March 3, 2014

Catalog Retail Kudos - The Fly Shop of Redding, CA

Working in retail, I have the pleasure of being involved in the assembly of a handful of print catalogs a year, a few in Spring and a few in the Fall/Winter.  E-commerce is definitely the backbone of my employer's business, but it is impossible to ignore the instant surge of incoming orders once those books hit homes.

Being a fisherman who is enthusiastic about gear (aren't we all?), I receive a ridiculous amount of print catalogs in the mail each year.  For some of us, the early receipt of these mailings are the impetus to wake us from our winter slumber and get our minds thinking of hatches and rises again.

Many of these catalogs are from the big boys that you'd expect; some are very specialized in nature, yet others are from what I'd consider small regional or local retailers.  Any way you look at it, it's a ton of mail, most of which, once eagerly consumed, likely ends up in the recycle bin after a day or two.

2014 is the first year that I've received The Fly Shop's catalog.  I must have been placed on a mailing list somewhere along the way, as I've never purchased anything from them (that I recall).  But I could have...maybe something insignificant like fishing hooks...who knows...

I must give them credit.  If nothing else, they put together a great 164 page catalog.

Not only does it have all of the prerequisite gear like rods, reels, waders, and flies...

But it has a whole section called the 'Travel Digest' that makes up about 1/3 of the book and features wonderful photography and more than competent writing, all neatly packaged into a one or two page synopsis for each fishing destination.

Now it's clear that the intent of the travel digest is to sell guided trips to fishing destinations around the world, there wouldn't be a price tag at the end of each entry if it was not, but I have to also note that it's a good hook to pull you in and really makes you want to hang on to the catalog for just a little bit longer.  There's some actual writing worth reading...even if they are advertisements.  Far better than some of the "line listing" of available guided trips some other retailers awkwardly cram into their catalogs.  Nice job The Fly Shop.

I don't know what their return on investment is.  I don't know what the circulation count on this book is, or how much revenue they are generating per page, or if they could create just as much business with a smaller, more cost-effective format.  What I do know is the entire package that they've assembled gives this book a much longer shelf life (in my opinion) than others, making it ideal bathroom reading material, which as stated before, is one of the highest compliments I can pay to a book, magazine, etc...

So maybe you NorCal readers could speak up and say if (in lieu of local of course) they're actually worth shopping with...because as noted, my experience (if it happened) was evidently forgettable.  However, since people tend to remember negative experiences far more vividly than positives, that isn't necessarily a bad thing...


  1. I have received an annual catalog from The Fly Shop for years. I have also purchased from them in the past. They are a great store with great products.


  2. Michael, I received the same catalog this year, too, for the first time. Maybe it is because we are linked somewhere else on a mailing list of some sort. I do know that The Fly Shop has been in business for many, many years and have always been considered a top notch shop if you fly fish the western U.S. I have not purchased from them before, but, I think it would be safe to assume that you could order from them without much problem.

  3. I've received The Fly Shop catalog for years and years. It's well designed and features really good product photography. I've bought products from them and all their merchandise is top quality. They also market their own line of rods, reels and hooks at great prices. Top fly tyer Mike Mercer (Micro Mayfly, Missing Link, Z-wing Caddis) is a staff member.
    The catalog that I miss is the Blue Ribbon Flies catalog. I don't think its being printed anymore, but it still is available online. It was small and didn't feature much merchandise - mainly flies and their specialty, tying materials. The catalog had articles summarizing the past season in the Yellowstone area and others about the environment, new products, trends, and fishing tips by Craig Mathews, John Juracek, Yvon Choinard of Patagonia and BRF staff.