What works, what has always worked and what I believe will continue to work to keep fly fishing alive is simple, bring guides to the fly shops. It's a symbiotic relationship of the best kind. A guide comes to the shop, takes a seat, ties and then gives a presentation. It's a perfect formula for a bit of success for both businesses.
I think if fly shops disappeared, so too would fly fishing. The rods, the reels, lines and colorful boxes full of flies would be gone and the great tradition, myths and giant pile of wonderful BS would also disappear. So too would guides who teach, develop and carry on the traditions and myths.
So when I went to DuPage Fly Co. to visit with my British buddies, Jeremy and the gang, as well as spend a few bucks, I was also there to support my buddy Jay Anglin. An excellent guide and as they say, "Good Dude."
DuPage regularly hosts a guide in this time honored format. I was at Bob Clouser's shop where he'd host a local guide who'd talk and teach a fly, and out in Seattle at the now closed Kaufmann's fly shop. When I worked at Fly & Field, the guides would come, tie, present, answer questions and book trips. People would also spend a few bucks or two at the shop-a good thing for everyone. Same is true at Coren's Rod and Reel where we invite guides to come and tie and talk about the trips they offer.
The shop had a good turnout. Jay was his usual, with what I'd call his machine-gun stream of consciousness delivery, telling stories and explaining why nymph fishing works on the rivers and streams he fishes and why he believes it catches more fish. And yep, no apologies for the big red bobber on his line.
I remember reading a Dale Carnegie book, "Enthusiasm Makes a Difference" and that's what I like about Jay, here's a guy whose been guiding for over twenty years and I've known him for a good number of them. That enthusiasm for fishing, the desire to put his clients on fish, hasn't diminished from managing a lake where you could catch a trophy bass to rowing down the river to stop and point out where you want to cast and how to handle a bucking, bouncing steelhead.
So add that to a well-stocked fly shop in Naperville and you've got a good way to spend a cold Saturday afternoon. About the only thing that I could think of that would be better would be sitting in the boat with Jay or sitting in the back of DuPage Fly Co, tying flies.
Here's where to find Jay and DuPage Fly Co.
Jay Anglin: http://anglinoutdoors.com
DuPage Fly Co.: http://www.dupagefly.com/