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Thread: Nobody ever gets into the fly fishing industry to make money.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Davis, CA, USA, Earth
    Posts
    21,014

    Default Nobody ever gets into the fly fishing industry to make money.

    In fact I would guess that less than 10% make a good living.

    I only have met a few who actually did very well in this industry.

    Most of us are just "fish bums" because the main benefit is fishing all over the world with your successful customers.

    Most shop owners, industry Reps, guides and shop staff are usually married to a gal with a "real job" with benefits.

    Lots of fly shops are "mom and pop" businesses that probably produced one good salary.

    People get into the industry because they love fly fishing and enjoy others who do to.
    ___________________________________

    My dear friend Bob Giannoni asked me to help his young friend get started in his new fly shop in Eureka, CA.

    This was maybe 30 years ago and was Mike Kuczynski who worked in the summer in Montana at Tom Webbs fly shop.

    Mike was opening the new Eureka Fly Shop which turned out to be the top fly shop on the North Coast.

    I gave Mike my standard basic advice on how to have a survivable fly shop and him being very talented and smart did very well.


    After about a year Mike called me and asked me when would he start making money?

    I chuckled and told Mike that after you pay all your bills and still have money for food you have made it.

    Mike ran a great fly shop and guided the Klamath river and some others.

    Mike wasa ble to get some of the locals and guide customers to go with him annually to Christmas Island.

    Mike retired too and has one of those new Mercedes 4x4 diesel Sprinter vans.


    .
    Bill Kiene

    Fly fishing travel consultant
    Certified FFF Casting Instructor
    Email: billkiene63@gmail.com
    Cell: 530/753-5267
    Web: www.billkiene.com

    Contact me for any reason........
    ______________________________________

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Monterey
    Posts
    166

    Default

    If you're able to retire with a new mercedes sprinter selling fish gear I'd say thats a smashing success!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Davis, CA, USA, Earth
    Posts
    21,014

    Default

    Honestly, Mike is very smart and ran a very efficient fly shop and good jet boat guide service on the lower Klamath river.

    He did so well that he was able to just close up his shop and retire.

    I am sure he is fishing like crazy.....
    Bill Kiene

    Fly fishing travel consultant
    Certified FFF Casting Instructor
    Email: billkiene63@gmail.com
    Cell: 530/753-5267
    Web: www.billkiene.com

    Contact me for any reason........
    ______________________________________

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Santa Rosa, Calif
    Posts
    655

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Kiene semi-retired View Post
    In fact I would guess that less than 10% make a good living.

    I only have met a few who actually did very well in this industry.

    Most of us are just "fish bums" because the main benefit is fishing all over the world with your successful customers.

    Most shop owners, industry Reps, guides and shop staff are usually married to a gal with a "real job" with benefits.

    Lots of fly shops are "mom and pop" businesses that probably produced one good salary.

    People get into the industry because they love fly fishing and enjoy others who do to.
    ___________________________________

    My dear friend Bob Giannoni asked me to help his young friend get started in his new fly shop in Eureka, CA.

    This was maybe 30 years ago and was Mike Kuczynski who worked in the summer in Montana at Tom Webbs fly shop.

    Mike was opening the new Eureka Fly Shop which turned out to be the top fly shop on the North Coast.

    I gave Mike my standard basic advice on how to have a survivable fly shop and him being very talented and smart did very well.


    After about a year Mike called me and asked me when would he start making money?

    I chuckled and told Mike that after you pay all your bills and still have money for food you have made it.

    Mike ran a great fly shop and guided the Klamath river and some others.

    Mike wasa ble to get some of the locals and guide customers to go with him annually to Christmas Island.

    Mike retired too and has one of those new Mercedes 4x4 diesel Sprinter vans.


    .
    The guy who owns the "fly shop" made a few million...he made so much money he doesn't even show up anymore , he has top employees to run the shop.

    Carl

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Davis, CA, USA, Earth
    Posts
    21,014

    Default

    Right on Carl.....100% fact.

