What's the future of

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Krusty, Nov 1, 2013.

  1. Krusty

    Krusty Krusty Old Effer

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    Flyfishing? I'm old, and I've been at this a very long time (not quite as long as Old Man...but long enough) and everytime I hear, or read, about another flyshop closing down, I get very concerned about the slow death of something that's been a big and wonderful part of my life for over half a century. And it's not just caused by the rise of the soul-less big box outfitters. It seems I see fewer and fewer flyfishers every season on the waters I've known for decades. The technology is better than ever, but the sport seems to be faltering.

    Is it it loss of habitat or, possibly, the loss of recreational time available to a population stuck in the rat-race of economic survival. I'd really hate to see flyfishing become the domain of only the affluent on private water.
     
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  2. Itchy Dog

    Itchy Dog Some call me Kirk Werner

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    On most rivers you (speaking collectively) don't notice a lack of fly fisherman. At least most people I know don't see fewer people partaking of it. From a business side of things it definitely seems like the independent shops are going the way of the albatross. What the industry needs is another blockbuster movie. Fly fishing needs Dirty Harry.
     
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  3. Flyborg

    Flyborg Active Member

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    You're going to see a lot of shops go the wayside. Shops that build and maintain a successful internet following and/or community will survive. Shops that provide significant services, not just retail sales will survive. And shops that exist in major destinations will stick around. Unfortunately the pie is only so big and yes it's shrunk since ARRTI. You'll see a lot more manufacturers bypassing the shops. That's already happening. The manufacturers see the gleaming, low-hanging fruit of increased profit margins in direct sales and aren't willing to look at the long-term impact it has on an industry that relies heavily on services provided by the brick and mortar retailers.

    The internet has replaced a lot of what fly shops were. Sources of information. River reports. Bug reports. Information is available immediately now, anytime we want. You can get a hundred product reviews via internet community.

    But enjoyment of fly fishing is about a lot more than just information. The shops are an integral and necessary part of that future. I hope that the big guys looking at the changing consumer dynamic in their fucking TPS reports shoot their accountants in the mouths and remind them that the industry is about long term viability, not just short term profits.
     
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  4. Smalma

    Smalma Active Member

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    Without a doubt the fly fishing business has changed dramatically over the decades. While not as old as some here I have been fly fishing for more than 55 years.

    For the first couple decades of my fly fishing career I knew of a single fly shop (Patricks) between Tacoma and Bellingham. Following the "movie" there was an explosion of interest in fly fishing and a corresponding development of shops to feed that interest. It could hardly be a surprise that the sport was unable to continue recruit that kinds of numbers of new anglers to support all those shops. How many new rods, reels, etc does a angler need before their "buying" slows down. For myself I have not bought a single new rod in 15 years, a single reel and 4 or 5 lines in the that time period but lots of fly tying materials and hooks. Those small ticket items hardly are adequate to keep a fly shop's door open. While I continue to support those specialized small business as much as I can the reality is that my needs (even though I may be fishing more) are such that my annual spending on gear is not what it was 15 or 20 years ago

    Fortunately for the fly shop businesses the huge interest in two handed rods and spey fishing and all the associated specialized needs associated with that method gave the fly shop business a shot in the arm and extended the period the many could stay in business but that too seems to have run its course; or at least new purchases have slowed.

    I agree that the closing of many of those shops are huge loss but as in most things those business are cyclic and those that are likely to survival over the long haul are those that adapt. I do find it a bit interesting that at the start of my fly career my gear came from either a "sport shop" or from a mail order business (mostly Herters) and today it is moving back in that direction with internet business replacing the mail order ones.

    I suspect that my spending patterns are not all that different than many who have been in the game for an extended time.

    Curt
     
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  5. Old Man

    Old Man Just an Old Man

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    It could be that the people that fly fish don't go out because of all the things being stolen out of their vehicles. If I was still in Washington I would be leery of going out. Maybe you all need a car sitter to stop them damn thieves.

    I haven't seen a decline here in Montana. Come opening day here the Blue ribbon streams are crowded. Well the ones that are closed for a few months anyway.
     
  6. Olive bugger

    Olive bugger Active Member

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    Has anyone considered the burden on the small shop owner?

    The cost of inventory alone must be staggering. Then there is the
    shop itself. It must be in a high visibility area to attract attention.
    Most fly fishing equipment has undergone a technical upgrade.
    Rods that cost a few hundred dollars forty years ago, now run into twice that and more. Fly lines run twice as much as then. Reels are
    a little more competitive but still cost more. And we have not even gotten into the other things like waders, shoes, clothing etc.

    And then there is the tying materials inventory.

