June 5, 2011

Support Your Local Fly Shop

Honestly, I tried.

See, there's not really a "fly shop" where I live. Yeah, they put an Orvis in about 30 or so minutes from where I live, but it's like a corporate Orvis, not a local fly shop. The closest thing I've got is about a 15 minute drive from the house...it's not a fly shop specifically, more of an outdoor sporting goods shop, but it's got a fairly extensive fly fishing section, complete with it's own "fishing counter" so you don't have to go up to the main registers at the front to shoot the sh*t or complete your purchase. For the sake of this post, it shall remain nameless, but if you know where I live, you can probably figure it out.

I wanted to get that pair of wading boots I wrote about a little while back. I knew they had them, or at least carried the brand, so I went to go visit. When I got there the store was pretty empty, and I was very pleased to see they had the specific model I wanted on display, but kept the various sizes in the back...so up to the counter I went.

Our conversation went something like this...

Me: "Do you have the Korkers Redsides in a size 11?"
Counterdude: "Korkers?"
Me: "Yeah, the wading boots over there."
Counterdude: "Ummm, what does the box look like..."

Proceeds to walk over to the wading boot display

Me: "There's no box, but there's a sign that says I need to ask you to get me the size."
Counterdude: "Ok, lemme check"
Me: "Sure."

About 5 minutes pass, Counterdude returns

Counterdude: "We ain't got 'em, sorry."

Awkward silence

Me: "Ok, no worries."

Now I don't hold anything against Counterdude, I'm certain he was simply in over his head. I also don't really hold anything against the store, out of stocks happen, especially mid-season. But I read all these stories about how I should "support my local fly shop," etc, etc...and Counterdude didn't even ask me during that awkward silence if he could show me (upsell me) the Korkers Chromes or one of the Chota, Redington, or Pro Line models sitting right next to the Korkers on the shelf...nor did he ask if he could take my name and offer to give a call when they get back in stock.

All that said, I still bought something from them - a small bottle of bug spray and some neoprene wading socks - you know, to support my local fly shop...but I paid for them up front.

As for the boots? I went home and ordered them online. Google returned at least 10 retailers that had them in stock...plus free shipping and no sales tax.  But mind you, this story isn't over yet.  I work in e-commerce, so I know "in stock" is not always what it seems, especially with some of the 2nd tier retailers.  Guess I'll wait to find out how this experience plays out next week .


  1. If it wasn't for the Driftless Angler in Wisconsin, I would remain clueless. They are solely responsible for my first fish on a fly rod. I did the casting but they put all the parts together. SO , by all means , support your local fly shop!

  2. Isn't there a TCO down near you? There is one up here but I never get the warm fuzzies walking in. I guess I never should have laughed at the manager when he told me the Simms wading staff was $120.... Sad, but I'd rather drive twice the distance to Cabela's.

  3. We have no fly shop within 2 hours but at our local box store, I discovered a local guide suplimenting his income with a 9 to 5 at the fishing counter. It was nice to talk to a knowledgible dude there and super nice to find out he's handy with a fly rod. I look for him on every visit to find out what's going on.

  4. Purchasing from your local fly shop is the perfect way to support your small business, and in today's economy that makes sense. We have a little fly shop near Smith Lake where I fish. It is located right below the tailrace of the lake. It is the perfect to shop for fly equipment or just to go in and have a cup of coffee and sit a spell and discuss the trout fishing below the dam. It carries a variety of fly fishing accessories along with Temple Fork rods as well as a number of upgrade fly reels. It also carries the boots and waders in a number of brands. We are lucky to have such a place in this area, and I hope it continues to furnish and do well. This is a link http://riversideflyshop.com/about_us.htm to the shop. Michael thanks for sharing.

  5. Wow...I can't believe that you posted up my new boots... : ) Well, I actually picked out those for my birthday this summer. I probably spend half my time at Cabela's and half my time at local fly shops...spreading all "flyfishingcrazy" dollars around! I do have a favorite fly shop that is "E" for excellent in the service dept...and I don't mind spending a few bucks extra because of that fact.

  6. I'm sorry that you PA. guys don't have a lot of great fly shops like we have in the "uncivilized" West. Makes me think that the Rockies are the center of the fly fishing universe.

