Fly Shop Experience
I love fly shops, I could live in a fly shop. Often times shops have an abundance of just about everything I need to survive (beef jerky, cheap beer, and fly gear). I spend a lot of time in the shop, which about 15% of that time is spent looking at gear/flies, 20% is remembering what the hell I came into the shop for in the first place, and the remaining balance is spent standing around chatting and listening in on conversations. I find the conversations that can be heard and/or witnessed by a casual observer in the fly shop setting to be fascinating and highly entertaining.
- 1 out of every 4 times in a shop you will run into someone with a pattern so incredibly productive that they will show you, but it has to be in complete and total secrecy. Sometimes it is a shop employee, a local guide, or just some random dude that stopped in to re-stock on materials. The conversations held with this person is typically at a decibel level 2 notches below that of a whisper. This person is typically pretty easy to spot because they display mannerisms similar to what I would imagine a drug dealer would exhibit. They are uber alert of their surroundings, ensuring that an unintended listener is not accidentally being let in on the hot bug that wrecks fish. In all honesty, I have gained a ton of information from guys just like this – I owe a lot to people that have taken time to let me in on their secrets.
- I love witnessing the excitement, fear, and anticipation that new fly fisherman show when they come in a shop. Because they have never fly fished before, they don’t know much about what the intended use of much of the equipment/gear in the store is for – but have a child on Christmas morning, wide eyed glaze over their face as they enter and wander around. So often these folks seem intimidated by everything and everyone in the shop and don’t want to ask a “dumb question”. I remember when I first got started many years ago, I remember the feelings that they are experiencing – and its awesome! The anticipation they have as they embark on this unknown journey is exciting to me, as they are about to discover an entirely new world they didn’t know existed.
- Old Timers, from my experience, usually only come into the shop to hang out and tell stories – as they typically already have more tying materials/gear stockpiled in their homes than 3 shops combined. They never really get too excited about anything that is being talked about because they most likely have already been there and done that. They are walking encyclopedias of information about local streams and entomology experts. They definitely don’t offer up information freely – but if you ask the right questions, they will steer you in the right direction.
- Name dropping is also a common occurrence in the shop setting – typically its used for nothing more than a way to establish credibility for one’s self. In total transparency, I’ve used this technique as a way to try and get “in” – hoping to gain otherwise protected intel…..and failed miserably every time.
- The ‘Brah’ is someone that frequents the shop – typically can be picked out of a group by their cross functional attire that is a blend of fisherman, skateboarder, skier, and Jersey Shore. As well, they are pretty recognizable by their lingo that is so different from just about anything I’ve ever heard that I am unable to replicate or provide good examples for. Most of the time I have no idea what they are even trying to say. The ‘Brah’ though is typically someone that really pushes the limits on traditional tactics or techniques – they are all about breaking all the molds. Listen closely, because if you can decipher what they are saying there is sometimes absolute gold found in the things they are trying.
Long story short – stop in your local shop, kick back and enjoy taking in some of the local culture. You’ll be a better fisherman for it!