Earlier this week, it was by accident that I happened to see an Orvis shop, tucked away on a small side street, about a half a block from my hotel on the Magnificent Mile - and it made me laugh.
An Orvis shop in the middle of downtown Chicago? To me, that makes about as much sense as the guys from Motley Crue spear-heading the local D.A.R.E campaign. But then again, I'm trying to use common sense.
The point I'm trying to make is, when one thinks of fly fishing, Illinois is not the first place that comes to mind, let alone Chicago - Great Lakes not withstanding.
But therein lies the crux - Orvis tries to appeal to all manner of buying clout, (emphasis on 'buying clout') not just the angler, and that's why you'll find their shops nestled among other major retail names, like Saks Fifth Avenue, Disney and Nordstom.
Which is another story in and of itself....
Anyway, I'm always quick to throw a few jabs in Orvis' direction, mainly because of the prevailing attitude that seems to be the norm in their shops - and after visiting stores in 9 different states...the trend is anything but coincidence.
As a side note, two of the worst have been the shop in Scottsdale, AZ and the one here, in Englewood, CO. In particular, the Englewood location has really set the standard - the first time I entered that shop, I was 'greeted' with a sharp "Do you need something?"
With attitudes like that, they're just begging to be messed with - which is what keeps me going back yet never spending a dime. Ha!
This time, however, I chanced upon David, who was cordial and inviting - a far cry from past experiences. With no preconceived notions (that were outwardly visible, anyway) we talked, as fellow anglers, and I wound up actually enjoying my brief visit.
And he also schooled me on the 'lack of fly fishing' in the great state of Illinois.
That's right - apparently there's some killer fly fishing to be had in the state, and from what I saw in the pictures, I wouldn't mind having a little taste if the opportunity ever presents itself.
David also runs his own blog, The Chicago Trout Bum, which I need to peruse a little closer when time permits.
So a huge thanks to David, for showing me the error of my ways, in that not all Orvis shops are staffed with uptight, elitist nubs and that there is some quality fishing in Illinois.
Wow...I really need to get out and fish....