbers, the national advocacy organization represents more than 2.3 million climbers nationwide, with a mission to keep climbing areas open and conserve the climbing environment. The fund takes a multipronged approach, providing guidance, education, and resources to local groups. In special circumstances, it’s also in the business of acquiring and holding property on behalf of the climbing community. These are all novel ideas, highly applicable to the greater flyfishing community. The Access Fund has been successful in implementing them. And it’s a model worth exploring.
“Compromise,” Barkey added, “is the power word at the moment, but politicians are sneaky so we will have to continue to monitor the situation daily.”
In the past, our greatest national conservation engine, Trout Unlimited, has been notoriously non-vocal on the public access front. Lately TU has come around, advocating for increased funding for programs that purchase voluntary easements and access to land from willing sellers. It’s a small part of a sweeping overall mission that ranges from Pebble Mine to fighting environmentally damaging drilling interests in the country’s hinterlands. All highly worthy opponents and appreciative efforts but Access Unlimited, TU is not.
Across the country, public access law varies starkly from state to state. If only we all could live and fish in Montana, life would be good. But many of us don’t. We fish states such as Colorado, Wyoming, and Pennsylvania, for example, where access to rivers is at a premium and heavily favored toward private interests that hold the keys to the locks. Utah anglers are
Consider this: If states such as Utah—not out of the woods yet— fall, it sets a far-reaching precedent. Banding together as an industry and a community of access leaders and advocates means more muscle to deliver knockout punches when and where needed. Consolidate the already effective fragments. Bolster the base. It’s our best play moving forward. at
“McIff is passing out a ‘white paper’ to legislators to try and explain himself but word is it is finding little support,” he said. “We hope to continue to peel away the onion layers from McIff ’s weak if not dishonest legislation from this year and HB141 from 2010.”
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