Feb 092012

1/29/2012 – Somerset NJ, a purchase was made from a vendor with a smile…

Customer service award - Bill Shull Jr.

This is Bill Shull Jr. from Tight Lines Fly Fishing in Pine Brook NJ.  Bill worked his butt off at the Somerset NJ fly tying show.  He made a great impression on me and I hope everyone who reads this post will check out Tight Lines Fly Fishing.

If you’ve been reading this blog over the past few months you know I’ve been looking for a bigger rod to handle larger Bass flies.  Heck I even had a poll so that you the reader could help me pick the Best 8wt Bass Fly Rod For Under $300.

The responses from the online poll gave a solid recommendation towards the TFO Clouser.  I stopped by the TFO booth and after holding a Clouser and a Mini Mag I realized that I liked the Mini Mag a lot more.  Since the TFO booth doesn’t sell rods I was told the best place to shop was the Tight Lines Fly Fishing booth.

Which brings us back to a guy named Bill.  After a quick look around the Tight Lines booth I saw other TFO rods but no Mini Mag.  Finally I decided to break down and seek the help of a salesperson.  Bill was able to dig around and find a 8-10wt Mini Mag and offered to let me try it out.

The casting pool was a crowd of 100 eyes watching…  and there was a line.  Bill quickly offered to let me go outside to test the rod which I eagerly accepted.  (Secretly I didn’t want others laughing at my rookie casts).

Despite my lack of skill outside Bill remained patient.  As Troutrageous! Mike looked on I proceeded to flub cast after cast.  The wind mixed with nerves just about eliminated any skill I may have possessed.

After seeing me struggle for a while Bill chimed in,

“I don’t want to tell you what to do, but I noticed a couple of things and I was wondering if you’d like some advice”

At this point he could have told me to stand on one foot and close my eyes and I would have tried it.

Bill continued, “Here are a few things that work for me, why don’t you give them a try and see how you do.”

After a few subtle tips (fundamental casting instructions) I was actually able to throw a few nice casts in the wind and actually test the rod.  As I continued to beat my shoulder into submission with the huge 8-10wt rod Bill continued to offer his advice.  As my casts improved and my shoulder began to get sore I decided that an 8-10wt rod was just too much.

Throwing out my last cast I asked Bill, “Do you have this one in the 6-8wt?’

“Not here at the show but we could put an order in and ship it to your house”, Bill replied.

With full intent of putting in an order I muttered, “Aww man, I REALLY wish you guys had the smaller rod in stock.”

Earlier Bill had mentioned that he also had some Sage Bass rods on sale.  I shrugged off the suggestion knowing a Sage rod wasn’t in my price range.

Again Bill brought up the Sage rod.

“Oh I’m pretty sure that’s out of my price range”  I replied, knowing full well the standard salesman tactic of the “upsell”.

I took the bait, “So how much is it anyway?”

After looking through his price book he replied, “Last years model, $245, and it comes with Sage line”.

Sage Bass (Bluegill) Rod

With the giddiness of a school boy I exclaimed, “Wow Really? Let’s give it a try!”

At this point I let Troutrageous! Mike know what we were up to.  He decided he had enough of my casting antics and wandered back to the Tenkara cult recruiting station (booth).

Bill found the 230gr Sage Bass rod and we proceeded back outside to give it a try.  The Sage Bass (Bluegill model) rod was much lighter than the 8-10wt I was casting earlier but still had great backbone for casting.

After a short while (and some more free casting instruction) I decided to go ahead and purchase the rod.  Bill liked the rod too and asked to try it a few more times himself before we went back inside.  “This is a nice rod, I think I’m going to buy the other one we have”, he stated.

Getting a rod that originally retailed for $420 for almost half price is one heck of a deal.  I looked around online when I got home and I couldn’t find a better deal.  The fact that this rod came with line and a nice rod tube meant that I probablly spent less overall than I would have if I had ordered that TFO rod.

"FREE" Line!

Even though the casting lessons alone would have cost half the price of the new rod, Bill still made his sale with a smile.  It would have been easy to rush me through the process and get back to a booth packed with customers but Bill was patient.  Even though at first I shrugged off his idea of the Sage rod, he knew what was right for his customer and ultimately I agreed.

Bill gained the respect of a customer that day.  I got one heck of a deal on a perfect rod and I couldn’t be happier.  I”m going to make a solid effort to purchase gear from Tight Lines Fly Fishing again and I hope after reading this you will too.

Deals and vendors that actually care are what I found at the Somerset NJ Fly Fishing show this year.  Chances are I’ll be back in 2013.


Did you go to the show?  What did you buy?  Let us know in the comments below!


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  • Great post.  And awesome service from Bill.  For every story you read about snobby fly shop guys, yada, yada, yada… As an eyewitness, Bill & Tight Lines are the total opposite.

    • Shull_bill

      hey there bill shull here. I’m thankful for the kind words, but the truth is I don’t like big buisness putting the little guys out. I believe that if you want the best service we should all give the little guys a chance first. Thats why I respect Tight lines Fly Fishing Shop.
      I help out for the show and look for great deals myself. I had the privilage to extend my personal experiences with a lot of different people this year, and I’m looking foward to seeing pics of your stress free days on the water. Please post on the face book page for tight lines. I will see and if you want you’ll be able to find my begginner casting for the rookies on my face book page in about a week or so. If you know anybody that is struggling please send them this way i’ll do my best to offer some assistance. 

  • Mat Trevors

    Nice! I’m kinda jealous…though don’t forget who threw that TFO Mini-Mag referral your way to begin with 😛

    Have fun with the Sage!!

  • Nice! I’m kinda jealous…though don’t forget who threw that TFO Mini-Mag referral your way to begin with 😛

    Have fun with the Sage!!

    • That Mini Mag is still a beaut!  If I ever find the need for an 8-10wt I’m going to check it out again.  My fishing sessions usually last 6+ hours so something that heavy would have me looking like a fiddler crab in no time!

  • Clif

    I think the Sage line is a big part of the “awesome” in that package, sinking line though I believe….correct?

    • I need to check but I’m pretty sure it’s floating.  When I was at the lake it seemed like my fly was floating with the line.
      ——– Original message ——–
      Subject: [funcfish] Re: A Deal, A Happy Customer, and The Somerset Fly Fishing Show

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