  7. There aren't many fly shops in the southeast. There are some local outdoor stores that may carry some flies & 1 or 2 rods & reels, but you pretty much have to order online if you know what you're after.

  8. I am with Cofisher... around here (Denver metro area) there oodles of fly shops. Well, maybe not oodles but plenty to choose of. I am also on the quest getting me some new wading boots, the Korkers Chrome. Turns out each fly shop is sold out in my size; delivery problems at Korkers from what I hear. Hopefully I can get them before the Summer is over.

  9. I support the local fly shop (an hour away), but when I don't feel like driving down there, or am not going to Sacramento for a specific reason, I shop online. Only had one problem with shopping online and I don't go there any more.


  10. Closest actual fly shop to me is an hour drive(and I'm smack dab in the middle of the DA!).. If I need boots.. which I do badly(sides are busted out.. felt is peeling).. I have to drive 45min and that's to Gander.. hoping that they have wading boots in stock at this particular one..

    dunno what your thoughts are on online.. but check ebay and then check ll bean.. only reason i say ll bean is because they have free shipping on ALL orders.. which is always nice.. or Sierra Trading Post

  11. @John McArdle
    Great fly shops deserve the support. Mediocre ones can be left alone...survival of the fittest!

  12. @Anthony
    The TCOs are in Reading or Bryn Mawr...so somewhat close but still far enough to make the drive longer than wanted. If I'm going to drive that far there's other spots too...like the Sporting Gentleman in Media for example.

  13. @Clif
    Covert guide at Wallyworld, that's a nice score.

  14. @Bill Trussell
    Glad you've found a shop that meets your needs.

  15. @Cofisher
    PA's got a lot of good shops, just not near me. I live in the shadow of a nuclear power plant...not exactly pristine trout waters.

  16. @goneflyfishing
    I noticed that even when shopping online, a lot of the key sizes from Korkers seemed to be OOS. That's why I wasn't too harsh on my local guys. Those interchangeable bottoms are proving to be quite popular.

  17. @Shoreman
    I agree with you. An issue with an online order goes on the blacklist.

  18. @Mish
    eBay is good, but I find it increasingly difficult to find "deals" there anymore. Too many retailers selling at "Buy It Now" prices. LL Bean is great, my first fly rod came from LL Bean, just didn't get any feedback on their boots, good or bad. I will say I LOVE the look of their new Grey Ghost wading boots.

  19. I didn't say wallyworld, but you were close.

  20. @Clif
    You're right, you didn't. I stand corrected.

  21. I hadn't heard of the one on Media. I may need to make a road trip soon.

  22. Counterdude musta had water in his waders...

    I'm loving Korkers and saving my donuts for a pair. Used to call me Sasquatch (don't know if it were 'cause of my charming demeanor or my large feet).

    Pretty much the same issue here regarding less than acceptable service, lack of fly fishing specific shop, ... 25-30 miles is a camping joint with a respectable selection of rods and reels and everything nice ... and I do what I can to support but I'm severely outnumbered on Long Island, saltwater, saltwater, saltwater ...
    but I like the freshwater.

    Good read. I'm a little more aggressive. I'd be selling him on the idea of helping me make a purchase ... play him like a trout.

    Look forward to your review after receipt/use of boots. Thanks

  23. Interested to see how you like the Korkers. We absolutely love ours, but hate that we have to buy new soles when the spikes wear out, instead of having to just buy new spikes. With that said, the interchangeable sole system is beyond cool. Sorry you couldn't support the "local place", but bad customer service will send me elsewhere every time.

  24. I am fortunate to have a great little fly shop just minutes from the house and I always support them. Matter of fact I help them out any way I can as well. If they close, I'm toast. I love my korkers bought them last year and they are great. The soles hold up well and are easy to swap in and out after you do it once or twice. The new Chromes are pretty sweat as well.

    Good luck with them Mike.

  25. There are multitudes of local fly shops on and near all the water in Colorado. I tie my own but always buy a few from these guys when I stop in. They are always more than helpful and willing to share recent trends and good places (that they will let out). I have picked up some good gear, fly, and locations on more than one occasion. For that reason SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL FLY SHOP. Maybe you could have helped the kid out by imparting some of your wisdom on him.