Pat Ehlers’ shop, The Fly Fishers, was packed. People lined up outside and for a minute, I thought it was Walmart on Black Friday. There was no pushing or shoving, so that was good. Pat had the walls full of everything from fleece to feathers, and there were old friends to meet and new friends to make.
Bob Stevens, a local fly tying guru sat in the back of the shop and tied flies and shared his extensive knowledge of fishing not just SW Wisconsin but fishing the East Coast as well. I sat and watched him tie a caddis fly using thread, clear goo, a partridge feather and some dubbing. This is a fly pattern that I intend to steal for my own collection.
There were reps there and I had a chance to talk to the Smith Optics rep and complain about a recent incident with a warranty issue, which I’m sure they’re always glad to hear about. So as a reminder, read the small print on the warranty card when you buy your next pair of sunglasses. Lenses are not covered. But I got to talk a couple of reps about new products and T&T will feature them in the future.
Pat has added Scott Rods to his line up and has something for everyone in every price range. I like the Echo series of rods and they continue to amaze me with their fit, finish and actions as well as reasonable pricing. What Echo is doing is designing and manufacturing rods that look good, cast well and are not what I call “low budget sticks”.
I did see something about the health of our sport: teenagers, twenty something’s, and millennials. And while I didn’t see a lot of women in the crowd there were a few, which is a good thing indeed. Were there a lot of us “mature” guys, yep, but there was a good number of young people and families as well. So while Lefty Kreh might think we don’t have a lot of years left, I’m a bit more positive. And its shops like Pat’s that will continue to carry the message. So if you wonder why I support a local fly shop, that’s why. If you wipe out the fly shops…what are you left with?
As always, there were beverages, really good cookies, and great coffee. So you could cast a rod, find new materials for fly tying, find out how the fishing in Iowa has been, talk about sunny places and our lost youth. And find a bargain in the process.
It was a good day for Pat and the shop, and a good day for fly fishers and tiers. If you missed it, there’s an open house in April and then before you know it…Christmas comes back.
You can find out more about The Fly Fishers at their website: http://www.theflyfishers.com/