View Full Version : Little River Outfitters versus Big Boxes

02-20-2008, 06:36 PM
One of the pirmary reasons I hunger of another day on the river are the daily fishing reports that Byron posts. You can go to any of the Big Box sporting goods companies and never find a friendly message from the fishing department manager that reminds you of the last time you were in the woods or releasing a big brown for the next guy to catch. But I can count on going to the Little River Outfitters daily river report or go to the message board and get pumped for the next trip.

I think I also have a clue as to why some of the outfitters are going out of business. I don't think it is entirely due to the Big Box competition, I think it is there unwillingness to reach out to us dedicated fishermen in the same way the Byron reaches out on a daily basis. I am from Ohio and perhaps the most popular fly fishing shop in Ohio is Mad River Outfitters in Columbus. They have a fishing report link, but they haven't had a current posting since 12 January. Yes, it has been cold, the rains have made the river go up about the banks several times, but not reports. With such bad fishing conditions, you would think the folks at Mad River would have more than enough time to post some information that could make us long for the next fishing trip or trip to the store and replenish our supplies.

I want to say thanks to Bryon for his daily efforts and keeping me looking forward to the next fishing trip or hike in the woods.


Gerry Romer
02-20-2008, 08:10 PM
Very sneaky! I see what you're up to and the answer is NO... you cannot have our Byron. We're keeping him in Townsend where he belongs. (Truth be known, there isn't enough gunpowder around to blast him out of his cozy little nest.)

Nice post, Scott!


02-20-2008, 08:29 PM
Wouldn't think of trying to get Byron to move. Instead, I would rather move to Townsend. Then I could just drop by LLO anytime and share experiences.

Really, you just don't find the friendly interaction with fellow fishermen anyplace else on the web.

02-20-2008, 11:00 PM
Wouldn't think of trying to get Byron to move. Instead, I would rather move to Townsend.

...just for kicks and giggles I searched Townsend real estate for sale the other day....looks like they'll be no chance I could ever afford to own a house there anyhow...I would imagine the old time property owners are either ticked or tickled Dolly made their neighboring town famous......I'll keep hold in the foothills of NC until my ship comes in.

02-20-2008, 11:44 PM
hey groundhawg....I'm from Ohio also and used to shop at Mad River Outfitters.....now it seems that if you are not booking one of his $4000 trips to Argentina they want nothing to do with you ....I agree, LRO is my home town fly shop also, they just happen to be 427 miles from my front step....

don't forget the lunar eclipse


02-21-2008, 10:25 AM

Roger on the expensive trips. It always amazes me on how many people have so much money to give to others.

I find that the daily fishing reports and blogs on the message borad are like reading John Gierach. It is something that all of us can relate to and inspire us.

02-21-2008, 11:48 AM

I agree with you on Mad River Outfitters. I live close to them and I haven't been in there in many years. Even though we live in Ohio, my fishing partner and I buy all of our stuff from Little River Outfitters. MRO seems to have gotten too big for their britches!

02-21-2008, 02:48 PM
I work in a high-stress, defense contract office. It is the stuffiest, most boring job you can sit and imagine.

Once a day, in the morning, after I put out all of the fires from overnight, I read Byron's report! I let myself hear the river while I read, see the turkeys by his barn, see the snow on the mountains and when i'm done; I just feel a little better!

Stop writing it and I will hunt you down!


Byron Begley
02-21-2008, 06:23 PM
Thanks to all of you for your encouraging words. I believe interaction between us and you is good for relationships. The fishing report and the message board both work to that end. I enjoy the daily routine of writing that report. It is good way to start the day. For an hour I think about the Smokies, you, fly fishing and business. Writing that report every day has helped me understand how we fit in, where we are going, how you feel and think, and our position in the fly fishing market. It is mental exercise. And what is most important is for us to understand how you feel and think. It is also important for you to realize what our day is like and how it feels to be in our shoes.

And Gerry, you know I ain't leav'n.

Highpockets (great name and avatar) I ain't stop'n.

Thank you for your support and friendship. You are a great bunch of folks.


Byron Begley
02-21-2008, 07:08 PM

I read your post again and it has inspired me as well as giving me a better understanding of why people like reading the fishing report. I have a broader perspective now thanks to you and many other friends on this board. I was talking to Daniel today about the way the report and our website looks. I designed it and almost every page on this website. I'm thinking about hiring a real artist to come up with a better look. All they have to do is come up with a concept and I can take it from there. I also thought about taking some graphic design classes at our local Tech School. I'm almost 57 years old. I might not fit in. Or maybe I would. Anyway, thanks to you and all for your thoughts.


