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Doug's Rants


Rant 1


Rant 2


Rant 3


Rant 4

Rant 5


Rant 6

Rant 3

       
    
For almost 15 years now, my wife and I have owned and operated a fly shop and motel on Rock Creek. Our shop is what's called a destination shop, which means that when you've reached us you're most likely where you're going to fish. We sell a complete selection of things you can use to fly fish, from $600+ fly rods to $.75 Twistons. But the single most valuable commodity we have in our shop, just like every other destination shop, is information. We live on the creek and make our living here. We see it every day under every kind of condition. And, over the years, have learned more about its ways than most people. It's fair to say we're experts on the creek, its hatches, the best places to fish and the best times to fish them.

     And, we're usually happy to share what we know with the people who come from all over the world to fish the creek. If you ask us, we'll try to tell you what's working and send you to a place where you'll probably catch fish. But the people who come into the store for advice and call us for fishing conditions reports have to realize one thing. First and foremost, we are a business. We are here primarily to sell goods and services that will generate enough revenue to enable us to pay our bills, put food on our table and buy more goods to sell. We consider the information we have on fishing conditions a part of the service we give every customer who walks into our shop and buys something.

     But, we get a lot of people who come into the shop looking for information and nothing else. Some of them have prepared for their trip to Rock Creek for months, tying hundreds of flies, repairing their tackle and replacing what needed to be replaced in their home towns. They feel that they have everything they need and take pride in not having to buy anything at their destination. Others bought their supplies and got information someplace else and feel they need to validate that they bought the right stuff and got good information. Still others, and these are mostly people who haven't traveled a long way to get here,  just don't have any money to buy flies and other things.

     We get all these types by the score almost every day of the season. And we try to give them the best service that we can, including good information, . But the truth is that if you come into our shop looking only for information you're not going to get the same level of help that you'd get if you were actually buying something. You will probably be the tenth person that day who's done the same thing and whoever is working the store will be frustrated because they feel that the stream knowledge that they have worked so hard to amass is being taken for granted. The information and advice you'll get will not be quite as detailed as the guy who bought a dozen flies or a couple of leaders got.

I have friends who take me to task for what they say is a bad attitude. They say I need to take each information request as an opportunity to generate a future sale. They are probably right but, when it's the tenth or fifteenth person in a row who comes in for information and nothing else, it's hard to concentrate on future sales. Every time I meet another fly shop owner, I ask them what their biggest complaints are. It's unanimous, they all agree that people looking for information and nothing else is the most frustrating thing about their job.

Here's what I think is the bottom line. If you come to my shop or any other destination shop, you've probably spent quite a bit of money just to get to the front door. If all it takes to get the best information possible is buying a couple of flies or just an extra leader, is it worth it? I had a particularly bad day today giving advice and directions to a bunch of people who were bound and determined not to buy a thing so tonight I'm probably not impartial about the subject. But I'd like to hear from you. What do you think? I'm opening a new topic on the message board for your comments. Chime in, I'd like to know what you think.

 


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