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the buzz on the flyfishing biz




Shops Rule Consumer Opinions/ Hot Retailers in a Cold Market/ Beyond Fly Shop 101/ Mentors Matter/ Hardy Aims High/ Good Books

the buzz on the flyfishing biz







Kirk Deeter Managing Editor

18 Competing in a Slow

Economy Over 1,300 flyfishing consumers indicate their preferences for finding information and buying product, and believe it or not, the fly shop is still the key… here’s the data and what it can mean to you. By Steve Schweitzer

22 Hot Dealers in a Cold

Market Find the fly shops that are

weathering tough economic times, and you’ll learn that they all share these 10 business habits in common. By Tom Keer

6 Editor’s Column “Dancing with them That Brung You.” Are we in this together? Or is it every company for itself? One thing is certain… you’ll never have better customers and business partners than the ones working with you now. By Kirk Deeter

8 Currents AFFTA lures dealers to FFR... A second coming of the movie... A new travel network opportunity… A dealer protection program, and more news from the North American flyfishing industry.

26 Recommended Reading Charlie Craven’s Basic Fly Tying Tying can buoy sales… this book is a concise primer from one of the best innovators around. And Miles Nolte’s Alaska Chronicles is an insider’s account of working rivers north.

30 Advanced Shop Class Last issue was the “Teaching” issue… now it’s time to start thinking beyond “101” level courses to strengthen the profit connection with customers.

28 Reflections on a Mentor Gary LaFontaine’s willingness to mentor this young writer (among many) is still paying dividends, long after his passing. Who will you take under your wing? By Greg Thomas

By Joe Cermele

Tim Romano Editor-at-Large

Charlie Meyers Art Director

Tara Brouwer Copy Editors

Mabon Childs, Sarah Warner Contributing Editors

Tom Bie Ben Romans Andrew Steketee Greg Thomas Contributors

Joe Cermele, Tom Keer, Brian McClintock, Ben Romans, Steve Schweitzer, Greg Thomas 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. Printed in the U.S.A.

36 Backcast Reach out and touch your customers. Contact is key… and you must take the initiative. Three shop owners explain why.

34 Hardy Jumps the Pond  

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

3 / June 2009

Britain’s most iconic brand is making waves again in the United States, this time fueled in large part by its Grey’s product line. By Kirk Deeter

By Charlie Meyers

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

And in this corner…the all-new, long-distance, rocket-launching, wind-cheating, fly-by-wire, laser-guided Champion of the World. Hail Mary to the no-way bait ball beyond the break? Hitch up

TCX SERIES your pants, rear back and…BOOM! Big brown with a PhD in

Nice Try sipping midges on the far bank across two seams and

an eddy line? BAM! Longshot permit way out past the edge of reason? POW! How you like me now? Fear no wind. Fire when guides say wait. Tighten your loops, all hands on deck, look alive. The water is wide—go long or go home. Casting magic from the guru of graphite. Built by Sage. Feel the love.

© 2009 All rights reserved.


Joe Cermele

Joe Cermele is the associate online editor for Field & Stream. Though desk-bound in NYC during the week, his mind lives on beaches and rivers throughout the Northeast. On the upside, he gets to indulge in the finest liverwurst and onion sandwiches in NYC, and you can find him at noon most days at the Times Square Deli (Madison and 33rd).

Tom Keer

Tom Keer is the guy we turn to when we need a frank story on a hot issue‌ candor is not an issue for Tom. He has worked in several sections of the flyfishing industry for nearly 20 years. He’s now a full-time freelance writer who digs clams and picks oysters when he’s not writing, fishing, or hunting.

Brian McClintock

Brian McClintock is communiations manager for the Thodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, and Angling Trade’s Beltway insider. He brings us a report on AFFTA’s Congressional Casting Call, held last April on the Potomac.

Ben Romans is another Angling Trade contributing editor. We’ve received more positive feedback on Ben’s smackdown article on public access vs. mutant pigs in private water (Dec. 2008 Access Issue), than anything else we’ve run to date.

Steve Schweitzer

Steve Schweitzer is the former vice president of sales and marketing for Whiting Farms, and has been in the flyfishing business in some role or another for the past 15 years. His writing work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Trout, Fly Fisherman, and over a dozen books on fly fishing and tying.

Angler’s Accessories proves again and again that high quality fly fishing accessories don’t have to be expensive to be great! Call, fax or email for our full-color 2009 catalog.

Greg Thomas

15353 E. Hinsdale Circle, Unit F, Centennial, CO 80112  $$+ ,-- .  $$+ ,- / June 2009

Greg Thomas is the managing editor for Fly Rod & Reel, and a contributing editor for Angling Trade. His work in flyfishing has been prolific— from books, to magazine, newspaper, and online articles. We found his eloquent essay on mentor Gary LaFontaine to be especially thought-provoking.

Angler’s Accessories does NOT carry firearms.

Ben Romans



I had dinner with my guide friend Tad Howard not long ago, and the conversation centered on

the tough economy, and the challenges of making a living in flyfishing these days. / June 2009

+WV[]UMZÆaÅ[PQVOUMLQIPI[LWVMITW\\WJZQVOVM_ anglers to  the  dance  and  keep  them  there.    Now,  the   knee-jerk  reaction  for  many  companies  is  to  cut  costs  by   cutting  ads.    No  ads,  no  pages  in  magazines.    No  websites  either,  other  than  amateur  ones.  No  pro  media,  no   pro  information.    No  pro  information,  no  anglers.    It’s  a   lose-lose  cycle. There  will  be  more  attrition.    I’ve  heard  manufacturers  say  things  like  there  are  too  many  magazines  now,   and  the  world  would  be  simpler  and  better  without   some.    I’ve  also  heard  some  say—and  I  think  in  some   “The  one  thing  you  have  to  remember  is  that  the  customers   cases  their  actions  speak  louder  than  words—that   you  have  now  are  the  best  ones  you’ll  ever  have,”  he  said. there  are  too  many  retailers,  and  a  culling  of  the   herd  is  in  order. How  true. <PI\¼[ÅVM1\UIaJM\Z]M1\PQVSPW_M^MZ\PM[IUM I’d  expand  that  reasoning  to  include  the  business  partherd-culling  logic  applies  to  some  manufacturers.   ners  who  are  working  with  you  now  are  the  best  you’ll   ever  have.    The  banker  who  approves  a  loan  now…  the   There  are  hundreds  of  product  manufacturers  in  the   manufacturers  who  deliver  on  their  promises  now…  the   ÆaÅ[PQVO_WZTL5IVaUISQVOOWWL[\]NN5IVa_Q\P retailer  who’s  moving  your  products  now…  the  company   great  ideas.    Some  of  them  care  about  the  viability  of   that  backs  a  warranty  now…  the  employee  who  is  putting   the  specialty  retailer.    From  others,  I  see  a  lot  of  smoke   in  the  extra  effort  now…  the  accounts  receivable  person   IVL^MZaTQ\\TMÅZM?PMV\PMKPQX[IZMLW_VI[\PMa who  cuts  you  some  slack  now…  the  person  who  pays  his   are  now),  some  manufacturers  are  going  to  leave  retailor  her  bills  on  time  now… ers  holding  the  bag.    It’s  that  old  80-20  rule,  where  80   Those  are  the  people  who  matter  most.    If  and  when  the   percent  of  the  heavy  lifting  gets  done  by  20  percent  of   market  worm  turns,  their  efforts  and  loyalty  should  be   the  companies. rewarded.    I,  for  one,  am  keeping  tabs. You  know  who  brung  you  to  the  dance.    It’s  pretty  easy  to   One  of  my  favorite  singer-songwriters,  Stacey  Earle,  resee  who’s  in  it  for  the  long  haul  with  the  specialty  retailers   corded  a  song  some  years  ago  titled  “Dancin’  With  Them   and  who  isn’t. That  Brung  Me.”    Her  point  is,  she  believes  as  a  country   girl  matter  of  principle,  in  dancin’  with  the  fella  that   For  the  record,  Angling  Trade  is.     brought  her  to  the  ball.   We’ve  hitched  our  wagon  to  the  notion  that  this  market   1\PQVS\PI\VW_M[XMKQITTaM^MZaWVMQV\PQ[ÆaÅ[PQVO will  live,  thrive  and/or  die  by  the  fate  of  the  specialty   industry  needs  to  reach  out  and  keep  dancin’  with  them   retailer.    That’s  what  we’re  all  about. that  brung  ‘em. That’s  also  why  this  is  “The  Fly  Shop  Issue.”    Not  a  lot  of   I’m  talking,  foremost,  about  the  specialty  retailer.  The   promo-speak  in  here.    Instead  we  loaded  it  with  hard  data   manufacturers  that  rode  through  the  boom  in  the  90’s   and  case  histories  on  what  successful  shops  are  doing  to   VMML\WZMUMUJMZ\PI\\PW[M_PW¹JZ]VO»MUº\PMXZWÅ\ survive.    Because  that’s  what  you  wanted.     WXXWZ\]VQ\QM[_MZM\PMÆa[PWXXMWXTM5IVaWN \PMULW 1PWXMaW]ÅVL\PQ[Q[[]MPMTXN]TIVL1TWWSNWZ_IZL\W Likewise,  I  think  the  shop  owners  should  embrace  the   your  comments.   at brands  that  helped  build  their  businesses,  and  also  realize   “them  that  brung  you”  the  money  you  made  in  better   -  Kirk  Deeter,  Editor   times,  in  many  cases,  were  reps  and  guides. 6


Why You Need to Come to FFR… This Year Especially

fortune to  extend  your  business  travel   Ja\_WLIa[<PQVSWN Q\Å[PQVOQV Colorado  during  the  prime  time  of  the   year  on  pristine  waters  on  the  cheap.     AW]OM\PMZMIVL\PMUIaÆQM[IVL\PM trout,  will  be  waiting. / June 2009

?PI\_QTT)..<)LWJa_IaWN Å[PQVO food, and  lodging  on  September  8th?   Get  yourself  to  Elevenmile  Canyon.   Elevenmile  is  one  of  the  hottest  places   \WÅ[PWV\PM;W]\P8TI\\M:Q^MZIVL September  is  possibly  one  of  the  best   months  to  be  there,  this  is  where  the   blue-winged  olives  come  to  play.  Or   bring  a  few  hoppers  too.  

Take advantage  of  this.    If  not  yourself,   someone  who  represents  you  should  be   QV,MV^MZNWZ..:IVL\PMÅ[PQVO ?MVMML\WJM\ITSQVO\WMIKPW\PMZ1N  you’re  not  sure  why,  go  back  and  read   my  column  again.)   5W[\QUXWZ\IV\Ta_M[PW]TLJMÅ[Ping  together.     This  is  the  chance.    Take  advantage  of  it. -KD

Bob White  to   Exhibit  in   If  you  want  to  kick  it  up  a  notch,  you’re   Denver _MTWUM\WÅ[PXZQ^I\M_I\MZWV\PM6WZ\P Orvis   How  about  a  worTLKTI[[_M[\MZVÅ[PQVO Fork  at  seriously  reduced  access  rates.     Cherry   trip  on  the  cheap? Creek   We  have  set  up  a  super-budget  lodging   Sure,  there  are  always  business  reasons   option  at  Camp  Alexander  Boy  Scout   +WTWZILW_QTT[XWV[WZIVM`PQJQto  attend  the  trade  show.    If  ever  there   tion  of  sporting  art  by  Bob  White,  a   :IVKP7ZaW]KIV\ISMIL^IV\IOMWN  were  a  year  to  tune  into  the  trends  and   other  reduced  rates  to  stay  at  a  local   VI\QWVITTaSVW_V[XWZ\QVOIZ\Q[\IVL the  scuttlebutt…  to  voice  your  concerns   B&B  right  on  the  river.    Fish  till  you   AT  contributor),  who  was  recently   and  opinions  in  person…  to  affect  some   can’t  cast  anymore,  and  then  you  can   inducted  into  the  Fresh  Water  Fishpositive  change  on  your  business…  and   chill  out  with  kindred  spirits,  or  head  off   ing  Hall  of  Fame  for  his  work.  The   to  put  inside  information  to  your  advan- \W?WWLTIVL8IZS_PMZM\PM+Za[\WTI event  will  be  held  on  July  3rd,  4th,   tage…  well,  this  is  it. Bar  and  Grill  will  be  anxiously  awaitIVL\PNZWU)5\W85I\\PM ing  your  arrival.    There  will  be  a  band   But  there’s  another  reason.    It’s  why   Orvis  Cherry  Creek  Store.   O rigiwe’re  all  involved  in  this  craziness  in  the   to  serenade  you  while  you  buy  cheap   nal  oil  paintings,  watercolors   a nd   beer  and  burgers.    Depending  on  how   ÅZ[\XTIKM1\¼[ITTIJW]\\PMÅ[PQVO pencil  renderings,  as  well   a s   l imited   much  you  drink  and  eat,  you’ll  shell  out   If  you  want  to  get  after  some  prime  time   IJW]\ J]KS[0WXMN]TTaaW]_WV¼\ edition  prints,  and  stationery   w ill   be  on  display  and  available   for   p urÅ[PQVOQV\PM:WKSQM[IVLI\\PM[IUM drink  too  much,  as  you  still  have  a  bit   chase.  A  free  pencil  remarque   a nd   time  share  the  experience  and  some  in- of  a  drive  after  leaving  the  bar.)    Then,   sights  with  other  dealers  from  around  the   back  to  the  Camp  Alexander  Boy  Scout   shipping  is  included  with   the   p urcountry,  here’s  your  chance.    And  if  cost   :IVKPNWZTWLOQVOAW]ZÅ[PQVOIVL chase  of  any  limited  edition   p rint.     is  a  concern,  you’re  out  of  excuses. lodging  on  the  8th  and    3  “squares”  on   Call  303-355-4554  for  information. Wednesday  the  9th  could  cost  you  less   7V?MLVM[LIa;MX\MUJMZ!\P\PM The  Second   than  $40  total. LIaJMNWZM\PM.Ta.Q[PQVO:M\IQTMZ Coming?   AFFTA  and  Angling  Trade  will  be  coor- Where  else  are  you  going  to  get  a   Sony  is  releasLQVI\QVOIVQVKZMLQJTMÅ[PQVOWXXWZ\]- Å[PQVO\ZQXQV+WTWZILWNWZTM[[\PIVI ing  A  River  Runs   nity,  just  for  retailers. couple  hundred  bucks?    Also,  consider   Through  It  on   )..<)Q[WNNMZQVOIVWXXWZ\]VQ\a\WÅ[P this:  Thursday,  September  10th  is  the   Blu-ray  this   miles  of  prime  public  and  private  water.     NZMM1VL][\Za*ZMISNI[\I\..:7V summer.    The   Thursday  the  10th,  AFFTA  has  a  proThey’re  recruiting  local  ambassadors   company  has   to  point  you  in  the  right  direction.    And   fessional  development  speaker  talking   produced  all  new   about  “  Keeping  your  Business  Healthy   AFFTA  is  subsidizing  the  whole  effort   features  on  the  disc  including  new   to  keep  things  affordable.    From  lodging   in  this  Turbulent  Economy.”    Lunch  is   QV\MZ^QM_[_Q\P:WJMZ\:MLNWZLIVL to  river  access  to  entertainment…  it’s  all   included  at  these  educational  seminars.     even  some  special  “Fly  Fishing  101”   part  of  the  deal.   AFFTA  has  gone  above  and  beyond   pieces.    The  package  will  include  a   \WQVKMV\aW]\W^Q[Q\<PMÅ[PQVO_QTT 32-page  collectible  book  and  will  hit   If  you  follow  AFFTA’s  simple  travel   guide,  you  won’t  need  to  spend  a  small   be  great.   stores  on  July  28.   8

