Note: Justin submitted this letter to fly fishing magazines. The editors of those publications either decided not to print the letter or did not respond. These are the views of Idylwilde Signature tyers independent of Idylwilde. The Drake wrote one story about the theft of Idylwilde but doesn’t seem interested in keeping its readers updated now that legal factual evidence has been filed. Many seem to have been told “Idylwilde lost the case and it is all over”. In fact the case is merely beginning. The “discovery” phase has begun. If anyone is interested for starters Idylwilde served Subpoena’s to 30 fly shop. Umpqua tried to block these subpoena’s but failed. As a result evidence is beginning to arrive making the case stronger by the day. More Subpoena’s will be going out each week to other parties that are involved. (Idylwilde)
I have been a signature tier with Idylwilde Flies since 2006. Many of the designs that I currently have in production with Idylwilde (that were purchased and subsequently distributed by Umpqua) took years to develop both at the vise and on the water and I am compensated for my time through fly royalties, checks that have always arrived on time from Idylwilde.
Smell the pheromones. Its all fun and games till somebody loses an ego.
For a fly designer like myself, who has a few moderately popular patterns in production, the monetary gains amount to covering the cost of more tying materials and the odd tank of gas to get to the water to test those flies. I design flies primarily because its fun, adds another dimension to my fishing and tying, and the notion of other anglers having success on fly patterns of my own design appeals to me, but I wouldn’t do if for free. Consumers that purchase flies from companies that have such programs do so with the understanding that substantial thought and experimentation went into a pattern and they can trust that the fly has been “fish-approved”.
Space Invader is a well thought out pattern. Many have caught fish on this fly designed by Justin.
Umpqua announced via a letter to its dealers dated September 10, 2013 that they had purchased the inventory of Idylwilde Flies Philippines-based factory and “are the only fly manufacturer in a position to bring it all in at once, distribute it efficiently, and that is willing to compensate the fly designers for their creative genius.” In a letter designed to tempt one of the more-recognizable Idylwilde tiers to sign with Umpqua, an Umpqua sales representative declared, “all Idylwilde designers are invited to become Umpqua signature designers and get paid on any fly that ships with their name on it.” However, to-date, I have not been contacted by Umpqua in regards to this compensation. In fact, my attempts to contact them to simply answer the question “what is your intention with the flies that I designed for Idylwilde”, have been ignored. Perhaps I don’t meet Umpqua’s standards as “creative genius”, but what about tying talents Stuart Dominick, Eric Ishiwata, Bill Marts, Kevin Price, and Brannon Santos? Collectively, these individuals have designed over 50 unique fly patterns under contract for Idylwilde that were subsequently purchased and sold by Umpqua without so much as a phone call. I’m sure there are many others that have not “been invited to become Umpqua signature designers”, but at this point, who would want to be?
Unfortunately, fly companies have and do rip-off individual patterns and tweak the name to dodge royalty payments and Umpqua has pointed to this example several times to justify its actions and discredit Idylwilde. But Umpqua undercut a whole group of signature tiers by acquiring their entire personal fly libraries, designed under contract for a different company, and sold them sans compensation, let alone acknowledgment in many cases? This is unprecedented, highly immoral, and seriously damaging to our individual brands and the signature tier model that companies, including Umpqua, rely upon to bring fresh ingenuity to the commercial fly market. Dealers and consumers that purchase these flies should be aware that the creativity and time that went into them is not being respected, recognized, or compensated. Further, Umpqua is outright lying to its dealers about its willingness to compensate fly designers (other than a couple of individuals that signed over from Idylwilde) further calling into question their ethics regarding this whole affair.