The historical map of Alaska Fly Shops will change yet again this Fall.  World Wide Angler is in the process of winding down business and closing up shop for the final time.  It doesn’t seem like it has been 13 years since World Wide purchased ‘The Rod & Reel’ in Anchorage, bringing a breath of young, energetic and unapologetically fishy owners to the Alaska Fly Shop scene.  The new blood on the fly shop scene gave anglers an additional place to spend their money and a vibrant atmosphere to exchange fishing stories or broken rods and leaky waders.
I have many great memories of the hours spent and stories told at World Wide.  Trust me when I say, the greatest fly fishing movie never made is called “FLY SHOP, the movie.”  Dozens of scenes could have been ripped from the daily life of World Wide over the years.  Like the time the lady decided to drive her car through the shop (the scratch and dent sale was epic), or the guy who stole the Hatch Reel from another shop in town and was caught ‘shopping’ at World Wide for a rod to match the reel, later calling the shop, claiming, ‘that was my brother’.  There was the other lady who came in one morning and asked to use the bathroom, 50 minutes later she emerged in a change of clothes and ready for work.  Just yesterday a customer purchased a multi-rod tube, leaving his cane behind and walking out with the tube as his steady.  (Sir, if you lost your cane with the fox tail tied to the top, it is at the shop) From the major events to the everyday nuances of fly shop life, it happened at World Wide.
Over the past couple of weeks I have visited the shop numerous times, albeit no more than usual, but enough to see many of the regular customers paying their respects and new customers hunting for a deal.  To those ‘usuals’ out there who called World Wide the ‘Office’, thank you for your business over the years, supporting your local fly shop in turn also supports your local representative, keeping my family with food on the plate and a roof over our heads.  To the new faces looking to stretch that dollar, good on you, I hope your experience visiting a specialty retailer will lead you to search out other specialty retailers in Anchorage to give your business too and expand your horizons in the fly fishing world.
Although I knew Mike McGovney long before the creation of World Wide, the relationship of “rep” and “fly shop owner” brought with it highs and lows over the years.  Through and through like all great relationships, the highs were never over celebrated and the lows didn’t dwell.
To Mike and his family:  Thank you for supporting my business.  My family and I greatly appreciate everything you did for us by supporting the companies I have represented over the years.  Your support helped me get hired by many of the companies and I will always be appreciative of that.   In addition, Thank you for treating me like a friend and not your run of the mill sales rep with their hand always out or in your pocket.

As inventory quickly dwindles and the Fall weather encroaches, it signals the impending closure of an Alaskan owned and operated specialty retailer.  Sadly, the Death of a Fly Shop.

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