02-22-2008, 01:33 PM

Just keep in mind, if it isn't broke, don't fix it. In my opinion, it isn't broke. I don't know that you need to invest in more effort for more graphics or bells and whistles. Most of us guys are simple folks and are pretty pleased with what have and what we get.


02-22-2008, 05:19 PM

I also thought about taking some graphic design classes at our local Tech School. I'm almost 57 years old. I might not fit in. Or maybe I would. Anyway, thanks to you and all for your thoughts.


Byron, My degree is in Advertising and graphic design, which I finished at 42 years of age, in a traditional class setting. IT IS NEVER TOO LATE! Just Do It.

I would like to point out that one of the first and most important design principles you learn in that cirriculum is literally the "keep it simple" principle. Straightfoward communication is Key...all else is INTERFERANCE. The most amazing things happen in design classes...you start with nothing...you learn everything...you begin adding everything to your work ad infinitum...only to realize you probably should have stopped a few minutes after you started. I once had an instructor who said, "It's important that you know everything I'm teaching you....but it's vitally important that you know when NOT to use it!"

You have done an amazing job with this sight...don't fix what's not broken.
This sight is easy to use, and view! (nice layout, pleasing esthetics, good complementary color scheme, with just the right amount of subdued contrast to to be less stressful to the eye.) You choice of background really helps to focus attention on the product images (the important part!) in the catalogue. They really jump!
I would also guess that maintainence is quite easy compared to other sites...In the year or so that I've been visiting the site, I've NEVER caught it down, and have never had a problem with it. You may be working at your Apple Core furiously every night to keep it running, but I venture to say that very few ever pay attention to the "Man (or Woman...hey Ms. Paula) Behind the green curtain. Think of it as a sort of website Fung Shuei..ohmmmmmmmmmm:biggrin:

Of course that's my opinion...I could be, and usually am ...wrong...just ask my wife!:eek:

Byron Begley
02-25-2008, 01:52 PM
Scott and Plunker,

Thank you for your comments. I owned a bunch of quick printing shops for 33 years before I found this line of work. We had an art department but I never learned to use the Macs until recently (past 10 years). I remember attending a printing conference in the early 80's when we got to see Apple's new box called a Macintosh. We all said at the time, nobody will accept this stuff as a substitute for typesetting. Boy, were we wrong. I started buying Macs right after that. This site is pretty easy to maintain only because we built it from scratch ourselves. Daniel and I both use Photoshop CS2 every day. I use Illustrator some as you can see. You will probably notice that we use a little flash. Our Online Catalog is designed and maintained using several software packages. We use Adobe Dreamweaver daily. Though I have had no training in design I have watched millions of pieces of paper run through a printing press. You learn by what you see. White space is beautiful. I mentioned a day or so ago that I look at websites all the time to get ideas. But, when I got into the fly shop business 14 years ago, I never thought that I would spend this much time sitting in front of a computer trying to improve our marketing effort and reaching people around the world. Things have certainly changed in our business. I look forward to meeting you next time you are in the store. Thanks for your comments and interest.


02-25-2008, 04:23 PM

My son and I are planning a trip down to Townsend the week afer Easter to camp, hike, and of course fish. It will be a learning experience for me, but when isn't fishing a learning experience, because I have only attempted to fly fish in the Smokies once before and it was between my wife's shopping trips.

I have been fishing in Montana, Wyoming, and New Mexico, but never on small mountain streams. As I said before, I am from Dayton and my home waters are on the Mad River, which is nothing like your streams.

My son and I are not expecting much in the way of successful fishing, but just being out in the woods and getting away from it all will be reward enough. Just hope it doesn't rain or we may need to retreat to a local hotel/motel.

Thanks again to all of your efforts.

02-26-2008, 03:48 PM
I like this topic. I would also like to say that "highpockets" hit the nail right on the head. I check the report every single day. It's a nice break from the high walls of the Mental Institution (University of Tennessee). I'm fortunate to live in Sevier Co. and I fish a lot in the Smokies; and I can't wait to check the report. I love to see if I can out-fish the "slow" predictions. Thanks, Byron!