Idylwilde Suspends Taking Orders for 2014 Delivery


It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…. [And] if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.

Theodore Roosevelt




Dear Loyal Idylwilde Fly Anglers,

On September 10th I found out the Idylwilde Flies that you had ordered for spring 2013 delivery had surfaced in the hands of my competitor.  Until this point Idylwilde was poised for a productive fall of writing pre-season orders for delivery in 2014.

The 2014 catalog had been released, and loyal customers were already emailing in confirmed PO’s on the Idylwilde EOF for 2014 delivery.  Idylwilde quality flies were arriving every two weeks out of our new production partner’s Sri Lankan production facility.

Idylwilde Flies being sold by our competitor has created confusion and unnecessary distractions in the marketplace for my dealers, reps and signature tyers.

Until Idylwilde has resolved its disputes with Umpqua and my Philippine partner I have made the decision to suspend taking any pre-season orders for delivery in 2014 effective immediately.

In the meantime Idylwilde will remain open focusing on selling fill-in flies as we continue to rebuild the inventory.  I look forward to getting my disputes resolved as quickly as possible. Idylwilde wants to return to what it has always done best, bring the most innovative and highest quality flies to pro-shops.

Thank you for your support and loyalty.



 Zach Mertens


16 Responses to “Idylwilde Suspends Taking Orders for 2014 Delivery”

  1. Shockingly fucking lame –

    Zach – thanks for the time today to discuss this situation on the phone.

    It’s strange the last time we talked I was rip shit pissed off at your for ripping off Brian’s ThingaMaBobber. I had written a blog reply to the news on MoldyChum critical of your business decision to knock-off a very successful product Brian had invented and brought to market himself.. I was upset because I know, from William Joseph to founding and running Rising, how hard it is to have successful-lasting products in the Fly Fishing marketplace. I thought you should have at least improved upon the design to differentiate your offering. In the post I left my full name, #, and email and you called me the next day. So, despite the fact that I was calling you a lame fuck you called to tell me your side of the story – missed deliveries, strong demand, and a commodity product. We agreed to disagree but I always held you in higher regard because you talked it out a like a solid person should.

    Fast forward couple years and now I am 100% completely on your side in what is such a shocking turn of events I have a hard time believing it is true. You built Idlywilde into the purveyor of high quality flies, there is no doubt about that. I can always spot your flies in the bins of our dealers because they were tied tight, and clean, and always had a little clever twist.The fact that what you have designed and built is now being sold by Umpqua is appalling. Umpqua distributed our products for the last few years until last year, and I know there are good people over there. This, however, is heinous, lame-ass, business and it doesn’t seem to help anyone: They get a blemish on their brand from those in the know who should make the most impact long term, dealers get less choice and competition which has produced scores of innovative effective patterns, your reps get nothing, their reps get more but with more back pedaling and awkward explanations for the new world order. While the fly buying public might not give a shit as long as they catch fish, it matters.
    It matters how people conduct business, especially in a specialty retail environment. Specialty fly retail exists at the pleasure and satisfaction of dedicated and/or destination fly anglers. It is a small buying public, and therefore a small marketplace for all of us whose passion for fly fishing led us to manufacturing fly fishing specific products. I think the very nature of the marketplace means the business practices of the participants should be high caliber and honest. We are note selling cell phones or breakfast cereal, we are not investment bankers or used car salesmen.

    As I told you, I feel bad for you. I’m saddened that you will have to spend the next few months in tedious, expensive legal proceedings instead of growing your business. Despite our differences over bobber-gate, I’m here to help in any way I can and look forward to the day when you are back in control of the inventory, sku ID #s, and bedrock of the brand you created.

    Good luck and quick legal proceedings

    Dylan Rothwell
    Founder, RISING

  2. Roy West says:

    You built a thriving business and community on inspiration and friendship and honest goodwill. These will serve you well as you move on to the next unexpected and wonderful step in your life. Can’t wait to hear what’s next, Zach.

  3. Zach says:

    Hi Dylan – Thank you for the heartfelt and honest words!

  4. Thank you Zach for giving me a great example of how to build a high sales brand in the fly market.

    Product – distinct, top notch quality, premium pricing

    Marketing – clean, nimble and fresh.
    a. Fly Bin tags – HOT FLY – to help draw customers to great patterns
    b. Print/In Shop Poster – WILL WORK AS FOOD – awesome
    c. Web – brutally honest blog, this thread case in point.

    Business Conduct – top shelf, morally right, nothing ambiguous (ok…still little pissed about thingaMobobber but still) pay suppliers and reps on time, deliver ordered product to dealers consistently

    There was a reason you were successful, and I hope you get back asap to secure your well deserved place in the bins of the best specialty fly dealers in the country.

    Good Luck – quick legal proceedings and hope you take the fight to supplier in Philippines


  5. Kevin Price says:

    I had had lunch with Dylan last year when I was still working at The Fly Shop in Redding. It’s hard not to respect a guy who is willing to leave his family behind while he hits the road and does all the work his previous reps had done for him, while sleeping in the back of his truck. The guy is straight up. I am not sure how this will all end up in the end, but I have learned that there is more than one pile of dog shit on the grass.

  6. Zachary says:

    Thats not good news!!!

  7. Thanks Kevin, cool of you to say…

    Thingamaballer – lets see a google image of the fucQ in Philippines .. That sucker is the linchpin of all this drama and the destruction of a solid company..

    Wish retail price points still supported American Manufacturing.. This wouldn’t happen if all the tiers were in America.

  8. Black Dog says:

    Hey Zach, I was wondering if you could provide me with the Jewelers info? I’m interested in having him make me a custom handle for one of my reels as well. Thanks again for providing all of us with such an awesome blog and working so hard to protect the integrity and the brand of Idylwilde Flies. It’s nice to see a company that still thinks and cares about the core of this industry.

  9. Zach says:

    Black Dog – Thanks for nice words! I will send you private note with Jeweler’s info. Been a little distracted apologize for taking a few days.

  10. Wally says:

    The guy in the hat? Do. Not. Test.

  11. Bristolgv says:

    ZACH do not give up, no matter what don’t give up ever. Idylwilde Rocks I for one will be using your swag and flies until the last cast. I am not an dealer i don’t own a fly shop. I do own enough of your flies to open a shop but i wont as there are too many hungry trout out there and they need us.

  12. Zach says:

    @Bristolgv Thanks for the words of encouragement!

  13. Ed Mertens says:

    Hope you resolve your problem quickly. Please a send a catalog when you are back up and running. The fish are waiting.

  14. Zach says:

    Hi Ed, we are still up and running. You can visit to peruse flies and even purchase direct if we have the fly in stock.

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