ZMVIUML2QU:IVOM6I\QWVIT+I[\QVO Call is  the  venue  where  the  National  Fish   0IJQ\I\)K\QWV8TIVIVVW]VKM[Q\[ Waters  to  Watch  and  there  are  awards   to  honor  conservation  work  within  the   ÆaÅ[PQVOKWUU]VQ\a\PM)UMZQKIVIVL hickory  shad  runs  are  the  main  event.   <PMZM\]ZVWN \PM[MÅ[PZ]V[_PQKP_MV\ ¹<PQ[Q[I^MZaLQNÅK]T\LMKQ[QWVNWZ NZWUP]OMV]UJMZ[QV\PM [WN Å[P all  of  us  here  at  G.Loomis,  especially   to  a  non-existent  population  in  1970s  to   since  making  custome  rod  blands  for   IZM[]ZOMVKMQV\PM8W\WUIK:Q^MZ\WLIa steelhead  anglers  was  how  we  got  our   is  one  of  the  nation’s  great  conservation   [\IZ\I[IÅ[PQVO\IKSTMKWUXIVaJIKSQV []KKM[[[\WZQM[5IVaÅ[P_MZMKI]OP\WV the  ‘80s,”  Holt  said.    “While  we  realize   the  Monday  event,  but  also  at  the  day’s   there’s  an  avid  following  among  custom   precursor,  the  Family  and  Youth  Castrod  makers  for  our  blanks,  the  growth   ing  Call,  which  saw  record  numbers  of   we’ve  experienced  on  a  worldwide  basis   attendance  this  year,  with  crowds  topping   \WTMIZVPW_\WÆaÅ[P\QMÆQM[IVL NWZW]ZÅVQ[PMLZWL[¸IVLM[XMKQITTa W]ZÆaZWL[_Q\PJW\PÆa\IKSTMLMITMZ[ experience  the  outdoors. in  the  U.S.  and  abroad—makes  this  the   -Brian  McClintock right  decision  and  direction  for  our  busiReminder:  Take  the  “Clean  Anness  success  in  the  future.   gling  Pledge”   AFFTA  Hosts  a  Somber     You  can  do  so  by  logging  on  to  www. Casting  Call,  and  make  an  effort   \PQ[[MI[WV\WQVNWZUÅ[PQVOKWUpanions  of  the  importance  of  being   Loomis  Ends  Custom     Blank  Production G.Loomis  has  decided  to  exit  custom   rod  blanks  production  by  the  end  of   2009,  according  to  company  executive   director  Bruce  Holt.

The National  Casting  Call  has  become   an  establishment  in  Washington,  D.C.   )LIa_PMZM\PMÆaÅ[PQVOQVL][\Za conservation  organizations,  and  politicians  gather  to  celebrate  the  good  work   that  anglers  do  to  preserve  our  nation’s   Å[PMZQM[0W[\MLJa\PM)UMZQKIV.Ta Fishing  Trade  Association  on  April  27,   the  Casting  Call  took  on  a  memorial   tone  this  year,  as  it  was  renamed  in  honor   WN 2QU:IVOM:IVOM)..<)¼[TMOQ[TItive  representative  and  co-founder  of  the   <PMWLWZM:WW[M^MT\+WV[MZ^I\QWV8IZ\nership,  was  instrumental  in  starting  the   ÅZ[\+I[\QVO+ITTaMIZ[IOW\W[PW_ D.C.  politicos  the  role  that  anglers  play   not  only  in  the  conservation  of  our  natural  resources,  but  also  to  the  economy. The  weather  at  this  year’s  casting  call  was   vastly  improved  from  the  previous  years,   which  led  to  more  boats  on  the  water   and  more  shad  caught.  While  the  newly  

^QOQTIV\<PM+TMIV)VOTQVO8TMLOMIVL links for  more  information  about  aquatic   nuisance  species  can  be  found  on  simmsÅ[PQVOKWU]VLMZ\PM¹:M[W]ZKM[º\IJ Great  Bay  Chimes  in  with  “Dealer   Protection  Program” In  response  to  a  note  from  Bill  Leuchten  of   .ZWV\:IVOM)VOTMZ[QV*W]TLMZ+WTWZILW regarding  manufacturers  selling  direct  via   websites,  Angling  Trade  received  a  number   WN MVMZOQbMLZM[XWV[M[8MZPIX[UW[\ interesting  was  a  note  from  David  Gibson   WN 6M_0IUX[PQZMJI[ML/ZMI\*Ia:WL Co.,  who  enlightened  us  on  his  company’s   ¹,MITMZ8ZW\MK\QWV8ZWOZIUº Here’s  the  deal  in  a  nutshell.    If  a  dealer   KIZZQM[/ZMI\*IaZWL[_PQKPIZMITT=; made,  and  retail  at  $330  on  average),  and   a  consumer  within  a  60-mile  radius  of  that   shop  purchases  a  Great  Bay  rod  online,  the   dealer  is  still  given  full  shop  margin  on  that   sale.    It’s  that  simple.  To  learn  more  about   the  product  and  the  program,  see continued on next page...


The Product Buzz Clackacraft  Fly  Pod / June 2009

Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s  not  often   that  someone   hands  you  a   piece  of  gear   and  asks  â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;what   would  you  do   different?â&#x20AC;&#x2122;  But   thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s  exactly   what  Clackacraft  did  when   \PMaI[SMLI]\PWZW]\Ă&#x2026;\\MZIVL;TQLM Inn  lodge  owner  Kelly  Galloup  for  his   QVX]\<PMZM[]T\"\PM.Ta8WL

â&#x20AC;&#x153;We  moved  the  front  and  back  seats   a  little  closer  to  the  bow  and  stern,â&#x20AC;?   Galloup  says.  â&#x20AC;&#x153;It  helps  spread  the   weight  of  the  boat  out  a  little  more   and  puts  more  distance  between  two   casters  so  there  are  fewer  mid-air   tangles.  We  also  changed  the  standing   braces  so  they  reach  a  little  higher  on   the  leg  rather  than  just  at  the  knees  so   anglers  can  feel  more  stable.â&#x20AC;? Gone  is  the  rowerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s  bench  locker.   Instead,  there  are  two  parallel  storage   TWKSMZ[_Q\PMVW]OPZWWUNWZ8.,[ boxes,  or  even  two-piece  rod  tubes.   Clackacraft  even  offers  options  like   rod  racks  and  under-the-seat  coolers   to  capitalize  on  space.

KITTaZMILa\WĂ&#x2026;[PNZWU\PM_WZLOW For  more  information  visit  Clacka. KWUWZKITT ! ¸*MV:WUIV[ Various  Products  from     Dry  Fly  Distilling Whiskey,   vodka,   and  gin,   d istilled   i n   Spokane,  Washington,     N ot  a  gimmick.  Tastes   g ood.     Try  it  yourself.     Enough   s aid.       ,ZaĂ&#x2020;aLQ[\QTTQVOKWU

DriGrip  Fishermanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s     Formula  Sunscreen This  is  a  fragrance-free   What  makes  the  side  lockers  even  more   ;8.[]V[KZMMV\PI\ â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve  been  friends  with  Kelly  for  a   unique  is  they  are  strong  enough,  and   can  be  safely  applied   long  time,  and  he  has  the  16-foot  hull,   low  enough,  to  support  the  weight  of   JMNWZMIVLL]ZQVOĂ&#x2026;[PQVO but  he  always  had  some  thoughts  on  the   a  full-grown  man.  In  the  past,  gear,   _Q\PVWMNNMK\WVĂ&#x2020;QM[WZ storage  issueâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;that  there  wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t  enough   coolers,  and  other  boat  elements  made   IĂ&#x2020;aTQVM<PQ[PaXWIT[\WZIOMNWZO]QLM[Âş+TIKSIKZIN\8ZM[Qit  tough  to  move  around,  but  now  itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s   TMZOMVQKXW_LMZLZa;8. dent  Bruce  Belles  says.  â&#x20AC;&#x153;He  mentioned   simple  and  safe.  They  make  it  easier   30  sunscreen  provides   that  when  he  guided  in  Michigan  he   to  get  in  and  out  of  the  boat,  or  swap   the  necessary  protection   had  an  aluminum  boat  custom  built   seats  when  two  anglers  have  a  midfrom   e xtreme   sun  exposure  without   with  his  ideas  in  mind  and  he  loved   ZQ^MZ+PQVM[MĂ&#x2026;ZMLZQTT)VL\PMaNZMM[ the  greasy  residue  of  typical  sunscreen   it.  So  I  asked  him  to  take  one  of  our   up  space  so  whoever  is  at  the  oars  has   model  boats  that  we  use  for  promotions   UWZMZWWU\WTMIVW^MZIVLVM\Ă&#x2026;[PWZ products.  Its  unique  powder  base   and  design  the  boat  he  had  in  mind.   KWUXTM\MIVaW\PMZWV\PMĂ&#x2020;a\I[S[VW dries  quickly  so  it  will  not  transfer   any  greasy  residue  to  hands  and  skin.   With  the  model  boat,  some  pieces  of   pun  intended). ;QVKMQ\OWM[WVLZaaW]ÂźTTĂ&#x2026;VLMaM balsa  wood,  some  popsicle  sticks,  and   â&#x20AC;&#x153;One  of  his  basic  complaints  we   irritation  is  virtually  eliminated  We   some  glue  he  went  to  workâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and  a   heard  was  clients  showing  up  over\M[\MLQ\WV\PMĂ&#x2020;I\[IVLI\IT\Q\]LM#Q\ month  later  the  boat  showed  up  in  our   packed  with  rod  tubes  and  gear,  and   works.  See WNĂ&#x2026;KM1TWWSMLI\Q\IVL[IQLÂť\PQ[TWWS[ all  the  extra  stuff  ended  up  laying  in   good!â&#x20AC;&#x2122;  And  so  far,  the  response  has  been   the  bottom  of  the  boat  and  in  the  way.   Gerberâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s  New  Fishing  Tool overwhelming.  Mike  Lawsonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s  got  one   Gerber  recently   Then  when  you  add  roll-up  tables   on  order.  So  does  Jack  Dennis.  They  all   introduced  the  The   and  packable  chairs,  and  there  just   see  the  advantages  of  this  new  model.â&#x20AC;? .TQ3Ă&#x2026;[PQVO\WWTI really  wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t  adequate  storage,â&#x20AC;?  Belles   multi-tool  designed   says.  â&#x20AC;&#x153;To  me,  the  rod  lockers,  the  long   1VIV]\[PMTT\PM.Ta8WL\ISM[\PM [XMKQĂ&#x2026;KITTa_Q\P already  innovative  design  of  a  16-foot   storage,  have  the  most  appeal.  Before   anglers  in  mind.  The   these  came  along,  there  was  no  good   +TIKSIKZIN\48IVLZMWZOIVQbM[Q\\W FliK  includes  long   place  to  store  long,  two-piece  rod   maximize  the  use  of  space,  storage,   needle-nose  pliers   tubes.  Now  you  can  keep  everything   and  functionality. for  quick  and  easy   tucked  away  and  safe.â&#x20AC;? Some  of  the  new  highlights  include  a   removal  of  hooks.     redesigned  anchor  foot-release,  a  stern   Like  other  Clackacraft  boats,  the  F ly   Anglers  can  also  sharpen  their  hooks   8WLQVKT]LM[IaMIZO]IZIV\MM storage  shelf,  and  ventilated  storage   _Q\P\PMQVKT]LMLĂ&#x2026;TMIVLK]\PWWS[ against  punctures  or  leaks,  the  oars,   with  the  pinch  cutters.    It  also  includes   lids  on  all  three  seats  that  allow  wet   seats,   a nchor,   a nd   t railer   a nd   i s   b asiscissors,  bottle  opener,  knife  blade,   gear  to  breathe. continued on next page...

2/$ #!.$9

The Rise Series

We admit it. You might fall for its looks first, but youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll come to love it for its toughness. We started with our bomb-proof CD series and made it even lighter and smoother. Fully machined from 6061 T6 aluminum, this reel is just as durable as it is pretty.

