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 Post subject: Random thoughts......
PostPosted: March 13th, 2019, 11:00 am 
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Joined: December 2nd, 2001, 1:00 am
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Location: Ellsworth
.....on a fine pre-Spring morning.

Why are Flyshops in trouble....not only here but nationwide? I came across a good example of this yesterday. I've written before that I really like ffing pliers made down in Biddeford by a company called Xuron.....the blue rubber handle ones. Compact, light, small jaws........just perfect to crimp barbs on the tying bench and for crimping on shot while on the stream. I presently have two pair........one on the tying bench and another pair in the chest/vest pack. No worries. They retail in flyshops from about $27 to $29.

As I'm trying to transition over to a sling pack for situations where Im fairly confident in what's going to happen on-stream and I don't think I'll have to carry 2000 flies, Im going to try the sling pack. It certainly doesn't have the capacity of the Fishpond....but then again I won't (hopefully) need that capacity. I've been outfitting the new sling pack with nippers, tippet, shot, etc........so I won't get to the stream and utter a #%$#*&^! when Ive forgotten a vital tool. Ok....where's this going? I figured Id get another set of those Xuron pliers to keep just in the sling pack. As there are no flyshops near where I now live, I thought #### it....I'll just go on-line to get them. Imagine my surprise when the very same (exact!) Xuron pliers that I buy for almost $30 in flyshops sell on-line from a major retailer for *under* $10. Read that again.....major retailers are making a profit selling them under $10..........and flyshops are selling them at a greater than 300% profit.

Now, normally, I don't mind at all paying a little extra to support my local shops..........but 300%?? Come on. Sell them for 12 or 13$ and Id still buy them in local shops........but this is freaking ridiculous.


Navel gazing #2: It was a little breezy this a.m. while heading out with the pup....a very high-spirited Boxer. It got me remenising about a summer day a good Buddy and I were fishing Armstrong Spring Creek in Paradise Valley, MT. The wind had come up hard just about 10 a.m........just as that day's hatch of PMD's was starting to come off. If you've never fished a Spring Creek.....immediately put this on your Bucket List. You'll learn so much about trout behavior watching these trout. I digress.

I was mid-thigh deep in a good pool on Armstrong's, and watched as many really good Rainbows and Browns glided up out of the deeper water onto a shelf about a foot deep, and took up feeding stations to intercept the PMD duns, Cripples, Emergers, and Still-Borns coming down the chute at them. In that gin-clear water it was like looking through air at the feeding trout.

The trout were actually refusing REAL PMD's. I was a bit taken aback. I thought "What the hell....."? Sure enough. Every time the real insect was moved unnaturally by the wind.....the trout refused it. What a wonderful education to see exactly why trout refuse our flies....even if the drag is so slight (micro-drag) that the angler doesn't notice it. We did have a great day that day.....but we had to make sure that we only cast when the wind was at an ebb in it's cycle, not blowing a gale, as the trout refused our artificial Sparkle Duns as readily as they refused the naturals. Pretty fascinating stuff.

The snow-pack is starting to melt.....the days are getting longer, the sun is stronger, and we will be fishing in a few weeks. Have a great day, everyone.

Dave M

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PostPosted: March 13th, 2019, 12:40 pm 
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Joined: October 15th, 2003, 12:00 am
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Location: Bangor
Dave- I don't think the flyshop is getting a 300% mark up- more like Cabela's or Bass Pro is buying so many units they are getting a much lower retail price and they sell so many more units that they can make money with a smaller margin; that's how they eliminate competition. Going into a good fly shop now is like how I felt about going into the bar in my drinking days- a feeling of bliss... I was in UpCountry in CT on Saturday- great shop- they had everything and were super helpful. We know the drill- buy some flies- get some good intel. One of my favorite transactions...

As for Armstrong's- my facebook feed reminded me I was there 1 year ago today. It blew like stink, but gorgeous- mid 50s, rising fish that I kept breaking off. My post that day was "There is a reason why they call it Paradise Valley".

You're a man of leisure; you should be loading up the jeep and heading for the Farmington to fish midges. Saw a mess of blue wings too.....


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PostPosted: March 13th, 2019, 4:55 pm 
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Joined: December 4th, 2001, 1:00 am
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Location: Near the tying bench
No doubt that electronic sales are less expensive than physical retail. I suspect the cheaper online outlets are drop shipping direct from the manufacturer and therefore have no overhead other than website maintenance. This allows them to sell for pennies over manufacturing cost and turn a profit.

Still- there’s something about walking into a fly shop and being able to lay hands on exactly what you’re looking for, along with a few things you weren’t. 8) Plus, there’s the intel factor, which you don’t get shopping online.

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PostPosted: March 13th, 2019, 5:57 pm 
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Location: New Hampshire
Correct on the buying volume... shops get stuck pretty hard with MSRP RULES AS WELL. the mark of a good shop is the one that says, “here is what you need... but go buy it at Home Depot, it’s half the price”. I always still bought it at the shop.

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PostPosted: March 16th, 2019, 6:09 pm 
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Since starting my maple business I soon realized how difficult it is for small businesses to stay in business. The economy of scale plays a factor, licensing ( I need three licenses for maple), insurance costs, etc. Even if they made 300% on the pliers (which I don't believe they do) that profit will be absorbed by another item with very small margins. If there was great profit margins on fly shops they would be on every corner. The fact that they are not tells us they are struggling. Support your local fly shop if you have one.

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PostPosted: March 17th, 2019, 1:40 pm 
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Joined: February 14th, 2007, 1:00 am
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Location: New Hampshire
I have worked with lots of SMB owners in the past... it is hard for all of them, but especially hard for the ones that sell tangible goods with real cost of goods. 40% margin on every product sold, doesn’t go far when you need to pay rent, people, utilities, etc. recently, and WRONGLY, the economics of my local shop became public and as a business person I was concerned. I am as guilty of anyone of buying discount hooks and beads, getting online deals on lines and leaders... and I felt bad and that I should do my part.

We all need to be very coear on this. If you want a local shop, you need to spend every dollar you can there. However, the internet is changing the consumer goods world. If you’re content with monitor shopping and home delivery then go to it. There isn’t a right or wrong answer, it could be past vs future, but you get to log your vote with your checkbook.

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"Fishermen...spending their lives in the fields and woods...are often in a more favorable mood for observing her, in the intervals of their pursuits, than philosophers or poets even, who approach her with expectation." - Thoreau


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