As this blog, the magazine, and the word about our other events spreads (i.e. the F3T showing) we get some inside invites to hang out with a lot of folks around the fly fishing business. Our business, being Michigan fly fishing, keeps us around fly fishing types anyway so we get to see the insides of a lot of fly shops. You don't have to be an industry insider to get an invite to hang out at a fly shop though, just check the fishing reports of any shop and you will find your permission to stop by.
Gates Lodge, Old Au Sable, Nomad Anglers, BBT, PM Lodge, Boyne Outfitter, Northern Angler, Colton Bay; these guys are always inviting folks to drop by, hang out, and tie a few flies. Most shops even have a sitting/tying area built right into the architecture. A long wooden table with plenty of chairs and a coffee pot percolating away in the corner is a fly shop mainstay.
I don't know know about other people but I often feel a little awkward when hanging out in fly shops. That is changing a little now but the way I was raised, I realize that people are busy there and trying to run a business. I don't want to be in the way, a nuisance, or stand in the way of doing business. Also, I often feel like I should be buying something for the privilege of hanging out in the shop. I know this might not be the case and maybe I should just hang out in fly shops where I make contributions to their retail enterprise to help my conscious.
I also feel a little bad because I like to pick the brains of the guys running the shops. I think that is a benefit of hanging out in a shop and its pretty hard to do in an un-fragmented way because they are busy running the shop.
So, even though the invites are out there and I really dig, I mean really dig fly shops, I can't bring myself to hang out in them very much. Maybe I just need to find one that I feel really comfortable with. I did feel pretty comfortable the other day at Colton Bay when we hung out a little and finalized some plans for the upcoming F3T showing. Dirk and Joe were pretty easy going guys. We hung out at the aforementioned table in the back of the shop, had a few drinks, a few laughs, and talked fly fishing and related projects for a few hours. It was pretty nice and the Colton Bay shop really has great ambiance. Its knotty pine throughout with an old Au Sable drift boat and photos of guys like Paul Young on the walls. A pretty cool place.
I am interested in how you feel about hanging out at fly shops.
Live Free, Fish Hard