    Mike Michalak and Brad Jackson started what turned out to be one of the biggest fly fishing businesses ever.

    The Fly Shop has walk-in retail, catalog sales, online sales, private water, International travel and a large guide service.


    I help them get started too. Mike told me he was opening a fly shop in Redding, California.


    In 1978 Mike came to my little fly shop in Sacramento and I let him go through my four drawer file cabinet

    and copy down all the companies to get product from. For that reason Mike and I are old friends too.

    _______________________________

    I tell people that if Mike was a building contractor he would be building hundreds of houses at a time.

    I would be building one at a time..........


    .
    Bill Kiene

    Fly fishing travel consultant
    Certified FFF Casting Instructor
    Email: billkiene63@gmail.com
    Cell: 530/753-5267
    Web: www.billkiene.com

    Contact me for any reason........
    ______________________________________

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    El Sobrante
    Posts
    29

    Default

    My brother and I stopped by the Fly Shop in the 80's but it was closed. Just as we were about to drive away, Mike pulls into the parking lot. He asked us where we were going to fish. He opens up the shop but tells us he had just dropped by the store to pick something up so he grabs a bunch of Zug Bugs hands them to us and tells us to drop by on our way home to pay for the flies we used. Of course, he recognized us from being in the store a few times before but how many shop owners would have done that trusting?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Davis, CA, USA, Earth
    Posts
    21,014

    Default

    Yes, it's not about just making a living, it is enjoying helping people enjoy the sport we love.
    Bill Kiene

    Fly fishing travel consultant
    Certified FFF Casting Instructor
    Email: billkiene63@gmail.com
    Cell: 530/753-5267
    Web: www.billkiene.com

    Contact me for any reason........
    ______________________________________

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Fresno, CA
    Posts
    2,584

    Default

    Mike Michalak called me one day and asked me if I wanted to tie flies for the shop. They had just opened the doors and had a few other tyers for the shop. But of course I didn't refuse. I don't know how many PT's I tied for them. What's really amazing is that I got call the other day regarding some materials that were on back order. The first thing I noticed was the phone number. They've had the same number from the day they opened. There were many shops in Norhhern CA that I tied for. Ted Fay Fly Shop..... I tied up a lot of brown bombers, Spring Creek Anglers, Burney. Tied up PT's, hare's ear and rusty spinners for Bob Brink, Hat Creek Anglers. Going 299W, I tied the golden burlap stone fly for Herb Burton - Trinity Fly Shop and the Weitchpec Store at the bridge - all the basic steel head flies.
    Started tying in Feb 1971, almost 50 years DAMN
    Jay Murakoshi

    Commercial Fly Tier

    Travel Coordinator

    Web site: http://www.fliesunlimited.com/

    Email us at: jaysflies@me.com

    Call us at (831) 809-4221

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Fresno, CA
    Posts
    2,584

    Default

    I think there ought too be an "old timer's reunion". I can even bring my very first fly tying vise - a pair of vise grips, welded to a "C" clamp. At the beginning, I never used a bobbin. I would wrap materials, throw on a half hitch. My first bobbins were given to me by Frank Matterelli at the San Mateo ISE fly fishing show. He saw me at the show tying without a bobbin and probably thought I was too poor to by a bobbin.
    Jay Murakoshi

    Commercial Fly Tier

    Travel Coordinator

    Web site: http://www.fliesunlimited.com/

    Email us at: jaysflies@me.com

    Call us at (831) 809-4221

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    San Francisco
    Posts
    495

    Default

    More recently I bought a Sage X from The Fly Shop. The same week I received it I broke it on the first day using it, first time ever breaking a Sage rod in the 20+ yrs I’ve been fly fishing. Went in the following day and they replaced it with a brand new one, which was the last one in stock of that specific model. Told me they’ll take care of the rod warranty themselves. That’s how you become a successful shop. Besides my local shops, The Fly Shop will have my business until a massive rock wipes out the human population.

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