"!)."2)$'% )3,!.$ 7! s 7772%$).'4/.#/-


[I_IVLÆI\IVL8PQTTQX[PMILLZQ^ers.  We  recently  used  it  on  a  bass  trip   I[_MTTI[WV\PMÆI\[IVL\PW]OP\Q\ performed  exceptionally  well.    See  for  information. Circle  Hooks  for  Trout? Bluewater  anglers  have  realized  the  benMÅ\[WN KQZKTM hooks  by  way   of  reduced   Å[PUWZ\ITQ\a for  years  now.     <PMVM_5WNÅ\\)VOTQVO;a[\MUQ[IV M`KQ\QVOÆaÅ[PQVOQVVW^I\QWVLM^MTWXML[XMKQÅKITTa\WIT[WZML]KM\ZW]\ IVLW\PMZ[XMKQM[UWZ\ITQ\a_PMV KI\KPIVLZMTMI[MÅ[PQVO=VTQSM \ZILQ\QWVITÆQM[\QMLWV2[\aTMPWWS[ 5WNÅ\\ÆQM[IZMPWWSTM[[IVL[][-

pended on  the   leader  above   a  uniquely   designed  and   rigged  circle   hook. Virtually  all   Å[PKI]OP\_Q\P\PM5WNÅ\\;a[\MU are  hooked  in  the  jaw  --  and  accidental  deep  hooking,  gill  hooking  and  foul   hooking  are  all  but  eliminated.  Because  the  circle  hook  is  barbless,  most   Å[PKIVJMZMTMI[ML_Q\PW]\ZMUW^QVO \PMUNZWU\PM_I\MZ;MMUWNÅ\\  for  details. Boss  Tin’s  Make-a-Weight  is     Putty  Perfect If  you  haven’t  seen  the  writing  on   the  wall  about  further  restrictions  on   TMIL][MQVÅ[PQVO\IKSTMMO6I\QWVIT8IZSZM[\ZQK\QWV[WVTMILaW]

need to  wake  up  and  smell  the  coffee.     Lead  is  dead,  or  it  very  well  could  be   very  soon. For  a  tungsten  putty  that   i s   e asy   to   use  and  environmentally   f riendly,   check  out  BossTin’s  Make-a-Weight.     Extensive  field  tests  impressed   u s.     It’s  malleable,  but  holds   form.     I t   leaves  no  sticky  residue  o n   h ands,   clothing  or  gear.    And  it   s inks.     Simply  pinch  off  the  appropriate   amount  and  roll  it  onto  your   l eader.     Before  casting  put  your  l ine   w ith   \PMX]\\aQV\W\PM_I\MZ\W[M\Q\\PM cold  temp  l ocks  it  in  place).     A djustUMV\[IZMY]QKSIVLMI[a8WZ\QWV[ can  be  removed  and  reused,   a s   c urrents  and  river  depths  dictate.     I t’s   exceptionally  versatile,  effective,   a nd   eco-friendly.    See   for   more  information.

Every fly fisherman knows that a slicker line means longer casts, more control, longer casts, less wear and tear from abrasion, longer casts and more durability. Oh, and longer casts. So, in their relentless pursuit of perfection (and that few extra feet), RIO’s Labcoats began reformulating conventional chemical compounds and material combinations, right down to the polymeric mix level. The results are found in RIO’s new XS Technology™ – a pairing of two entirely new chemical compositions, creating a glass-smooth surface and a super slick coating that repels the accumulation of dirt and grime. XS Technology now produces a line that is so slick it actually tops out our ultra-sensitive friction-coefficient-measuring instrument. Nothing, not ours or any other lines we’ve tested, have even come close. So, how slick is it? Think loafers on a spring creek boulder... and a line that stays slicker cast after cast after longer cast. ©RPI, Inc. All rights reserved




Michalak and The Fly Shop Launch Travel Network to Include Specialty Shops Nationwide

Written by Kirk Deeter

Fact One:    Travel  is  an  avenue  that  can  generI\MZM^MV]MNWZ[XMKQIT\aÆaZM\IQTMZ[6W\WVTa does  travel  offer  direct  referral/commission   opportunities,  it  also  offers  reciprocal  sales  opXWZ\]VQ\QM[Ja_IaWN OMIZIVLIKKM[[WZQM[)LL to  that  the  opportunity  to  expand  your  visibility   and  enhance  consumer  loyalty,  and  it’s  easy  to   see  how  travel  can  be  a  key  element  in  the  busiVM[[[\ZI\MOaWN IVa[I^^a[XMKQIT\aÆa[PWX / June 2009

.IK\<_W"<PMUIZSM\NWZÆa\ZI^MTTQSMW\PMZ I[XMK\[WN \PMÆaÅ[PQVOQVL][\ZaKIVJM\ZQKSa M[XMKQITTaVW_+][\WUMZZMKZ]Q\UMV\Q[IV M`XMV[Q^MXZWXW[Q\QWV+][\WUMZZM\MV\QWVLMXMVL[WVMV[]ZQVOIY]ITQ\aM`XMZQMVKM1VW\PMZ words, there  is  little  margin  for  error  when  you   [MVLK][\WUMZ[XIKSQVO\WM`W\QKLM[\QVI\QWV[ Fact  Three:    In  an  era  when  the  “selling   specialty  products  through  specialty  shops”  ideal   is  pressured  on  a  variety  of  fronts—perhaps   most  notably  the  Internet  and  big  box  stores— specialty  retailers  are  looking  for  partners  that   XIaUWZM\PIVTQX[MZ^QKM\W\PMQZQV\MZM[\[ Interestingly,  in  the  context  of  travel,  a  new   XZWOZIULM[QOVML\WPMTXÆa[PWX[M`XIVL\PMQZ \ZI^MTNWW\XZQV\KWUM[NZWUIVW\PMZÆa[PWX° IK\]ITTa<PM.Ta;PWXQV:MLLQVO+ITQNWZVQI 14

Of course,  if  you  asked  the  average  consumer  angler  in  Colorado  or   Michigan,  for  example,  what  they   know  about  The  F ly  Shop,  the  catalog  comes  to  mind,  as  does  the  roster   of  exotic  destinations  and  travel   services  The  F ly  Shop  represents.     Michalak’s  company  has  been  engaged  in  discovering,  and  representQVOI^IZQM\aWN PQOPMVLÆaÅ[PQVO destinations  and  lodges—many  on  an   exclusive  basis—for  over  30  years.

In my  personal  experience,  when   Mike  Michalak,  owner  of  The  F ly   Shop,  offers  up  an  idea,  it’s  usually   worth  paying  attention.    His  track   record  speaks  for  itself.    The  F ly  Shop   is  now  one  of  the  largest  specialty   retail  operations  in  the  world,  with  a   healthy  business  model  balanced  on,   among  other  things,  localized  shop   and  guide  operations  in  the  northern   California  region,  travel,  catalog  mailings  that  reach  over  300,000  consumers  at  a  clip,  website-based  sales,   schools  and  instructional  programs,   and  specialty-branded  products. A  few  years  ago,  Fly  Fishing  Trade   \PMXZMLMKM[[WZWN \PQ[UIOIbQVM of  which  I  was  also  editor)  ran  a   piece  on  Michalak  and  his  business   practices.    In  the  piece,  Michalak   offered  to  mail  copies  of  The  F ly   Shop’s  policy  and  procedures  guide   \WQV\MZM[\MLÆa[PWX[IZW]VL\PM country.    Hundreds  of  retailers  took   Mike  up  on  his  offer,  and  he  mailed   the  information  at  his  expense.

Now, Michalak  and  The  Fly  Shop  are   launching  a  new  program,  in  which   The  Fly  Shop  will  make  available  its   “Signature  Destinations”—places  like   ,I^M-OLWZN ¼[:][\QK<ZW]\+IUX[QV Alaska,  and  Estancia  Maria  Behety  on   \PMNIJTML:QW/ZIVLMQV<QMZZILMT Fuego  in  Argentina—available  as  travel   destination  offerings  for  an  expanded   roster  of  geographically-spread  retailers   throughout  America. Basically,  The  Fly  Sop  is  opening  up  its   travel  “jewel  box,”  making  available  to   IVM_VM\_WZSWN [XMKQIT\aÆaZM\IQTMZ partners  the  opportunity  to  not  only   send  clients  to  exclusive  The  Fly  Shop   operations  from  Kamchatka  to  Chilean   8I\IOWVQIJ]\IT[WOM\IXQMKMWN \PM action  in  doing  so. I  asked  Michalak,  point  blank,  if   his  motivation  is  to  buoy  sales  in  a   tough  travel  market,  or  if  he  had   broader  motives.   He  replied  that  the  Signature  Destinations  he  represents  are  operating  near   capacity  now.    Soft  economy  or  not,   \PMJM[\Å[PQVOQV\PM_WZTLQ[[\QTT\PM JM[\Å[PQVOQV\PM_WZTLIVLUIVaWN  the  people  who  go  to  these  places  are   repeat  customers. From  what  I  heard,  Michalak  seems   focused  on  the  notion  of  buoying   continued on next page...




are a cross section of the world’s finest fly fishing lodges, camps and outfitters. They represent more than 30 years of field exploration, experience and hands-on involvement by our travel team.

Let us help put that experience to work in your fly shop! Until recently, these “Signature Destinations” have been represented exclusively by The Fly Shop™ and our very small network of angling travel agencies and a few fine fly shops worldwide. It’s an approach we’ve found successful, but one that we’re about to change.

We here at The Fly Shop™ feel there’s been a lot of fly industry lip service about “specialty products for specialty shops” and a definite and disconcerting shift in the distribution of fly fishing rods, reels, lines and the rest of what has made independent fly shops successful. Add to that the on-line discounting trend, manufacturer direct purchasing, a worldwide web “free for all” for fly fishing goods, travel, and service. Then couple all that with the current economic crisis and it’s obvious we have to change our tactics if fly shops want to do more than survive.

We’re not looking for representation of our “Signature Destinations” in every shop in America and we don’t want to further homogenize the look of an industry whose stores are already becoming much too similar. Our goal is to find an even greater collective strength by working together with a select number of geographically distinct shops interested in promoting what we’ve already proven is an honor roll of great international fishing spots. Tierra del Fuego Our “Signature Lodges” are acknowledged as the finest and most popular in the “Land of the Giants”!

Chilean Patagonia Lodges are popping up everywhere in Chile, yet our four “Signature Lodges” are renowned as the standard of comparison in Patagonia.

We’ll tailor a commission and referral structure for your shop that will reward you for your performance while guaranteeing that the relationship with the clients you send to our “Signature Destinations” will be respected and honored indefinitely. We won’t “poach” your travellers, and if we’re needed to help answer their tackle questions, they’ll be referred back to you for the sale. Alaska Kamchatka Belize New Zealand Mexican Yucatan

Our “Signature Destinations”

from Dave Egdorf’s rustic trout camp in Alaska to the luxurious lodges of Estancia Maria Behety in Tierra del Fuego are time-tested locations that have earned the stamp of approval from thousands of anglers and have met the highest performance standards in the fly fishing industry. They didn’t get blind endorsements from us purchased with a checkbook. From our remote Kamchatka bush camps to our luxurious Tierra del Fuego sea trout lodges these are among the most famous fly fishing experiences on the planet.

We’ll work with you to customize an approach for your shop to effectively and profitably promote these top-of-the-line destinations that your customers have been reading about in magazine articles and our catalogs for decades.

If your interested, give our travel department a call or e-mail us and we’ll respond promptly with a full explanation of our Signature Fly Shop concept. (800) 669-3474 Redding California


and sends  that  customer  off  to  El  Saltamontes  in  Chile.    Great,  the  Michigan  shop  earns  a  commission,  and  the   K][\WUMZÅ[PM[INIV\I[\QKTWLOM° but  what  happens  two  years  down  the   road,  when  that  customer  contacts   The  F ly  Shop  about  a  return  trip,  or   even  a  gear  question? the  relevance  of  specialty  retailers  in   dictating  the  terms  of  future  market   evolution,  not  only  in  terms  of  travel,   but  also  beyond.

“We’re not  going  to  poach  customMZ[º5QKPITIS[IQLÆI\Ta¹?M¼ZM going  to  credit  the  source  shop  with  a   commission  on  repeat  business,  and   when  we  get  the  gear  question,  we’re  

“If you’re  looking  for  the  quick  dollar,  by  booking  a  group  to  Alaska,   and  thinking  only  short-term,  I  have   been  doing  this  for  30  years,  and   I  can  tell  you  that  does  not  work,”   Michalak  said. Indeed  having  a  track  record  that  extends  back  30  years  is  probably  more   valuable  to  potential  members  of  a   Signature  Destinations  network  than   _PI\5QKPITISKITT[\PM¹:MILMZ[¼ Digest  accelerated  learning  course  in   how  to  do  travel  successfully.”

¹<PMLIa[WN IÆa[PWXQVWVMXIZ\WN  \PMKW]V\ZaXMZKMQ^QVO\PMÆa[PWXWV the other  side  of  the  country  as  just   another  competitor  are  gone,  or  at  least   they  should  be,”  Michalak  explained.     ¹)TTZM\IQTMZ[VMML\WÅVL_Ia[WN _WZSing  together.    Every  man  for  himself   isn’t  going  to  work  10  years  down  the   road.    Working  with  the  right  people  on   the  best  products,  and  in  this  case,  travel   opportunities,  will. “The  Fly  Shop  Signature  Destinations   )OMVKa_PQKP_QTTQV^WT^MW\PMZ[PWX[ moves  us  into  a  new  realm  as  an  angling   \ZI^MTIOMV\)VLQ\¼[WVTa\PMÅZ[\[\MX in  what  I  hope  will  be  the  addition  of  a   Signature  Fly  Shop  product  network.” Another  point-blank  question:    Does   \PQ[WXMV\PM8IVLWZI¼[*W`WN QV\ZWducing  a  faithful  customer  to  another   retailer,  in  effect  creating  chinks  in  a   retailer’s  own  sales  armor?    The  shop   in  Michigan,  for  example,  introduces   a  faithful  customer  to  the  program,  

referring that  person  to  the  original   shop  for  the  sale.    We  are  going  to   honor  our  partners  and  our  referrals   QVLMÅVQ\MTa?MPI^M\PMLI\IJI[M management  system  in  place  to  facilitate  that  right  now. “Yes,  I’m  going  to  make  my  share  of   the  money  on  booking  the  travel,  but   one  thing  I’ve  learned  is  that  I  make   my  money  when  people  go  back  to  a   destination  they  like.” As  such,  Michalak  warns  that  he’s  not   looking  to  collaborate  with  shops  that   simply  want  to  line  up  the  short-term,   one-shot,  party-of-eight  junket  to  Alaska.


