Shop boy Johnny Ewald with this post today from his perspective of working at Headhunters Fly Shop in Craig.
So what is it really like to work for a fly shop located on arguably one of the most famous Blue Ribbon trout streams in the United States?
As loyal followers of The Headhunter blog, most of you may have an idea of what goes on in our tiny fly shop, but to those who want a better picture painted, let me finish the rest of the canvas for you. To everyone who makes up Team Headhunters, from the owners, the guides, to the shop staff, to the shuttle drivers and housekeepers, we all have one goal in mind: offer new and seasoned clients the best possible, world-class customer service experience that your hard earned dollar can buy on the Missouri River in Montana.
Each and every one of us here at Headhunters pride ourselves in creating a memorable experience for each and every person we come into contact with. And as an added bonus, it doesn’t hurt to be The World’s Funnest Fly Shop!
A typical day for the shop staff during the height of the busy season consists of opening our shop doors bright and early at 6 am. The old adage holds true in our shop, the early bird gets the worm. Or better yet, essentially gets the best flies and first dibs on his/her favorite section of the Mo’. Hot and free, the coffee will be percolating and ready to get your day started with a kick.
From there, the friendly staff will settle you in with your guide for the full day guided fishing trip, set you up with killer flies that will hook you into any willing trout, get your shuttle form filled so your rig will be at your desired boat ramp when you get off the river. The knowledgable staff can also get you set up with new products from Simms, Orvis, Howler Bros., Freefly, Smith, Costa and numerous other brands to fill all your fly fishing gadget obsessions and needs. We can set you up with one of our many demo rods we offer, that new SAGE you have wanted to so dearly wrap your casting hand around. The staff here is very knowledgable about each and every product we sell. That’s why we are here. We love fondling fly fishing stuff at work and at play!
We test and use our products everyday to make it easier for you as the consumer to feel more comfortable and confident as an angler, the angler you want and desire to be. We are the cure to any ailment or fear you may have about getting out on the water, whether it be your first or umpteenth time casting a fly to a rainbow or brown trout.
The shop staff here spends a majority of our time booking guided trips, lodging, ordering new products, keeping up with inventory, providing the best fly selection in Craig for the Mo’ and answering a very busy fly fishing hotline. We will answer any and all your questions from weather reports, current hatches, hot fly patterns, Missouri River flows and how well the fishing is here for any given month. Although we work very hard and take pride in the work we do here at Headhunters, we still find time to have a bit of fun.
A work/play balance is key to keeping a level head while working for a very busy business. Daily chatter between cohorts ranges from the exchanging of fishing reports from the pre or post work float to ridiculously off the wall humor and bantering. We all know how to get along here in the shop and out. Although our work ethics exude the seriousness we all take to get the job done, it’s refreshing to not take ourselves too seriously when the shop is quiet, or the doors close and we head over to Joe’s Bar or Izaak’s Restaurant for an evening cocktail, or two…
Life here in the small town Craig is a far cry from the hustle and bustle of city living. People here seem happier. And by happier, I mean stress free. People here smile quite often, walk with their heads up, and have little to worry about other than getting off the water to get to work on time and vice versa. Being my second season working with Headhunters, I have learned to not take life too seriously, live in the now, not in the past nor the future.
The life of a Headhunter is a lifestyle that has become of part of who I am not only as an angler, but as a person. The people I have met, fished with, and become friends with in this little nook of the world are memories I will cherish until the end of my days. The combination of small town living and fly fishing culture is relative to a little slice of heaven… right here in Craig, Montana.