Fly Shop Catch 22
I went to my local today on my way home from work. I use the term “local” lightly… it is across the bay and a $5 bridge toll from where I actually live. I haven’t been there many times, as it is not real convenient and the trip there involves being on a highway I detest, usually at a time in the commute that makes me want to slam my head into the steering wheel.
Still… I wanted to support the shop, so I went.
I needed fly tying materials. Specifically I was looking for some 1/0 tarpon hooks (thinking of that Florida trip a lot these days).
The shop looks great. Very clean, very well organized. Hell, they have a drift boat IN the fly shop.
“I’m just looking for tying materials.” I said.
“Well, we are a bit low on stock at the moment.” was the reply.
And it was true. There were no 1/0 tarpon hooks. There were no EP fibers in the colors I wanted. They didn’t have the style of silicon leg I was looking for. I was looking for a few specific things and I went 0-fer. I came ready to spend some money and left empty handed.
Just a few days ago I put in an order on Amazon for some materials. It was easy to do as I had just sat down at the vice and knew what I was needing (wanting is maybe the better word here). With Amazon you don’t get to hold the stuff in your hand and turn it over and make sure it is right, but you sure do have a selection… and it is that kind of immediacy and selection that likely means my local is taking it in the shorts and doesn’t have the business to actually keep things stocked… which in turn, makes me more likely to need to turn to the web to get what I am looking for… which means even less business for the shop… and it goes on and on and on.
Death by a thousand Amazon orders.
Part of it may be that I’m looking for materials usually used for flats flies in a place that is more trout and stripers. They did have 3/0 tarpon hooks though and EP fibers in other colors, just not what I was looking for.
When I got home, waiting in the mailbox were two packages of hooks… one was size 1/0, although not specifically for tarpon. I’m kind of thinking they might do the trick though (especially given a recent conversation with Davin about smaller diameter hooks maybe being a good call for tarpon).
Do you have a local shop and if so, how is it doing? What makes a shop successful or what makes it struggle?