This Week's View
by Deanna Lee Birkholm
September 20th, 1999
September 20th, 1999
JC carried the digital camera with him, so the photos here and in his column will give you an idea of what it looked like. (Read Castwell's Pick of the Show for more information.) The show was very well attended, with lots of new goodies (more on that in the future) improved tools and toys for our wonderment. We will have more photos next week too.
You may have seen an advertisement in one of the fly fishing magazines with the name StreamWorks. Turns out SW is sort of a conglomerate formed by some ex-microsoft execs and some others (all with more money than God and some of whom have no former connection with fly fishing) which has bought up some familiar companies. I may not have all the companies, but here are those I remember: D.B.Dun, Charlton Reels, McKenzie Flies, TailWaters Waders, J.W. Outfitters, Rainey's Flies, Borger Media, and a driftboat company. I was told more are to be included. Gary Loomis is part of the organization, and both Gary and Jason Borger are on the payroll. SW introduced a new fly rod, nicely dressed, which I found unimpressive when cast.
There are rumors at these shows, and one of the most common was the companies SW bought were struggling. Perhaps there are just too many companies competing for the same market. When that happens there just isn't enough profit from the amount of sales to support the company. I suspect (but I'm not a financial wizard) that is the real reason prices of some things in fly fishing tackle are so expensive. Not the real cost, certainly not the perceived value, but an artificial inflated value because the company cannot exist without the inflated price.
Problem is there are many companies in the fly fishing world, on both the manufacturing and retail sides, which are owned and run by folks who love fly fishing, had the 'dream' of making a living from what they loved and did not/do not have the business expertise to make it work. I don't have any crystal ball, but I have a gut instinct on this 'StreamWorks' - I hope I'm wrong.
Supposedly the concept behind the SW group is to have 'everything' under one roof. Add to that a computer terminal in every associated fly shop and if the item you want isn't in stock, you can order it right there. Sort of the junk yard idea of shipping in that hard-to-find part by tomorrow. Hmmmm. A middle ground between a fly shop and buying on the internet. So how about a fly rod you want to cast? Or a reel you want to fondle? And who makes the projections on what 'they' think you will buy?
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