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  1. #21
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Lakeville, Conn.
    Posts
    630

    Default Re: Local Fly Shops & Rod testing

    Quote Originally Posted by Ard View Post
    Based on my own experience I would say it is hard to know what good feels and preforms like if you are not proficient with a bad rod. Congratulations on a good choice or perhaps a couple of them.
    I agree with this wholeheartedly. I learned on a clunky fiberglass rod, I can't remember the name but it was a real cheap-o. When I graduated to my father's Orvis graphite rods, I thought they were awful until I got the hang of them. Then it was like trading up from a 1969 VW Bug with shot ball joints to a gleaming new spaceship -- or a 1978 Chevy Nova with the police option package, at least. (I mention those cars because they were my first and second. The VW fell apart and I wrecked the Nova during my Gonzo period.)

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  3. #22

    Default Re: Local Fly Shops & Rod testing

    Quote Originally Posted by patrick62 View Post
    When I graduated to my father's Orvis graphite rods, I thought they were awful until I got the hang of them. Then it was like trading up from a 1969 VW Bug with shot ball joints to a gleaming new spaceship
    This is interesting, and it serves to reinforce a point that I have recently stumbled upon. That is that maybe test casting at the shop is overrated?? Here's what I mean. Suppose that you are a flycaster of average skill level. You go to a store and test a bunch of rods and pick out one you like. Doesn't it stand to reason that the one you like the best is probably the one that masks your casting faults the best? If you had gone to the store and they had that Orvis graphite rod, you likely never would have bought it because it felt awful at first! What I would be very interested to know is whether you think that you're a better caster now than when you first cast your father's Orvis? Do you think that perhaps your father's Orvis has properties that just demand a slightly higher level of proficiency?

    That said, I think there are a lot of good reasons to support your local fly shop. It's way easier to get a sense for the quality of a thing if you can handle it rather than look at a picture of it online. And I'd rather give my $ to a local guy, rather than put more money into Jeff Bezos' massive bank accounts.

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  5. #23
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Portland and Maupin, Oregon
    Posts
    1,264

    Default Re: Local Fly Shops & Rod testing

    I guess I have always taken the local fly shops for granted. There are five in the Portland area. Two of them are a ten minute drive. There is an Orvis shop about twenty five minutes away that I have never been to, but met two young guys that work there, on a local steelhead run about 20 minutes from my house, the other day. There is an Orvis shop in Bellevue Wa, where my daughters family lives. I buy my braided butt leaders there. Two fly shops are in Maupin where my fishing cabin is located, two hours away. There are two ways to get there with a flyshop on each route. When I drive with S&S from the airport in Portland to Montana, there are fly shops near every river we fish. He always insists that we stop in at all of them, even if we have to drive miles out of our way. All the shop owners and employees seem to know him by name. I always have to tell most of them mine, again. Often, packages that have been mailed there are awaiting his arrival. Do you think we might test cast a rod or two...

    I often go to my local shop to hang out and/or eat lunch with the staff. However, I rarely cast a rod unless I am serious about buying it. There's nothing wrong with just casting a rod, it just doesn't occur to me to do so, unless, of course, there is something new I'm curious about. The last time I did it was when the X came out.

    Casting a rod in a parking lot or on the lawn is one thing, but casting it on flowing water and actually fishing it is yet another. That's why I have purchased most of mine in Maupin, as they let me take them to the river. The last one I bought was a Buelah Spey rod from the Hazels. Amy accompanied me to the river with it and immediately detected a flaw in my double Spey cast.

    I purchased a Winston b11x Spey rod at my favorite local shop several years ago after spending a day casting it with one of their guides, who, was also on the Winston pro staff. The local sales reps will often do a free casting clinic on the water. It's always fun to cast rods there and get a few casting tips.

    The last two trout rods I have acquired were discontinued Sage Ones. Now, while I strive to support my local fly shops I have, of course had to purchase them on line because they were at steeply discounted close out prices. But, one of them was on eBay from Tim Tollet and was highly recommended by our Sage guru, SS, not to be confused with S&S. The other One I just knew I'd like, because, well it was a One. After awhile, one just knows he will like some rods, or, learn to. I would never cast a shop rod and then go purchase it online. That's just not right, imo.

    I sat and watched those Orvis guys cast the other day. One of those young athletic guys had a beautiful snap t cast. He was gracefully launching the fly, easily over 100 ft. The Clackmas is a big river and it was running high and fast. He was up to his waist, a rods length, or two, off the bank and the fly was landing past the middle of the river. The steelhead I've hooked in this run, under similar conditions were traveling tight to the shore. There is a difference between casting and fishing a rod, just sayin'... I bet he was just testing casting a new rod, there weren't any fish around, anyway. If there were, I would have seen a sea lion, or two...
    Last edited by dillon; 01-27-2019 at 10:14 AM.

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  7. #24

    Default Re: Local Fly Shops & Rod testing

    Quote Originally Posted by trout stalker View Post
    I have an hour drive to my nearest fly shop in Kansas City, KS or in about 2 1/2 hours to St. Louis or Lebanon, MO. With that said it still can be hard to test cast a rod.