    Match that with a shrinking availability of habitat for access and fishing and we have a formula for reduction.

    My take is that fishing in general, appeals to a wide segment of our society. But it is in competition with a lot of other recreational activities. Some do not want to spend the time and money to get involved. Others greet it with a passion and embrace it as such.
    We, here, generally fall into the latter category. A much larger segment fall into the former.

    I believe what we need is a little advertising on TV, with some popular branded item, advertising their product, using a fly fisherman standing in a quiet pool, laying out fifty feet of fly line into the bright summer sunshine, and a bright ROYAL COACHMAN gently settling into a pool. If a 22 inch bow happened to accept the offering, it would not hurt a thing.
     
  7. Old Man

    Old Man Just an Old Man

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    Quit day dreaming.
     
  8. Olive bugger

    Olive bugger Active Member

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    Visa card did it forty years ago and started the change in flyfishing, IMHO,

    Fellow was using a high end bamboo rod, tied on some bright fly and cast out into the pool. Visa told everybody to come to X place and buy some gear, BUT BRING YOUR VISA CARD BECAUSE THEY DON'T ACCEPT AMERICAN EXPRESS. It worked.

    Look at the current commercial with the guy using a center pin reel. Even started a thread here about it because some dufus didn't even know what it was. (That would be me)
     
  9. Krusty

    Krusty Krusty Old Effer

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    I'm not talking about a decrease in flyfishing at blueribbon destination waters, I'm referring to my observations at the average kind of places I used to see working class stiffs flyfish. Hell, I don't even see as many bait fisherman out there anymore.

    Maybe it will change when huge numbers of boomers retire (if they ever get to) and have to find something to do on the way to the boneyard.

    I think it's going the way of golf....golf manhours have been decreasing for at least twenty years. The industry has been shitting its pants over it...citing economics (but it was faltering during the boom years too), the lack of appeal to potential new entrants, or the fact that dad really can't spend entire days off with the boys.

    It's similar to hunter manhours per year...though gun sales are astronomical, sporting arm sales have been declining. When I'm out there flyfishing during the start of deer season (fall stillwater is the very best fishing of the year...I hit it hard) I don't see as many hunters as I used to, even though there's shitloads of deer.

    When I was young, buck season filled the woods with tents, campers, and gunshots.

    Maybe it's because there's just so many other things to do nowadays, like bullshitting in internet forums and such.
     
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  10. Mark Kulikov

    Mark Kulikov Active Member

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    Amoung the working class, IMHO, the current economy most likely the reason for a decline. Just not enough discretionary income left for the pursuit of pleasure. Interesting, but not surprising, that the sale of sporting firearms is down while firearms sales in general are exploding.
     
  11. _WW_

    _WW_ Fishes with Wolves

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    Could you send me a map to this place?
     
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  12. the central oregonian

    the central oregonian Member

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    Tough to say...Living in central Oregon I suppose that many people would consider this place a destination type area....We have lost some fly shops over the last 10yrs, but we have gained a couple also...
    There are a couple fly shops in the area that seem to be doing a lot better then the rest...One of them said its almost unbelievable how well they are doing
    I think the shops that are successful have a large inventory, have a good website and do online sales, and they have really, really good shop guys, people that know the waters, and know how to talk/sell to people.

    We have one shop here that has really decided to go big or go home, huge floor space, huge inventory, they put in a growler bar, and they are a huge seller of traeger's also....

    I think the sport at least here locally will be fine....but long term I think one or two shops will still disappear somewhere along the lines....
     
  13. Krusty

    Krusty Krusty Old Effer

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    Nice try, bucko. Just get a map of eastern Washington!
     
  14. Jim Wallace

    Jim Wallace Smells like low tide.

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    I'd like to think that all the old fly guys who have been dying off or fading away around my area are being replaced by young anglers developing an interest in fly fishing.
    I caught a ray of hope when conversing with some of the young crew that were hanging out at the Westport boat basin, trying to get a Coho to bite, one day last month. One of 'em had a flyrod with him, and a box of trout flies, and one of his buddies claimed that he was also getting into fly fishing, too. So there is hope.
    These young guys seem to view themselves as budding alpha anglers, and want to cover all the bases. They didn't look like big spenders, though.
     
  15. DanielOcean

    DanielOcean Steelhead Virgin

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    There are most likely many causes. One cause that I would like to bring up is the fact that each generation seems to be getting lazier, and lazier. I think that it is possible that when someone enjoys fishing, or is going to be entering the hobby of "fishing", they weigh the options out there. I think that most likely 2 out of 10 prospecting anglers decide to choose gear over fly fishing because it is just "easier" to them.
     
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