Originally Posted by Hardyreels
This is an excellent way to find out what the fish are after. Even though I tie flies I always used to stop at shops in new parts of the country to pick up half a dozen and let the guy at the counter tell me whatever he had to say about regional fishing conditions. There is no better way to break the ice in a fly shop than to hit it with your wallet.
+1 to what Ard said. Not only regional fishing conditions, but recommendations as to where to fish. Are they going to give you directions on where to stand on their 'Pet Rock?' Probably not, but I've found they'll usually get you darned close.
Why get fairly specific vs just generalizations? First, as Ard notes, you've got money on the counter (and will probably put more down); secondly if you're just a visitor 'he' really won't view you as 'competition' other than for the next few days. Thirdly, the Internet works. Good service begets rave reviews (there's NOTHING that sells like a