Are We Letting Our Customers Down?


I was in the shop today discussing fly lines with a couple of customers, and a thought kept creeping into my head. This is something I’ve thought before, but it was solidified by my experience today. As an industry, we have done a disservice to both our customers and ourselves when it comes to education.

One of the best parts of today’s fly fishing industry is the incredible amount of choice that anglers have. We have specialized rods, lines for every situation, and commercially-available flies for every species and location. While the hardcore anglers are still out there chopping up lines and experimenting with different tapers, there are off-the-shelf solutions for just about everyone.┬áTo the average angler, however, the advantages and disadvantages of each line taper are not obvious. As an industry, we need to do a better job of explaining not only which line is appropriate, but why that is the case.

Of course, most of you reading this are on the buying end of this scenario, not the selling end. I encourage you to ask questions and get the folks in your local fly shops to spend a little more time teaching and explaining while they’re spooling up your reels and taking you outside to cast new rods. Also, find a shop that you trust. There are so many guys and gals in this industry that are passionate about what they do and genuinely care about spreading the information they’ve learned. Seek them out; the good ones are both willing and excited to help.

There’s no shame in asking questions. Even those of us with a good chunk of experience within this sport ask questions. In fact, we might be the ones asking the most questions. There’s nothing embarrassing about asking questions and trying to make yourself a better angler, so get to it.

Other than fly lines, what are some other areas where you think we could do a better job of explaining why we are doing things a certain way? What do you want to know more about?


5 thoughts on “Are We Letting Our Customers Down?

  1. I was just discussing the relationship between grain weight, and sink rate with a buddy of mine. Turns out there is none. Also turns out that leprechauns don’t really exist. Who knew? Don’t know if you don’t ask.

  2. I absolutely agree, as a consumer I was a line geek, now that I am on the other side, I try to spend the time to go though the differences in our lines, purpose and quality, and how it effects cast and presentation!

  3. “As an industry, we need to do a better job of explaining not only which line is appropriate, but why that is the case.” I dunno. My reaction is that if the line manufacturers came clean, many anglers might think there’s not all that much difference and hence the product line extensions will all go down the crapper. Ever since I read John Waite’s Serious Fly Fishing nearly 20 years ago, I’ve looked askance at the industry’s non-stop push to buy buy buy.

    • I don’t disagree whatsoever with the idea that we maybe don’t need all of line options available. To me, it’s a lot like shotguns; there were a lot of turkey taken before camo shotguns came along. However, there’s no doubt that the lines do serve a purpose and can make us more productive. Like many other areas, I think that by explaining what each line does and why it might be a good choice provides consumers with enough information to make the right decision for their needs. We all have so many specialized tools available that having the best information helps everyone make the best decisions.

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