When you  think  about  everything   from  finding  the  best  guides   a nd   lodges,  to  dealing  with  p olitical   hiccups,  f lu  outbreaks  and   s uch…   this  30  years  of  past  experience  is  a   platform  retailers  can  leverage   for   their   own   f uture   b enefit.    T he  “of   a  retailer,  for  a  retailer”   a spect   o f   the  plan  is  sure  to  g arner   attention   as  well. To  get  more  details  on  how  this   program  could  be  customized  to   include  you  and  your  shop,  E-mail   \ZI^MT(\PMÆa[PWXKWU#WZXPWVM 800-669-3474. at


Competing In A Slow Economy / June 2009

Five facts you need to know right now

not show   any  correlaWritten by Steve Schweitzer tion  of  age   to  Internet   I  was  given  the  classic  assignment  of  developing  a  business  plan   purchasing   I[IÅVIT5*)XZWRMK\1\]ZVML\WITWKITKWUXIVa-TSPWZV habits.    In   .Ta:WL[IVLI[SMLW_VMZ*ZQIV+PI^M\QN PM_I[QV\MZM[\ML fact,  the  data   After  a  few  minutes  of  agreeable  head-nodding,  we  sketched   shows  an   out  his  business’s  pain  points. equal  dis<PMÅZ[\\PQVO_MZMITQbMLQ[\PI\-TSPWZVZMITTaLQLV¼\SVW_ tribution  of   its  customers  like  it  should.    Brian  had  some  gut  hunches  but   Internet  purchases  despite  age.    This  is  good  news,  as   couldn’t  cleanly  answer  the  acid-test  question  of  “who  buys   \PMZMQ[I[\ZWVOKWZZMTI\QWVWN WTLMZÆaÅ[PMZ[PI^QVO from  you  and  why?”    That  point  of  realization  drove  the  need   more  disposable  income. to  conduct  primary  research  before  developing  a  bunch  of  halfFACT  #2:  Quality  products  at  reasonable  prices  trump  a  wide   hatched  tactics.     product  selection.     <PM[]Z^MaZM[]T\[KWVÅZUML[WUMO]\P]VKPM[J]\UWZM importantly  shed  light  on  who  is  and  isn’t  buying  from  Elkhorn   158)+<<7A7=:*=;16-;;"<PMZMQ[VWVMML\W[XZMIL your  inventory  investment  too  thin  by  carrying  a  wide  SKU   and  why.    The  analysis  yielded  some  very  unexpected  and  surrange.    Don’t  try  to  be  all  things  to  all  people  unless  you  can   prising  results.    Without  this  deep  knowledge  of  the  customer,   afford  to  carry  that  inElkhorn’s  sales-boosting  tactics  would  have  been  built  in  the   ventory  load.    Focus  on   dark,  yielding  potentially  misleading  strategies. your  core  competency.     <PQ[IZ\QKTMQ[\PMÅZ[\XIZ\WN \_WIZ\QKTM[_PQKP_QTTPMTXaW] If  you  are  known  to  be   rethink  your  business  and  how  to  grow  sales  in  a  slumping   \PMJM[\Æa\aQVO[PWX MKWVWUa<PQ[IZ\QKTM_QTTOQ^MaW][WUMQV[QOP\QV\WÅ^MSMa around,  ensure  you   things  Elkhorn  learned  about  competing  in  a  weak  economy.     carry  the  best  selection   The  second  article  will  explore  tactics  you  can  quickly  impleof  quality  materials.    If   ment  to  invigorate  sales  in  your  own  business. you  are  a  destination   BACKGROUND shop,  ensure  you  carry   a  wide  selection  of  expendables  and  have  the  best  guide  staff   To  provide  context,  Elkhorn  received  over  1,300  survey   around.    Whatever  you  do  carry,  make  sure  you  have  enough  of   responses  world-wide  from  current  product  owners  and   it  and  make  sure  it  is  quality  stuff.     non-owners  alike.    The  survey  covered  basic  demographics,   experience  level,  product  ownership  and  product  perception.     WHAT  THE  DATA  DOESN’T  SHOW:    61%  of  all  responBesides  reaping  some  valuable  information  about  Elkhorn’s   LMV\[ZIVSMLPI^QVO9]ITQ\a8ZWL]K\[I[\PMQZW^MZITTV]UJMZ marketplace  and  competitors,  some  interesting  and  surprising   one  ranking. NIK\[KIUMNZWU\PM[]Z^Ma*MTW_IZMÅ^MSMaTMIZVQVO[\PI\ FACT  #3:  If  you   are  applicable  to  your  current  business  as  well. want  to  sell  big   .)+< "0ITN WN ÆaÅ[PQVOX]ZKPI[M[IZMKWVL]K\ML^QI   ticket  items,  make   the  Internet.   them  available     on  a  try-before-   158)+<<7A7=:*=;16-;;"1N aW]IZMV¼\\IXXQVO buy  basis. into  the  Internet  as  a  sales  channel  you  are  leaving  money   on  the  table. 158)+<<7 ?0)<<0-,)<),7-;6¼<;07?"8WX]TIZJMTQMN  Q[\PI\WTLMZÆaÅ[PMZ[X]ZKPI[MTM[[WV\PM1V\MZVM\ \PIVaW]VOMZÆaÅ[PMZ[<W\PMKWV\ZIZa\PMLI\ILQL 18

continued on next page...

A7=:*=;16-;;" >IT]MQ[LMÅVMLI[" the price  is  right  if  


the  perceived  value  is  greater  than  the   actual  price.  How  do  you  increase  the   value  in  the  customerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s  mind?    Easy:  let   them  try  products  before  they  buy  them.     If  a  customer  is  balking  at  paying  $1,000   NWZIY]ITQ\aĂ&#x2020;aZWLIVLZMMTKWUJW insist  they  try  it  for  a  day  on  a  guided   trip  or  a  local  stream  or  pond,  maybe   M^MVZMV\QVOILMUWW]\Ă&#x2026;\NWZIUWLM[\ price.    Consumers  are  savvier  now  than   \PMa_MZMR][\Ă&#x2026;^MaMIZ[IOW<PMaM`XMK\ more  value  for  every  dollar  spent.    Value   can  be  as  simple  as  extending  trust,  e.g.,     â&#x20AC;&#x153;Hey,  I  trust  you  with  this  rodâ&#x20AC;Śgive  it  a   spin,  bring  it  back  and  let  me  know  what   you  think.â&#x20AC;?    Share  the  risk  with  them  and   youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll  convert  more  lookers  into  buyers.

were  treated  and  what  their  experience  was  like  in  your  shop.    Ensure   your  shop  is  well-maintained  and   merchandised.    Greet  your  customers   one-on-one  and  make  them  feel  like   no  one  else  is  more  important.    Even   though  they  may  not  buy  something   \PMĂ&#x2026;Z[\\QUM\PMQZQV[\WZMM`XMZQMVKM will  dictate  if  they  come  back  and  buy   I\IN]\]ZMLI\M#IVLUWZMQUXWZtantly,  if  they  become  evangelists  for   your  shop.

?0)<<0-+0):<,7-;6Âź< ;07?")OMQVĂ&#x2020;]MVKMLZM[XWV[M[ The  younger  crowds  prefer  chat   ZWWU[Ă&#x2020;a[PWX[5QLLTMIOMLIVL pre-retirement  crowds  use  all  chanWHAT  THE  DATA  DOESNâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;T   SHOW:  The  survey  told  us  the  older  one   VMT[MY]ITTa:M\QZMUMV\IOMLNWTS[ gets,  the  less  apt  they  are  to  trying  out   XZMNMZZML_WZLWN UW]\PĂ&#x2020;a[PWX[ gear. and  catalogs  over  chat  rooms  and   FACT  #4:  Fly  shops  and  word  of  mouth   company  websites.    Consider  building   different  marketing  strategies  to  reach   are  the  most  popular  methods  consumdifferent  age  classes.    Communicate   ers  hear  of  new  products with  them  via  the  channel  they  pay   attention  to  the  most.    Example:  Create  some  buzz  on  Internet  chat  sites   and  your  own  website  for  the  younger   crowd.    Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t  expect  to  reach  the   older  crowd  in  the  same  manner.    In   ITTKI[M[_WZLWN UW]\PQ[SQVO#\ZMI\ everyone  like  gold. FACT  #5:  Consumers  still  spend   WVĂ&#x2020;aĂ&#x2026;[PQVOX]ZKPI[M[L]ZQVO   slumping  economies How  Do  Consumers  Hear  About  Fly   .Q[PQVO8ZWL]K\[' 1.  Fly  Shops 2.  Word  of  mouth 5IOIbQVM[ZM^QM_[IZ\QKTMUMV\QWV[ 4.  Catalogs \QM.Ta7]\LWWZ;PW_[   magazine  ads / June 2009

6.  Internet  chat  rooms 7.  Company  websites 8ZM[[ZMTMI[M[ 158)+<<7A7=:*=;16-;;" <ZMI\aW]Z_ITSQVŸ[TQSMOWTL#\PMa will  spread  the  word  on  how  they   20

158)+<<7A7=:*=;16-;;" Even  during  tough  economic  times,   consumers  still  want  to  buy  hobby  stuff.    

:MTI\Q^MTaQVM`XMV[Q^MQ\MU[TQSM\QXXM\Ă&#x2020;aTQVM[XTQ\[PW\IVLĂ&#x2020;QM[[PW]TL always  be  in  stock.    Those  are  instant   OZI\QĂ&#x2026;KI\QWVX]ZKPI[M[\PI\SMMXK][tomers  coming  back  for  more. ?0)<<0-+0):<,7-;6Âź< SHOW:    While  income  level  had  little   bearing  on  the  responses,  age  did.    The   most  cautious  age  group  was  41-50year-olds.    The  least  cautious  group   was  31-40-year-olds  and  those  65  or   over.    This  stands  to  reason  as  the   KTW[MZWVMQ[\WZM\QZMUMV\\PM more  he  may  be  worried  about  savings   during  a  slumping  economy. PUTTING  IT  ALL  TOGETHER <PMĂ&#x2020;aĂ&#x2026;[PQVOKWV[]UMZ\WTL][\PM QVLQ^QL]ITĂ&#x2020;a[PWXÂź[^IT]MXZWXW[Q\QWVQ[ still  ringing  loud  and  clear  and  is  more   valuable  than  ever.    The  consumer   wants  a  quality  product  selection,  not   quantities  of  average  stuff.    The  consumer  wants  to  try  products  out  before   a  purchase,  something  a  big  box  usually   doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t  offer.    Consumers  still  go  to  the   TWKITĂ&#x2020;a[PWXNWZ\PM[SQVVaWV\PMTI\M[\ OMIZVW\\W\PMTWKITJQOJW`<PMĂ&#x2020;a [PWXQ[\PMQVNWZUI\QWVOI\MSMMXMZ#\PM old  adage  of  â&#x20AC;&#x153;information  is  powerâ&#x20AC;?  is   certainly  applicable.    We  also  learned   consumers  arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t  afraid  of  spending   QVI[PWXWZWV\PMVM\#aW]PI^M\WJM where  they  want  to  buy.    While  there   will  always  be  a  certain  percentage   of  the  crowd  that  shops  only  on  price   T]ZMLJaI^MZIOMY]ITQ\a[\]NN I\JQOJW` volume-moving  prices),  a  vast  majority   donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t  shop  only  on  price.  

Look  at  hard  times,  a  recession  or  a   LMXZM[[QWV_PI\M^MZaW]_IV\\WKITT it)  as  an  opportunity  to  win  the  loyalty   of  more  consumers.    During  down   economic  times,  consumers  tend  to   look  around  more.    It  is  now  that   you  have  an  opportunity  to  convert   Help  your  customers  buy,  donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t  make   aW]ZĂ&#x2020;a[PWX\PM,MXIZ\UMV\WN *][QVM[[ those  lookers  into  customers.    Those   8ZM^MV\QWV)VM`IUXTM"-UX\a[PMT^M[ conversions  are  all  incremental  sales   you  didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t  have  during  good  economic   donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t  send  a  signal  to  your  shoppers.     \QUM[)VLR][\\PQVS_PI\SQVLWN  Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t  allow  necessary  items  to  run  out.    

impulse  items   for   Books & DVDs. Affordable   anglers  of  all  types  &  budgets

1.  Can  I    -  A)  clearly  characterize   the  types  of  customers  who  buy   from  me  or  B)  do  I  rely  on  business   just  â&#x20AC;&#x153;happeningâ&#x20AC;?? 2.  Do  I  -  A)  clearly  know  why  customers  buy  from  me  or  B)  do  I  think   I  know?

5.  Am  I  -  A)  known  as  a  trustworthy   X]Z^MaWZWN XZWL]K\Ă&#x2026;[PQVOQVformation  or  B)  seen  as  a  shop  that   only  gives  out  information  if  there  is   XW\MV\QITUWVMaQV^WT^ML'MO1ÂźTT\MTT aW]\PMTI\M[\Ă&#x2026;[PQVOPW\[XW\[QN aW] J]aĂ&#x2020;QM[°WZQN aW]TWWSTQSMI[MZQW][ buyer,  Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll  take  the  time  to  walk  through   the  proâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s  and  conâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s  of  the  reels  I  have   for  sale.) If  you  answered  B  to  any  one  of  the   questions,  you  probably  arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t  optimized  to  win  over  new  consumers.     <PMY]M[\QWV[IJW^MKPIZIK\MZQbMĂ&#x2026;^M must-have  competencies  to  be  competitive  in  a  sour  economy: 1.  Know  your  customer 2.  Know  their  needs  and  why  they  buy   from  you

Use  our  Newsletter  to  stock  whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s   hot  and  sell  more  at  better  margins!    

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3.  Am  I  -  A)  maximizing  the  potential   of  online  sales  to  supplement  in-store   \ZINĂ&#x2026;KWZ*_IQ\QVO\W[MMQN \PMš1V\MZnet  will  be  the  next  big  thingâ&#x20AC;?? 4.  For  large  purchases,  am  I  -  A)  willing   to  share  try-before-you-buy  risk  with   the  customer  or  B)  do  I  use  traditional   show-n-tell  methods  of  salesmanship  to   convince  the  buyer  to  spend  big  chunks   of  money?

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Call, fax or email for a 2009 catalog or visit us online: 60 Buckley Circle ! Manchester, NH 03109 603-647-4003 ! 800-582-7408 (U.S.) ! fax 603-647-8097 !


Hot Dealers in a Cold Market Written by Tom Keer

No one involved in the 1990’s flyfishing boom predicted the current state of plummeting sales. A consistently shrinking customer base. Terrorism. War. Rising energy costs. Inflation. Unemployment. Recession. Just over a decade ago, flyfishing manufacturers were really developing gear. Over 1200 fly shops were busy selling that gear, and thousands of guides were busy taking customers on trips with their newly purchased gear. Heady times for sure. 6W_\PMÆaÅ[PQVOQVL][\ZaPI[ILMKQ[QWV\WUISMIVLQN  you want  something  sugar  coated,  go  buy  a  doughnut.    What   is  on  the  table  is  a  simple  decision:  Do  I  want  to  succeed  or   is  it  best  to  close  my  doors?    While  the  light  at  the  end  of  the   tunnel  is  temporarily  disconnected,  there  is  still  hope. There  are  enough  success  stories  within  the  four  walls  of  our   own  industry.    I  believe  that  there  are  many  talented  dealers,   lodges,  and  guides.    I’ve  selected  four  dealers  from  four  different  regions  who  are  representative  of  deciding  to  succeed  in   spite  of  a  declining  market.    Each  one  has  weathered  a  variety  of  storms,  from  competition,  natural  disaster,  rising  unemployment  rates,  higher  costs,  and  the  like.    Still,  they  post   IVV]IT\WXTQVM[ITM[QVKZMI[M[I[_MTTI[VM\XZWÅ\QVKZMI[M[ Before  we  review  them  individually,  what  are  their  characteristics  as  a  group? 1.  They  take  planned  and  calculated  risks.     2.  They  consistently  work  hard.     3.  They  work  smart. 4.  They  are  creative  and  innovative. 5.  They  are  savvy. 6.  Mediocrity  is  not  in  their  vocabulary. 7.  They  are  results  oriented. 8.  All  are  focused  on  solutions. 9.    They  have  a  vision  and  plan  accordingly  to  bring  it     to  fruition. 10.  They  ask  for  help  when  they  need  it. / June 2009

Who would  advise  a  business  owner  in  an  industry  with  a   decade-long  decline  to  expand?    No  one,  but  the  following   four  did  anyway:     South  Central:    A  Little  Less  Conversation,  A  Little  More   )K\QWV-T^Q[8ZM[TMa The  Great  Smoky  Mountains  have  long  been  a  strong   LM[\QVI\QWVNWZÆaÅ[PQVO;WUMNWTS[TQSM2QU*IJJMLQ\WZWN  Gray’s  Sporting  Journal  IVL*IZKTIa+ZMMS8ZM[[¼2QU)VSMZPIQT from  this  region  of  Tennessee,  and  the  Tellico  Nymph  was   LM^MTWXMLPMZMI[_MTT*aZWVIVL8I]TI*MOTMaTI]VKPML 22

4Q\\TM:Q^MZ7]\Å\\MZ[QV<W_V[MVL Tennessee in  1994.    The  original  store   was  400  square  feet.    

