03-31-2012, 11:48 AM
Re: Fly Tying for Shops
Welcome to the forum--
I've never tied commercially-- hopefully others who have will chime in. but here are a few thoughts:
If you have local shops in the area you might try approaching them with a selection of patterns you feel comfortable tying. Keep in mind that many shops buy standard patterns from Umpqua or others that are tied overseas for prices that might be difficult for you to match and still breakeven.
But if you tie patterns that are proven on local waters and are not available from distributors, you may be able to carve out a niche. For example around here there's a fly fishing for striped bass. Fly patterns available in shops around here tend to be typical stuff like clousers and deceivers-- other striper patterns like flatwings, mushmouths, big menhaden or herring imitations etc. For someone that doesn't tie, these can be hard to find. For the shops that do carry them they command a premium and are often tied locally or by a few independent tyers that have established reputations for specific patterns over the years. I imagine this same principle applies in other areas too-- specific patterns for important local hatches, or for less common fly species in local waters like carp or musky flies for example.
The danger, as I'm sure others can tell you, is that if you enjoy tying now for your own use, it might turn into drudgery once you have to meet deadlines or crank out hundreds/thousands of the same pattern.
I'm sure there are other ways to get into it too besides local shops-- ebay and other internet options as well as word of mouth spread by fishing buddies, helped along with business cards etc. Also keep in mind there are tax obligations too, including a 10% Federal Excise Tax on fishing gear which applies to flies.
There's some excellent info written about getting into commercial fly tying written by commercial fly tyers Al and Gretchen Beatty . Google "Tying for Dollars"
Good luck and let us know how things work out.