Wyoming Fashion and Fly Fishing Tangle – Feather Shortage to Come? [VIDEO]
At this year's College National Finals Rodeo, you might have noticed that lots of women and children walking around with feathers weaved into their hair. As I walked around I discovered a small booth on the concourse that was creating the new fashionable hairdos and I also noticed that there was a long line waiting to be next.
As I watched, a young lady get herself a feather-do, I thought "wow, that feather could be easily turned into a fly for my tackle box". Little did I realize at the time that the fashion world had already starting competing with the fly fishing community for the worlds supply of commercial feathers, tangling together in the name of “Style”.
In an article published in today's New York Times, "When Fashion Meets Fishing, the Feathers Fly", fly fishing suppliers are finding it harder to locate the needed hackle and tail feathers needed to support those of us who like to fly fish. The demand for the feathers has gone up significantly, as where previously these feathers had been the exclusive domain of fly fishermen. But as with any competitive market situation that creates a shortage in materials, it will ultimately drive up the prices for goods, or in this case, its the elusive plumes.
Bob Fischer of Crazy Rainbow Fly Fishing and Ugly Bug Fly Shop says “Our wholesale cost for feathers has increased 20-25% in the past couple of months”. “Fortunately” he added, “we purchase our materials in large quantities, so we are still selling supplies we purchased in 2010”. In the future though, should this fashion craze continue, Crazy Rainbow Fly Fishing / Ugly Bug Fly Shop as well as other local fly shops, will be forced to pass this increased cost along to their clients.
On Casper’s fashion front, Tammy Bergman of Seasons Day Spa and Salon told me that the demand for the new “Tie-in” fashion trend is booming at their salon. “We’ve seen a steady demand for feathers styles”. Clients in Casper are getting the new fashion statements and are spending between $15 - $60 for their new style, depending on the styling and number of feathers. “One of our most popular hair styles is the 5 feather and it runs for around $30 bucks”.
On a local supply note: Season Day Spa and Salon uses a local supplier for their materials, while Crazy Rainbow Fly Fishing and Ugly Bug Fly Shop use a commercial wholesaler to acquire their feathery goods.
Avid fishermen spend a lot of money in our state and that money supports lots of businesses in our local economies here in Wyoming. Will this new fashion craze cause a drop in our states fly fishing or fishing tourism? I seriously doubt it. For the most part, fishermen that come to Casper or any one of the hundreds of great fly fishing destinations are here for one thing - the opportunity to catch monster fish. So it’s highly unlikely that they would notice or even care. But as for the local fly shops that are trying to provide their clients with the best flies and best fishing experience. You can bet, they’re noticing!
It’s uncertain how long this new fashion trend will stick around. A couple months maybe or it could be a year or more? If its longer, then it will ultimately be the fly fishermen who will notice it most, having to spend more for the opportunity to get out on the water.
Ladies, not only are you looking great with this new style, but I can assure you from my fishing experience, that if you're tying on the right sexy lures, you’re sure to catch more Men! Or is it Trout? But either way, I can honestly say that I love the new look and if it costs me a few more bucks for my fly fishing, then so be it.