This may seem self serving but it not meant to be. Every year I get a new edition of the Cabela's Fly Fishing Catalog. Its become a super-sized publication at 202 pages. They've got it all including Winston (the last major hold out). Why bother with your local fly shop. After all, you can thumb through this magnificent publication full of great pictures and plenty of grip and grin guide photos/endorsements, pick up the phone or log on to their web site and you are done. But think about this ... WHO IS GOING TO
--tell you where to go and what to use
--explain how good that new rod material really is or if the claims made by Super Duper Reel are true
--give you the chance to try out gear or offer loaner/rental equipment when you need it
--tell you what fly line will work best on the rods you have or want
--spool new lines and rig you up for fishing salt and fresh water
--sit down and show you how to tie a particular fly
--get specialty items not in the catalog or on the internet
--teach you or members of my family how to tie flies, cast, and rig equipment
--be open every day so you can pickup the flies, tippet, leaders you need for fishing right now
--be there on a winter weekend morning for a cup of coffee to talk fishing or let you participate in a free clinic.
--suggest guides and destinations or gear based on personal experience rather than paid endorsements.
--make donation to charities you care about
--make arrangements for a local guided trip
--offer your son, daughter, or grandchildren someplace to go and hear about fly fishing.
So if you place that order with Cabela's or a similar outfit think about what your not getting and have the potential of loosing. Whether you do business Front Range Anglers or another dealer, the issue is the same.