I usually fish on Mondays, but I had errands to run that had already been put off too long. That took me to a neighboring town which happens to have a brand new Big R store. That store happens to have a fly shop in it.
Oh boy, new toys.
This is not just an aisle or two. This is an enclosed shop right in the middle of the store, nicely done up with everything you would expect in a good fly shop, including free coffee, a chalk board listing the locally hot flies, fly tying stations, and Saturday morning tying sessions.
I thought it stacked up pretty well for ambience and selection with many fly shops I've been in. It's certainly a big step up from what has been available locally up until now, especially in the fly tying department. I used to have to wait until some other reason took me to Wenatchee, a hundred miles from here. Now I can just run down the road if I find myself short of something.
There has been a debate going on for the last few years about the future of independent fly shops. Many shops are finding it more and more difficult to stay in business. Some think it's their own fault for failing to move with the times and keep customer service at the forefront. Others put the blame on the failure of the big fly fishing companies to support the shops that have been loyal purveyors of their products. Most recently there was a flap when Simms announced its intention to offer direct online sales, essentially undercutting the fly shops that carry Simms products.
In light of all that, a complete fly shop plunked down in the middle of a national chain store is an intriguing development. Along with the fly shop comes a blog to promote it, and, to be fair, extend its services to customers by offering fishing reports, fly tying patterns and instructions, and local fly fishing news. Welcome to the future, I guess. (If you're interested in the blog, click HERE. Full disclosure: I do not work for this fly shop and receive no financial or promotional consideration for being a sap and doing their advertising for free.)
I stopped at the fly shop to pick up a few items I've needed for awhile. Brand new flourocarbon tippet, 4X and 5X. Gink. And some fly tying stuff. There's nothing like new materials to get you in a tying mood, so I whipped up a few flies Monday evening.
A fish took my last bead head leech the other day, so I tied up something new for those last minute desperation trolls. A little bigger. A little flashier.
That got me thinking about a caddisy type thing to strip or troll. I'm seeing more and more Caddis.
And while I was thinking about trolling I tied up a big muddlery thing with a heavy tungsten bead for deep work, and maybe big fish.
As you can see, the brown deer hair and the peacock herl were close at hand when I started tying, so I went ahead and did a stimulator type topwater fly with those most excellent materials.
I hope to be on the water again Tuesday. Lord knows I already have plenty of flies, and it would be good for me to have to dig down in my fly boxes and use some flies I've forgotten I have. But it's always fun to have new toys to play with.