Last weekend, while visiting New York City with some family, I couldn’t help but search for a fly shop. Just as I used to love going to pet shops as a kid, I love going to fly shops as a dude…. 🙂 that was an impulse decision to call myself a “dude.” I should have said “as a fly fisherman.” Moving on.
Using the handy map function on my phone I was able to locate the Urban Angler fly shop (online at http://urbanangler.com). If you were going to ask me how to find it, I’d probably say, “go to that really skinny building people like to take pictures of in Manhattan, stand with your back to it, and look for the big yellow flag. It’s right there.”
The fly shop is actually on the 3rd floor of a building. You enter as if walking into someone’s apartment and press floor 3 when you get into the elevator. When the doors open on floor 3, you are looking not as a dark hallway, but a display of fly rods, river bags, and a wall of books, DVDs, and paintings. Having an elevator open right into the shop is a nice effect for the first timer.
I think what was really neat about this fly shop was their collection of art. From paintings, to photographs, to metal works, it made browsing the shop a more enjoyable experience.
After poking around on my own for a bit, I started talking with the man behind the desk, Ron Swegman. Ron was great. We talked about our respective fisheries, he helped me pick out some tying materials for a crayfish pattern I want to tie, showed me some of the amazing new rods from Sage and Hardy, and showed me a book that, like it or not, may have added another dimension to my infatuation with trout.
I left the shop with a few free magazines, some tying materials, and James Prosek’s Trout: An Illustrated History. That afternoon, I read the introduction out loud to my wife and mother-in-law. They promptly became unconscious, but I believe that was more the combination of the long day and my soothing voice than the content of Prosek’s introduction 🙂 His book examines the variety of North America’s trout through watercolor and a little bit of text. The paintings are simple, delicate, and beautiful. I was never able to master watercolor in my college art classes, but it would be fun to try a hand at painting these fish with oil. Maybe in another life. Maybe….
Ron Swegman is the writer behind the blog, Tenkara Takes Manhattan. Urban Angler also has a shop in Alexandria, Va.