“We did  not  anticipate  the  increase  in   box-store  competition  within  a  40-mile   radius  of  our  store,”  said  Begley.    “Bass   8ZW;PWX[/IVLMZ5W]V\IQVIVL7Z^Q[ “After  our  initial  launch,  we  found  our   each  added  company-owned  stores.    So,   sales  were  tracking  far  ahead  of  projec_MZMLMÅVMLW]ZJ][QVM[[WJRMK\Q^M[)[ tions,”  Begley  said.    “Our  programs   box  stores  are  able  to  inventory  millions   were  well  received  and  we  were  growQVO?MVW\QKML\PMÅZ[\[QOV[WN LMKTQVM of  SKUs,  we  couldn’t.    We  conceded   right  when  we  needed  to  expand.    We   to  them  on  the  clothing  categories,  and   had  spent  three  years  planning  our   ZMXW[Q\QWVML4:7\WNWK][WV\IKSTM expansion,  and  while  it  did  not  make   We’ve  always  been  committed  to  personsense  in  the  big  picture,  we  moved   ITQbML[MZ^QKMJ]\_MIT_Ia[ÅVL_Ia[ forward  anyway.” to  exceed  our  customers’  expectations.     8ZWXMZNWZMKI[\QVOQ[KZQ\QKITNWZW]Z\_W In  order  to  realize  their  dream,  the   sales  channels,  and  we  are  constantly   *MOTMa[\WWS[QOVQÅKIV\ZQ[S[<PMa purchased  a  commercial  lot,  and  built   evaluating  and  anticipating  trends.    Our   a  7,000-square-foot  building  with  retail   goal  is  to  maintain  proper  year-round   and  back-storage  space,  classrooms,  and   inventory  levels,  and  the  combination  of   WNÅKM[<PMa\ZQXTML\PMQZW]\ZMIKPXZW- historical  sales  data  combined  with  foregrams  to  include  more  schools,  quarcasting  keeps  us  in  an  in-stock  position.     terly  special  events,  and  free  seasonal   We  realize  most  every  sale.” seminars  on  weekends.  Vendors  were   added,  and  product  lines  were  expand.WZ\PMÅZ[\\QUMQV.Q[PQVO<IKSTM ed.    The  Begleys  are  conservationists,   :M\IQTMZ¼[PQ[\WZa4Q\\TM:Q^MZ7]\Å\\MZ[ and  they  selected  both  national  and   ZMKMQ^MLI 8MZNMK\;KWZMQV5IZKP regional  groups  alike  to  work  with.     2009.    That  new  award  sits  next  to  their   ¹1VILLQ\QWV\WÅ[PQVOIVLP]V\QVOTQSM 2004  Orvis  Dealer  of  the  Year  plaque. Trout  Unlimited,  Ducks  Unlimited,  and   5QL)\TIV\QK"8ZWXMZ8ZMXIZI\QWV8ZMCCA,  we  also  focus  on  general  interest   ^MV\[8Q[[8WWZ8MZNWZUIVKM OZW]X[TQSM\PM4Q\\TM:Q^MZ?I\MZ[PML Friends  of  the  Great  Smoky  Mountain   -^MZ\PQVSWN W_VQVOÅ^MÆaÅ[PQVO 6I\QWVIT8IZSIVL\PM/QZT;KW]\[º*M- retail  stores?    Tony  Gehman  of  TCO   gley  said.    “We  are  big  supporters  of  the   Fishing  worked  for  11  years  to  achieve   4Q\\TM:Q^MZ+PIX\MZWN <=I[_MTTº his  goal.     As  the  use  of  technology  increased,   /MPUIVWXMVMLPQ[ÅZ[\[\WZMQV:MILthe  Begleys  studied,  learned,  and  apQVO8MVV[aT^IVQIQV! !)N\MZPITN I XTQML<PMQZÅZ[\[\MX_I[KZMI\QVOIV information-based  website.    A  few  years   later,  they  had  another  tough  decision  to   make:  the  repositioning  of  a  decade-old   catalogue  into  a  state-of-the-art  website.     “In  1996,  paper  and  mailing  costs  were   [QOVQÅKIV\TaTM[[M`XMV[Q^M\PIVIV e-commerce  site,”  said  Begley.    “In  the   ‘90’s  it  made  sense  for  us  to  shoot,  layout,  print  and  mail  a  catalogue.    Now  it   does  not.    So  we  folded  our  general  consumer  model  into  an  e-commerce  site.     We  now  reach  more  than  100  times   more  customers  than  our  catalogue  ever   LQLIVL_MZMITQbMI[QOVQÅKIV\KW[\ [I^QVO[\W4:7

dozen years,  he  had  a  taste  for  the  business  and  made  a  decision  to  thoroughly   [MZ^QKM\PMMI[\MZV8MVV[aT^IVQIÆaÅ[Ping  market.    Gehman  studied  dozens   of  markets,  analyzed  trends,  created  a   J][QVM[[XTIVIVLM[\IJTQ[PMLIÅVIVKQITXTIV)N\MZ\PM[Q`8¼[_MZMLWVM KIUM\PMZWTTW]\*ZaV5I_Z8MVV[aT^IVQIQV4ISM8TIKQL6M_AWZS QV;\I\M+WTTMOM8MVV[aT^IVQIQV +IZTQ[TM8MVV[aT^IVQIQV  To  most  consumers  and  shop  owners,  it   seemed  like  Gehman  had  struck  the  lottery  and  expanded,  but  that’s  not  true. “I  had  an  idea,  but  it  was  big  enough  to   sink  me,”  Gehman  said.    “The  decade   that  I  spent  studying  retail,  real  estate,   IVLÅVIVKQIT\ZMVL[ÆM_Ja1NWK][ML on  how  to  make  my  plan  work.    My   sales  reps  provided  pockets  of  regional   as  well  as  national  sales  trends  for   review,  and  were  very  helpful.    Ultimately  I  knew  that  I’d  need  to  make  a   [QOVQÅKIV\ÅVIVKQITKWUUQ\UMV\WVZMIT estate,  build  outs,  marketing,  inventory,   I87;[a[\MUIUWVOW\PMZÅ`MLIVL variable  expenses.    It  seems  like  the  exXIV[QWVPIXXMVMLW^MZVQOP\#[WUM\QUM[ it  feels  that  way,  even  to  me.” Gehman’s  multiple  brick-and-mortar  locations  resulted  in  a  seldom  out-of-stock   scenario.    By  managing  his  inventory  he   achieves  higher-than-industry  standard   inventory  turns. continued on next page...


¹4ISM8TIKQLLQLVW\Å\UaUWLMT and was  an  interesting  growth  opportunity.    Many  of  our  customers   PILJMMV\ZI^MTQVO\W\PM4ISM8TIKQL ZMOQWVIVLQ\Å\W]ZUWLMT?Q\P W]ZTWKITO]QLMVM\_WZSIVLW]ZÆa Å[PQVO[KPWWT[\PMZM[]T\_I[IVQV PW][MLM[\QVI\QWVTWKI\QWV:MUW\M UIVIOMUMV\KIVJMLQNÅK]T\J]\QV this  instance  a  partnership  with  Jerry   Botcher  at  the  Hungry  Trout  was   critical.    With  his  lodging  and  restauZIV\QVKTW[MXZW`QUQ\a\W\PMÅ[PMZaQ\ was  perfect.” “The  bottom  line  in  this  business  is   people,”  Gehman  said.    “I  hired  the   JM[\1MUXTWaMM[1KW]TLÅVLIVL then  trained  them  consistently.    Our   customers  have  responded,  and  our   business  continues  to  grow.    The   more  you  study,  the  more  things  fall   into  place.”

Northeast:  Go  Hard  or  Go  Home Manhattan,  NYC,  America’s  most   cosmopolitan  city,  comes  with  one   catch:  it’s  expensive.    The  new  AberKZWUJQMIVL.Q\KP.QN\P)^MV]M was  the  most  successful  retail  store  in   2008  NYC.    While  their  gross  sales/ square  foot  ranged  between  $8000$10,000,  $800/square  foot  is  the   average.    With  rents  ranging  from   $450-$1380/square  foot,  every  retailer  has  to  hustle.    And  sandwiched   in  between  the  national  retailers  is  Jon   Fisher  and  his  Urban  Angler. Founded  in  1988,  The  Urban  Angler   had  been  around  long  enough  to  have   picked  all  the  low-hanging  sales  fruit.     )[6M_AWZS¼[XZMUQMZÆaÅ[PQVO venue,  its  two  channels  of  distribution   J][QVM[[JZQKSIVLUWZ\IZIVLUIQT order),  foreign  business,  a  guide  net-

_WZSLM[\QVI\QWV\ZI^MTÆa[KPWWT[ clinics and  outreach  programs  grew   throughout  the  1990’s.    Fisher  was  in   a  comfortable  place  until  a  quadruple   rent  increase  threatened.    In  a  bold   move,  Fisher  decided  to  expand. ¹5IZOQV[QVÆaÅ[PQVOIZMV¼\I[PQOP as  in  other  industries,  so  when  we  outgrew  our  old  location  I  needed  to  be   very  careful  that  our  expansion  didn’t   KWUMI\IVM`XMV[M\WW]ZXZWÅ\ margin,”  Fisher  said.    “If  I  focus  only   on  top-line  sales  growth  I’ll  go  out  of   J][QVM[[1V[\MIL1[\]La/5:71 KIZMN]TTaIVLXTIKMXZM[MI[WVIVLÅTT QVWZLMZ[[WI[\WMV[]ZMXZWÅ\IJQTQ\aº As  a  cost  savings  to  The  Urban     Angler,  Fisher  relocated  his  store     to  a  3,300-square-foot  space  in  the     Flatiron  District  on  Fifth  Avenue.     The  location  is  in  perfect  proximity   to  his  target  customer  base  and  foot   \ZINÅK[WWVMXZWJTMU_I[[WT^ML Still,  the  exorbitant  rent  did  not  allow   NWZIUIQTWZLMZN]TÅTTUMV\IZMINWZ his  overhauled  Internet  business.    The   solution?    A  second  retail  location  in  a   less  expensive  area. / June 2009

While it  sounds  like  the  tail  wagging  the  dog,  Fisher  made  a  strategic   move  in  opening  up  Urban  Angler,   Arlington  in  Virginia.    He  bought  an   M`Q[\QVOÆaÅ[PQVOJ][QVM[[\PI\[\IaML true  to  it  core  tackle-model.    The   3,500  square  feet  of  retail  space  acKWUUWLI\M[_ITSQVK][\WUMZ\ZINÅK and  an  additional  3,500  square  feet   handles  back  storage  space  for  order   N]TÅTTUMV\¹?M_MZMIJTM\WILLZM[[ two  issues,  those  being  to  expand  our   brand  presence  and  increase  our  sales.     Annual  gross  sales  continue  to  climb   as  they  have  since  our  expansion.”


Conservation has  been  a  big  part  of   the  shop’s  business  model  for  two   decades.    “There  is  a  big  green  movement,  and  at  one  point  or  another   we’ve  been  heavily  involved  with  most   KWV[MZ^I\QWVOZW]X[<PMTQ[\Q[TWVO#


XWVLITTQVIVIZMI_Q\PQVKZMI[ML\ZINÅKÆW_[)KZMI\Q^M mezzanine design  makes  for  additional  retail  space  while   allowing  for  indoor  casting.

:WKSa5W]V\IQV["1UXZW^Q[M)LIX\7^MZKWUM and  Survive

“Savvy dealers  look  not  just  towards  gross  sales,  but  net   XZWÅ\5ISQVOXZ]LMV\J][QVM[[LMKQ[QWV[ZMOIZLQVO margin  funded  expansion  plans.    Industry  standards  are   a  given  50%,  but  many  manufactures  offer  in  season  or   promotional  discounts  of  up  to  65%.    By  realizing  an  extra   $50.00  per  rod  sale  extended  across  50  rods,  the  $2500  adLQ\QWVITVM\XZWÅ\N]VL[IL^MZ\Q[QVOWZW]\ZMIKPMNNWZ\[IVL the  positive  trend  continues.”

In 1996,  Colorado  Springs’  Dave  Leinweber  approached   Angler’s  Covey  ownership  with  the  idea  of  opening  a   satellite  location.    The  business  was  founded  in  1981,  was   growing,  and  a  second  location  made  sense.    The  second   location  did  not  happen,  and  as  fate  would  have  it,  by   1999  Leinweber  owned  the  retail  business,  the  property   and  the  loans  in  their  entirety. “Shortly  after  I  owned  Angler’s  Covey  we  had  the  total   0IaUMV_QTLÅZM\PI\LM^I[\I\ML+PMM[UIV+IVaWVIVL affected  Deckers.    We  feel  those  effects  today.    I  just  had  to   roll  up  my  sleeves  and  work  more  creatively.”

