Copyright 2014 James Marsh
The Cost Of A Trout Fly
I received a very interesting comment from a Perfect Fly customer that I first completely misunderstood. The
customer was commenting that when anglers think about the price they are paying for flies, they should think in
terms of how many fish the particular fly caught, or the cost of flies per fish caught. I passed that off as if he was
referring to the durability of the fly, or how many times the same fly would catch a trout without it tearing up.
I also thought he didn't have much of a clue about how to go about selecting flies. I falsely assumed he was just
another angler that was relying strictly on luck, or he wouldn't have made the comment he made. After all, the
number of fish caught by any one of our Perfect Flies would depend on how well he matched the most
available food that the trout had to eat at the particular time he was fishing, not the durability of a particular fly he
just happened to try at any given point that worked.
Our flies are specific imitations of insects, not generic flies that are designed to try to imitate several different
insects. I wasn't about to try to get off into that subject with him because I though that may be a little over his
head. After all, he was being very nice and trying to compliment the flies he had previously purchased from us. I
couldn't very well insult him by saying that I was glad he caught some fish but it was obvious he didn't know what
he was doing.
I was still thinking he was referring to the durability of the flies. I also know that some of our flies aren't the most
durable flies in the World. Some are more durable than others but although they all are durable enough, none of
them are designed with that as the top priority. The first and foremost priority is that they imitate insects or other
trout food they are intended to imitate well enough to catch the fish feeding on that food.
I have always thought that most anglers who spend hundreds of dollars on fly rods, lines, reels and other gear,
and maybe even hundreds or more on travel, etc., wasn't the ones that tried to save a few cents on the cost of a
fly. Most anglers are more concerned about how effective the fly is in catching trout than how many they
can catch on the same fly. I would think a fly that failed to catch a trout, but that last all day without tearing up,
couldn't possibly be considered a good fly.
Although this was running through my mind, I wasn't about to insult a customer who was trying to compliment our
flies. However, I must not be very good at hiding my true feelings. Suddenly, it dawned on the gentlemen that I
was misunderstanding what he was trying to point out. He explained he wasn't referring to the durability of
the flies at all. He stated they were durable enough to last reasonably well enough but that he was referring to
the fact that most anglers don't consider the price they pay for flies in terms of how much they cost as a whole
per fish caught.
He explained that most angler's fly boxes are full of flies that have never caught a single trout. He continued
pointing out that some of the flies in their boxes are never even used. He mentioned that they are usually just
selected to be the lucky fly; the one that worked last year or yesterday; the one in the most recent fly fishing
magazine; the one the fly shop said was hot; or the one an angler thought was a very good looking fly.
He pointed out that if a fly cost $5.00 and caught ten trout (50 cents per trout), it cost less per trout caught than
a fly that cost $1.00 and caught one trout ($1.00 per trout). He simply meant that he rather pay a higher price for
the flies (meaning in our case from $1.95 to $2.25 per fly) for flies that are very effective in catching trout, than to
pay $.50 per fly for flies that weren't that effective in catching trout. He continued by saying that anyone was
better off paying $5.00 each for a couple of flies ($10.00) that ended up catching ten trout than a $1.00 each for
ten flies ($10.00) that ended up catching a couple of trout.
In other words, he was strictly complimenting the effectiveness of our Perfect Flies. I guess I need to keep from
assuming so much and listen to what my customers have to say more carefully. I've really never though about the
cost of flies in that same manner. Have you?
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