"Sad fact: the last time fly-fishing was on the rise, Bill Clinton was in the White House. According to the Fish and Wildlife
." - Outside
I have read here and there that the sport of fly fishing is hurting. I decided to do a little research. Granted it's not much but I wanted to see what was out there. I found this article done by Field and Stream. It talked about a study done in 2012 by The American Fly Fishing Trade Association that concluded....
"Total sales of all fly fishing products amount to just under $750 million, marking fly fishing as a niche endeavor. (For example, some brands of candy bars sell more than the whole fly fishing market combined.)" - Field and Stream
That total seemed pretty low. I was thinking the number would be some where in the billions. Some other interesting notes were.
"Over half of fly fishing sales happen west of the Mississippi River, with the Rocky Mountain region leading with 31.5 percent. The far West is 25.8 percent; the South is 23.7 percent; Northeast is 10.9 percent and North Central is 8.1 percent." - Field And Stream
The south makes up almost 25%? I would have never guessed that.
The main reason I started to look into this is because from my eyes the interest in fly fishing is growing not diminishing. The fly show in NC had to be moved to a new venue because the previous location was too small for the crowds and vendors. If you look on Outdoor Blogger Network almost 25% of all the blogs are fly fishing related. That would mean either fly fishing is more popular than we think or fly fisherman are more internet savvy and just want to write blogs. It seems new rod and clothing manufacturers are popping up all the time. Brands like Freefly
, Howler Bros
and Bug Slinger
just to name a few.
Online magazines featuring fly fishing specifically are becoming more and more common. Fly fishing products seems to be going up in price and not down.
Some may say "Well if fly fishing is doing so well how come all these fly shops are closing?"
I would put blame on the internet. In the past you couldn't take 15 seconds to look up a competitors deal on your smartphone or computer. The shops have learned if they want to survive they have to go online.
The cost of gear seems to be constantly rising. Doesn't that kind of contradict the idea that the sport is losing interest? Do people treat fly fishing like Walmart. We shop there but we don't talk about it much because of what people might think?
People in the know realize there is a lot of interest. Many are trying to jump on what is hot at the moment. Ever heard of April Vokey?
Another perfect example is Tenkara and the current carp mania. A great comment was on the Field and Stream Article's website
"Have never heard the phrase "lifestyle shop" before. Is that the shop where everyone buys cool fishing hats and shirts but nobody fishes?
Looks like the greatest potential for growth are the warm water fisheries in the east. Which may explain the recent surge in popularity of that dirty little four letter word... carp."
- buckhunter comments section: Field and Stream
That comment was made tongue-in-cheek but in reality people are trying to get in on this carp thing. Money can be made where there is interest. Maybe in the south people will think of bass and carp like people in the west think of trout. Who knows? As long as the interest grows it's good for the sport.
I'd like to hear others thoughts about this.
Dickman, K. 06/11/2012 (Fly Gal, April Vokey’s crusade to save a foundering sport), Retrieved From http://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-adventure/xx-factor/Fly-Gal-20120701.html
Deeter, K. 08/30/2012 (Market Research Paints Clear Picture of Fly Fishing Industry), Retrieved From http://www.fieldandstream.com/blogs/flytalk/2012/08/interesting-facts-about-fly-fishing-market