I only  need  to  look  at  my  own  bank  account  to  know   \PI\_M¼ZMQVLQNÅK]T\\QUM[*]\\PM[MNW]ZLMITMZ[PI^M shown  that  growth  is  possible.    And  to  a  degree,  Death  of   a  Salesman’s  Willie  Loman  was  right  when  he  said  “the   world  is  your  oyster….but  you  can’t  crack  it  open  lying   on  a  mattress.” at

Several years  ago,  Leinweber  outgrew  his  space.    “It   needed  more  space.    To  arrive  at  a  design  I  decon[\Z]K\ML\PM[XWZ\WN ÆaÅ[PQVOQV\W[MK\QWV[)\\PM core  is  the  cast,  which  therefore  means  that  to  successfully  sell  rods  you  need  a  place  to  cast.    For  most  of   the  year,  casting  rods  outside  is  a  treat,  but  our  winters   are  tough.    My  solution?    I  decided  that  we’d  need  an   QVLWWZIVLIVW]\LWWZKI[\QVOIZMI6M`\ÆaÅ[PQVOQ[ an  individual  sport.    As  a  retailer,  I  wanted  full  assortments  of  all  vendors’  products.    But  they  had  to  be   inventoried  properly  with  a  focus  on  visual  merchandising  techniques  and  contribute  to  the  bottom  line.    I  approached  each  of  my  vendors  with  a  proposal  to  work   together,  and  we  did.    I  wish  I  could  just  carry  best   sellers,  but  the  reality  is  I’ll  miss  sales  if  I  do.    There  is   a  balance  that  I  study  every  day.”    

Contact Information:

As a  result,  Angler’s  Covey  has  an  excellent  representation   of  products  from  many  manufacturers,  and  decisions  are   JI[MLWV/5:71

-Study your  Market.

Leinweber is  education-oriented,  and  devotes  a  tremendous  amount  of  his  time  to  bringing  new  participants  into   the  sport.    

The result?    Angler’s  Covey  is  now  in  a  new  location,   housed  in  an  8,755-square-foot  building,  with  2,000   square  feet  rented  to  tenants,  5,000  square  feet  of  selling  space,  two  outdoor  casting  ponds,  one  indoor  casting  

Tony Gehman TCO  Fly  Shop !8MVV)^MV]M :MILQVO8)!! 610-678-1899 ___\KWÆaÅ[PQVOKWU

Jon Fisher The  Urban  Angler-New  York 206  Fifth  Avenue,  3rd  Floot New  York,  NY    10010 212-689-6400 Dave  Leinweber Angler’s  Covey 295  S  21st  Street Colorado  Springs,  CO    80904 719-471-2984

Tips of  the  Trade: 8TIV8TIV8TIV

-Community Involvement   and  outreach  programs     regardless  of  age.

-Solicit advice  from  manufacturers  and  sales  reps  and   cross-reference  with  your  own   research  and  experience.

-Destination trips.


-Obstacles to  success  are     KWV[\IV\:MV\QVKZMI[M[   ZM\IQTKWUXM\Q\QWVÅZM[   drought,  and  deluge  are  a     given.    Focus  on  what  you     need  to  do  to  grow.

8TIa\WaW]Z[\ZMVO\P[ -Service the  heck  out  of  your   customers. ;\INN \ZIQVQVOIVL8ZWL]K\ Knowledge-rep  clinic-ing     are  key. -Gross  sales  are  important,   /5:71Q[KZQ\QKIT

AW]¼ZMITZMILaIÅ[PMZman….become a  retailer.

-Creative, out-of-the-box,   solutions-oriented  thinking   wins  the  game. 25 / June 2009

“We offer  classes  followed  up  by  local  guiding  and  then  a   TWaIT\aXZWOZIUITTLM[QOVML\WSMMXÅ[PMZUMVÅ[PQVO We’re  customer  service  focused,  and  have  found  numerous  ways  to  differentiate  ourselves.”

Byron and  Paula  Begley Daniel  Drake 4Q\\TM:Q^MZ7]\Å\\MZ[ 106  Town  Square  Drive Townsend,  TN    37882 865-448-9459 ___TQ\\TMZQ^MZW]\Å\\MZ[KWU


Reviewed by Kirk Deeter

We’ve talked  a  lot   in  recent   issues  of   Angling  Trade   about  how   Æa\aQVO can  buoy   shop  sales   in  a  tough   economy.     Here  is  the   catalyst  for   OM\\QVOXMWXTM\W\QMÆQM[_Q\PMNNMK\_ZQ\\MVQVXTIQVTIVO]IOMJaWVMWN \PMJM[\Æa innovators  in  America,  Charlie  Craven.     <WJMXMZNMK\TaJT]V\\PQ[Q[\PMJM[\Æa tying  book  I’ve  seen  in  years,  period,   because  it  goes  well  beyond  the  “how”  

and d ives  right  into  the  “why.”   Sure  you  get  the  step-by-step   instructions  to  tie  some  of  the   most  basic  and  effective  patterns   around,  from  Woolly  Buggers  to   Stimulators,  to  Copper  Johns,   but  the  reader  also  learns  why   they  should  select  certain  materials  for  certain  flies,  and  why   they  should  attach  and  why  they   should  proportion  elements  of   flies  the  way  Charlie  does.    I’ve   always  thought  fly  tying  is  as   much  about  rationale  as  it  is   routine,  and  the  rationale  had  always  been  sorely  underserved  in   most  books  I’ve  read.    This  book   fills  that  need  to  a  “T.”

It’s also  worth  noting  that  Stackpole  did  a  nice  job  on  the  production  end  with  high  quality  images   and  design.    This  book  is  an  artifact.    It  had  to  be.    Anyone  who   _IV\[\WSVW_PW_\W\QMI8ZQVKM nymph  can  get  the  recipe  over  the   Internet.    But  here,  the  reader  has   a  complete  resource,  with  straightshot  advice  and  instruction  that   would  complement  any  tying   bench  or  bookshelf.     Get  a  copy  and  leave  it  by  the  active  tying  vise  in  your  shop.    Then   get  a  bunch  more  to  sell  to  your   customers.    Every  tier  you  create  will  pay  dividends.    This  is  an   ideal  primer. / June 2009

Reviewed by Kirk Deeter

You should   check   W]\\PMV sell)  Miles   Nolte’s   compelling,   honest,   and  gritty   work  in   The  Alaska   +PZWVQKTM[.     The  work  is   a  collection   of  semidaily  reports  from  a  season  of  guiding  in   Alaska.    That,  in  and  of  itself,  is  ample   fodder  for  some  good  storytelling,  and   Nolte  doesn’t  hold  back.  His  writing  appeals  to  me  by  virtue  of  its  honesty  and   26

[QUXTQKQ\a;]ZMaW]OM\\PMÅ[P stories, but  you  also  get  the  client   meltdowns,  the  cold  hamburgers,   bloodied  bodies,  fatigue,  bears...  essentially  the  guide  world  all-access   pass,  and  that  ultimately  makes  the   real  Alaska  experience  come  alive.     The  book  is  more  than  worth   reading  for  its  candor  alone,  and   the  visual  images  that  the  reader   derives  from  all  of  that. It’s  also  an  interesting  project   in  that  the  content  essentially   backed  its  way  into  hardcover,   having  initially  been  posted  on   the  message  board  of  T he  Drake   magazine  website.    As  such  it   wasn’t  a  “been  there  done  that”  

story, rather  a  “being  here,  doing   this”  thread  that  connected  over   3,000  online  message  board  readers   from  Singapore  to  Germany. It  will  be  interesting  to  see  how  this   website-to-book  phenomenon  works.     My  guess  is  that  it  is  one  of  the  few   QN IVaÆaÅ[PQVOJWWS[\PI\¼[JMMV released  with  its  own  audience  already   in  tow,  which  cannot  be  a  bad  thing.     Where  there  is  substance  there  is   value,  and  where  there  is  value,  books   will  sell.    I  have  long  believed  that  the   ZMIT[]J[\IVKMQV\PMÆaÅ[PQVO_WZTL inevitably  lives  amongst  the  guides.     There  is  plenty  of  all  that  in  T he   )TI[SI+PZWVQKTM[.    You’ll  enjoy  it,  and   so  will  your  customers. at


fly rods

The kudos just keep coming ... “I haven’t found a distance it doesn’t cast well, with no effort on my part! Lays down a lot of leader, as gently as a puff of smoke.” – Buzz Bryson, Fly Rod & Reel magazine To read more raves about the Helios, visit

Fly Rod & Reel Reader’s Choice 2008


Reflections on a Mentor Written by Greg Thomas

I met Gary LaFontaine while negotiating the banks of the Clark Fork River on a cold winter day in Missoula. He  was  strolling  into  Hellgate  Canyon  along  a  trail   adjacent  to  the  University   of  Montana  campus.  I  was   stomping  out  of  Hellgate,   half-frozen  and  frustrated,   having  just  been  handed  my   ass  by  the  trout.

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â&#x20AC;&#x153;I  got  one,â&#x20AC;?  I  lied  when  LaFontaine  asked.  Noting  his   Ă&#x2020;aZWLIVLIVWXXWZ\]VQ\a for  one-upmanship  I  said,   â&#x20AC;&#x153;Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll  be  lucky  to  catch   IĂ&#x2026;[P\WLIaÂşILLQVOš\PM midges  arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t  really  coming   WNN IVL\PMZQ[QVOĂ&#x2026;[PIZM in  the  middle  of  the  river.   I  wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t  even  bother  if  I   were  you.â&#x20AC;?

LaFontaine  let  a  knowing  smile  creep  across  his  face  and  said,   š1][ML\WKI\KP[WUMĂ&#x2026;[PPMZM[W1ÂźTTI\TMI[\OQ^MQ\I\ZaÂş Then,  he  added,  â&#x20AC;&#x153;What  are  you  studying?â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Journalism,â&#x20AC;?  I  beamed.  â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m  the  outdoors  writer  for  the  university  newspaper.  Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m  going  to  be  a  free-lance  writer  as  soon   as  I  graduate  this  spring.â&#x20AC;? / June 2009

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Well,  thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s  ironic,â&#x20AC;?  he  said.  â&#x20AC;&#x153;I  was  the  outdoors  writer  for   the  university  newspaper  about  20  years  ago.  Now  I  make  my   TQ^QVO_ZQ\QVOIJW]\Ă&#x2020;aĂ&#x2026;[PQVOÂş Then,  as  he  dug  in  a  pocket  for  his  business  card,  and  despite   that  juvenile  superiority  tone  in  my  voice,  he  made  an  offer:   â&#x20AC;&#x153;I  liked  going  to  school  here  and  itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s  a  great  program.  The   professors  teach  you  how  to  write,  but  Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve  always  been  disappointed  that  they  donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t  teach  students  how  to  make  a  living.   Give  me  a  call  if  you  have  any  questions  about  the  business   IVLTM\Âź[Ă&#x2026;[P[WUM\QUMÂş

1ZM\ZMI\ML\W\PMKZI_T[XIKM_PQKPPIZJWZMLILQZ\Ă&#x2020;WWZIVL a  $50  per  month  price  tag.  It  was  where  I  belonged  given  my   belligerent  and  embarrassing  rant  to  LaFontaine.  Earlier  that   LIaQ\[MMUMLIXXZWXZQI\M\W\MTTI[\ZIVOMZPW_Q\_I[#I\\PM \QUM1\PW]OP\JMQVOIĂ&#x2020;aĂ&#x2026;[PMZUIVPILI[U]KP\WLW_Q\P demonstrating  expertiseâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;on  and  off  the  streamâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;as  anything   MT[M:MKTQVQVOQVI\MV\[\IZQVO]XI\M`XW[MLJMIU[IVLI labyrinth  of  fresh  spider  webs,  I  determined  my  attitude  had  a   lot  to  do  with  how  I  and  fellow  newcomers  were  treated  when   MV\MZQVO^IZQW][Ă&#x2020;a[PWX[I[QN _MÂźL\ZIKSMLU]LIKZW[[\PM Ă&#x2020;WWZJaI[SQVO\PMLQNNMZMVKMJM\_MMVITIZ^IMIVLX]XIM# I[QVS\QX^MZ[][I[PWW\QVOPMIL#IJZWWS\ZW]\^MZ[][IJ]TT \ZW]\#\PM[\ZWVOMZWN \PM\_W¸@WZ@#IVL^IZQW][W\PMZ basics  anglers  need  to  know  as  they  enter  the  sport.  Sometimes,  I  recalled,  we  didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t  even  ask  questions  because  we   LQLVÂź\_IV\\WMVL]ZM\PM_ZI\P?PMV_M^Q[Q\MLĂ&#x2020;a[PWX[_M TWWSML\PZW]OP\PMĂ&#x2020;aJQV[IVLM`IUQVML\PMOMIZIVLSMX\ our  ears  open  to  other  conversations,  trying  to  pick  up  the   information  we  needed  without  getting  lambasted.  Sitting  in   the  dungeon  that  day,  I  vowed  to  lose  the  prove-Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m-a-master   Ă&#x2020;aĂ&#x2026;[PMZUIVIJW^MITTMT[MI\\Q\]LM\PI\1ÂźLXQKSML]X1^W_ML to  be  more  like  LaFontaine. 1\_I[VÂź\TWVOIN\MZ\PI\Ă&#x2026;Z[\UMM\QVO_Q\P4I.WV\IQVM\PI\ I  required  his  advice.  Over  the  years  I  called  him  on  many   fronts,  often  to  discuss  publishing  contracts  and  the  merits   of  particular  business  deals.  Sometimes  I  called  to  say  nothing  more  than  hello  and  to  talk  about  dogs,  which  we  shared   equal  passion  for.  Occasionally  weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d  meet  for  lunch  or  dinner   and  drinks,  sometimes  in  Missoula,  other  times  in  Deer  Lodge   or  Helena.  Always,  LaFontaine  offered  the  most  concise  and   WXMVQV[\Z]K\QWV1KW]TLĂ&#x2026;VLIVLPM_I[VM^MZKWUXM\Q\Q^M even  when  I  penned  a  book,  Fly  Fisherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s  Guide  to  Montana,  that   ran  in  direct  competition  with  his  publishing  houseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s  title  called   Montana  Fly  Fishing  Guide  East  and  West.


One  time  I  asked  why  competing  with  my  book  didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t  bother   him  and  he  said,  â&#x20AC;&#x153;Greg,  theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re  not  the  same  books  and  differMV\I]\PWZ[PI^MLQNNMZMV\\ISM[WV^IZQW][Ă&#x2026;[PMZQM[IVL\PI\ only  helps  the  common  angler.  Overall,  having  those  books   W]\\PMZMJZQVO[UWZMXMWXTMQV\WĂ&#x2020;aĂ&#x2026;[PQVOIVLQ\UISM[\PM experience  better  for  them.  Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s  good  for  all  of  us.â&#x20AC;?

