I have one fly shop within a 60 mile radius and is the only shop that carries any kind of fly tackle(quality) and can offer a sensible conversation about it. That shop has received all my business for the last two years. Online advice and internet purchases are the only source for what I want. My fly shop is a dedicated Sage / Hardy dealer and so the exposure to Abel, Winston, Scott and others is not available. I envy those of you that have a variety of outlets throughout the USA (not to mention the fishery that you enjoy). My opportunity to get that exposure is to travel to the L.L.Beans and Kittery Trading Post outlets when I am in the US. I recently bought a rod from an "Oregon Fly Shop" that has been mentioned here lately and had an issue that went un-resolved. I was not 100% satisfied,:
but have moved on. Buying online has not been the best way to buy gear for me. I should mention that a "discount outlet" has moved in here from another province but offers nothing like the gear I look for. Try to buy and Abel reel or a Winston rod at the Walmart or Canadian Tire outlet.
Glad to see a fellow Canadian on the forum...Kerry