I Know Better

So I cheated on my local fly shops with a big box store.  I am SORRY.  I really am, please forgive me?   It won’t happen again, I promise.

I recently dug up a reel I hadn’t fished in a number of years, as I had finally found a use for it this upcoming streamer season.   Being that the backing was several years old, and I could visualize it turning to nothing more than dust if I were to ever be fortunate enough to get that far during battle with a fish – I decided to rip it all off and replace it.

I really wanted to line the reel for the next mornings excursion – excited to try out a new found approach, and being that my local fly shop was soon closing and Cabelas was a mere 10 minutes away from my house – the convenience factor played a role in my decision to take the reel there.

Now, as the local shops will tell you – I frequent them.  I am in them sometimes more than once a week.  I enjoy going there, sorting through piles of materials, looking at new gear, and most of all chatting with the employees that work there.  I literally felt guilty going to Cableas – even if it were just for backing on a fly reel that I needed for the next morning.

I did my best to avoid the burly woman ‘greeting’ people as I walked through the door – but she sunk her meat hooks into me like a lion running down a gazelle in the African Savannah.  I understand that it’s her job to convince patrons of the the store to sign up for a Cabelas credit card – but her used car salesman approach and sarcastic attitude was less than appreciated.  Somehow I was able to wrestle my life back away from her after several attempts at politely declining her …..errrrr…..we’ll go ahead and call it “sales pitch.”

I was able to weave my way through the camo clad, mullet sporting crowd that was wandering around like a herd of sheep, all the way to the rear of the store where the “fly shop” was.  At the counter I found an older gentleman with ZERO customers around him, as he thumbed through a catalog while standing behind the fly fishing area’s customer service counter.  He was pleasant enough in greeting me, asking “how can I help you?”

Putting backing on a fly reel is a simple process, it doesn’t take long – especially with the motorized equipment that exists to help expedite the process.  It seemed like a simple – easy request that I brought to him.  Apparently it wasn’t.

When I asked if it were possible to get my reel loaded with backing I was met with the response of “I wish I could help you, but I can’t.”  I shrugged the response off as a poor attempt at sarcasm and replied with a half hearted chuckle.  I had just been chased down the isle by an amazon woman and endured a mullet militia, I was not in the mood for humor.

Sadly, this was not a failed attempt at humor by the “expert” in the fly fishing area – he was being serious.  He went on to explain to me that his shift was due to end in 15 minutes, and while he’d really like to help me out – he is unable to because putting the line on the reel would take about that long to complete and he was not willing to run over his “punch out” time.

Obviously, unsatisfied by his response – I inquired if he really thought that it would take him 15 minutes to load a fly reel with backing.  His simple reply was “at least that long”.

I’ve worked in a fly shop – I’ve loaded hundreds of reels with backing – never have I even been close to approaching the 15 minute mark in completing the process.  So – I offered my help in completing the process!  A simple solution that I knew wouldn’t be accepted, but thought might actually cause him to re-think his unwillingness to accomodate my request.  It didn’t.  As a matter of fact, it ignited a bit of a civil arguement in which I proclaimed that there “is no way it takes 15 minutes to put backing on a reel” – met, obviously with dissagreement.  He did effectively end the conversation when he took his index finger and gently tapped his name tag and stated “I’m the expert here, I know how long it takes and I don’t have enough time to do it.”

I wheeled around without response, and walked swiftly towards the front of the store…..willing to do physical battle with the she-man at the front if need be, and went home.

I’m sorry local fly shops.  I sucked at life that day – I won’t cheat on you again, I was stupid.


Nomad Anglers <<< please check out their site>>> is a killer shop with a great staff.  They have gone above and beyond not just for me, but for other customers as well.  They don’t spread propaganda and heroism – instead they provide outstanding service and have a knowledgeable staff.  They also have a fantastic inventory of gear, equipment, and tying materials.  They have many times bent over backwards to help me out – and I’m sure if I would have called them and said “could you stay open 5 minutes longer so I can spend $3.00 on backing?” they would have been happy to.

Shop local folks.


4 responses

  1. Luke S.

    Sounds similar to the experience I had at the Cabela’s on the west side. I honestly can’t remember why I was even in there, but I do remember casually walking by the Prestige Reels and having the “expert” saunter over and give me the sales pitch. He proceeded to tell me that all these reels were made from cast iron. I interrupted quickly with, “you mean cast aluminum…” This led to a 5 minute debate in which I was unable to convince this “expert” that we were in the year 2015 and not 1675 and his reels were in fact made of a light aluminum material instead of the same material used to make dumbbells. Similar to you, the conversation ended with him tapping on his name badge and letting me know he was the expert before I walked out in disgust…


    March 27, 2015 at 9:21 am

  2. Bryan Newell

    In somewhat of a defense of the Cabela’s expert who was at the end of his shift… Due to Obama care rules (my assessment) the guy cannot go past the end of his shift without management approval. He would have received a reprimand could be fired… it is sooooo box store that someone from another state would have sent the notice… next “Outfitter”…


    March 27, 2015 at 11:22 am

    • Don’t disagree with that – but I do disagree with the assertion that it takes more than 15 minutes to put backing on a reel. Being that I have completed that particular process MANY times, I know it takes no more than 5 minutes.


      March 27, 2015 at 11:33 am

  3. Nomad’s definitely my choice when it comes to local shops, good guys and very helpful (and a fantastic fly tying selection). I will say though, before I knew about them, as an enthusiastic newb (a little less than two years ago) I went into a couple of local shops and left with a less than favorable impression. I went to Cabela’s, felt far less intimidated and wasn’t treated like a moron. Just because a shop is local, definitely doesn’t automatically mean I want to give them my business.


    March 29, 2015 at 6:58 pm

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