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February 1, 2011


Where Do You Shop?

by mrbrownliner

So this is an issue that is near and dear to my heart and one that I most definitely have a hard and fast opinion about. Before anyone gets up in arms and starts throwing 3/0 Clouser’s at my head I do understand that not everyone has a local fly shop. I get that!

Now for the rest of you!!!! STOP BUYING SHIT AT “INSERT NATIONAL RETAILER” TO SAVE $1.35!!!!!!! Have I purchased an item or two? YES. Have I once in a blue neap tide moon dropped a few dollars on ebay? YES. But as a matter of course I am completely and totally dedicated to supporting the local fly shop. Why you ask? Please enlighten us Mr. Brownliner since you seem to know so much!!!!

OK… maybe I don’t know so much but I do know this. If you don’t support your local shop, you will not have a local shop to support at some point. Now I do realize that not all shops are created equal. I happen to be one of the lucky ones. I reside in Pittsburgh and live under ten minutes from International Angler which happens to be a top shelf fly shop in every sense of the word. From selection, to expertise, to service…. TOP SHELF! I don’t mind paying a few dollars more for this or that because the advice, education, service, selection and general sense of welcome are worth far more to me. This past Saturday I attended a free fly tying seminar. In an hour I learned some really cool stuff and am grateful that I had the opportunity to go.

Whenever I am in another city, I make it a point to stop in at the local shop… buy a thing or two even if it is a small purchase, ask for some good local advice and hopefully learn something before I walk out the door. I don’t have a problem with Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, etc…. by the general nature of the store and they are great for certain things, but when it comes to fly fishing… Different story. A few months ago I went up to my fly shop and was interested in purchasing a new trout rod. I had one in mind and it was not a cheap rod. I explained to the owner what I thought I wanted. He said, why don’t we take a few rods out into the lot and cast them so you can decide what makes the most sense. He watched me cast, made a few suggestions and I ended up realizing that the rod that felt the best to me was roughly half the price of what I thought I wanted. That is the kind of thing you can’t get at “insert large retailer name”.

So…. what am I saying? If you need something, give your local shop a call! More often than not, they are eager to help, know more than you do, and are motivated to find a way to turn you into a life time customer! If it doesn’t work out….. then hit the web and do what you gotta do.

What is the absolute worst thing you can do? Don’t you dare go to your local shop, use them for their advice and expertise and then march your happy ass to Cabela’s to save $5!!! BAD FORM… VERY BAD FORM!

And that is how I see it… In my humble opinion 🙂

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Feb 1 2011

    I wish I had a really great local fly shop… but I really don’t. There is a local “fly shop” if you want to call it that. It is really more geared toward the upland game hunter, but they sell a little fly gear… mostly Ross reels and Sage rods. They quit carrying fly tying materials, never have classes, and have a very limited selection of other very high end gear and accessories. Fly fishing is far from its focus, and it’s not my kind of place. I occasionally go in and buy a few flies, but I can hardly afford much else.
    We had an extremely snooty shop that closed down around ten years ago… it was pretty much Orvis-centric… again with the equal focus put on upland game. If you walked in that shop without a pipe and tweed jacket you were pretty much out of place.
    I support the local shops when I travel, but I have found that many of the shops I have been in have an attitude/arrogance toward younger fly fishers (I’m 32 now and was worse when I was in my early 20s) who don’t look like they have a lot of money. They look at you like you have accidentally wondered in, and you must be lost. I’m not rich, but at one time in my life (not at present) I could have walked into any of those fly shops and bought every rod on the rack… but they didn’t know that… and certainly didn’t treat me as a valuable customer.
    There have been a few exceptions, but I’ve been in my fair share of shops and it is a common feeling I have experienced. It sounds like you have a really great local shop, and you should be very grateful. I live in a city that boasts one of the largest fly fishing clubs in the country (Mid-South Fly Fishers with over 400 members), but a fly shop can’t stay open? I think that says something about the nature of the shops.
    Have you ever experienced the snooty fly shop?

  2. Feb 2 2011

    Jay, I have experienced the Snooty fly shop. I think that razor cuts both ways. Fly shop’s can be steeped in snobbery but I have also seen customers who walk in and pretend to know about things when they are actually clueless. I think more often than not if you walk in with some honesty and humility you can always learn something if someone is willing to teach. Unfortunately there are some people out there both anglers and shop employees that think their shit doesn’t stink…. for those you just move on and go about your business!

  3. Tim
    Feb 4 2011

    I’m also a believer in supporting local shops. Fly Fishers Paradise is my shop of choice. It is located near spring creek in State College, PA. This shop has the best prices and selection I have seen, and their shipping is very fast. I’ve been in International Angler a few times and haven’t been impressed. I did buy a T-200 sink-tip line there but most of their stuff is pretty pricey, small items like beads are 25-40% higher, and their selection of fly tying materials doesn’t compare to Fly Fishers Paradise. Since I’m originally from Central PA that is where I swear my allegience.

  4. Feb 5 2011


    Please don’t misunderstand my post. By no means was it intended to be an endorsement of International Angler. I am all for pushing for anglers to support “Shop X”, regardless of what shop that may be. I am glad for you and have heard good things about Fly Fisher’s Paradise as well despite having yet to shop there.

    Thanks for being one of the guys who stand buy your shop! Good luck and Tight Lines!


  5. Tom
    Mar 9 2011

    Just curious, is the Echo Carbon 5 weight in your brown trout photos the new trout rod you mention in this post? I have the same model in a 8 foot 4 weight and I am wondering about your impressions of the 9 foot 5 weight. What other rods were you considering? Thank you for your input.

  6. Mar 10 2011


    Yes, the Echo Carbon was the rod I was talking about but I also own a Redington CT that the same discussion was had about. My Redington CT is a a very traditional full flex rod and great for smaller flies, and a sensitive feel but if you are chucking heavy double fly rigs it didn’t have a ton of backbone so I was looking at The Orvis Clearwater and also considering a St. Croix.

    Since you asked, I love my Echo… it is just stiff enough to flip heavy nymph rigs with heavy split yet not so stiff that you can’t cast with little line out to load the rod… I am a fan. feels good in the hand as well. I was able to purchase the Echo Carbon and a new Lamson Konic for what I would have paid for just a rod…. and I love the feel of it.

    I am not pitching Echo or any other manufacture here…. I just appreciated the shops approach of knowing the kind of caster I am and knowing what I was after and the budget I had to work with… they really pushed me to cast a bunch of rods and make sure I got the one that felt the best and fit my budget.

    How do you like your 4 wt?

    • Tom
      Mar 22 2011

      Sorry it took so long to reply. I like the 4 wt. a lot. It is more to the medium side of medium fast (in my opinion) and is very smooth. It seems a little more full flexing than the 5 wt., which I have wiggled but not cast. This is also how it is described on the Echo website.

      I have only had it out once so far and the water was up and I was using a lot of weight so it wasn’t the best initial test, but it performed well. I look forward to making it my go to “close to home” rod this season since it fits in my Jeep without being broken down. Good for the quick trips to the local SW-PA drainage ditches after dinner.


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