<PI\VQOP\1XZWL]KML\PMJ][QVM[[KIZLNWZIĂ&#x2020;aR]VSQMZWWUmate  and  he  crowed,  â&#x20AC;&#x153;You  met  Mr.  Caddis!  That  guy  knows   UWZMIJW]\:WKSa5W]V\IQV\ZW]\\PIVIVaWVMÂş

A  few  weeks  ago,  while  hanging  out  at  my  parentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;  house  in   Seattle,  Washington,  my  father  and  I  saw  one  of  my  friendâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s   bylines  in  a  magazine.  Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d  introduced  this  guy  to  writing  by  


signing him  to  a  book  deal  with  a  publisher  I  used  to  work  for.  My  dad  said,   “Greg,  you’ve  been  able  to  help  a  few   of  your  friends  and  several  strangers  to   become  pretty  successful  writers.  You   must  feel  good  about  that,  right?”

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I answered,  “Yes,  I  do  and  the  only   reason  I’m  generous  in  that  regard  is  because  of  Gary  LaFontaine.  LaFontaine   _I[LQNNMZMV\#PMVM^MZNMT\\PZMI\MVML and  only  tried  to  help  and  that  example   made  me  a  better  person.  Now  my  efforts  bring  more  people  into  the  business   WN _ZQ\QVOIVLQV\WÆaÅ[PQVOIVLUISM their  experiences  worthwhile.  That’s   very  rewarding  to  me.  It  all  started  with   LaFontaine.  I  owe  him  a  lot.” The  last  time  I  saw  LaFontaine  he  was   restricted  to  a  bed  at  a  care  center  near   \PMUW]\PWN \PM:I\\TM[VISM?QTLMZness  outside  Missoula.  I  helped  feed  him   and  gave  him  water  when  he  requested   it.  Shortly  after,  he  died  from  Lou   Gehrig’s  disease,  prematurely  at  56,  on   January  4,  2002.

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During that  last  conversation,  in  typical   fashion,  LaFontaine  told  me  he  didn’t   NMMTKPMI\ML#PM¼LLQVML_Q\PZWaIT\a Å[PML_Q\PIUJI[[ILWZ[IVLTMOMVL[ and  led  a  life  beyond  his  humble   expectations.  To  this  day  his  landmark   book,  +ILLQ[ÆQM[,  is  considered  the  statement  on  the  subject  and  his  life  work   MVPIVKM[\PMLIQTaX]Z[]Q\WN ÆaÅ[PMZ[ worldwide.  Before  I  left  his  side  for  the   last  time  he  said,  “Greg,  writing  is  a   burden,  but  it’s  important,  and  you  do  it   _MTT3MMX_ZQ\QVO3MMXÅ[PQVO-VRWa your  opportunity  to  share  the  experience  with  others.” 8MZPIX[\PI\_I[I[\I\MUMV\NWZITT of  us  to  hear,  especially  poignant  right   VW_#L]ZQVO\PQ[\QUMWN MKWVWUQK downturn  our  strength  is  in  numbers   and  attitude.  Don’t  just  bring  a  new   one  into  the  sport,  also  let  them  prosper  and  breed—one  at  a  time,  with   respect,  we  persevere. at


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Advanced Shop Class:

Written by Joe Cermele

Teach more than fly-fishing 101 to boost sales and build better client relations ;IaQVO\PI\ITIZOMXIZ\WN Æa[PWX survival comes  from  the  return  client   is  no  shocker.  But  to  keep  the  loyalists  walking  through  the  door,  shop   owners  must  be  top-notch  teachers  as   well  as  great  salesmen.  Being  able  to   convey  the  fundamentals  of  the  sport   goes  beyond  info  found  in  books  like   “Fly  Fishing  For  Dummies.”  From   bustling  Anchorage  to  small-town   +WJ]ZV8MVV[aT^IVQI\PM[PWZM[ of  Tampa  Bay  to  the  mountains  of   Montana,  we  grilled  four  shop  owners   in  very  different  demographic  areas  to   ÅVLW]\PW_\PMaQVKZMI[M[ITM[IVL keep  up  their  rep  by  teaching  what  we   KWV[QLMZ\PMNW]ZMTMUMV\[WN ÆaÅ[Ping,  and  doing  so  by  thinking  outside   the  box. / June 2009

Fly Selection:  2WVI[8ZQKMOM\[I laugh  every  time  a  customers  says,   “The  Adams  are  really  hatching  good  

?PMZMKPWW[QVOÆQM[Q[KWVKMZVML 8ZQKMNMMT[\PI\JMQVOIJTM\W\MIKP KTQMV\[PW_\WQLMV\QNaÆQM[VW\R][\ what they  represent,  plays  a  huge  part   QVJ]QTLQVOKWVÅLMVKM ¹8MWXTMKWUMQVITT\PM\QUM_Q\PI JW`WN ÆQM[IVLI[SUM_PI\\PMa IZMº8ZQKMM`XTIQVML¹1N aW]KIV dump  them  on  the  counter  and  name   them  all,  you’ve  just  taught  that  client   what  to  ask  for  in  the  future.  Handing   [WUMWVMÆQM[IVL[IaQVO»][M\PM[M¼ doesn’t  tell  them  the  advantage  of  a   parachute  or  beadhead.” 8ZQKMQ[IT[WIJQOJMTQM^MZQVVW\ pretending  you  know  everything.   Though  he  can  walk  clients  through   proper  patterns  for  the  local  streams,   many  regular  clients  travel  throughout   8MVV[aT^IVQI\WÅ[P “If  someone  asks  about  a  stream  50   miles  away,  I  can  probably  give  them   \PMÆQM[\PMaVMMLJ]\JMQVO_ZWVOQ[ bad  for  business,  “  he  says.  “I’ll  often   ZMKWUUMVLIOWWLÆa[PWXQV\PI\ area.” 8ZQKMVW\M[\PI\\PMZMQ[IPIJQ\WN  NM]LQVOJM\_MMVÆa[PWX[PMKIV¼\ understand.  By  sending  customers   to  other  shops,  they  will  learn  more   IJW]\Æa[MTMK\QWVIVLJW\P[PWX[ come  out  looking  good.  “The  next   \QUM\PI\O]aQ[WV8MVV[+ZMMSPM¼TT JMQV\WJ]aÆQM[º8ZQKM[Ia[¹)VL if  I’m  lucky  he’ll  have  just  ripped  his   waders.”  

them end  up  in  his  shop,  World  Wide   )VOTMZ7]\Å\\MZ[?Q\P[]KPLQ^MZ[M water  types  and  species  in  the  state,   Graham  learned  something  very  early   on:  the  casting  skills  shops  need  to   have  covered  revolve  around  species,   season,  and  location  as  much  as  they   do  angler  skill  level. “If  you  come  here  looking  for  silver   salmon,  the  elements  of  that  casting   style  are  miles  apart  from  what  the   O]aTWWSQVONWZ[UITT[\ZMIULZaÆa action  with  grayling  needs  to  know,”   says  Graham.  “If  someone  needs  to   cast  a  heavy  dumb-bell  streamer,  a   few  split-shot,  plus  a  sinking  head  all   in  one  stroke,  naturally  you  have  to  be   able  to  explain  the  fundamentals  of   that  cast.  But  you  also  can’t  forget  to   tell  him  to  duck.” /ZIPIUQ[IÅZUJMTQM^MZ\PI\PI^QVO the  knowledge  to  thoroughly  educate   clients  on  the  differences  in  rod  speeds   and  materials  will  help  them  better   understand  casting  basics.  In  turn,   customers  are  more  likely  to  step  up  to   a  high-end  rod  once  they  understand   how  design  and  material  translates  to   better  distance  and  accuracy.  

today.” “I  just  answer,  ‘yeah,  Adams   IZM_WZSQVOXZM\\a_MTT¼º8ZQKM[Ia[ “I  won’t  correct  them  and  make  them   look  stupid,  but  I  won’t  disagree  ei\PMZº8ZQKMPI[W_VML<PM.MI\PMZML Hook  in  the  tiny  town  of  Coburn  for   11  years.  His  shop  sits  in  the  middle   The  Cast:  Every  season,  thousands   WN 8MVV[aT^IVQI¼[4QUM[\WVMKW]V\Za WN IVOTMZ[ÆWKS\W)VKPWZIOM)TI[SI But  if  there  is  one  element  of  casting   _Q\P8MVV[+ZMMSR][\LW_V\PM[\ZMM\ Luckily  for  Keith  Graham,  many  of   Graham  pegs  as  the  most  important   30

for beginners,  it’s  distance.  Though   distance  is  crucial  on  Alaska’s  big   ZQ^MZ[\PMNIK\Q[]V[MI[WVMLÆaKI[\ers  want  to  cast  long.  Over  time,  they   TMIZV\PI\Å[PQVOKTW[MWN\MVXIa[JQO but  no  matter  how  much  you  stress   that  early  on,  they’ll  shoot  for  that   farthest  riser.  Teach  them  to  throw   TWVOXZWXMZTaIVLTM\\PMUÅO]ZMW]\ on  their  own  that  they  won’t  need  to   nine  times  out  of  ten.  You’ve  taught   the  client  want  they  wanted  to  learn,   and  they’ll  be  back  when  they  need   \WSVW_PW_\WÅ[PI\QOP\XWKSM\I\ rod  length. The  Presentation:  “There’s  one   thing  I  can  tell  you  for  sure  about  the   *QO0WTMº[Ia[.ZIVS;\IVKPÅMTL “The  water  level  changes  weekly.  So   \PMÅ[PIZMIT_Ia[QVIVM_XTIKMº Twenty-six  years  as  a  guide  and  owner   WN *QO0WTM<ZW]\Å\\MZ[VMIZ?Q[M where  the  angler  casts  straight  across   \W\PMJIVS_Q\PI_M\Æa][QVOVW strike  indicator  and  without  mending   the  line.

:Q^MZ5WV\IVIPI^MUILM;\IVKPÅMTLI^MZQ\IJTMÆaOWLNI\PMZWN \PM Big Hole  Valley.  And  his  experience   PI[\I]OP\PQU\PI\\PMÅZ[\SMa\W \MIKPQVOÆaXZM[MV\I\QWVPI[VW\PQVO to  do  with  patterns,  lines,  or  rods. “Look  at  a  river  like  the  Missouri.  It’s   a  tailwater,  so  the  levels  and  the  holding  locations  are  predictable,”  StanchÅMTL[Ia[¹.QO]ZMW]\_PMZM\PMÅ[P hold  and  you  can  pretty  much  present   ÆQM[\PM[IUMM^MZa\QUM*]\WV\PM Big  Hole,  presentation  varies  month   to  month,  week  to  week,  day  to  day.” )[IVM`IUXTM;\IVKPÅMTLKQ\M[\PM early-spring  method  of  “tightlining,”  

“You have  to  present  so  your  line  is   tight  and  you  can  see  the  end  of  the   ÆaTQVM\_Q\KPI\\PM[\ZQSMºPMM`plained.  “Tie  on  an  indicator  and  the   ÆaLZIO[*]\QN aW]TWWSI\JI[QK_M\ ÆaXZM[MV\I\QWV\PMJWWS[\MTTaW]\W cast  slightly  upstream  and  use  an  indicator.  That  doesn’t  usually  work  here   in  April.  A  few  weeks  later,  tightlining   Q[W^MZ<PMÅ[PIZMWNN \PMJIVS[ 8WQV\JMQVOQN aW]LWV¼\SVW_M`IK\Ta PW_aW]ZÅ[P[\I\QWV\PMU[MT^M[ PW_aW]X]\\PMÆaQVNZWV\WN \PMU doesn’t  make  much  difference.” While  presentation  angles  change   Y]QKSTa;\IVKPÅMTLLWM[JMTQM^M\PI\ ITTZQ^MZ[PI^MW]\Å\[XMZNMK\Ta[]Q\ML to  their  challenges. “Though  it  can  take  time  to  teach   the  behavior  of  area  trout,  I  can  tell   IKTQMV\IVQVMNWW\Å^M_MQOP\ZWL continued on next page...






is going  to  be  the  best  choice  for   achieving  almost  every  presentation   you  need  to  make  in  the  Big  Hole,”   he  says.  “It  helps  a  lot  when  the   angler  starts  out  knowing  he  has  the   right  tool  for  any  situation.” The  Fight:  If  there’s  a  man  who   knows  a  thing  or  two  about  the  end   OIUM_Q\PJQOÅ[PWV\PMÆaQ\¼[  Dave  

Chouinard. He  opened  The  F ly   0I\KPQV:ML*IVS6M_2MZ[MaQV 1993,  where  customers  looking  to   battle  striped  bass,  false  albacore,   and  tuna  accounted  for  a  lot  of  business.  Chouinard  recently  moved  out   of  the  Northeast  and  took  his  operation  with  him  to  Tampa  Bay,  F lorida.   <IZXWVJ]TTZMLÅ[PIVLJZ]Q[MZ snook  are  his  new  area  of  expertise. “Most  importantly,  what  people   need  to  learn  early  on  about  the   ÅOP\Q[\PI\IÆaZWLQ[VW\I[XQVVQVOZWLº+PW]QVIZL[Ia[¹:MMTQVO with  the  tip  vertical  over  your  head   is  really  only  useful  for  picking  up   slack  line  in  a  hurry.  Where  a  spinning  rod  is  the  glue  between  your   TQVMIVLILZIOIÆaZWLQ[UWZMI tool  for  controlling  the  angle  of  the   \PQKSÆaTQVMº )KKWZLQVO\W+PW]QVIZL\PMÅOP\Q[ about  understanding  the  resistance   of  that  line  and  using  the  rod  to  best   manage  that  resistance.  But  that’s  not   to  say  rod  speed  and  strength  don’t   play  a  vital  role.

