QUINCY — Nick Dooley’s passion for fly fishing led to the development of a business in 2018 in the basement of his house in Mendon, Ill.
It also led to a few problems.
“All of the stuff you see here, it filled our spare room in the house,” Dooley said when he opened Dooley’s Fly Fishing on April 27 at 433 Hampshire in the lower level of the Washington Theater. “Plus I was always meeting people in parking lots and giving them stuff (they had bought), and I thought, ‘Man, we’ve got to do something about this.’”
Dooley will continue selling his wares online, where he says he sold items to people in all 50 states and 11 countries last year. He says a downtown storefront has its advantages.
“Now we can have people come in and look at stuff instead of buying it on the internet,” he said. “Fly rods are really expensive, and people don’t like to buy those over the internet. They want to touch them first. We also sell feathers (a crucial instrument used in tying realistic flies) for $80, and when people come in here, they like to hand pick what they get.”
Dooley sold crappie jigs and flyers to his friends before creating his website. Now he offers anything a fly fisherman would need, including hackle, dubbing, fur, hooks, colorful chenille and synthetics, deer hair and fly tying kits.
“Everybody who lives in this area generally has gone to St. Louis to do all their (fly fishing) shopping,” Dooley said. “I’ve been tying flies for a long time. I’ve got a pretty good knowledge of it. I’m pretty knowledgeable about the products we sell.”
Many local fishermen consider Bennett Springs State Park in southwest Missouri as the go-to place for catch-and-release fly fishing for trout. Dooley says fly fishing can be done in nearly any body of water for all kinds of fish.
“I like to fly fish for crappie, bass, carp and bluegill,” he said. “I like to fish in the Mississippi River or Siloam Springs. You can fly fish anywhere for anything. You can do a lot of things with a fly rod that you can’t do with conventional tackles.”
Dooley said visitors from as far as four hours away have visited him in his new venture.
He is offering fly tying and fly casting classes later in May.
Dooley works two days a week as a paramedic for Lee County Ambulance in Keokuk, Iowa, and his work schedule there causes the fly fishing business hours to vary daily. The store is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday when Dooley is in the office. His wife, Angie Dooley, or his daughter, Breann Alter, runs the business in the afternoons when he’s in Keokuk. A monthly schedule is posted on the business’ Facebook and Instagram pages. Customers also can call 217-214-3474 (FISH).
A grand opening celebration is set for May 15.
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