Product Loyalty, March 12, 2011

“Jay is a __________  Guy, you know.”


I overheard this comment a few months ago, uttered by a fly fishing industry rep.  The implication was that, hummmmm, actually, I don’t know exactly what the implication of that remark was.

Probably, it implied that I would actively promote __________ fly lines over __________, __________ or some other manufacturer’s fly line.  Maybe it implied that I should be shunned by someone who is a “__________ Guy” (or gal) and certainly by an “__________ guy” (or gal).

Let’s call BS on this, folks.

Here is what it true: I’m on the “Conservation Staff” for __________ Sports and __________, and __________.  I have a bunch of friends at __________.  I actively promote __________, feel almost like family there and would probably die if __________ closed their doors.  I support __________  __________ and make a lot of tutorial videos for the __________.

Now let’s see how those relationships affect my fishing and my views regarding other Oregon Independent fly shops.

The fly lines I fish certainly don’t exhibit a pattern of brand exclusivity.  I fish __________ Skagit Compact and Scandi Compact fly lines.  I am fishing the latest models of __________ Skagit Flight and Skagit Short fly lines.  I have fished the new __________ Skagit Extreme Multi Tip fly line.

Without exception, I have found Spey fly lines from __________, __________, and __________ that I am able to cast well and enjoy fishing.  Keep in mind that I am not one of the rare guys or gals who are actual, verifiable expert Spey casters; casting Wizards who can make any line work.  I am basically a “hack” Spey caster, I love it, I am learning and getting better all the time, but still probably represent a very average skill level in the two-hand world.  Ask Rob, Nate, or Jeff; they will agree, they have seen me cast.

This background is important because it means that an average Spey fisher can expect a Spey fly line made by __________, __________, and __________ will perform for him or her; it means that I am able to recommend any of these three fly line manufacturers and be frank about my recommendation.  I pay attention to the rod – line weight match more than to the manufacturer.  If a person is product-loyal to __________, or ________, or __________ , that’s fine with me, and I can recommend a fly line based on weight for any rod in any of these brands.

My Chinook fly lines include the full spectrum of __________, __________, and __________ lines.  Traditional Shooting heads by, and are loaded on an arsenal of fly reels stashed in my jet sled.  The __________ shooting heads are dinosaurs in that they don’t have factory loops, but they hold a dear place in my heart.  The __________  __________ series of integrated shooting heads are perfectly suited to hassle-free tidewater Chinook fishing, as are the __________ fly lines, and both are loaded on my fly reels and spools when I head out to fish for spring and fall Chinook. Running lines from __________ and __________ back up my traditional and Spey head fly lines.  How’s that for product loyalty?

What about fly rods? I fish __________, __________, __________, __________, and __________ fly rods.  Each of these fly rods is fun and is an excellent fly fishing tool.  My beat-up old __________ 10 wt. generates a lot of fond memories associated with king salmon.  My  __________ single-hand salmon rod has a growing collection of happy memories and this fly rod makes me smile too.  The same is true with my fly rods by __________, __________, and __________.  Do I have favorites?  Sure, but I have many personal quirks too.  If I had to choose one fly rod for salmon; one rod for steelhead Skagit Spey fishing; one rod for Steelhead dry line Spey fishing; one rod to Spey fish king salmon; one rod to fish sea run cutthroat –get the idea.  I could do it if forced. The rod would be excellent and I would have fun if limited to only one fly rod for each species, season, and tactical situation.  But why not have fun and mess around.

Why would anyone limit himself or herself to only fishing one brand fly rod?  Why not experiment and fish different rods now and then?  Why not have fun with our fly rods and lines.  Why not try to learn and expand one’s experience base.

We live in a time where many really good casting and fishing rods are available to us fly fishing fanatics.  Let’s enjoy ourselves, OK?

Same goes with settling on a list of favorite flies for our salmon, steelhead, and sea run cutthroat fishing.  Sure I have favorite fly patterns when I fish for sea-run cutthroat, Chinook, or steelhead.  Sure I tend to go back to these year after year, day after day.  Some of my favorite summer steelhead flies have evolved only a little over three decades.   Some of my fly patterns are still in the early stages of evolution, and these change from season to season, mostly.  Each session at the fly bench could as easily produce a handful of experimental flies as it could produce a set of “tried and true” favorites.

What about loyalty to people who work for different fly line and rod manufacturers?

The sad part about a perception that a person is an __________ guy or gal, __________ guy or gal, __________ guy or gal, __________ guy or gal, is that it can create the effect of hindering friendships.  I have several friends, and I consider them good friends, who rep for various fly fishing manufacturers, own businesses, or work for retailers.  Industry competitiveness exists and this tension affects people’s relationships.  Yes it does.

So let’s knock it off folks. I recommend fly fishers and fly tyers shop at the __________.  I also recognize a network of most excellent, independent Fly Shops owned by several other people I consider friends.  Haven forbid that someone might buy a bag of dubbing from __________ when they could buy it from __________; buy a __________ fly line instead of an __________; buy a __________ fly rod instead of an __________ or __________; and a __________ bag instead of a __________.

Our world just might come to a screeching halt.

For goodness sake, people, enough with the silliness.

At day’s end,though, I’m a __________ ball cap person.  Sorry, it’s just how it is.

Jay Nicholas, March 12, 2011

One thought on “Product Loyalty, March 12, 2011

  1. Well said. Folks this IS his blog afterall and what he does is share his experiences with us. Since he is a biologist, you would hope to hear about fish conservation. As an avid fisherman, you hear about his experiences with different gear….who cares what brand, its what he has in his hands at the moment. You want a different perspective, go to another blog. Also, as he is sometimes a passable fly tyer….he will pass on to us the latest pattern he has most likely not been able to catch anything on so feels safe in turning it loose to those that might be on the river with him…..i like that too. As a fly tyer, i never giver my best stuff away. There are many of us who enjoy Jays blog, complete with kippers, mexican food, his friends cool dog, bad flys and worse photograhy. Because on top of everything he takes his kid fishing and teaches about the right way to do things… many of use take the time to do that any more. So, if you think that something is wrong, it is most likely that you are upset when there are so many other blogs out there.

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