The fly fishing industry is really a fun community to be a part of these days. Had a few talks with reps today that are more like friends than business relationships, yet business is still business and things don't get taken personally. The gear, flies, and resources out there to help people be better anglers and catch more fish is really unbelievable compared to 20 years ago…little has changed but so much has when it comes to actually doing it! We all become more and more aware of the impacts on the environment and so many of those in the industry are spearheading conservation efforts solely because they are the right thing to do. The "leaders" are young and motivated to grow the sport through fun and education.
It has changed since I got into the business, but I'd say its a better industry now than it was back then. There was the opening of big box stores which many forecasted doom and gloom to the specialty retailers like myself. I'm sure many were impacted, but the ones remaining seem stronger than ever. Manufacturers more commonly offer their good directly to the consumer online now. Those retailers with diverse business models are still doing fine and growing. At the end of the day, I think, its those manufacturers and retailers that are the best at what they do that will continue to shape the fly fishing industry and fly fishing itself. My contribution? Be really good at having fun while fly fishing, guiding, and working in the shop.
The water maybe high, it might be a hot summer, fires could rage across the west. So much is beyond our control, so we just plow ahead the best we can and prepare the certainties and strategerize for the inevitable chaos. I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings…I have an AK if you are wondering (not really).