When I was growing up in PA the local bait shops and fly shops were the places to find out what the fishing was really like on local waters. As I got into fly fishing I found that these shops are a compilation of a time machine, a history book, a how-to guide, a lecture hall and - at times - a place to sling the thick stuff (aka tell tall fishing tails). They also sell everything the big guys sell and if they do not have it they will order something special just for you.
Today I wondered into a fly shop called 'Bear's Den Fly Fishing CO'. I am not going to lie - the name is really cool and I was worried that the store would not do the name justice. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the name matched the shop well. It is located in the basement of what I think was a vet's office (the truth is I did not look at the sign very well I was too excited to be at a local shop). I walked downstairs and turned the corner to see a small space stacked floor to ceiling with fly fishing and tying gear and supplies.
|For my first visit to the Bear's Den I picked up some basics, but found tons of things I wanted to buy. Be proud of me Sarah I didn't buy a lot more then I needed.|
The Bear's Den has more tying materials then I have ever seen in a fly shop. They have tying materials that until this point I could only find online. If you are not in the southeastern area of Massachusetts but have a fly tying item you need I would strongly recommend you check out their website. The website also has lots of great fly fishing stuff as well. It also has a discount section so be sure to stop in and see what they have on sale.
Now the actual shop has a lot of saltwater stuff. I am a trout guy, and I found only one tippet spool that was higher then 5x and it was fluorocarbon which any fly fisher will tell you can really break the bank. Now this is not a knock on the den and truth be told I might have missed some because they had so much stuff. The reason for all the heavy leaders and tippets is how close to the coast they are - you can get to saltwater in ten to twenty minutes.
Their proximity to saltwater brings a lot of anglers who are targeting stripers, blues and other saltwater fish of the northeast. As someone who has only really fly fishes for trout, panfish and the occasional bass I am looking forward to giving this saltwater stuff a try, and a shop like this is my first step. What I have found from other fly shops is that these are the places to learn how to fish. The people who work here and the regulars who shop here know more about the local water and fish then anyone else. So by shopping here and talking to people I am hoping to lean enough about bay and ocean fishing that maybe I will be able to hold my own.
Here is the list of fly shops I love to visit because I know you have not looked for the list on the side bar yet.
This is where I got my first fly rod. Well my first was a gift - this is where I made my first fly rod purchase.
Housatonic River Outfitter
This shop is near Sarah's parents house and I tend to stop in anytime I am in the area. The people in here are tops they will drop anything they are doing to help you out or just talk to you about the local rivers.
The Fish Hawk
This is an Atlanta staple if you are a fly fisher and you find your self in the Atlanta area be sure to head on over to Buckhead and pay the guys in there a visit.
I needed two shots of the Fish Hawk because all the frontage shots you can not really tell what you are looking at. This was one thing I really loved about this place, you were stuck in the heart of the city. Right on Peachtree Street, at 5 pm this street was bumper to bumper traffic.
|The door on the left leads to a flight of stairs and into the shop. Source|
This is my NEW local shop! I plan on becoming a regular here and as I will be doing some saltwater shopping, questioning and learning from these guys. I did not have a long discussion with the guy in the shop yesterday but it was enough to make me think I could learn to catch something in the salt (sorry salt water anglers I do not know the lingo).
|The photo selection of Bear's Den is slim, but this is definitaly the center piece of the actual shop. It is in the middle of everything and it is easily 25 feet long filled with flies. Source|
So please check out these shops web sites and support your local fly shops! It is my belief that if you support local fly shops you are keeping an important piece of the sport alive. Not to mention the fact that you may gain that new fishing partner, learn a new technique or pick up that secret spot.