Monday, February 28, 2011

Kesel's Four Rivers Fly Shop closing it's doors

Today, I was planning on posting a review of the Foam Mini-Clip from the Freshwater Fly that arrived in my mailbox this past Saturday. I am going to hold off on that to talk about some sad news.

I spoke with George Kesel, the owner of Kesel's Four Rivers fly shop here in Missoula, today about picking up some gift certificate funded streamers that he is tying up for me. I went on to ask him how everything else was going since I hadn't been in his shop for a better part of a month. He said something to the effect of...

"Well, things here have been a little interesting."

"How so?" I responded.

"We are closing our doors." George said.

Something looked off when I saw some 8.5" by 11" signs plastered shop's windows when I passed it on Sunday. Of course, when any local fly shop closes, it is sad news. For me, the closure of Kesels Four Rivers is a sadder than most. (SIDE NOTE: Kesel's was recently voted Missoula's second favorite fly shop.)When I started seriously getting into fly fishing two and a half years ago, I chose Kesel's as my go to shop. It wasn't too big (and therefore overwhelming) and George is an extremely approachable guy who was willing to help this newbie find his way into the confusing and rewarding world of fly fishing.

The shop was typically a one man operation. I went to him with a multitude of questions - most of them stupid and he was always willing to deal with my novice and chicanery. He has an engaging conversational style and is not afraid to tell you flat out when you are wrong. A quality which I respect and appreciate.

I tried to do my part and bought my fair share of flies, a couple lines, a reel, a rod, a net, and the like from Kesel's, but apparently the past couple years have been tough ones for the shop. George said that the closure of the shop comes as a bit of a relief. The pressure is off of him now. He said he will be doing a lot of fishing and golfing in the coming months. I hope that I can persuade him to get out on the water sometime this spring. He seemed amenable to the proposition. So, next Monday, when I go to pick up my streamers, I will be saying goodbye to a shop that has meant a great deal to my evolution as a fly angler.

10 comments:

Jeff Ryan TheFreshwaterFly.com said...

That's a damn shame bro! I lost my local little fly shop about 2 years ago. I still drive past there all the time and wish...

Ivan said...

@Jeff - luckily we have three more, but Kesel's was definitely a personal favorite of mine.

Clif said...

He's taking up golf and fishing? Any chance the closure is more related to retirement than finances? Or at least a 50/50 split?

Ivan said...

@clif - unfortunately not. just positive side effects of the closure.

Jay said...

Sad to hear another local fly shop close. I've been without a shop in my urban jungle for quiet a while. It's funny because we have one of the country's largest local clubs in the Mid-South Fly Fishers (over 400 members- and I'm not one of them), but we can't keep a dedicated local shop open. We have one shop that is mostly upland game hunting with a little fly tackle thrown in the mix, but other than that we have the big box Bass Pro.

Ivan said...

@Jay - damn. thats pretty rough. i feel pretty lucky to live in a town with three. How do you live with zero? good on you.

Headhunters said...

Sorry to hear that Ivan. Sucks big time. Long live fly shops! Squeeky

Ivan said...

well said squeeky. long live fly shops.

Jay said...

I visit the local shops when I travel and always try to buy a little something, and I use ebay for essentials. I do buy fly tying materials at Bass Pro, but that's about it. We've had two local shops in my lifetime, but both were a bit on the snooty side... I think that's part of what killed them.

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