Thursday, February 26, 2015

Its in the Flies

If you have ever walked into a fly fishing shop and looked around for at least 5 minutes, its not hard to see that everything they sell is expensive. Weather it is fly rods, waders, boots, fly tying materials, nets, packs, and so on. If i had to take a guess i would say that most of their monthly sales comes from rods and reels but that is not the case and it actually only makes up about 10-20% of total monthly sales. If you think about a printer, most of the money that is made is not from selling the actual printer, the money is in the ink cartridges. Just like fly shops, the money is not in the fishing rod, it is in the flies. The flies are what keeps the money coming in as well as the customers. Today the price of your most basic fly pattern is about $2.50. Some of those fly's consist of a piece of string tied to a hook. It is expensive and adds up quick and i have yet to meet anyone that has been out all day fishing and hasn't lost at least 3 or more to a tree or the bottom of the river. 

Which leads up to my next topic of online sales of flies.Who wouldn't want to save money for basic fly patterns like the San Juan worm or simple bead headed nymphs which consist of minimal material and skill to make. Those are the types of flies i would be buying online but still buying the more sophisticated flies at my local shop that i know are of high quality, design, and will stand to last. Although it is a matter of time before someone steps in and starts selling flies online and becomes a reputable seller. As soon as word gets around that you can buy well made fly's online at half the price, people are going to react. This will eventually bring more competitive pricing to all areas as well as more innovation in the design of flies. With more competition, fly shops (who actually know what the fishing industry wants) will have a first mover advantage over their online competitors. Shops might have to lower their margins when it comes to flies but will be able to make up for that with their "specialty" flies that aren't available online. People will still be buying rods, reels, and everything else from the shops because most people still like to touch and feel those types of products before they buy (at least i do). Not too many people are very concerned about seeing a fly in person before buying because they know exactly what they are getting. As time goes on i feel like it will be harder for shops to compete with online fly sellers and that is a scary fact because without those shops we have nothing. You can't replace the feeling of walking into a shop and talking to friendly people that work there about fishing and hearing their own opinion about a product. When it comes down to it, a fly is just a fly, but a fly purchased at a local shop comes with an experience and advice that an online retailer will never be able to knock off.

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