I can be……..
There is a level of trepidation that surrounds me each time I approach the doors of a Fly Fishing Shop….For awhile I wondered if it was just a ‘me’ thing, an individual nervousness that occurred without provocation or reason, but offhandedly, I’ve asked a few others about this peculiar neurosis and several of them also admitted the same pangs of Fly Shop shyness.
I’ve been in fly shops in many different states…a good cross section if I may. I feel like I’ve experienced the majority of levels an angler can feel of welcome, greetings and singe the hair off the back of your neck fun. Some fly shops I’ve left with a smile on my face, some fly shops I’ve left with a shrug of my shoulders, and some fly shops I’ve left running to the nearest bar for a few shots to calm thy nerves.
When I approach a fly shop I’m typically from the invader, out of towner position. I’ve adopted a protective routine, one that gets me through the first few minutes while I taste the temperature of the air. I like to pull my fishing hat down low over my brow in an effort to appear inconspicuous and I’ll slip through the door with my arms extended out in front of me, palms up in a submissive pose. Basically the, I come in peace and just want to buy flies, posture. (ok, maybe I’m not that extreme, but close enough)
At this point, with years of fly fishing and holding my breath when I go into fly shops under my belt, I would have thought I’d be beyond the nerves. Maybe someday it will go away, but to this day I still hold back certain questions I may have just in case the fly shop has a 10 lashes with an 8 weight fly line policy for any inquires that may be deemed unacceptable.
Now, I can only imagine what it’s like for the people who run fly shops. The clientele that walks through the doors must be as varied as the fish in the ocean. In fact, they could probably name 50 different fly shop visitors by levels of fish. The smart dolphins, the cheeky blow fish, the arrogant sharks, the yap guppies, comical clown fish, serious trout, the silent eels and so on. So I’m sure they have seen it all, heard it all, dealt with it all and some of them may have built up the outer shell of say, a crustacean over time…..
I guess like all things in life, Fly Shops come in all shapes and sizes. I just wish there was a sign on the door that indicated the levels of expectation once I enter the premises. For example:
1) All welcome, no intimidation or interogation tactics will be applied.
2) All welcome, only minor use of hot searing pokers will be utilized to the highly irritating.
3) Equipment and creditials will be checked at the processing area. Liberal use of waterboarding and fly line lashings will be employed if you are found unworthy.
I hope someday I’ll move beyond my Fly Shop shyness because I do love them. If I’m not standing in water, a Fly Shop can be a whole ‘nother form of fishing nirvana. Standing amoung the new fly rods and surrounded by thousands of crisp unused flies is a wonderful place to daydream (until someone jabs you with the end of a size 4 hook) and spend a great deal of money on things that make fishing all the more fun.