I started fly fishing in the late 1970s at the time flies were around $1.75 and minimum wage was roughly the same. It quite frankly priced me out of the sport, so I began tying my own. Roughly a decade later I was looking to add a little more spending money to my pocket. At the time I delivered milk for a living and being my route was located in the great Pacific Northwest I naturally had a few customers that enjoyed fly fishing. So I put some hours in behind the vise and sold my extra flies to customers along my route. I didn't realize it at the time but this was my first glimpse into what Big Y Fly Company could be.
Online sales didn't really become a thing until eBay which really started attracting customers. I started an eBay account and began selling flies, slowly at first but then in what seemed like droves. Additionally, I was getting requests for flies I couldn't hope to tie right in a 1000 years. Call me picky but even three decades later and what seems like tens of thousands of tries I still cannot make a better Muddler Minnow than our tiers can. Therefore, I started contacting tiers to assist me with filling this demand and sales really took off.
Around 2004 I started noticing the toll of a delivery route can have on your body, yeah it might sound easy to some but after 19 years and more deliveries than I could count I was done. Yes, there is the typical day in day out "grind" of a job, however, combine that with physical labor and you can only take it so long. Ask any blue collar worker over the age of 40, I'm sure they will share the same sentiment. My eBay store and website at the time were doing well and I decided it was time to give this fly business a fair shake. So that same year I started Big Y Fly Company and went into it full time.
Big Y Fly Company remained a garage operation for decade, in that time we solidified our tying houses, spent countless hours working on our website, expanding our customer base and most importantly packing and filling orders. We had one great thing going for us, customer service that we took seriously, and a work ethic that just wasn't much around in the fly fishing industry. We also started having our own line of products, in an effort to give anglers a more afford option. Including our Big Y Standard Reel which has remained pretty much the same rock solid reel since 2012. My own personal prototype has been on countless Deschutes River float trip and has never once failed or needed repair.
In 2014 we expanded to our first "real" location in Hood River OR, that location quickly became too small and with no room to expand we moved the following year to our current location on Industrial St in Hood River OR. It was at this time we drastically increased the amount of "hard goods" we carry and added some premier brands including: Redington, Temple Fork Outfitters, Rio Products, Scientific Anglers, Korkers, Smith Optics, Loop, St Croix, Aquaz, Douglas Outdoors, etc etc. Our showroom was added the same year, and what had started out as a pipe dream to earn a couple extra bucks had come full circle.
Today Big Y Fly Company employs 12 great folks and is growing; a team of dedicated men and women who take the time to make sure we send out a quality product in a timely manner. The hardest working folks in the fly fishing industry. Some of our tiers have been with us since the beginning and because of our partnership they have greatly improved their standard of living, sent kids to college, taken vacations etc., they are also great hard working folks just as dedicated to getting the best fly possible fly on the end of your tippet. That being said, we couldn't stop there so we added Solitude, Fulling Mill, Catch Flies, EP Flies and Aqua Flies at prices that are hard to beat (especially when you take our price breaks into account). Additionally, you will find our rod and reel outfit prices to be some of the best around.
However, we aren't all about selling a quality product at prices that are hard to beat, we also understand the power of incredibly great customer service. Including same day shipping, spooled reels, expert advice. If there ever is a problem, we will fix it. The kind of service that can be very difficult to find today. We happily answer the phones 7 days a week 8am to 6pm (same hours as our showroom), additionally we are easy to reach via email (we will respond) and live chat. We all stand behind our products and service, and I don’t mean three miles behind them either.
Now enough about me and my BS down below is a little about each amazing individuals that help make all this possible. And I have the privilege of working with.
Thanks for visiting Big Y Fly Co.
|Sharron Allen was the first employee at Big Y Fly Co. If you have ordered from us before chances are she's has helped fill one of your orders. While not a fly fisher, she has been married to one (Cameron) long enough to understand the intricacies of a fly fisher. She will also tell you what an uphill battle it is keeping a fly fisher organized, so if you need help in that department she might be a good one to ask. |
|Kelley Diwan has been living in the Gorge for near a decade now. She is one who regularly answers the phone, so if you call, there is a good chance you will hear her on the other end of the line. With her house up near the Mount Adams area she is typically the first to know whether Goose Lake or Takhlakh Lake are accessible. |
|Matthew Gillis is one of our main shippers, he double checks every order before it ships out. So if your order is wrong this may be the guy to blame. Matt grew up in Wisconsin and went to college in Vermont. It was at Vermont he learned to fly fish before coming out to Hood River. Still new to the area he and his dog Dixie are out exploring every weekend and usually come back with a report. |
|Art Hau is one of the top sales staff at Big Y, he has been in the fly fishing industry a long time, with an abundance of knowledge. Coming from the San Francisco area he has a ton of experience; from stripers in the surf to trout in the smallest of creeks and just about everything in between. If you stop by the showroom chances are this is the guy you are going to talk to. He is the guy to talk to when going on that once is a life time trip, or when you really want to know the difference between a $100 fly rod and a $1000 one. |
|Ben Larsen grew up in Maupin fly fishing the Deschutes River. He spends the majority of his time in the office ordering products, working on the website and answering emails. If you find an error on the site this is most likely the guy to blame. Along with Cameron and Andrew he helps with quality control on just about everything we sell. He also is responsible for designing many many of our Big Y products, notoriously hard on his own gear, is one reason our gear is so tough. With experience fishing in the PNW and the occasional saltwater trip he is a good person to talk to if you are planning a DIY trip. |
|Toni Nash is another person who answers the phones a lot, so if you call and Kelley didn't answer good chance it is Toni. Toni is typically the one to remind us when we have forgotten to do something. She also makes sure that we have the flies to fill our assortments, and with Sharron helps keep this group of messy fly fishers somewhat organized. When her or Sharron give a task it gets done.|
|Andrew Perrault is an avid steelhead fisherman, when there are steelhead to catch. He has spent a good amount of time guiding in Idaho, Oregon and Alaska. Along with back packing in the rockies, and a occasional saltwater trip he is a good person to talk to when making that trip to Alaska, or the Baja, or anywhere in between. If he hasn't fished it chances are he can give you a good opinion on how to. He also helps in making sure every product we sell is up to par. When he's not on the phone or in the showroom helping customers he is typically sharing his advise on our blog. It is really hard to stump him on any fly fishing or fly tying topic and if you can he will find out.|
| Hazel and Georgia Big Y mascots and water bassets, keep the warehouse full of chewed up cardboard, and like to lie right where you need to be. They also offer affection and drool, aquick pat on the head or belly rub can helps everyones morale. Often greeted by showroom customers and their dogs. If you hear one barking when you call or visit that will be Georgia. On their days off they love white water rafting, camping and all things outdoors; preferablly by the water, which works out well for all of us. Georgia is a prolific swimmer as long as she has her life jacket on. And both insist on sleeping on the most comfortable mats in the tent.|