Looking for the ultimate personal fishing cataraft for flat and whitewater angling? The NRS GigBob is your boat!. It’s frameless, stable, and 20% lighter than similar length craft. Folds up to fit in a car trunk and store in your closet. Look to NRS for all the innovative inflatables, apparel and life jackets for your next fishing adventure. |  800-­243.1677 See  video  of  the  GigBob  at


“The goal  is  to  maintain  steady  pres[]ZM\PZW]OPW]\\PMÅOP\ºPM[Ia[ ¹:WL[IZMOM\\QVONI[\MZIVLNI[\MZ and  understanding  how  pressure   applies  to  your  rod  is  as  critical  as   knowing  when  to  palm  a  reel.  But   unless  clients  want  to  get  very  deep   into  how  different  rod  materials  perform,  I  prefer  to  keep  it  simple.  I  will   JM\PMÅZ[\\W\MTT\PMU\PW]OP\PI\ UIVaWN \PM[MÅVMKI[\QVOZWL[IZM VW\\PMJM[\NWZÅOP\QVO<PMZM¼[\WW TQ\\TMÅJMZOTI[[[KZQUQV\PMZWL<PMa cast  like  lethal  weapons,  but  under   heavy-handed  duress,  they  explode.” .ZWUI[MTTQVOXMZ[XMK\Q^M\PMÅOP\ boils  down  to  deciphering  when  a   customer  wants  to  look  good  tarpon   Å[PQVOIVL_PMVWVM_IV\[\WKI\KP tarpon.  The  theory  applies  to  almost   every  species.   at



THE POND Written by Kirk Deeter

net  worth  in  the  past  few  years  is  keeping  his  money  on  the  sidelines.    The   bling  is  gone.â&#x20AC;? While  this  portends  bleak  near-term   sales  for  many  retailers,  Murphy  thinks   \PM\ZMVLUWZMIKK]ZI\MTaZMĂ&#x2020;MK\[IV adjustment  that  will  track  the  market   back  to  more  traditionalâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;perhaps  more   sustainableâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;sales  and  growth  trajectories  for  the  long  term. š1\PQVS\PMĂ&#x2020;aĂ&#x2026;[PQVOQVL][\ZaQ[ZM\]ZVing  to  its  historical  base,  and  its  historical   OZW_\PZI\MNZWUJMNWZM\PMUW^QM) :Q^MZ:]V[<PZW]OP1\!!_PQKP is  between  three  and  seven  percent  annually,â&#x20AC;?  Murphy  said.    â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re  going  to   Ă&#x2026;VL\PI\\PMKWZMUIZSM\Q[[\QTTOWQVO to  be  the  person  who  makes  the  leisure   commitment,  who  has  the  time,  money,   QVKTQVI\QWVIVL[SQTT\WJMĂ&#x2020;aĂ&#x2026;[PQVOÂş Certainly,  Hardy  is  familiar  with     that  history. / June 2009

Alnwick, England-based fishing tackle icon Hardy & Greyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s has been positioning to make a big splash on this side of the pond for many months now.

Interestingly,  however,  the  products  proL]KMLJa/ZMaÂź[IKY]QZMLJa0IZLaQV 1999,  Greyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s  manufacturers  in  Asia,  and   markets  products  at  lower  pricepoint),   The  company  hired  Jim  Murphy,  a   Depression  and  other  economic  crises.     now  allow  the  company  to  span  the   [MI[WVMLĂ&#x2020;aQVL][\ZaQV[QLMZ5]ZXPa It  even  had  its  shop  bombed  in  World   consumer  price  range  gamut  far  more   NW]VLMLJW\P:MLQVO\WV<IKSTM+WIVL War  II.    Through  it  all  the  art  and  cul- effectively  than  ever  before.    Call  it  the   šaQVIVLaIVOÂşWN \PMVM_Ă&#x2020;aUIZSM\ Albright  Tackle  Co.)  to  take  the  reins  as   ture  of  angling  has  a  way  of  transcendpresident  of  Hardy  North  America.    The   ing  even  the  most  trying  circumstances,   paradigmâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;high  end  product  that  underscores  what  Murphy  called  Hardyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s   company  broke  off  a  seven-year-old  disand  Hardy  has  played  a  prominent   â&#x20AC;&#x153;comfort  brandâ&#x20AC;?  positioning  on  the   tribution  agreement  with  Cortland,  and   role  in  making  that  happen. one  end,  and  Asian  manufactured  gear   spent  more  than  $1,000,000  to  create  a   _PQKP5]ZXPaKMZ\IQVTaPMTXMLXQWVMMZ Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s   n ot   t o   s ay   t he   c ompany   i s   state-of-the-art  14,000-plus-square-foot   QV\W\PM=;Ă&#x2020;aUIZSM\Ă&#x2026;TTQVOIVW\PMZ counting   o n   t radition,   h owever   headquarters  and  distribution  facilniche  entirely. to  guide  its  future.    If  anything,   Q\a_PQKPKIZZQM[W^MZLQNNMZMV\ says  Murphy,  the  margin  for  error   products  in  the  Hardy  and  Greyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s  lines)   To  wit:  Hardy  reels  still  carry  the  day  in   for  anyone  looking  to  weather  the   QV4IVKI[\MZ8MVV[aT^IVQI1\IUXML   many  regards,  and  among  many  U.S.   current  marketâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;manufacturer  or   up  marketing  efforts,  as  well  as  new     retailers  carrying  Hardy.    Look  for  a  new   ZM\IQTMZ¸Q[VW_QVĂ&#x2026;VQ\M[QUITTa[UITT ;\/MWZOMZMMTQVQ\QITTaQV\ZWL]KMLQV\PM product  development. ![\PM;\/MWZOMZMĂ&#x2020;MK\[\PM\ZILQMurphy  explains  that  the  current   And  then,  like  every  other  company   \QWVWN \PM*W]OTMIVL\PM8MZNMK\7V market  is  shaped  by  three  critical   QV\PMĂ&#x2020;aĂ&#x2026;[PQVOUIZSM\Q\KIUMNIKM the  Greyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s  side,  models  like  the  Streamtrends:    â&#x20AC;&#x153;On  the  low  end,  guys  are   to  face  with  the  realities  of  a  severe   Ă&#x2020;M` _Q\P_IZZIV\aIZMLM[QOVMLJa buying  inexpensive  gear,  and  thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s   global  recession. 0W_IZL+ZW[[\WV_PW_WV\PMKI[\QVO whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s  ringing  the  cash  registers  more   KWUXM\Q\QWVI\\PM ..:[PW_ A  worst  case  scenario? than  anything  now.    There  used  to  be   an  â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;aspirationalâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;  market  in  the  middle   On  both  ends,  Hardy  North  America   Well,  not  good  news,  to  be  sure.    Like   ZIVOM_PMZMKWV[]UMZ[_W]TLW^MZ is  working  to  expand  its  retailer  footmany  other  industry  manufacturers,   reach   s omewhat   o n   p roduct   p urchases,   XZQV\#5]ZXPaVW\ML\PI\\PMKWUXIVa Hardy  &  Greyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s  is  feeling  the  pinch  and   and   t hat   i s   1 00   p ercent   g one   n ow.     A nd   has  long  been,  and  will  continue  to  be,   has  had  to  adjust.     on  the  high  end,  the  consumer  who   committed  to  a  â&#x20AC;&#x153;specialty  shops  sellwould  purchase  expensive  tackle  is  now   ing  specialty  products.â&#x20AC;?    To  learn  more   But  Hardyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s  seen  worse  and  persevered   extremely  careful  and  skeptical.    The   in  the  past.    Founded  in  1872,  Hardy   IJW]\\PMKWUXIVa^Q[Q\Ă&#x2020;aPIZLaĂ&#x2026;[PQVO has  been  through  the  likes  of  the  Great   guy  who  has  lost  30-60  percent  of  his   com/en-us. at 34




First flyreel with adjustable check run on ball bearings.

First large arbour flyreel.

First flyreel featuring a quick release spool.


2008 DEMON

First flyreel with tool-less left- to right-hand wind conversion.

First flyreel with adjustable locking mechanism for cassette reels.


Since 1872, Hardy has designed and developed some of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s finest fishing equipment from our headquarters in Alnwick, England. To continue this tradition today, our experienced craftsmen blend quality and innovation, wisdom and passion. Just like the very best fishermen do. Hardy North America, shipping from Lancaster Pennsylvania from October 2008. For details contact


Reach out and touch someone. Lots of someones. More often the better.

At a time when discretionary income is as wobbly as a worm-eaten cane pole, the solution to boosting sales is as simple as grasping customers by their vest patch and giving a gentle shake. Nothing violent mind you—just enough to let them know that both of you share a passion for the greatest sport in the world and nothing as mundane as a little economic wobble should get in the way.

--From his  Los  Angeles  Basin  launch  pad,  Marriott  is   []ZZW]VLMLJaXMWXTMJ]\VW\UIVaÅ[P¸I\TMI[\VW\ the  type  that  titillate  anglers  who  g ravitate  to  conven\QWVITÆa\IKSTMX]Z[]Q\[0Q[JM[\\ZW]\[\ZMIU[QV\PM ;QMZZI[VMIZ*Q[PWXIZMÅ^MPW]Z[I_Ia --Two  thousand  miles  east  at  The  Fish  Hawk  shop  in   VWZ\P)\TIV\I/IZa5MZZQUIVNWZ\PMXI[\Å^MaMIZ[ PI[JMMVÅOP\QVOIKZQXXTQVOLZW]OP\VW_IZMKM[[QWV <PMLZW]OP\ÅVITTaJZWSMZMXTIKMLJaIÆWWL<PM recession  never  went  anywhere. 1V:WKSNWZL5QKPUQTM[VWZ\PWN /ZIVL:IXQL[ there’s  never  been  a  question  about  the  true  nature  of   the  enemy.  “When  Delphi,  the  auto  parts  maker,  closed   its  factory,”  it  cost  2,500  jobs,”  said  Glen  Blackwood,   who  has  owned  the  Great  Lakes  Fishing  Company  20   years.  “I  can  identify  38  of  my  customers,  good  customers,  who  vacated  the  area.  Do  the  math  on  that.” Three  widely  separated  shops  with  problems  that  appear  as  disconnected  as  the  locations.  The  remarkable   part  is  the  similarity  in  the  solutions. From  aggressive  e-mail  campaigns  to  direct  snail  mail   to  actual  face  time,  all  three  operators  have  taken  a   common  approach  to  staying  connected  to  those  longstanding  and  loyal  customers  that  form  the  backbone   of  any  business. “We’ve  used  aggressive  e-mail  campaign  campaigns,   constant  contact,  “  Merriman  says  of  a  tactic  that  also   includes  regular  weekend  programs  featuring  tackle   reps,  demonstrations  and  drawings.  “Anything  that   might  get  them  into  the  shop  and  keep  our  name  in   front  of  them.” This  a lso  entails  d irect  mailings  of  customer  appreciation   c ertificates,   2 5   p ercent   d iscounts   o n   s elect  merchandise  redeemable  in  a  prescribed  time  frame. “We  cleared  it  through  the  reps.  It’s  just  a  general   KMZ\QÅKI\MJ]\Q\KZMI\M[I_WZTLWN OWWL_QTTI[XIZ\WN  keeping  those  regular  customers  coming  to  the  shop.” / June 2009

Marriott, too,  relies  heavily  on  e-mail.  


“The days  of  sitting  back  minding  the  status  quo  are   over  with,”  declared  Bob  Marriott,  who  has  tended  the   store  that  bears  his  name  in  Fullerton,  Calif.,  for  more   than  30  years.

¹?MLWITW\WN JTI[\[IVa\PQVO_MKIVÅVLI[IV excuse without  seeming  overbearing.    We  still  have  our   customer  base  and  they  show  up  when  we  do  something   to  get  their  attention.”

*WJ5IZZQW\\¼[.TaÅ[PQVO;\WZMQ[IUWVO\PZMM[PWX[ chosen for    this  review,   each   for   a   d ifferent   a nd     LQNÅK]T\ZMI[WV

His tactics  include  direct  mail  cards  in  cooperation  with   ÅZU[[]KPI[7Z^Q[IVL?QV[\WV continued on next page...


“We had  this  seminar  where  the   attraction  was  to  come  out  and  cast   rods.  It  was  amazing  how  many   people  showed  up  and  how  many   walked  out  with  a  little  bag  of  gear   in  their  hands.” Merriman  faced  a  particular   challenge  in  the  drought  that  almost   LZQML]X\PM+PI\\IPWWKPMM:Q^MZ \PI\UIZ^MTW][\IQT_I\MZÆW_QVO through  Atlanta  just  a  short  cast   from  his  shop. “Then  this  spring  the  rains  came   back  again,  and  the  river  wasn’t   Å[PIJTMNWZ[Q`_MMS[?MTW[\I month  of  the  season  we’ll  never     get  back.” Against  this  backdrop,  Merriman   strives  to  keep  connection,  a   balancing  act  not  as  easy  as  it  seems.

“I had  this  guy  who’d    been  a   customer  since  he  was  a  kid  who   called  and  told  me  he  could  buy     a  product  on  line  at  30  to  40     percent  off.

While Merriman’s  business   i s   down,  he  is  buoyed  by  a   m etro     of  three  million  people   where     the  economy  has  remained   relatively   stable.

“The thing  was,  he  wanted  to   do  business  with  me  and  he  was   embarrassed  to  make  the  call,     but  thank  goodness  he  did.  I  tell   people  to  talk  to  me,  that  I’ll     work  with  them.”

Not so  Blackwood,  who   w atches   an  almost  daily  out-migration,   many  who  formed  a  key   p art   o f   his  customer  base.    To  c ombat     this,   h e   takes   a n   u p-close-andpersonal  tack.

The Merriman’s  challenge  is   deciding  how  much  that  break     will  be.

“I think  it’s  all  about  going   b ack   to  an  old  school  approach   o f   f ace   time  and  personal  touches   a nd   what  I  hate  to  call  telemarketing,   but  I  guess  that’s  what  it  is.

“It’s hard  to  put  a  percentage  on  it.   I’m  not  going  to  go  the  on-line  route   of  discounting    everything.  I’d  feel   terrible  if  I  did  that.  That’s  not  what   made  me  a  shop  in  1974  and  I’m   not  going  to  do  it  now.”



“We keep  up  with  customers   we   know  have  been  in  the  B ahamas.   We  tell  them  we’ll  take  t heir   reel   apart  in  get  things  back   i n   g ood   shape.    We  call  folks  to  remind   them  we’ll  get  their  gear   ready   for   steelhead  season.” Down  South,    Merriman   h as   embarked   o n   a   p ersonal  belttightening  in  addition  to   h is   own   litany  of  personal  touches.   “I’m  buying  on  a  30-day   turn   instead  of  90  or  120.  I’m   n ot   nearly  as  lax  with  inventory   a s   I   used  to  be  when  I  was  taking   i n   more  dollars  and  had  plenty   o f   money.” Drought  and  f lood  aside,   Merriman  is  starting  to   s ee   s ome   break  in  the  weather. ¹8MWXTMIZM[\IZ\QVO\WNMMTJM\\MZ about  things.  I  hear  them   s ay,     ‘Hell,  I  can’t  make  any  m oney,   I ’m   going  fishing’.”


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Which is  about  as  touchy-feely   a s   it  ever  gets. at

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SEPTEMBER 10-12, 2009,



the buzz on the flyfishing biz Shops Rule Consumer Opinions/ Hot Retailers in a Cold Market/ Beyond Fly Shop 101/ Mentors Matter/ Hardy Aims...

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