Where Are the Fly Shops?
Paul Prentiss
In the December 2005 issue of Fly Fisherman Magazine, John Randolph, Editor & Publisher, wrote an editorial that deserves attention. His point was that the Walmartization of the world is dramatically affecting the future of our sport. Small local fly shops are dying as the big box stores with thin margins, huge budgets, and marketing muscle take over. The major manufacturers who built their business with the support and assistance of these independents are now selling through the chains. While discounting is verboten, it turns these products into commodities.

He raises a sobering question. "Can fly fishing survive without the teaching services that the traditional fly shops have provided? Or do we return to those days of yesteryear when fly fishing was considered the arcane sport of a few elderly gentlemen who cast their flies secretively in the pristine, uncrowded backwaters of American Fishing."

The strong and sophisticated fly shops in established markets are thriving, "But they cannot carry the entire instructional load. The big-box stores sell lots of product, but few of them provide the instructions that are necessary to create a new generation of young fly fishers."

Click here to read the article