    I forgot to mention that there is also a Orvis store in Leawood,KS. It is worthless for casting rods due to not having them in stock.
    Maybe something has changed since you or I last went. Last time I went I test casted a Recon 8 wt vs Clearwater in the lot behind the store and they had all their rods in stock. They are nice there, but I would much rather go over to K&K in Overland Park.

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  9. #25
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Truckee, CA.
    Posts
    2,434
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: Local Fly Shops & Rod testing

    Those who have to travel to find a shop are maybe also in the dark about "shops".
    I find there are shops opened by a guy who always wanted to open one. He fishes, but enjoys being a shop owner.......and therefore a fish hero! Box stores are especially likely to hire those with less time on the water.....and a lot of confidence to share.....often a retired guy trying to boost his income. or, a kid with about 2-3 years of water time......
    We have one near here that is a classic small shop. As some have mentioned, carrying little in stock is a sure sign.
    If only one rod in stock might lead them to suggest that one right? And as Dillon mentioned, wiggling the rod on the lawn will tell you little information, especially since you may not have a lot of experience to judge. As several have mentioned the old rod habits will prevent you from understanding the difference between the new ones.....
    I'm from Kansas originally so I understand being "out there" and far from a destination shop. But I have to suggest testing on water, and with a competent caster in tow. It will make a huge difference in the happiness factor.
    Just be warned that not all shops deserve to stay open............

    Jim
    The bar isn't set by the fish we catch, but by the one's we don't.

    Bigfly

  10. Default Re: Local Fly Shops & Rod testing

    I live in Upstate NY, with no fly shops in the Albany area. We do have Douglas, Orvis, and Thomas&Thomas manufacturers within striking distance. You can’t go wrong with a Douglas rod( I have 2). Orvis has very nice rods and fly fishing products as well. I have yet to try Thomas &Thomas. Having a shop like you do is definitely beneficial. I support a shop in Syracuse which has been very helpful in selecting product, along with knowledgeable service. Support local shops when possible!

  11. #27
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Lakeville, Conn.
    Posts
    630

    Default Re: Local Fly Shops & Rod testing

    Quote Originally Posted by flafly14 View Post
    What I would be very interested to know is whether you think that you're a better caster now than when you first cast your father's Orvis? Do you think that perhaps your father's Orvis has properties that just demand a slightly higher level of proficiency?
    Yes, on both questions. (Never mind Pop's bamboo rods.)

    This was when I was 11 or 12 and deemed responsible enough to use the good stuff. I'll be 57 next month, and if I haven't gotten better I should take up golf or macrame or politics or something.

    Well, not politics.

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  13. #28

    Default Re: Local Fly Shops & Rod testing

    You can do your research and figure out what kind of rod you're looking for, but that usually, for me at least, only narrows it down to three or four rods, often from three or four different companies. At that point, for me, test casting the rods at the local fly shop becomes all-important. My only alternate choice, at that point, would be to pick out the brand of rod I have the most experience with or the brand of my most favorite rod, and take the plunge and buy one of the same brand. So yeah, I buy my rods from the "local" shop, which in my case is a bit over an hour away in St. Louis (or when I'm in Montana, a bit over 10 minutes away in Livingston). Rods and reels are the two items I always buy at fly shops. I might order my other fly equipment at times, and I usually buy flies from a big sporting goods store in Bozeman because they cost a dollar or less there and I can't discern a lot of difference in quality from the flies at the local fly shops. Though I will often buy a bunch of flies from local fly shops when I'm visiting somewhere else.

  14. #29

    Default Re: Local Fly Shops & Rod testing

    Quote Originally Posted by flafly14 View Post

    That said, I think there are a lot of good reasons to support your local fly shop. It's way easier to get a sense for the quality of a thing if you can handle it rather than look at a picture of it online. And I'd rather give my $ to a local guy, rather than put more money into Jeff Bezos' massive bank accounts.
    I do buy some things online of course, but the bigger ticket items I have bought at the shop. The information and service is worth a lot. I was able to wheel and deal for the last Douglas rod I bought. That said, I picked up just this past Friday, a Fenwick Aetos
    9' 5wt clearanced down from $189 to $129. I couldn't pass that up. I will continue to support my shop the best I can for as long as they deserve it, there just isn't anything else like it around here. I recently joined a Facebook group about the Driftless region, between this forum, the shop and the FB group, these have been far and away my best resources.
    " I have learned that to be with those I like is enough" Whitman

  15. #30

    Default Re: Local Fly Shops & Rod testing

    Quote Originally Posted by dlip View Post
    Maybe something has changed since you or I last went. Last time I went I test casted a Recon 8 wt vs Clearwater in the lot behind the store and they had all their rods in stock. They are nice there, but I would much rather go over to K&K in Overland Park.
    Last time I had went to the Orvis store around Christmas and still not very many rods. I agree they a very nice people. As for K&K I have shopped there for years. Kevin is a great guy and most of his staff is a joy.
    RJ

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