There are “gym rats” and “mall rats” and so forth… When I was younger, I was a “fly shop rat,” because I loved hanging out there. I loved the stories. I loved the smells. I loved the notion that you didn’t really have to be knee-deep in the water to be fishing in your mind. I dug the fact that, at 18 years old, I could relate to people three times my age. I respected a tradition.

Is that gone? I mean, if you want a screaming deal on a reel, you go to the big box stores, right? But to me, the extra few bucks I’d spend at the local fly shop is worth the flavor. The experience. The insights.

Am I wrong here? Is it all about cold-hard cash… or when you go shopping for your gear, are you looking for something extra? I need to know.