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Blog > Interviews > Interview with Justin Pittman of Precision Fly Fishing and Tackle

Interview with Justin Pittman of Precision Fly Fishing and Tackle

Published by Dave Weaver [Dave_W] on 12/10/2018 (676 reads)
There is a new fly shop open in Mount Holly Springs Pennsylvania and the founder and owner is my friend and Trout Unlimited colleague, the estimable Justin Pittman. Justin needs no introduction to Cumberland Valley regulars, but I’d like to introduce him and give you a chance to hear some of Justin’s thoughts on fly fishing and his new business.
(Disclaimer: I have a modest business partnership with Precision Fly Fishing)

Dave Weaver: How did you get started in fly fishing?
Justin Pittman: I got started in fly fishing early in college. I went to college at Lock Haven University and was always into fishing. I wanted to take my fishing interest to a higher level and bought my first fly fishing outfit from Phil Baldochino at Kettle Creek Fly Shop.

DW: Is there an area of fly fishing that you most enjoy – throwing streamers, fly tying, bass, match the hatch, etc.?
JP: Probably the area of the sport that most appeals to me is wet fly fishing. I’m a serious night fishermen and love to be out after dark from Memorial Day to Labor Day and this is probably the most exciting time of the year for me. I’ll throw dries or nymphs, and streamers when it’s bitter cold, but I just really love to wet fly fish.

JP1


DW: I admire your conservation efforts recently in the Cumberland Valley. You’re a busy man with many irons in the fire. How do you find time to fly fish or enjoy the outdoors?
JP: I do value conservation, and you’re correct, I’m very busy. I’m a probation officer for juveniles as my “day job” and I own Holly Flies along with Precision Fly Fishing and Tackle now. I get out fishing when I can as I have a seven and a nine-year-old. My wife and I live locally and, while I can’t get out fishing as much as I used to, I try to stay involved in the community and enjoy the sport when I can. For me, perhaps the most rewarding side of the teaching and conservation angle is the Cumberland County Street to Streams Program, an organization I created to introduce youth, many of them with drug and lifestyle problems, to the sport of fly fishing. We’re starting our tenth year now. We partner in this effort with the Cumberland Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited and I think the program has been a great success. It’s one of my proudest accomplishments.

DW: Do you have a fly fishing or outdoor mentor and, if so, how did they influence you?
JP: I wouldn’t say I had as much of a fly fishing mentor, as I had an outdoors mentor. I grew up in a strong outdoors family in Newburg Pennsylvania and my father and grandfather were huge outdoorsmen. Hunting is bigger in my family. We did a fair amount of fishing but, as I said, I really didn’t get into fly fishing until later in my life. My father was the initial outdoor mentor in my life. Over the years, I’ve had the fortune of many experienced and wonderful people who have taken me under their wing and helped me grow.

DW: Why did you decide to start Precision Fly Fishing?
JP: Precision Fly Fishing developed in my mind initially as a means to grow my fly business. The trend in this business is moving toward wholesalers selling directly to retail markets online. I received some encouragement from some prominent fly fishers here in the Cumberland Valley to open a fly shop. After talking it over with my wife and further discussing it with the local experts, we came to believe that a local fly shop could be successful in this area if done the right way.

DW: Does Precision Fly Fishing carry merchandise outside the realm of fly fishing, and if so, what are they?
JP: Although we’re mainly a fly fishing business, we do carry merchandise outside the realm of fly fishing. We felt that, considering the outdoor market in this area, that we should offer a live bait and spin tackle section, if this was feasible. Initially, we had a limited range of conventional gear, but the demand in this are was higher than we recognized, so we’ve expanded our fly fishing and conventional gear area out to about four thousand square feet of display area. We hope to address all the needs of local anglers.

JP3


DW: What makes Precision Fly Fishing a unique business relative to so many other fly fishing businesses?
JP: Well, every fly shop is a unique business and Pennsylvania has had a lot of great local fly shops that have become important cultural aspects of a local region or watershed. Many of these shops are friends of ours and they have helped me personally to start and grow this business. We do run a guiding program. Particularly unique to our business is the fact we have a fifteen hundred square foot apartment on the second floor above the shop – the “Angler’s Nest” - which we rent to visiting outdoorsmen. This is something we hope to continue and expand in the future. Our business is also unique in that the store layout displays the fly fishing and conventional gear in separate wings. Spin anglers can visit that section and, hopefully, eventually expand into fly fishing and visit the other side of the house. Also unique to Precision Fly Fishing is that we carry one of the largest selections of flies available on the East Coast. We currently have out on our show room floor about two thousand patterns and this is being expanded to closer to three thousand patterns between now and spring time.

DW: What is your business philosophy behind Precision Fly Fishing?
JP: Our business philosophy is grounded in the belief that anyone from any walk of life who is interested in fly fishing, can walk into our shop and feel comfortable in asking questions and have access to an array of merchandise at every price point. I think we’ve accomplished that and we hope to continue with this outlook in a rather structured and difficult market. We’re surrounded by some of the best fly fishing businesses in the country, so we’ve taken a methodical approach

DW: What has surprised you about the fly fishing business since you got involved?
JP: Well, I’ll tell yuh, one of the things that really surprised me is the amount of fly tying material that is available out there. We could fill this building many times over with the amount of tying material that is on the market. We’ve long sought out materials from around the world for Holly Flies, but it is just really amazing how much of this stuff there really is out there. This was a real eye opener for me as I entered this business.

JP2


DW: Where is Precision Fly Fishing located and how can customers get in touch with you?
JP: We’re at 502 North Baltimore Ave., Mount Holly Springs PA 17065. We can be reached at our website: www.precisionflyfishing.com and www.precisonflyfishingandtackle.com. Phone number is 717 486 4646 and you can follow us on Instagram and Facebook. We’re very close to some of the best trout fishing in central Pennsylvania with Mountain Creek right behind the shop, Yellow Breeches about a mile up the road, and Letort just a few minutes further. The Susquehanna is less than an hour away, and there are mountain brookie streams within minutes of our shop.

DW: What are some of the major brands you carry?
JP: We’re a Hardy dealer and also carry Douglas Outdoors, Maxxon Outfitters, and Cortland, among others. We’re one of the largest Tenkara USA dealers in the state. We also have Peak vises, and dubbing, hackle, and general tying materials from all the major suppliers. On the spin gear side of the house, we carry Fenwick, Abu Garcia, along with Penn Reels, Pflueger, and more to come by springtime

DW: Where do you hope to take Precision Fly Fishing in the future?
JP: At this point in time, we just hope to see continued positive growth within the fly shop. We hope to be a valued pillar of the local community where people can drop by, get a cup of coffee, and enjoy their experience. We hope to continue to grow, thrive, and serve the fly fishing community.
DW: Thanks Justin.



Precision Fly Fishing
502 N. Baltimore Ave
Mount Holly Springs, PA 17065
(717) 486-4646

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