Friday, August 21, 2009

Undercover FlyShop Vist: LL Bean Retail Store

Our latest surreptitious fly shop visit finds us sneaking around the inside of an LL Bean retail store. The store, located in Southern, New Jersey, also happens to be the only source fly fishing gear within easy reach of my temporary residence in Cherry Hill, NJ. Since the bulk of my fishing and fly tying gear packed in boxes in a warehouse somewhere, I was glad to find a place to pick up a few flies.

As expected, the bulk of the store's square footage is devoted to men and women's clothing. While the Editorial Trophy wife picked up a few bargains from the clearance rack, I proceeded to the fly fishing section located at the back of the store.

I wasn't sure what to expect when it came to the fly shop, but I must say that I was pleasantly surprised at what I found. The shop carries a good selection of both trout and saltwater flies at normal retail prices along with a fair selection of rods from both LL Bean and other well known makers. I noticed a section of "pre-rigged" reels and "grab and go" bags of leaders, tippet and etc at what seemed like a good price and fit the bill for the angler who planned poorly and ended up with all his gear locked in a moving van.
It has always been said that the Editorial Trophy Wife had eyesight issues an eye for value, after all she did marry me. However, she outdid herself on our first trip to LL Bean, when she noticed a orange Clearance sticker on a Sage 9 weight fly rod. Since one of the upsides of my move North is the chance to fish the Salt, I wasn't able to pass it up. I won't divulge the price we paid but lets just say it pays dig through the clearance rack when you visit an LL Bean store. They had a bit of an issue locating the rod tube to go with my new prize but it all worked out and I was smiling when I left.
The staff at this location was friendly and knowledgeable and even took a bit of interest in some guy running around the fly shop snapping pictures with a camera phone. I explained that I was a blogger and in what must be a sign of the times, they simply nodded and went about their business. The location offers classes and has a FFF certified casting instructor on hand as well.
The question of the day came when a gentleman, who seemed to be new to the sport walked up to the counter and asked the equivalent of "what are they biting?" " If you could only buy one fly, what would you buy?" This caused a bit of debate among the other staff and customers. I managed to get some odd looks when I chimed in that "if you could only afford one fly, you should probably stick to garden hackle." I'll be back to visit our local LL Bean in the near future. I need to make friends with the Manager as I noticed what looked to be a carp or two cruising the pond beside the store....

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