As a quilter who has taken up fly fishing in recent years, it is inevitable that I would take some of the traits of one hobby and carry them over into the other. I have been fishing my entire life, but didn’t learn to fly fish until just a few years ago. And although I love fishing of any kind, fly fishing offers a mental challenge that I enjoy, trying to improve my technique every time I go. And it also addresses my fairly short attention span.
So you might wonder what quilters do that could enhance a fly fisherman’s life. For one, we quilters pride ourselves on our “stash”. That term refers to the fabric that we have on hand ready to be used for future projects. But the real meaning is that fabric speaks to us and if we see something we love we buy it, with the excuse that we are going to use it someday. And we may, or we might not, it doesn’t matter. We are fabric collectors and we all know it. I have started to do the same thing with flies. I love buying new flies; I love the different colors and shapes. I like to look at my box(es) of flies and see what I have. There is no shame in this.
But the biggest thing I think that fly shops are missing out on are “shop hops”. Quilt shops have shop hops, where quilters travel from town to town to shop at the participating shops, collecting fabrics and little prizes for participating. Some of us make sure we hit these local shops as we are travelling for other purposes, like
flyfishing. If more fly shops coordinated shop hops, it would make fisherman aware of the local shops even if those people are only travelling through town. It encourages them to visit the local shops on all of their travels, and there is nothing like the local, small fly shop to supply you with the best flies for the area, along with local river wisdom. I think you should visit a fly shop when you pass it whether you are fishing that day or not.
Maybe it’s because I love an excuse to shop and collect things I love. I like to think it’s a good way to get to know the area and its locals. I also like to support small businesses. But it’s always fun to spend time amongst our peers, and have the opportunity to gain knowledge and insights from others with the same interests.