December 26th, 2005

The 'Good News'
By James Castwell

Ah yes, Mr. And Mrs. America and all the fly fishers of the world. There is good news and it is about time. Not that it hasn't been on the way for several months, actually more than a year or so, it has but sometimes these things need time to get all formulated and such by those who make a living doing these things. The word is in and it is good.

Here how it all shapes up. First of all, you guys with the shirt protectors and slip-sticks, relax. This is not going to be one of those reports studded with numbers and ratios and other boring information to those of us who are nearly normal. I have read a reasonably trustworthy and mostly accurate report and it backs up some of the other information I have gleaned over the past months.

Sure we took a bad hit when the terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center. It messed up a lot of fly-fishing travel plans among other things. As it filtered down it affected the manufacturers as well. Stagnant market. Tough to keep pumping out products. It jammed the whole machine.

Now I would like to be able to give you detailed numbers up to this month but cannot. However the full reports I do have are up to just a few months ago and they look good on all fronts.

By that I mean that we all are going to the fly shops and buying stuff. High priced things from the pro-shops are moving well. The well-stocked fly shop is seeing an increase in sales and merchandise is rotating on the pegs. The big-box guys are causing their problems but are keeping the entry level well supplied. Some of the figures for the whole industry are in the 30% up range. That is good for all concerned.

This means the manufacturers can slowly bring all employees on line, fill in slack areas in production, fill the 'pipe-lines' again, offer deals to the various shops now that the customer has found his way back to the front doors and has discovered a bit of extra cash.

This portends good health for the whole industry. True that several, make that many, fly shops fell by the wayside. Some rode the wave of the movie and realistically could not have been expected to survive any problems. The problems arrived and they folded. Other shops who were marginal for any of a variety of reasons closed and for some that was a sad occasion and we may have lost some valuable assets. The result is the law of supply and demand has been fulfilled and it seems pretty close to coming into balance once again.

The new goodies will continue to be invented, developed and will show up at your favorite fly shop. Clubs will hold their meetings and plan trips to wondrous places. Flies will get tied. And fish will get fooled by them. Life is good. Again.

Have a great year. ~ JC

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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